1. In this Report and Order, we accelerate the successful conclusion of the Commission’s 800 MHz rebanding program, following up on our recent Order and Sixth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in this proceeding. In the Sixth Further Notice, we proposed to eliminate certain audit and financial reconciliation requirements that have been part of the program since its inception but are no longer necessary as rebanding nears completion. We implement these proposals today.
2. In 2004, the Commission initiated the 800 MHz rebanding program to alleviate harmful interference to 800 MHz public safety radio systems (and other high-site, non-cellular systems) by increasing the spectral separation between these systems and 800 MHz cellular-based systems, most notably the system operated by Sprint Corporation (Sprint). The Commission adopted a band plan that required the relocation of the bulk of Sprint’s system, as well as other cellular-based systems, to spectrum at the upper end of the band, and the relocation of the public safety and other high-site, non-cellular licensees to spectrum at the lower end of the band. The Commission further required Sprint to pay, in addition to its own relocation costs, all reasonable relocation costs incurred by the other incumbent licensees in the band, and to relinquish a portion of its spectrum holdings (thereby freeing up additional spectrum for public safety) in exchange for which the Commission awarded Sprint a separate block of spectrum in the 1.9 GHz band.
3. The Commission also required Sprint to make an anti-windfall payment to the United States Treasury if the costs Sprint incurred in paying for rebanding did not exceed the value of the 1.9 GHz spectrum that Sprint was assigned. In 2017, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) found that Sprint’s rebanding costs significantly exceeded the value of the spectrum Sprint had received, and held that Sprint was no longer liable for an anti-windfall payment.
4. In the Sixth Further Notice, the Commission noted that Sprint’s anti-windfall obligation had been satisfied and therefore proposed to eliminate certain audit and financial reconciliation tasks previously required to be performed by the 800 MHz Transition Administrator. Specifically, the Commission proposed that the Transition Administrator should no longer be required to (a) furnish the Commission with an annual audit of Sprint’s rebanding expenditures and conduct other cost reconciliation tasks; and (b) review and approve amendments to licensee Frequency Reconfiguration Agreements with respect to cost creditability. Sprint filed comments supporting these proposals. No other party filed comments.