Thursday, January 4, 2018

Court Lets FCC Off the Alpine PCS $21 Million Hook

The FCC is free of a $21 million lawsuit from a bankrupt wireless company. A federal appeals court on January 2, agreed with the agency and a prior federal claims court that Alpine PCS took its case to the wrong court.

The case began in 1996, when the FCC awarded Alpine PCS two, 10-year Personal Communications Services licenses. The wireless firm bid about $8.9 million for one license and about $17.3 million for the other. Alpine was to pay for the spectrum in installments from December 1996, through September 2006.

In 1996, the Commission regulations stated if a payment was more than 90 days late and a grace period expired or the agency denied a request for a restructured payment schedule, the FCC would automatically cancel the licenses and the licensee would be subject to debt collection. In 1998, two three-month grace periods became the norm. But if the licensee did not pay the installment, plus late fees, after the second grace period, the licensee would be declared in default, have its licenses “automatically cancel[ed],” and be subject to debt collection, states the federal appeals court in its opinion. Continue Reading

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