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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