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FCC cancels meeting on AWS-3 spectrum auction: However, ‘The items will remain on circulation’

Congressional pressure has prompted the Federal Communications Commission to scrap its Dec. 18 meeting, but the action does not necessarily mean the agency will forgo ruling on the free wireless broadband plan and other major items championed by Chairman Kevin Martin before he likely gives way to a successor next year when the Obama administration assumes power.
“We received the letter from Senator Rockefeller and Congressman Waxman . and spoke with other offices. In light of the letter, it does not appear that there is consensus to move forward and the agenda meeting has been canceled. The items will remain on circulation and the commissioners can still vote on them,” said Robert Kenny, an FCC spokesman.
On Friday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) urged Martin in a letter to concentrate on the upcoming digital TV transition and steer clear of other contentious matters on the Dec. 18 agenda that had been scheduled for vote. Rockefeller is set to head the Senate Commerce committee next year, while Waxman is set to head the House Commerce committee.
However, the two lawmakers did not take positions on any of the agenda items. They also said the FCC should decide matters requiring action by law. M2Z Networks Inc., the leading proponent of the free wireless broadband initiative, argues there is a statutory deadline for commissioners to rule on AW-3.
The mobile-phone industry – particularly T-Mobile USA Inc. – opposes Martin’s proposal, which would require the winning AWS-3 bidder to provide free, family-friendly service in the advanced wireless services-3 band (2155-2180 MHz). Wireless providers argue harmful interference will be caused to cellphone operations in adjacent frequencies for which carriers paid billions of dollars at an FCC auction in 2006.
In addition to AWS-3, other items that had been teed up for FCC action this month and next include county-based enhanced 911 location accuracy, intercarrier compensation and universal service fund reforms, and 700 MHz D-Block re-auction rules.


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