On June 8, OTI filled comments on the Petition for Rulemaking to Permit MVDDS use of the 12.2-12.7 GHz band for two-way mobile broadband service. Read the full comments here.
As this petition, the incentive auction, and other regulatory proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) demonstrate, the Commission and stakeholders are increasingly presented with the thorny policy problem of how best to repurpose legacy spectrum for modern, flexible uses. On the one hand, the Commission has a responsibility to discourage speculation and avoid conferring undeserved windfalls to legacy. At the same time, the Commission has an obligation to promote wireless competition, licensees, promote investment in new wireless technologies and services and generally encourage new and more efficient uses of wireless to meet our national needs.
Here, the MVDDS licensees have actively sought to use the MVDDS licenses to provide service as the Commission envisioned. This is not, therefore, a case of rewarding speculators or spectrum squatters for their refusal to invest or allow spectrum to lie fallow. Since the development of the MVDSS service rules, new technologies have emerged that would allow licensees to better serve the public. It is therefore sensible to re-examine the MVDDS license rules, as requested in the Petition.
Nevertheless, the Commission can and must recognize that any expansion of exclusive use rights, such as that proposed by the Petition, does confer a windfall on the legacy licensees, particularly when those rights are expanded without auction. As wireless spectrum remains a public resource, and the Commission is obligated to allocate it in the public interest, the public must be compensated for this de facto windfall in the form of additional public interest benefits.
Nor is it enough to note that enhancing flexibility will enhance the ability of providers to deliver new services. This is equally the case when the Commission authorizes a new wireless service as it is when the Commission expands the spectrum rights of an existing service. If the statute requires a clear return to the public for the exclusive use of the public airwaves when the Commission creates a wireless service, the statute equally requires a clear return to the public when spectrum rights are expanded.
Download the full comments below: