FCC Rules Favor Big Corporations, Not the Public Interest

WASHINGTON, July 31 -The Federal Communications Commission today voted to approve rules that will favor giant telecommunications companies over consumers when it auctions the rights to premium broadcast bands that will be used for cell phones and wireless devices in the future.

"Today's ruling is more of the same from the FCC, which once again has favored large corporations over the public interest," said Senator Bernie Sanders, a leader in Congress on media and Internet freedom issues. "The airwaves belong to the people and we must act in their interest to develop an affordable, innovative, and open Internet."

Under the new FCC rules, about one-third of the broadcast spectrum that is to be auctioned next year would be available for customers to use whatever phone devices and software they want. But the auction rules failed to ensure that consumers will be able to buy a product from any retailer that will work on any wireless network.

A more consumer-friendly proposal that the FCC rejected would have required spectrum licensees to sell access to a network on a wholesale basis. Sanders favored the approach that would have made all of the frequencies subject to the so-called "open access" provisions.

The coveted 700 Mhz spectrum, currently used to broadcast analog television signals, is highly desired by telecommunications companies because the broadcast waves travel long distances through solid objects.