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52 Federal Communications Law Journal 63 (1999)


In 1985, when the FCC began the competitive process of deciding who would be licensed to provide cellular telephone service to Portland, Maine, chaos and irony reigned. Thirteen years later, after a bitter legal battle among local telephone companies, a provider was finally selected. At one point or another, all three branches of government became involved. The license itself changed hands three times during the case and, in essence, three different telephone systems were constructed. Ultimately, the case was decided on the basis of whether the FCC complied with a preexisting federal law, the Paperwork Reduction Act, in adopting the regulation and not whether the cellular telephone service provider complied with the financial showing regulation. This Article unfolds this complex, engaging saga from a first-hand perspective.