RTG Supports Reasonable Limits on the Spectrum Holdings of All Carriers

AT&T, Inc. (AT&T) has submitted yet another filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) arguing once again that any proposal suggesting a limit on how much spectrum the country’s two largest mobile carriers can win in the future 600 MHz Band incentive auction is “flawed” and that spectrum caps are “unnecessary.”  The Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. (RTG) and countless other carrier associations, individual carriers, and public interest groups are in general agreement that the FCC should institute some type of overall spectrum cap (especially when it comes to highly desired low-band frequencies) and impose reasonable limits on the amount of spectrum AT&T and Verizon Wireless can win in the forthcoming 600 MHz Band incentive auction.  For a long time RTG has proposed that the best, workable solution for maintaining at least four competitors in any given market – a scenario supported by the US Department of Justice and FCC – is to limit any given licensee to 25% of all available and usable mobile broadband spectrum in any given county with no carrier permitted to hold more than 40% of all available and usable spectrum below 1 GHz in any given county.  Furthermore, RTG believes that the public interest will be greatly benefitted if the Commission:  (1) limits (but does not completely preclude) the amount of spectrum any individual carrier can win in the future 600 MHz Band incentive auction; and (2) adopts the use of smaller Cellular Market Areas when it auctions the 600 MHz Band so as to allow rural carriers a realistic opportunity to participate and compete in a meaningful way.  Finally, RTGwishes to remind AT&T that Section 309(j) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, requires that all “competitive bidding” spectrum auctions conducted by the FCC shall not only seek to promote “the development and rapid deployment of new technologies, products, and services for the benefit of the public, including those residing in rural areas” but also ensure that those same “new and innovative technologies are readily accessible to the American people by avoiding excessive concentration of licenses and by disseminating licenses among a wide variety of applicants” including small businesses and rural telephone companies.  The proposed percentage caps and reasonable limits on future auction participation endorsed by RTG will provide marketplace stability for years to come.

About RTG – The Rural Wireless Advocate

RTG is a trade association representing rural wireless carriers who each serve fewer than 100,000 subscribers. RTG’s members have joined together to speed delivery of new, efficient, and innovative telecommunications technologies to the populations of remote and underserved sections of the country. ruraltelecomgroup.org

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