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Noncom conundrum - Broadcasting & Cable

Noncom conundrum

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The Federal Communications Commission last week did not reveal how it plans
to resolve a dispute over how and whether to let educational/nonprofit
broadcasters apply for commercial frequencies.

The FCC must resolve the dispute before it auctions more than 500 radio
licenses.

The issue of just how to give out commercial spectrum to public broadcasters
now that those licenses are for sale was raised last July, when National Public
Radio convinced federal judges to forbid noncommercial entities from
participating in spectrum auctions.

The issue also arose in a separate court case over plans to auction TV
channels 52 through 59.

Last week, the FCC asked the court to dismiss the complaint of two
educational organizations with applications for new licenses that were rejected.

The FCC said their applications were denied because uncertainty about the
impact of their applications would delay the auction.

The attorney for Central Wyoming College and the Idaho Board of Education
said the FCC's explanation wasn't surprising, but that line of reasoning
failed to persuade judges in last year's NPR case.

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