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SBCA Opposes Senate Action on MVDDS

By | June 27, 2003

      The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association has come out strongly against a measure passed Thursday by the Senate Commerce Committee that would prohibit the holding of an auction for multichannel video distribution and data service (MVDDS) spectrum in the 12 GHz band (see SATELLITE TODAY, June 26). The measure was attached as an amendment, proposed by Sens. John E. Sununu (R-N.H.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), to the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act.

      “The Sununu/Cantwell amendment is a dangerous legislative precedent that will result in the giveaway of publicly-owned spectrum, estimated to be worth more than $100 million,” said SBCA President Andrew Wright. “It forces the [Federal Communication Commission] to forego the auction procedure required by current law and interrupts a pending appeal before a federal court on the FCC decision to assign terrestrial licenses by competitive bidding.

      There is no valid public policy reason for Congress to give a potential competitor free spectrum to one politically-connected company,” he added.

      Not surprisingly, MVDDS provider Northpoint was supportive of the amendment. “This provision, once enacted, will pave the way for rapid deployment of the MVDDS through the entire United States. This amendment levels the playing field between satellite companies and terrestrial applicants like us,” said Northpoint Executive Vice President Toni Cook Bush.

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