Nextel Seen To Be Losing Support In Spectrum Swap

Some rumors coming out of DC today suggesting that Nextel support is lacking at the FCC in discussions of the 800MHz public safety spectrum swap which we have been discussing here at Techdirt for a while. It seems that commissioner Jonathan Adelstein has made some public comments which bode poorly for a pro-Nextel (swap for 1900MHz) resolution. An unnamed source also suggests that chairman Michael Powell is rethinking his support of Nextel’s plan. If these rumors are true, that’s two of five votes moving away from Nextel. We find this surprising, since Nextel’s plan has the support of public safety institutions – exactly the ones who need the interference-free use 800MHz spectrum. You would figure the public safety groups wouldn’t care at all, so long as Nextel vacates 800MHz, but they do care because they believe the Nextel proposal will be implemented quicker. Techdirt supports whatever can be done quicker, and we don’t care if that creates a windfall for any particular carrier. Either way, we call on the FCC to require speedy implementation once it rules on the spectrum swap issue, and we suggest that a national swap is more appropriate than a piecemeal region-by-region swap.

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