Friday, October 17, 2008

Education and Wireless Broadband Work Together

The Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI) and the National EBS Association (NEBSA) shook virtual hands at the FCC yesterday. In a joint filing, the associations offered a compromise proposal to resolve a previously contested issue.

WCAI and NEBSA had disagreed about a key spectrum leasing issue involving leases entered into before January 10, 2005, when the 2.5 GHz band was restructured. NEBSA preferred that any such lease be considered valid for only 15 years from the date the lease was executed, rather than the date the parties had agreed the lease would commence. WCAI preferred that the 15-year lease period be measured from the commencement date of the lease.

The compromise would move the January 10, 2005 date to January 24, 1999, when two-way services were first permitted in the 2.5 GHz band. It would also provide two exceptions to the general proposition that leases entered into before that date be considered valid for only 15 years from the date of execution. A 15-year lease term could still be measured from commencement if the lease actually commenced prior to March 20, 2008 or both parties to the lease have reached an agreement.

It is this spirit of compromise that is leading to more wireless broadband deployments in the 2.5 GHz band. The continuing ability of WCAI, NEBSA, and others in the educational community to work together facilitates financial and operational support for the FCC's educational vision and promotes consumer deployment. In the end, everyone wins.

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