updated 11:00 pm EST, Wed February 8, 2012
Smaller carriers cry foul
AT&T and Verizon have reportedly lobbied to deregulate spectrum auctions and reduce the Federal Communication Commission's role in managing spectrum allocation between carriers. The companies are accused of pushing legislators to add a special provision to the JOBS Act (PDF) that would bar the FCC from excluding a company from bidding.
The regulations, which are contained in Section 4105 of Title V within the act, would also prevent the FCC from imposing on licensees any conditions related to network management, devices, applications, services, or traffic prioritization.
Several other carriers including Sprint, T-Mobile and Cricket have distributed an open letter to Senators and Representatives, calling attention to the controversial clauses and arguing that the bill would prevent the FCC from promoting competition.
"Stripping the FCC of its auction design discretion would disserve the public interest by permitting unchecked participation by the two largest, best-funded wireless carriers in future spectrum auctions," the letter reads. "That would discourage smaller competitors from participating in future auctions thereby reducing auction revenues and limiting wireless competition and innovation."
Former FCC chairman Reed Hundt also blasted the provisions, which he describes as the "single worst telecom bill" that he had ever read, according to quotes posted by Engadget.