FCC presents 700MHz auction rules

By Justin Mann on July 31, 2007, 5:05 PM
After much anticipation and months of speculation and debate, the FCC has revealed what the guidelines will be for governing the upcoming frequency auction. The 700MHz spectrum, which many including the FCC have high hopes for, will ultimately become a mix of public safety and limited open access.

Both the personal-interest and company-interest sides got a bit of what they wanted, but nobody got everything. The FCC will not allow a company to restrict the applications and devices used on the frequency, but they are allowing companies to buy licenses for it and horde them if they so wish:

Neither side got exactly what it wanted. The FCC has decided to support two of the open access principles—open devices and open applications—but they neglected to open up the underlying networks by requiring the spectrum winner to resell its bandwidth in the wholesale market.
Most interestingly, however, is that bids on the upcoming auction will be anonymous – so companies will not know who is bidding what, making it more difficult to anticipate other companies moves. The article summed up the rules quite well, stating that the new rules are a boon for the consumer as a whole, but may not lead to any coast-to-coast innovation.

Once companies begin bidding and acquiring licenses next year, we can then speculate on how the band will transform wireless access around the country, if at all. It'll be a sad day if one company buys massive amounts of the frequency and just sits on it.

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