August 9, 2001
|Amendment of Part 2 of the Commission’s Rules to Allocate Spectrum Below 3 GHz for Mobile and Fixed Services to Support the Introduction of New Advanced Wireless Services, including Third Generation Wireless Systems (Aug. 9, 2001)
I dissent in part. The task of identifying spectrum appropriate for third generation (3G) and other advanced wireless services cannot be underestimated. As we are all aware, the spectrum “pie” is not getting any bigger and the competing interests at issue here each hold the promise of serving the public interest in their own way. I appreciate the hard work that Commission staff, other government personnel, and private parties are engaged in to find solutions to these difficult issues. This Further Notice takes additional steps to refine the path to 3G. While today’s action adds new spectrum bands into the mix for 3G allocation, the Commission should have also used this opportunity to lay to rest the uncertainty surrounding the ITFS and mulitpoint MDS operations in the 2500-2690 MHz (2.5 GHz) band.
For more than a year, the specter of relocation or any reallocation in the 2.5 GHz band has hampered the ability of the MDS/ITFS community to deploy and deliver broadband services to the public and to educational users. While MDS offers a significant opportunity for competition to DSL and cable modem services, particularly in rural areas, many consumers still relegated to a dial-up Internet world have lost out on this opportunity for broadband access. And for the ITFS community, two-way, digital services are a powerful medium that can serve as a critical component of our educational programming delivery system. Delayed deployment here is a disservice. As one ITFS advocate noted recently, “A single school year is a very long time in the life of a student.”
Last January, the Commission sought comment on whether spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band should be made available for 3G and other advanced wireless services. The extensive record demonstrates the importance of the MDS/ITFS relationship and the promise of fixed broadband systems in the 2.5 GHz band. Further, the Commission staff’s Final Report on this band identifies significant hurdles posed by any modification to the current allocation. We've made a good faith review, and it's high time to remove the dark cloud of uncertainty hanging over the MDS/ITFS community.
Our action today is the first opportunity the Commission has had to express views on the 2.5 GHz band since we sought comment in January. At a minimum, we should have eliminated the cloud of relocation. For this reason, I dissent in part.