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First Avenue Heads FCC Auction List

First Avenue Networks, a wireless broadband leasing company, hopes to parlay its recent acquisition of Teligent's 24GHz licenses by acquiring even more spectrum in today's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction.

The company will be competing against Lynch 3G Communications and Napoleon Communications for 880 licenses in 176 geographically specific areas. The 24GHz band is primarily used for fixed wireless services, including broadband.

Fixed wireless providers deploy their services over a terrestrial microwave platform to customers equipped with small dishes or other receiver devices, known as point to multi-point.

Through its $3.4 million up-front deposit, First Avenue is eligible to bid on more of the licenses than Lynch ($2 million) and Napoleon ($413,000). The results of the auction may be available by late Wednesday, depending on the number of bidding rounds.

An FCC source told internetnews.com not all the spectrum available in the auction will be sold due to the low number of bidders and the amounts of the deposits.

First Avenue President and CEO Dean Johnson said the low number of bidders may be the result of his company's acquisition of Teligent's assets.

"Teligent has some of the best spectrum out there and for the others to bid, they're going for leftovers," Johnson said. "We just want to employ added spectrum in our business line."

Lynch and Napoleon were not available for comment.

Earlier this month, First Avenue signed a letter of intent to acquire Teligent's 24GHz licenses, fixed wireless broadband operations and radio assets in a $99 million stock swap. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Teligent was once one of the high-flying stocks of the tech boom, attracting powerhouse investors such as Microsoft and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone. In 2000, the company was valued at $4 billion and employed more than 3,000 people. The following year, the company filed for protection under Chapter 11, declaring approximately $1.21 billion in assets and $1.65 billion in debts.

Teligent emerged from bankruptcy in late 2002. While the restructured Teligent provides high-speed wireless business services, Johnson said First Avenue's main interest is the company's spectrum licenses. First Avenue already holds more than 750 FCC-issued licenses for the 39GHz spectrum, covering virtually the entire United States.

Johnson said Teligent's 24GHz spectrum and the spectrum available in the FCC auction works well with First Avenue's 39 GHz holdings.

"Point to multi-point can be suited for 24GHz, but in 39GHz you have wider channels; they are really very complementary," he said.

Johnson also stressed First Avenue is not interested in competing with existing incumbents, wireless service providers or ISPs.

"We are not a service provider but a supplier of spectrum to telecoms," he said.

First Avenue is a successor to Advanced Radio Telecom, which once competed with Teligent in the wireless service arena. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2001.



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