News about Reed Hundt, Pioneer's Preferences and FCC's Re-organization
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- The FCC's new Chairman, Reed Hundt, is making waves in the US capitol, according
to the San Francisco Examiner of August 21. Mr. Hundt is quoted saying "There is
an unbelievable magnitude of opportunity . . . The development of the information
highway (is) one of the great events of our history." Mr. Hundt, once a 9th
grade classmate of V. P. A1 Gore (he also went to Law School with Hillary) not
only now has a full 5 member Commission, he is taking on a lead role in setting
- After heading up the first round of "Spectrum" auctions (where not
everyone was a serious bidder -- more than a dozen winners of that auction defaulted
on their first payments to the FCC) -- Mr. Hundt is now re-organizing the FCC
from top to bottom and getting ready for the upcoming PCS auctions.
- The FCC recently gave final approval to the AT&T buyout of McCaw Cellular
Communicarions. This $12.6 billion deal has literally sailed through the courts and
other approval authorities and will create one of the worlds largest
telecommunication/cellular carriers. Anyone want to compete with them?
- Congress and the FCC have had second thoughts on the Pioneer's Preferences
granted to APC, Cox and Omnipoint for PCS services. First off, Congress directed
that the FCC reserve "entrepreneurs' blocks' of spectrum (and the attendant
licenses) for small, minority or women owned businesses who bid at the upcoming
PCS auction(s). The "special" bidders will be give "discount
credits" of from 10 to 35% so that they may better compete against the big
boys at the auctions.
Next off, Congress decided that the previously awarded Pioneer's Preferences were a
mistake. They directed the FCC to reverse the "damage" and revoke the
Preferences. Only APC has formally appealed the FCC revocations, so far -- but,
look for some very serious behind-the-scenes lobbying. The "blame" for
the special treatment of minorities can surely be placed at the feet of the
Commission's latest two female, liberal Commissioners. However, why Congress
wanted to dump the Pioneer's Preferences defies explanation. They cited that the
awards were made too quickly, under unusual circumstances and were unlikely to
survive court challenges. Congress also cited ethical considerations -- a dead
giveaway that they were caving in to lobbyists' pressures.
- The FCC is involved in a total re-organization. An early result of this effort
was the creation of a Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, to be headed by Mr.
Ralph Haller, formerly the highly respected head of the Private Radio Bureau.
We wish Mr. Haller well in this new job.
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