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FCC to Auction Wireless Licenses

TECHNOLOGY | NATION/WORLD

March 12, 1997|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Federal regulators have given the green light for a public action of a new wireless technology that could provide broad-band video and data services that would rival cable television. The Federal Communications Commission said it will auction 984 licenses nationwide for the technology, known as local multi-point distribution service, and will require that licensees provide "substantial service" to communities within 10 years. LMDS has been touted as a promising, low-cost alternative to cable because it uses small receivers and antennas to transmit video and data through the airwaves instead of costly utility wire. But it is unclear whether there will be rapid deployment of the technology. The FCC barred two major potential investors--cable companies and the regional Bell telephone companies--from acquiring LMDS licenses in their home markets for three years.

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