Your Comments on the 900 MHz Spectrum Band Needed

I just filed the comments to support the Media Access Project and the New America Foundation in fighting for more unlicensed spectrum in the 900 MHz spectrum band. Please add your support by filing comments in the box called Proceeding enter 06-49.

Your comments can be as simple as “I support the Media Access Project, the New America Foundation and community wireless organizations nationwide in advocating for more unlicensed wireless spectrum.”

Here are the comments that I filed:

As a member of the Board of Directors of NYCwireless, a community wireless organization in New York, and a member of the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee, I would like to support the comments filed by the Media Access Project and the New America Foundation with respect to the 900 MHz band. Community wireless organizations and municipal wireless projects greatly need access to more unlicensed spectrum in the 900 MHz band due to interference, especially in large urban areas. These wireless networks are key to improving economic development and political participation as well as providing social and cultural benefits to communities nationwide.

Harold Feld provides the following information:

Date: Wed, 31 May 2006 13:39:03 -0400
From: Harold Feld

I’d like to ask for the support of everyone on this list in trying to defend unlicensed access in the 900 MHz spectrum band, and help push to expand availability.

Back in 1999, the FCC auctioned licenses for the Location and Monitoring Service (LMS). The licenses share the 904.00-928.00 MHz band with unlicensed users, subject to power limitations and a “safe harbor” to protect unlicensed users. These limits make the service fairly worthless, as shown in the auction price ($4.5 million for all licenses combined).

The LMS licensees, rather than actually build the service, have sat on the spectrum and whined at the FCC to give them increased spectrum rights at the expense of the unlicensed users. Sadly, because there are no defenders of unlicensed spectrum at the FCc anymore, the FCC has now put such a proposal out for comment. While paying lip service to the concept of protecting the status quo on 900 MHZ unlicensed, the order makes clear that it will not worry too much if improving life for the licensed services harms the unlicensed users.

Yesterday, MAP and New America Foundation filed comments arguing that if the FCC wants to do something to improve the 900 MHz band, it should focus on improving the ability to use unlicensed spectrum in the band rather than improve life for speculators who picked up bargain-basement licenses and now want to get free benefits from the Commission. You can read the comments here:

I’d like to ask everyone who can to take a minute and file comments with the FCC opposing the proposed rules and supporting our comments. This will only take five minutes and can potentially make a huge difference. Given the current leadership of the FCC, which I would describe as indifferent to unlicensed users, it will require a large number of comments to persuade the FCC that their proposal will have a major impact on people’s lives.

To file, simply click on this link:

In the box called Proceeding (box 1) enter 06-49.

Fill out the rest of the form. You can either type a brief comment into the window or attach a comment using the template provided.

You do not need to be a lawyer, or even a US citizen.