Monday, October 16, 2006

Semi OT: AT&T Requests Consent for Transfer of Control of BellSouth Licenses

On October 13, AT&T requested consent to transfer the licenses held by BellSouth to AT&T. The FCC is seeking comment by October 24, 2006. The comments may be read by going to Filed Comments section of the FCC and typing 06-74 in the Proceedings field.

In order to appease some of the distractors, AT&T has made offers to sweeten the deal. This is the interesting part.

By December 31, 2007, AT&T/BellSouth will offer broadband access service in excess of 200 kbps in at least one direction to 100% of the residential living units in their in-region territory. At least 85% will be covered by wire line. The rest will be covered by satellite and WiMax. Those replacing their dialup will be provided a free ADSL modem with a commitment to 12 months or more of service. Service for speeds up to 768 Kbps will be offered at $10/month. This should bring down the cost of broadband across the board.

This part concerns the satellite radio providers. AT&T will initiate 10 new trials of wireless Internet access using the 2.3 or 2.5 GHz spectrum. Sirius and XM operate in the 2.3 GHz spectrum. AT&T and BellSouth hold WCS licenses in the 2.3 GHz spectrum, which they are required to buildout by July 2007 or risk losing it. The WCS license holders have requested more time to build out their systems. XM and Sirius are fighting the extension. Both could make use of this spectrum to expand their services.

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