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GAO OKs FCC/Nextel Agreement for 800 MHz-1.9 GHz Swap

The Government Accounting Office has approved the FCC's plan for Nextel to give up spectrum in the 800 MHz band for spectrum in the 1.9 GHz band, including portions of the 2 GHz broadcast auxiliary services (BAS) band. This, and the agreement Nextel reached with Verizon Wireless not to oppose the plan should make it easier for Nextel to begin reimbursing broadcasters for clearing the two lower 2 GHz BAS channels.

In the news release, Chairman Michael Powell says, "I am pleased that the GAO recognizes the FCC's legal authority to implement a solution to the 800 MHz interference problem. The GAO independently confirmed that the Commission's authority to regulate spectrum in the public interest is broad enough to include the tools we utilized to resolve this critical public safety matter. GAO's decision provides further impetus to the entire industry to work with the FCC as we implement our plan to improve communications for public safety and emergency responders."