Verizon Wireless Sues FCC

Verizon Wireless has launched an appeal against the Federal Communication Commission's final rules for the upcoming auction of radio spectrum, saying the rules establishing so-called open-access conditions are arbitrary and capricious. In a filing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the company has urged the court to strike down the section of the rules which the agency approved to underpin the sale of 62 megahertz of prized radio spectrum in an auction early next year. Verizon has stated the rules exceed "the Commission's authority ... and is arbitrary and capricious, unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law."

The suit comes after FCC commissioners decided to attach two conditions on a large chunk of spectrum being sold in a bid to encourage a potential new entrant into the wireless broadband market. Whoever buys 22 megahertz of the spectrum would have to allow any handset device to be attached to the wireless network they subsequently build and to allow any software application to be downloaded onto handsets over the network. Both of these conditions would potentially shake up a wireless industry in which the incumbent players like Verizon Wireless exert strict control over the devices their customers can use and the applications they can use.

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