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GOP Rep Warns FCC Against Spectrum Caps in Upcoming Auctions

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 10:42am
Ben Munson

This story originally stated the that Rep. Walden was a Democrat. It has been changed to reflect he is a Republican. 

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) has warned the FCC against limiting the participation of AT&T and Verizon in upcoming spectrum auctions through the use of spectrum caps.

The Hill said that Rep. Walden, chairman of the House Communications and Technology subcommittee, told reporters that Congress might step in if it doesn’t like the FCC auction rules.

Rep. Walden reiterated that revenue for taxpayers is the primary goal of the auctions and added that it isn’t “fair” to limit some of the biggest bidders.

Sprint, T-Mobile and other smaller and regional carriers have implored the FCC to take precautions to prevent AT&T and Verizon, the nation’s two largest carriers, from walking away with all spectrum available in the FCC’s upcoming 600 MHz incentive auction.

Sprint, T-Mobile, Dish Network, U.S. Cellular and other members of the Competitive Carriers Association last week sent a letter to new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, urging spectrum aggregation limits for lower-band spectrum.

“AT&T and Verizon already hold licenses for nearly 80 percent of the low-band spectrum available for commercial broadband use. They have economic incentives to acquire the remaining low-band spectrum in the 600 MHz band to stop our companies – their competitors – from offering truly sustainable, competitive wireless broadband service across America,” representatives wrote in the letter.

In addition to warnings about limiting participation in the spectrum auctions, Rep. Walden asked the FCC to be careful about how much unlicensed spectrum is designates.

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