BEDMINSTER, NJ — Our nation's public safety officers, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), federal legislators concerned about the budget deficit and U.S. taxpayers should duck for cover as Nextel Communications Inc. recently offered yet another self-serving scheme as the FCC works to determine how to best solve radio interference Nextel's commercial wireless service causes public safety communications.
In an ironic twist, Nextel is not facing regulatory punishment for causing interference to our nation's first responders, but actually offering specific and increasingly greedy proposals as to how much the private company should be rewarded for agreeing to eliminate the dangerous situation Nextel customers can cause every time they use the company's service.
More galling is that Nextel itself just last week pushed for an even more valuable hand-out with a new scheme that goes $762 million beyond the multi-billion windfall it has requested previously. Nextel's shrill threats to walk away from its responsibilities to fix the problem they cause for police, fire and other emergency services unless the company receives an illegal multi-billion dollar windfall from the FCC are nothing short of outrageous.
In a filing today at the FCC, Verizon Wireless notes that Nextel's most recent scheme would have Nextel return wireless spectrum that is already encumbered and would, if put to commercial use, likely cause public safety even more interference. Nextel claims this returned 'junk spectrum' should entail it extreme discounts in the value of prime spectrum in the 1.9 GHz range spectrum for which Verizon Wireless has demanded a public auction that would bring maximum financial benefit to public safety and the U.S. Treasury. Federal law requires spectrum in the 1.9 GHz range to be auctioned to the highest bidder.
Verizon Wireless also noted that a compromise plan set forth by the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA), which represents the entire U.S. wireless industry, would best solve Nextel's interference with life-saving communications with $3 billion to retool their communications networks. The CTIA compromise plan is the only legal way for the FCC to quickly and effectively guarantee that Nextel stops interfering with public safety communications.
Nextel is offering to trade its costume jewelry for the taxpayers' crown jewels. In contrast, the CTIA compromise proposal addresses and meets the core objectives of protecting both public safety and the American taxpayer.
(EDITORS: To see the Verizon Wireless regulatory filing, click on http://www.verizonwireless.com/news/pdf/June_4_Nextel_reply.pdf)
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 40 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto www.thenewsmarket.com/verizonwireless.