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Monday, November 19, 2007

FCC grants more wishes on 700MHz band

In addition to measures to open up the 700MHz spectrum as per Google's requests, the FCC has just agreed to remove the restrictions on how much of the D-Block portion of the spectrum can be put up for wholesale by the winner.
To encourage the widest range of potentially qualified applicants to participate in bidding for the D Block license, we enabled eligible bidders for this license to seek designated-entity bidding credits for small businesses, as a means to create incentives for investors to provide innovative small businesses with the capital necessary to compete for the D block license at auction -- FCC

This move will significantly bolster the abilities of entrepreneurial businesses like Frontline Wireless in securing spectrum for their nationwide "4G" wireless network.

The 700MHz spectrum explained

  • The D-Block portion of the spectrum (purple) lies adjacent to the two portions of spectrum reserved for public safety use. The winner of the D-Block auction will be required to "build out a nationwide wireless network that is good enough to meet public safety specifications for coverage and redundancy." The payoff for the D-Block winner is that they will get to use the public safety channels for commercial purposes while they are not being used; significantly increasing their overall bandwidth.

  • The C-Block portion of the spectrum (yellow) covers the 22MHz that Google has indicated may bid the FCC's reserve price of $4.5B on. This is the prime "beach front" real estate the likes of Verizon would like to control. Google CEO Eric Schmidt told reporters last month that Google may team with another company to bid for this portion of the spectrum. Analysts are predicting that this could be someone like Sprint, who have already partnered with Google to provide the wireless Internet service WiMax in 2008.

  • The A and B portions have already been auctioned off.

Read more (pdf)

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