Senators: No more licenses to auction bidders

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Three lawmakers from rural states called on the Federal Communications
Commission to drop plans to let participants in the Aug. 27 auction of some
spectrum on the 700 megahertz band add more licenses to the to ones on which
they are currently allowed to bid.

Last month under congressional orders the FCC canceled a planned auction of
TV channels 52 through 59 to advanced communications companies. A smaller chunk
of those channels will be sold in August with the rest delayed indefinitely.

As part of the postponement, the FCC said bidders qualified to participate in
the previous June 19 sale may now apply to add more of the licenses going on
sale Aug. 27.

Sens. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Michael Enzi, R-Wyo. said
small rural applicants would be hurt if larger companies are allowed to vie for
the more of the so-called C- and D-block permits now slated for the Aug. 27
sale.

"Our legislation was a compromise reached among wireless carriers and small
rural carriers," they said in a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell. "Had we
intended to change this qualifying factor, we would have included it in the
legislation."

Their concerns echoed those previously voiced by the National
Telecommunications Cooperative Association.

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