Verizon Sues FCC Over Final Spectrum Auction Rules

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WASHINGTON (Dow Jones) Verizon Wireless has launched an appeal against the Federal Communication Commission's final rules for the upcoming radio spectrum auction saying the rules establishing so called open access conditions are arbitrary and capricious.

In a filing to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the company has urged the court to strike down the section of the rules which the agency approved to underpin the sale of 62 megahertz of prized radio spectrum in an auction early next year.

It said the rules exceed "the Commission's authority...and is arbitrary and capricious, unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law."

FCC Commissioners decided to attach two conditions on a large chunk of spectrum being sold in a bid to encourage a potential new entrant into the wireless broadband market.

It stated that whoever buys 22 megahertz of the spectrum would have to allow any handset device be attached to the wireless network they subsequently build and allow any software application be downloaded onto handsets over the network.

Both of these would potentially shake up a wireless industry in which the incumbent players like Verizon Wireless exert strict control over the devices their customers can use and the applications they can use.

High-tech companies like Google and eBay's Internet phone unit, Skype, had been aggressively pushing the FCC to adopt the conditions.

Verizon Wireless, meanwhile, had been lobbying equally as hard against the conditions.

At the time, AT&T said it supported the open-access conditions, while Verizon Wireless said it could live with them, but that it wouldn't do anything to actively promote the changes to its customers.

An FCC spokesman said he declined to comment on pending litigation.

-By Corey Boles, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-6637;

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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Tags: skype  verizon wireless  radio spectrum  fcc  washington 

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