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FCC still nixes pair of noncoms

With the clock ticking towards Tuesday's auction of some frequencies now used
for TV channels 52 through 59, the Federal Communications Commission Monday
reiterated that two noncommercial institutions were not qualified to hold the

Central Wyoming College and the Idaho Board of Education had appealed an
earlier FCC decision not to let the organizations vie for the licenses. Both
argued that they were entitled to apply for the permits without participating in
Tuesday's auction.

It's unclear whether the commission's ruling will withstand a pending court
challenge and, conceivably, the FCC could be forced in the future to reallocate
the handful of licenses sold Tuesday that are among the permits sought by the
noncommercial organizations.

The FCC maintained that it has the authority to deny noncommerical licensees
the right to qualify for mixed-use spectrum in order to eliminate confusion
about the bidding process.

Uncertainty surrounding noncommercial organizations' right to spectrum slated
for commercial auctions has also blocked FCC plans to auction hundreds of new FM
licenses after a court last year ruled that public broadcasters could not be
forced to participate in spectrum auctions.

Bidding Tuesday covers the "C" and "D" blocks of the 700-megahertz spectrum,
which contain frequencies now used for channels 54 and 59 and channel 55,