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FCC Receives Comments on WiMax

Comments continued to be filed with the Federal Communications Commission over whether some top cable operators and Google should be able to team up with Sprint Nextel and Clearwire to provide a new WiMax-delivered broadband service.

Free-market think tank The Free State Foundation weighed in Monday, saying that it will boost competition and adding that it should "eliminate" -- or at least reduce -- the calls for imposing network neutrality on broadband providers.

The group also said the backing of Google and the cable operators should ensure that it has the capital to build out its network. "Comcast, Intel, Google, Time Warner [Cable], Bright House [Networks] is an indication that if the applications are approved, New Clearwire will have the capital and other resources required to make it likely that the new venture actually will be able to carry out its plans," it said.

Sprint Nextel and Clearwire want to combine their WiMax spectrum, with the backing of those companies, to create a new wireless network that would deliver broadband and data services. That would serve twin FCC goals of promoting competition in the wireless space and hastening the rollout of broadband.

The venture received the blessing of community-college presidents and other educational institutions that said it will be a way to advance broadband and usher in the next generation of wireless services.

The transfer was opposed by incumbents like AT&T, however, which argued that since the new company would compete directly with AT&T and other wireless carriers, the FCC should consider Sprint Nextel’s and Clearwire's current holdings in other spectrum when considering whether to allow them to pool spectrum to create the new service.

If it does so, AT&T suggested, the FCC would have to deny the request to combine their spectrum licenses to create the single national mobile-broadband provider.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.