Empowering Small Businesses

Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated a proposal to open new opportunities for small and growing businesses in the mobile marketplace.

Although the proposal may sound technical – updating the Commission’s approach to small business participation in wireless auctions— the purpose is simple: To provide innovative, smaller companies the opportunity to build wireless businesses that can spur additional investment and bring more choices to consumers.

Here’s one way: smaller companies may want to leverage business partnerships with larger companies through more flexible leasing arrangements to gain access to capital and cash flow, not to mention operational experience. Allowing structured entry into the wireless business make sense, especially given the billions of dollars it would take to build a new national network from scratch. With experience in operations and investment, smaller networks will have the prospect of progressing into more robust, facilities-based competition, which has been, and remains, a critical goal of the Commission.

As promised in the Mobile Spectrum Holdings Report and Order, we now seek comment on whether and how we should restrict the ability of wireless companies to combine their bids during an auction.

[Sherman is FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief]

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