AT&T was given the go-ahead to use auctioned channels in the wireless communications service (WCS) band that have lain fallow for 15 years, as the FCC amended its rules on Wednesday to enable the usage of 30 MHz of WCS spectrum for wireless broadband purposes while protecting the digital satellite radio operations of Sirius XM. As part of its order, the FCC ratified a compromise proposal between AT&T and Sirius XM Radio that resolves concerns of interference to Sirius’s satellite radio operations from AT&T’s usage of adjacent WCS spectrum. That agreement enables AT&T to use 10 MHz of its current 20 MHz WCS spectrum allotment in the 2.3 GHz band, with the remaining 10 MHz being unused as “guard band” spectrum that will serve as a protective barrier between the operations of AT&T and Sirius. (AT&T is also seeking to acquire additional spectrum assets from NextWave, Comcast and Horizon Wi-Com.) Out of the 30 MHz of spectrum affected by Wednesday’s order, 20 MHz has been designated for mobile broadband services with the remaining 10 MHz designated for fixed broadband. The order also mandates a limited extension of the WCS construction period to enable licensees to respond to the rule revisions. In approving the proposal, the FCC said its action “continues . . . efforts to remove the regulatory barriers that are limiting the flexible use of spectrum for broadband services,” as FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski characterized the AT&T-Sirius agreement as one that solves the problems “of a long-troubled band that has evaded easy answers.” Anticipating the launch of long-term evolution wireless broadband services on its current WCS channels within three years, AT&T Vice President Joan Marsh proclaimed: “the era of regulatory dispute and uncertainty in the WCS band is finally drawing to a close.”