A coalition of ten advocacy groups dedicated to minority, female, and civil rights met with acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps and with other FCC officials to urge modifications to the FCC’s designated entity (DE) rules that, according to the groups, make it nearly impossible for small businesses to compete in the FCC’s spectrum auction process. Members of the coalition, which includes the Asian American Justice Center, the NAACP, and the National Organization for Women Foundation, joined with several small wireless carriers last year in supporting the pending legal challenge against the DE rules brought by Council Tree Communications in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Like Council Tree, the coalition members took issue with DE rule changes, adopted in advance of the advanced wireless services (AWS) auction in 2006, that imposed new resale and leasing restrictions on DEs and that doubled the unjust enrichment period from five years to ten. As a result of those rule changes, coalition members contend that the success rate of DE participants in the FCC’s auction process dropped dramatically from 70% during 1996-2005 (i.e., the period during which the FCC’s legacy DE rules were in effect) to 4% during the 2006 AWS auction, and to as low as 2.6% during last year’s 700 MHz auction. Asserting that the revised DE rules run against the FCC’s goal of advancing broadband deployment, the coalition members urged the agency to reverse the 2006 DE rule changes so “current DE licensees can raise money to continue to build and new DEs can start to prepare for the next auctions and raise capital in these tough economic times.” Agreeing that “the absence of small, minority and women winners in [the AWS and 700 MHz auctions] demonstrates a real problem with the current rules,” a spokeswoman for Rainbow PUSH, a coalition participant, added: “new entrants need to be able to compete effectively against incumbent companies in this consolidated industry, and these rules unreasonably and discriminately handicap DEs.”