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Comments on Interoperability of 700 MHz spectrum band

WT Docket No. 12-69, RM-11592
  • By Consumers Union, Public Knowledge, New America Foundation, Free Press
June 4, 2012 |

In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission seeks to promote interoperability in the lower 700 MHz band. The Commission must act swiftly to require interoperability and compliance with that mandate. Quick action by the Commission will ensure that a competitive market can evolve and provide consumers with more choices for wireless services and devices.

However, although the Commission is currently focused solely on the lower 700 MHz band, Public Interest Commenters urge the Commission to continue to consider interoperability across the entire 700 MHz band. Interoperability will allow consumers to more easily switch carriers. Moreover, interoperability within LTE networks is critical to ensure that roaming is technically possible. Additionally, interoperability could benefit smaller, competitive wireless carriers by enabling them to provide the newest and most sought after devices on their networks.

Interoperability also is critical to an effective and efficient public safety network. Some have argued that interoperability will hamper device design. However, evidence suggests that interoperability will not affect the ability of manufacturers to develop viable handsets for the lower 700 MHz band. Moreover, interoperability would allow more easily for manufacturers to take advantage of economies of scale and could lower prices for consumers.

The Commission must act now to protect the public interest. It should no longer wait for industry efforts to deliver interoperability to consumers. Thus, the Commission must now use its ample legal authority to mandate interoperability and compliance.

The full comments are available for download as a PDF.