updated 03:30 pm EDT, Wed October 24, 2007
Verizon drops FCC appeal
Verizon Wireless has decided to withdraw from a challenge to January's FCC wireless auction, filings reveal. The company has told the DC Court of Appeals that it is ceasing its legal efforts, which were concentrated around the auction's open-access provisions. Under planned FCC rules, 22MHz of the 700MHz spectrum will have to be made accessible to any device or software application, regardless of what carrier or broadcaster it might be associated with. For the federal government this represents an attempt to diversify the wireless broadband industry, which is currently dominated by a handful of companies including Verizon.
Verizon had at one point petitioned to have its appeal heard on an expedited schedule, with the hope that it could get open access dropped before the auction began. This was rejected, which Verizon's latest filing indicates is the reason for halting legal procedures entirely. Other groups are said to still be challenging FCC rules, but by negotiating with the FCC directly.
The FCC is selling the rights to 62MHz of the 700MHz spectrum, which will become available in 2009 when over-the-air analog TV broadcasts shut down. The sale should be a boon to government coffers, bringing in at least $10 to $15 billion for the US Treasury. [via CNN]