DOJ urges FCC to reallocate ‘underutilized’ spectrum to wireless broadband providers

DOJ urges FCC to reallocate ‘underutilized’ spectrum to wireless broadband provi

In its response to a request by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for comments on its national broadband plan, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) suggested that, for encouraging broadband competition, both current as well as new wireless broadband providers should be suitably supported.

The DOJ’s suggestions, submitted on Monday, essentially aim at helping FCC effectively develop a national broadband plan which it will put forth to the Congress by February 17.

In its 30-page written filing, signed by the department’s antitrust chief Christine Varney, the DOJ said that the FCC should reallocate the ‘underutilized’ spectrum to wireless providers, and auction it in such a manner that new competitors are appositely favored over the existing wireless broadband providers presently dominating the ‘high-speed Internet’ market.

Noting that the provision of broadband services is an expensive affair, the DOJ said that rather than attempting to promote “textbook markets of perfect competition,” the FCC should endeavor to promote competition in the form of “enabling additional entry and expansion by wireless broadband providers,” over and above the other necessary activities.

The DOJ further said that the apparent paucity of available airwaves adversely affect broadband competition. It added that companies engaged in the process of developing next-generation wireless broadband services - like Clearwire, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile – require more airwaves so as to offer substantial competition to cable modem, DSL or fiber optic-based services.

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