Posts Tagged ‘Licensing’
The Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) has announced that it will commence a 45-day public trial of Comsearch’s TV band database system on February 24, 2014. As part of its authorization process for TV band database systems, the Commission requires that each database be subject to a public trial period of not less than 45 days to ensure that the database provides accurate results before it is made available for regular public use. This trial will allow the public to test Comsearch’s database to ensure that it correctly identifies channels that are available for unlicensed TV band devices, properly registers radio transmitting facilities entitled to protection, and provides protection to authorized services and registered facilities as specified in the Commission’s rules. Parties may participate in the trial by accessing Comsearch’s TV band database test facility at: https://comsearch.whitespacedatabase.com.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) recently introduced S. 1776, the “Rural Spectrum Accessibility Act of 2013.” The purpose of this legislation is to “encourage spectrum licensees to make unused spectrum available for use by smaller and rural carriers in order to expand wireless coverage.” If enacted, the legislation would amend Section 307 of the Communications Act of 1934 by adding a new sub-section “(g)” pertaining to the “Extension of Licenses.” Specifically, S. 1776 would permit existing licensees the ability to partition or disaggregate portions of their license and presumably sell those disaggregated or partitioned licenses to either “small carriers” or carriers willing to build out in rural America. Any existing licensee willing to partition or disaggregate a portion of their current license portfolio would then have the license term of the original license extended by three years beyond its current expiration date. Unlike incentive auctions, where existing licensees would receive financial compensation and the new licensees are not direct competitors in the mobile wireless industry, S. 1776 presumes that large carriers such as AT&T and Verizon would actually sell spectrum to smaller competitors in the first place. S. 1776 is similar to S.3516, a bill introduced by now-retired Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and cosponsored by Klobuchar during the last Congress. S. 1776 defines “small carrier” as a “carrier with not more than 1,500 employees.” This definition is slightly different than the previous version, which defined “small carrier” as having annual revenue less than $500 million or providing wireless service to less than 1.5 million customers. S. 1776, cosponsored by Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation for consideration.
The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) recently approved Key Bridge Global, LLC’s plan to operate its TV bands database system to provide service to the public. This database system will support unlicensed radio devices that transmit on unused channels in the spectrum bands used by broadcast television (TV white spaces, or TVWS). These devices are required to provide their geographic locations by means of a secure Internet connection to an authorized TV bands database system. When a device provides its location, the database will then return a list of available channels for operation. The Commission has also approved the Spectrum Bridge, Inc., iconectiv (formerly Telcordia Technologies, Inc.) and Google, Inc. TV bands database systems for operation.
An FCC workshop on the proposed Spectrum Access System (SAS) in the 3550-3650 MHz band (3.5 GHz Band) that was originally scheduled for December has been postponed. The workshop, which will address technical requirements, architecture, and operational parameters of the SAS, will now be held on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST. A workshop agenda will be released prior to the workshop, along with a public notice outlining the scope of the workshop and encouraging parties to develop detailed technical papers addressing specific technical issues related to the operation of the SAS in advance of the workshop.
In December of 2012, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to make at least 100 megahertz of spectrum available for shared small cell use in the 3.5 GHz band. The Commission proposed to create a dynamic Spectrum Access System (SAS) that would prevent interference between devices operating in the band. On Wednesday, December 11, 2013, the FCC will hold a public workshop to discuss the technical requirements, architecture and operational parameters of the SAS. In the coming weeks, the Commission intends to release a Public Notice with additional details regarding the workshop and will be asking parties to submit detailed technical papers addressing technical issues related to the SAS.
The FCC has released a Public Notice establishing the procedures, reserve price, minimum opening bid amounts, and deadlines for filing short-form applications and making upfront payments for the upcoming H Block (1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz) auction. The rules include prohibitions on communications between bidders, outline cost sharing obligations related to the clearing and relocation of incumbent users, set minimum upfront payments, establish bidding credits for small businesses and tribal lands and set minimum opening bids and bid increments. Bidding will be conducted in a standard simultaneous multiple round format without package bidding. Many small and rural carriers opposed the Commission’s proposal to allow package bidding as it would make it extremely difficult for small carriers to compete with large nationwide bidders. Relevant deadlines are as follows:
Short Form applications Filing Window Opens: October 23, 2014 (12:00 noon ET)
Short-Form Application Filing Window Closes: November 5, 2013 (6:00 PM ET)
Upfront Payments Due (Wire Transfer): December 11, 2013 (6:00 PM ET).
Mock Auction: January 10, 2014
H Block Auction (Auction 96): January 14, 2014.