We saw folks trying to stop the upcoming auction of advanced wireless services (AWS) spectrum citing health concerns over towers. Now three groups have petitioned to delay the auction arguing that the new rules the FCC adopted regarding small-business bidding credits are unfair. The rules were put into place to keep large carriers from partnering with these small entities to gain access to the spectrum cheaper. Tree Communications, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, and Bethel Native said none of the new small-business rules approved by the FCC is limited to partnerships involving large, in-region wireless carriers as contemplated in the agency's original proposal. Rather, the three groups said new rules apply directly to small businesses, which are eligible for bidding discounts of up to 25 percent.
It looks like the new FCC rules put a damper on these entities' plans. These companies were essentially making money on arbitrage instead of building networks. Council Tree said it has returned approximately $1 billion to investors from license sales, which include more than 44,000 Native Americans.