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FCC Retains 30-MHz Spectrum Reserve

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The FCC has voted not to increase its planned reserve of 30 MHz of low-band spectrum for competitive wireless carriers in the forward auction of broadcast spectrum.

"Non-nationwide providers as well as nationwide providers who currently hold less than one-third of available high-quality low-band spectrum in a given license area will be eligible to utilize this first-of-its-kind reserve," the FCC said.

The commission had already voted for the 30-MHz reserve, but had been asked to increase it to 40 MHz given that the top two carriers -- Verizon and AT&T -- already had the majority of low-band spectrum.

The vote came Wednesday (Aug. 5) and was thus pulled from the Aug. 6 agenda for the FCC's public meeting.

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn voted in support of the reserve, but dissented from the decision not to expand it.

"In my opinion, such a change would have greatly incentivized competitive wireless carriers, particularly those who are reserve eligible in the vast majority of the markets, to bid more in the forward auction," Clyburn said, "It also would have created greater certainty that we could recover more spectrum from broadcasters."