FCC Weighs Cable Owning LMDS

Washington -- The Federal Communications Commission is
considering relaxing an ownership rule that prevents cable operators from controlling
certain wireless-broadband licenses.

The FCC-imposed ban on cable operator control of local
multipoint distribution service is set to expire June 30.

In an announcement last Tuesday, the commission asked for
comments on whether it should allow the ban to sunset. Comments are due Jan. 21, and reply
comments Feb. 11.

LMDS technology allows the simultaneous distribution of
voice, data and video. Viewing LMDS as a potential competitor to cable and local phone
companies, the FCC prohibited them from controlling LMDS licenses that substantially
overlapped their service territories.

In 1997 auctions, the FCC took in $578.7 million for LMDS
licenses of 150 megahertz and 1,150 MHz.