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FCC's Martin-De-Regulate Wireless Broadband

February 6, 2007

Consistent with some of his previous statements, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is circulating an order that would classify wireless broadband Internet access service as an information service, rather than a telecommunications service.

Some fear that this move would enable wireless broadband to be subject to less regulation than wireline offerings- which are categorized as telecommunications services.

Martin signalled his specific intent during a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing last week, when he said that reclassifying wireless broadband as information service would “eliminate unnecessary regulatory barriers for service providers while “establish (ing) a consistent regulatory framework across broadband platforms.”

Steve Largent, CTIA’s president and CEO, appeared to welcome such an initiative, saying that this would result in consumers would have more choice, public safety personnel would be able to better perform their tasks and investors would be able to make decisions “based on the market and not regulation. Wireless is driving America forward in the 21st century, and the chairman's initiative is the right move at the right time,” Largent- a conservative Republican as Martin is- added.

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