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Cable parties qualify for wireless auction

Mon, 07/31/2006 - 6:58am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Cable interests – and several of their competitors – are among the 168 qualified bidders for the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) forthcoming auction of spectrum for so-called Advanced Wireless Services (AWS).

The list includes SpectrumCo LLC, which includes MSOs linked to the Sprint-cable joint venture: Advance Newhouse, Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications. Others on the list of qualified bidders with cable interests include Bend Cable Communications, Cable One Inc., and Dolan Family Holdings LLC.

EchoStar Communications and DirecTV, the subject of recent merger possibilities, are bidding under the Wireless DBS LLC umbrella, in a move that could give them some much-needed control of an Internet offering. Presently, both are moving ahead with high-speed data services in partnership with WildBlue Communications, a satellite-based provider whose high-end offering caps downstream speeds at 1.5 Mbps.

The bidding will be for AWS licenses in the 1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz bands. Two rounds of bidding will occur Wednesday, Aug. 9. Three rounds are scheduled for Aug 10.

It’s expected that auction winners will use the spectrum to support a raft of fixed and mobile broadband services.

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