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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today ordered the separation of the D block of spectrum (for joint commercial/public safety use) from the rest of the auction of 700 MHz spectrum and revealed Verizon was the winner of the national "C" block.
The following is the comment of Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:
"It was no surprise that Verizon paid more than $4.7 billion for a national block of spectrum in the most valuable band. From what we have seen, the company has started a process to comply with the open access parts of the FCC order that have the potential to bring many benefits to consumers through more flexibility in using their own handsets and other devices and the use of applications other than those supplied by Verizon. We look forward to hearing more details about how Verizon implements its program, and we hope the rest of the industry will adopt a similar view to giving consumers more choice. We are grateful to Google for stepping up and making certain the minimum bid in the "C" block was achieved, so that the open access provisions would be required to be followed.
"At the same time, however, it is disappointing that new competitors and innovators won't have access to the spectrum to give consumers the benefits of real broadband competition.
"We are pleased the Commission has decided to separate the D block from the rest of the auction and will not re-auction the spectrum quickly while also examining why the reserve price was not met in an otherwise successful auction. We hope the Commission will take the time to take a wide-ranging view of how the spectrum could be used and on what terms and conditions. Perhaps the D block could be made available to innovators on a wholesale basis as the C block was not."