DA 17-810 OMB
Control No. 1161
Released: August 28, 2017
WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU SEEKS COMMENT ON PROCESS FOR RELICENSING 700 MHZ SPECTRUM IN UNSERVED AREAS
WT Docket No. 06-150
Comments Due: [20 days after publication in the Federal Register]
Reply Comments Due: [30 days after publication in the Federal Register]
1. In the 2007 700 MHz Second Report and Order, the Commission adopted rules for relicensing of 700 MHz Lower A, B, and E Block, and Upper C Block spectrum that is returned to the Commission’s inventory as a result of licensees’ failure to meet applicable construction requirements. The Commission set forth the overall rules and policies for the relicensing process and delegated authority to the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (Bureau) to implement those rules and policies. To the extent the 700 MHz Second Report and Order and other Commission rules set forth elements of the relicensing process, we cite to those rules, and, by this Public Notice, otherwise seek comment on the Bureau’s proposed approach to the remaining elements of the process, including the respective costs and benefits of the various proposals.
2. In the 700 MHz Second Report and Order, the Commission set forth rules governing wireless licenses in the 700 MHz Band that, among other things, established interim and end-of-term construction benchmarks and status reporting requirements. These rules required Lower 700 MHz A, B, and E Block licensees to provide reliable service sufficient to cover 35 percent of the geographic area of their licenses within four years and 70 percent of this area within ten years (the license term); they required Upper 700 MHz C Block licensees to provide reliable service sufficient to cover 40 percent of the population of their license area within four years and 75 percent of the population within ten years (the license term). In 2013, the Commission released the Interoperability Report and Order, which extended the interim construction deadline for Lower 700 MHz A and B Block licensees and removed the interim construction deadline for certain A Block licensees adjacent to Channel 51 operations. The Commission also extended the interim and end-of-term deadlines for E Block licensees and permitted a showing of population coverage, rather than geographic coverage.
3. For licensees that fail to meet the applicable interim benchmark, the rules specify that the license term will be accelerated by two years. Accounting for the extensions provided in the Interoperability Report and Order, the earliest accelerated end-of-term deadline is June 13, 2017; this accelerated deadline applies to Upper C Block licensees that failed to meet the interim construction deadline by June 13, 2013, and to Lower A and B Block licensees that failed to meet the interim construction deadline by December 13, 2016. The Commission’s rules require that licensees subject to the accelerated end-of-term deadline must file construction notifications, including coverage maps and supporting documentation, demonstrating that the licensee has met the end-of-term coverage requirement. Under the “keep-what-you-serve” (KWYS) rules, if a licensee fails to meet its end-of-term construction deadline, its authorization to operate will terminate automatically without Commission action for those geographic areas of its license authorization in which the licensee is not providing service on the date of the end-of-term deadline, and those areas will become available for reassignment by the Commission. The Commission delegated to the Bureau the authority to establish by public notice the process by which licenses will become available for relicensing under these rules.