Vendors vie for spectrum grab

The Federal Communication Commission's long-awaited auction of radio spectrum in January is attracting major wireless bidders such as AT&T and Verizon in addition to newcomers such as Google Inc., Chevron Corp. and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen.

The auction of portions of the 700 MHz band is scheduled to take place Jan. 24, 2008. The radio spectrum is being vacated by broadcast television stations as they switch to digitization under timetables approved by Congress.

Under FCC rules, a segment being auctioned will serve as a nationwide public safety wireless network. This means first responders can preempt other users during emergencies. The auction winner must negotiate with Public Safety Spectrum Trust Corp. nonprofit group designated by the FCC.

The commission released a list Tuesday of 96 accepted applications and 170 incomplete applications.

Google Inc., bidding as Google Airwaves Inc., whose application was accepted for filing, previously announced its interest in bidding for the spectrum. It is the first time the Internet giant has made a foray into owning radio spectrum.

The application of Vulcan Spectrum LLC, a venture capital firm headed by investor and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, was accepted.

AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless filed applications that the FCC labeled incomplete. The petitioners are allowed to resubmit their applications by Jan. 4.

Also on the incomplete list was Frontline Wireless Inc. of Greensboro, N.C., under the name Licenseco LLC, which petitioned the FCC in April to set aside spectrum for creation of a national public safety broadband network.

Other companies that filed incomplete applications were Chevron Corp., Alltel Corp., Cox Wireless Inc. and Qualcomm Inc.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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