Martin Happy with 700 MHz Future

Speaking before CTIA's wireless show in Las Vegas Tuesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin had only good things to say about the future prospects of 700 MHz spectrum.

Last month, the FCC concluded an auction of the spectrum, which took bids for 700 MHz licenses from companies like Verizon and AT&T as well as Frontier Wireless, an entity associated with DISH Network. The auction generated $19.5 billion in bids, and Martin said the sheer size of the effort "is a harbinger of the benefits to come."

He added, "I believe the 700 MHz auction has the potential to transform broadband in the same way that the PCS auction transformed voice services 10 years ago - by injecting much-needed competition, fostering innovation and taking broadband mobile to the next level."

Martin also said open access provisions attached to portions of the spectrum would be a positive for consumers.

"I believe that putting these choices into the hands of consumers, rather than network operators, will spur the next phase of wireless broadband innovation - innovation that can make us more productive, keep us entertained, and improve our quality of life," he said.

While most of the 700 MHz auction was a success, Martin said more work must be done with the spectrum. The reserve price for the D Block of the spectrum, set aside for public safety purposes, was not met in the 700 MHz auction. The FCC is evaluating its options for that portion, Martin said.

"I believe the commission remains committed to ensuring that we work to solve public safety's interoperability challenges," he said.