What started as a hard 45MHz limit enacted back in 1994 to ensure that there was enough spectrum to go around in every market was first raised, then eliminated, then later changed to a somewhat more toothless guideline used for analyzing proposed mergers, and rural carriers are pretty fired up about it. Following an absolutely dominating performance by the big boys in this year's 700MHz auction, the nation's back-country providers are more concerned than ever that license distribution in some markets is making it virtually impossible to compete. The solution? Bring the ol' cap back into play, but plug it at 110MHz instead of the 45 they started with nearly a decade and a half ago, a reflection of the RF-saturated, heavily licensed world we now inhabit. They've managed to pique the interest of some congresspeople, too, so there's a fighting chance this could go through; if it does, the Verizon-Alltel merger could turn into a fire sale of freed spectrum, which we imagine these little guys would be just delighted to scoop up in bulk.

[Via Phone Scoop]