Supremes on FCC v. NextWave: Bankruptcy Law Trumps Public Interest

What happens to the spectrum “owned” by a telecommunications company when it goes belly-up?
According to yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling in the case of FCC v. NextWave Personal Communications, Inc., bankruptcy can now be used as a shield by companies who want to keep their valuable spectrum real estate safe from government repossession – even if they haven’t yet paid for it.
A synopsis of the case: in 1996, when the FCC auctioned off the spectrum destined to be developed for personal communications services (aka “PCS” – think wireless phones, pagers, PDAs, etc.), it restricted two of the six auctions to small companies. The idea was to encourage new entrants into a booming sector of the telecom industry: competition would drive down prices for wireless services, encouraging increased adoption of wireless technologies. Continue reading “Supremes on FCC v. NextWave: Bankruptcy Law Trumps Public Interest”