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Re: Auction of Licenses for the 747-762 and 777-792 MHz Bands Postponed Until March 6, 2001, Public Notice (rel. July 31, 2000)

We cannot support today's decision to delay the 700 MHz auction until March 2001. This action is in stark disregard of this agency's statutory obligation to "ensure[] that all proceeds of such bidding are deposited . . . not later than September 30, 2000."1

No spectrum or fiscal policy consequence, no letters from members of Congress, and no interpretation of the overall statutory scheme can overcome the Commission's clear obligation to proceed with this auction consistent with the statute. Our auction design rules and issues raised in the Commission's further notice2 are no basis for abandoning this statutory deadline. Moreover, the assertion that delay is warranted to ensure that the auction derives more revenue does not comport with the statute.3

As Commissioners, we are sworn to uphold the law. Today we are obligated to object to this direct violation of our governing statute.

1. Pub. Law 106-113, 113 Stat. 1501, Appendix E, Section 213. See also 145 Cong. Rec. at H12494-94, H12501 (Nov. 17, 1994), "Making consolidated appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2000, and for other purposes."

2. See Service Rules for the 746-764 and 776-794 MHz Bands, and Revisions to Part 27 of the Commission's Rules, Carriage of the Transmission of Digital Television Broadcast Stations, and Review of the Commission's Policies Affecting the Conversion to Digital Television, Memorandum Opinion and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 00-224 (rel. June 30, 2000).

3. See 47 U.S.C.  309(j)(3)(C) (identifying as an objective of competitive bidding "recovery for the public of a portion of the value of the public spectrum resource" (emphasis added)).