WorldCom Seeks Fixed Wireless Licensing Authority

WASHINGTON (08/14/2000) - WorldCom Inc. announced plans on Monday to file its first round of applications with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for licensing authority to offer broadband fixed wireless services.

WorldCom will apply for licenses in 60 markets across the U.S., including Boston, Pittsburgh and San Antonio, Texas, the company said in a news release.

The FCC began accepting applications Monday for two-way services in the fixed wireless radio band known as Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS) and Instructional Television Fixed Services. The commission has approved the use of this spectrum, previously authorized only for the delivery of one-way video programming, for broadband services.

WorldCom has been running trials of its strategy for providing broadband Internet access over fixed wireless technology since March. [See "MCI Hails Fixed Wireless Internet Access," March 7.] The applications move WorldCom closer to market launch of the MMDS services, John Stupka, president of WorldCom Wireless Solutions, said in the release.

Plans call for WorldCom to offer commercial service later this year.

WorldCom will file its initial round of applications during this week's FCC filing window. Applications for additional markets will be made during upcoming FCC filing windows. The applications will be placed on public notice for 60 days. If no petitions to deny are filed, the application will automatically be granted, the release said.

MMDS had been a critical part of the proposed merger of WorldCom and Sprint Corp., but that deal fell through last month. [See "Sprint, WorldCom Call Off Merger Definitively" and "Sprint-WorldCom Merger Death Good for Competitors," July 13.]Sprint and AT&T Corp. also have announced expansions of their fixed wireless broadband services as fixed wireless gradually takes shape as an alternative to DSL (digital subscriber line) and broadband cable access.

WorldCom, in Clinton, Mississippi, is at http://www.wcom.com.

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