This week, wireless association CTIA and three rural telecom groups urged the FCC in a pair of ex parte filings to reject M2Z Networks’ argument that the agency’s ongoing Advanced Wireless Service (AWS-3) proceeding is subject to laws that require the FCC to act within 12 months on any proposal or application to provide a new technology or service. After receiving a letter from the incoming chairmen of the Senate Commerce and House Energy and Commerce committees, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin canceled last week’s scheduled vote on the AWS-3 order, in which the FCC would have outlined rules covering the auction of spectrum to be used for free, nationwide broadband services in the 2155-2175 MHz band. (There are no indications at this time as to when the FCC will vote on the AWS-3 item.) Although the FCC earlier rejected M2Z’s 2006 application to build a free nationwide broadband network in the 2155-2175 MHz band, the company’s request provided the foundation for the proposed AWS-3 rules on which the FCC had been expected to vote last week. At issue is M2Z’s interpretation of Section 7(b) of the 1934 Communications Act, which requires the FCC to act within twelve months on any application or FCC-initiated proceeding that proposes a new technology or service. In letters addressed to the FCC on December 9 and December 11, respectively, M2Z maintained that the AWS-3 rulemaking proceeding is subject to Section 7(b) and that, “regardless of how one defines the AWS-3 proceeding’s initiation date, it is clear that Section 7(b) of the Communications Act’s one year deadline has expired.” However, in a joint ex parte filing, the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, the Organization for the Promotion And Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies and the Rural Telecommunications Group told the FCC that the AWS-3 rulemaking proceeding “has no statutory deadline for FCC action” as “the Commission decisively rejected M2Z’s claim that Section 7 applied to its proposal just last year.” While pointing to earlier FCC findings that “M2Z is not proposing a new technology or a new service,” CTIA proclaimed: “even if it were, nothing in Section 7 of the Act compels the Commission to adopt rules that mandate (rather than permit) provision of that technology or service.”