When the FCC graciously pushed back the AWS auction
date from June 29 to August 9 of this year -- putting us a month further from universal free wireless broadband
, as far as we're concerned -- we knew there was trouble brewing in paradise. The agency's official line was that bidders needed more time to get ready for the bank-busting auction (expected to raise somewhere between $8 and $15 billion), but a handful of smaller potential bidders were threatening a lawsuit to get the rules changed, claiming that the auction was stacked against them. Apparently, the spat stems from a rule limiting auction discounts -- actually designed to help small bidders -- to companies that have buddied up with larger bidders, a rule that makes sense to us. A request to stay the auction eventually found itself before a US Court of Appeals, which ruled that the plaintiffs had failed to establish that damage was being done to their chances in the auction by letting it proceed, and furthermore, "The public interest also militates strongly in favor of letting the auction proceed without altering the rules of the game at this late date." We couldn't agree more, let's get this show on the road -- we have some pay-per-use WiFi accounts to cancel.