FCC expects 90 MHz of new wireless broadband spectrum to come from satellite licenses

Today, the Federal Communications Commission announced that its Spectrum Task Force expects up to 90MHz of spectrum to be freed up for wireless broadband by July in the commission's strategy to unleash 500MHz by 2020.

"This initiative is an opportunity to make additional spectrum available for mobile broadband by promoting greater spectrum efficiency and flexibility," said Julie Knapp, Co-Chair of the Task Force. "The Spectrum Task Force remains firmly committed to maintaining robust mobile satellite capability that serves important needs like disaster recovery and rural access. I am confident that we can achieve all of these goals and create a win-win solution."

This newly available spectrum will come from the mobile satellite service (MSS) bands like those which Harbinger Capital Partners plans to use for its 36,000 base station, multi-billion dollar LTE network.

The FCC today said the deployment of wireless broadband in the MSS band will be accelerated "by removing policies that are currently barriers to flexible use of terrestrial mobile wireless service, there is an opportunity to enable the deployment of mobile broadband, while retaining market-wide MSS capability, especially for public safety, rural services, and the federal government."

The main barrier the FCC is referring to is the fact that spectrum license holders could only build terrestrial towers to complement a satellite, but Harbinger's work with the FCC changed that slightly.

Phillip Falcone, CEO of Harbinger Capital Partners yesterday issued a statement. "I understand that there has been a fair amount of debate about the regulatory framework that the FCC has chosen for broadband Internet services. I'm not a lawyer and can't get into the fine points of the Communications Act. But I live my life in the financial world and I have made a substantial investment in what I expect will be a major new broadband wireless network in the United States. In that respect, I can say that the FCC's broadband policies continue to actively encourage Harbinger's and others' multi-billion dollar investment in broadband innovation. It's a truism that investment goes where it is welcome and this FCC, under Chairman Genachowski's leadership, has gotten it right."

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