Another step has been made in deciding what to do with the hotly-debated 700MHz spectrum. The spectrum, which will be made available in a few years when analog TV goes off the air, has come under scrutiny and been the source of much debate over who should get rights to deploying it in the future. WISPS, cable companies, public safety and numerous others have been at each others throats over this issue.

Now, the FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has released a draft of the rules that will govern the auction for the spectrum It's a bit of a mixed bag, but does include certain stipulations around open-access:

Under the proposed rules, 22MHz of the spectrum to be auctioned would be subject to open-access regulations, meaning that the companies winning the auction would not be able to control what kind of devices are attached to the network or how the bandwidth is used.
While the spectrum is virtually useless on an end-user basis, many companies want to see it given to WISPS or other companies that will use it to spread wireless coverage even further. Google is one of the companies supporting open access, going up against industry giants like AT&T and Verizon, who vehemently oppose an open system.

The auction is only about half a year away, and these rules are just a draft. It will be very interesting to see how the frequency ends up being used. It shows a lot of promise, particularly for WISPS in the U.S., and it would be a shame to see it dominated by giant companies.