Wireless' Wild, Wild North

Suddenly, there's a rush for the spectrum's upper reaches

Leo I. George learned a lot about the ways of Washington as a top outside lawyer for MCI Communications Corp. in the early 1970s. MCI drove a wedge into the century-old Bell System with a handful of intercity microwave links it got for free from the Federal Communications Commission. Three years ago, George quietly began to acquire his own microwave licenses from the FCC--in a dizzying upper region of the radio spectrum, considered useless to anyone but military pilots and radio astronomers. Few others had shown any interest in this "nosebleed" section of the spectrum. Like MCI, George got his licenses for 28 of the nation's biggest metropolitan areas for nothing.

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