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Senate Committee Schedules 700 MHz Hearing

The Senate Commerce will hold a hearing on spectrum auctions for the digital broadcast spectrum Thursday, June 14 at 10 a.m. The hearing, entitled "The 700 MHz Auction: Public Safety and Competition Issues," will examine issues arising as the January 2008 deadline for the auctions approach.

The FCC in April issued ground rules for the auctions and sought feedback on details. The commission determined a mix of geographic areas to license and established power limits and initial license terms. It sought comment on performance requirements and proposals from groups such as Frontline Wireless, Cyren Call, Arcadian Networks and Google.

The New America Foundation recently released a study critical of the spectrum auction process. Using the 2006 Advanced Wireless Service auctions as a model, economist Gregory Rose said established licensees used strategies such as "retaliatory bidding" and "blocking" to muscle out new national competitors.