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Powell: Northpoint decision is done deal

All four commissioners have voted on the Federal Communications Commission's Northpoint Technology Ltd. ruling,
and the decision just awaits some last details, chairman Michael Powell told a
House Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday.

"It's pretty imminent," Powell said, "and an order will be fast on the heels
of the public announcement."

The industry has been waiting for the Northpoint announcement for weeks now,
with the FCC expected to rule that the spectrum Northpoint is seeking free-of-charge
should instead be auctioned.

Powell also said the agency plans to go ahead with auctions of the
700-megahertz (channels 60 through 69) spectrum in June as planned. "In the past, we
could legitimately say, `Everybody wants a delay and no one will sue,' but that's
not true this time. There are clear industry players who want the auction to
proceed," he added.

Among those players, Powell said, are parties who want to set up
public-safety services there, as well as wireless companies. "This spectrum -scarcity problem is a problem for everybody," Powell said.