The government plans to consider whether it should get rid of or relax a cap on how much airwaves space a single wireless company can own in a market.
The Federal Communications Commission said it would take into account competitive changes in the wireless industry and whether its rules could be hindering the growth of new services such as high-speed wireless Internet access.
Currently, the FCC limits the amount of airwaves space one operator owns in a particular geographic area – an effort to prevent a single giant company from squelching competition in that market.
But given the market changes, the commission is looking at whether the rules are still relevant and whether it should keep, modify or eliminate the restrictions.
Wireless companies want to see the cap lifted, saying they need more airwaves space so they can bring consumers advanced services, like high-speed Internet access, which require more frequencies.
“This is a do or die issue not just for the wireless industry … but for the whole concept of what America’s role in the new wireless Internet will be,” said Tom Wheeler, president of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, the industry’s top lobbying group.