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RELOCATION SETTLEMENT FOR ASSOCIATED COMING

WASHINGTON-A settlement is believed near that would have Teledesic Corp. pay to relocate Associated Communications L.L.C. fixed wireless facilities to the 24 GHz band, though it is unclear whether the deal will be voluntary or government-imposed.

The two wireless startups have been battling for months over rights to the 18 GHz band, which both are licensed to use.

The Federal Communications Commission is acting as mediator in the dispute, trying to find a peaceful solution that enables both newcomers to bring new competition and services to the telecommunications marketplace.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a unit of the Commerce Department that advises the president on telecom policy and manages government spectrum, identified the 24 GHz band as an alternative home for digital electronic messaging service, or DEMS, a regulatory designation for fixed wireless local access.

Teledesic, a global broadband communications satellite project bankrolled by high-tech billionaires Craig McCaw and Bill Gates, contends it cannot share the 18 GHz band with ACom because of potential interference.

ACom, headed by former AT&T Corp. President Alex Mandl, argues its plan to offer fixed wireless local access in major markets will not disrupt Teledesic’s operations.

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