At a hearing conducted Tuesday before the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee, partisan dividing lines were drawn with respect to draft FCC rules that would impose open access conditions on a swath of 700 MHz spectrum to be auctioned to the wireless industry, with Republican lawmakers warning that the measure would result in lower auction revenues and members of the Democratic majority suggesting that the FCC should go further by including a wholesale mandate. Present at the hearing were FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and his four colleagues, who are scheduled next Tuesday to vote on rules that govern the auctioning and licensing of 700 MHz channels to be reclaimed from television broadcasters as part of the digital TV transition. Under the draft order that began circulating among the FCC’s commissioners earlier this month, the agency would adopt Carterfone-style open access conditions on the 22 MHz “C” block to be licensed on a Regional Economic Area Grouping basis. (In its 1968 Carterfone decision, the FCC permitted subscribers to the legacy AT&T wireline phone system to attach devices of their choosing to that network as long as the devices in question caused no harm to the network.) Complaining that “American consumers are too often asked to throw away their old phones and buy new ones if they want to switch cell phone carriers,” Martin told lawmakers that “a network more open to devices and applications can help ensure that the fruits of innovation on the edges of the network swiftly pass into the hands of consumers.” Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps, both Democrats, voiced support for an open access mandate, which, according to Adelstein, “could open these key airwaves to badly needed competition in the broadband space.” While asserting that Martin had “clearly made a good start to open things up,” subcommittee chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) characterized the plan as “quite modest,” as it would not extend to existing wireless licensees and would cover only “one third of the spectrum to be auctioned.” Markey also expressed regret that the measure lacks a wholesale mandate that would require the C-block winner to lease spectrum to competitors. Answering Markey, Martin explained that a wholesale requirement would discourage providers from building out and investing in network facilities. Meanwhile, committee Republicans, including ranking member Joe Barton (R-TX) and Rep. Dennis Hassert (R-IL), warned that an open access condition could shut rural entities out of the auction, as larger operators would be likely to turn away from the C-block to focus on smaller blocks that typically attract small businesses and rural bidders. As such, Barton and other Republicans warned that the FCC’s proposal would also result in lower auction revenues for the U.S. Treasury.