700 MHz Redux

Lawmakers’ Comments

(This is not a complete list of subcommittee members, just those who addressed the 700 MHz spectrum auction proposal directly. Those whose names are preceded by the word “FOR” expressed support for the proposal; those preceded by “AGAINST,” opposition; those with neither were noncommittal)





FOR: Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey, D-Mass: “Martin’s plan is quite modest. It does not propose requiring existing wireless licensees, who serve over 200 million consumers today, to permit openness for wireless applications or allow consumers to switch from carrier to carrier and take their phone with them.”


FOR: Jane Harmon, D-Calif.: Public-private partnership for 1st responder network is a good idea.


FOR: Anna Eshoo, D-Calif.: “It’s curious that open access is being described as “restrictions.”


FOR: Hilda Solis, D-Calif.: “Widespread bband can’t be achieved with typical corporate control.”


FOR: Lois Capps, D-Calif.: Supports Martin’s Carterfone rules on a portion of the spectrum. Encouraged commissioners to prevent anonymous bidding.


AGAINST: Gene Green, D-Texas: Open access shouldn’t be supported by government process.


Bart Stupak, D-Mich.: Urged FCC to finalize band plan compatible with Mexico and Canada, and to give small carriers a change to compete in upper and lower band auctions. Expressed concern that open access conditions would push large entities into lower band, which is divided to accommodate smaller bidders.


John Dingell, D-Mich.: Concerned about costs to consumers.


Mike Doyle, D-Pa.: “Auctions will be one of the most important things the FCC will do in decades.”


Bobby Rush, D-Ill.: “I’m tired of seeing the same faces plaing all the big roles and getting all the goodies from these auctions.”


Charles Gonzalez, D-Texas: Asked about impact of open access on manufacterers, software makers and the overall value of the spectrum. “Congress has already spent the auction proceeds.”





AGAINST: Ranking Member Fred Upton, R-Mich: “The proposal now circulating sounds like an experiment. It sounds to me as though the commission is asking the question “Is there a business model to support a so called ‘open access’ approach to wireless?” But I see it as a gamble. And at stake is the success of the DTV transition, billions of dollars in taxpayer funds, and public safety. This seems like far too much to put on the line.”


AGAINST: Joe Barton, R-Texas: “I am very disappointed that Chairman Martin has come up with this plan. It’s not quite as bad as the Frontline plan, but I don’t think it’s nearly as good as an absolute, no-condition auction.”


AGAINST: Mike Ferguson, R-N.J.: The 700 MHz auctoin should proceed without conditions or restrictoins to get as much revenue as possible.


AGAINST: Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.: “Without onerous service conditions, auctions can raise billions of dollars. Conditions will crowd out small carriers.”


AGAINST: Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. (not a member of the subcom, allowed by unanimous consent to speak): “Auctions have worked for over a decade. We did not saddle licensees wiwth burdensome regulation.”


FOR: Chip Pickering, R-Miss.: Only Republican to part ways with colleagues and favor open access; produces investment for free market capitalization to work.


John Shimkus, R-Ill.: “My concern is that they will shift small carriers away from lower band allocations.”


Vito Fosella, R-N.Y.: To Martin: “Has anyone ever bought spectrum and parket it?” Martin: “Yes.”