Wednesday, August 01, 2007

FCC 's 700 MHz Band Auction Plan

The FCC 's 700 MHz Band Auction Plan

  • Under the new band plan, 62 megahertz of spectrum, divided into five spectrum blocks, will be auctioned for commercial uses.
  • The commercial spectrum will be made available at auction in a mix of geographic area sizes, including Cellular Market Areas (CMAs), Economic Areas (EAs), and Regional Economic Area Groupings (REAGs).
  • The 10-megahertz Upper D Block will be licensed on a nationwide basis and will become part of a 700 MHz Public Safety/Private Partnership.
  • Within the 24 megahertz of public safety spectrum, the public safety wideband spectrum is being redesignated for broadband use to allow for nationwide interoperable broadband communications by public safety users.
  • The public safety broadband spectrum is placed in a 10-megahertz block at the bottom of this band and the existing public safety narrowband spectrum is consolidated in a 12-megahertz block at the top of the band. Internal guard bands are placed in between the broadband and narrowband segments.
  • There will be a single, nationwide license for the public safety broadband spectrum, assigned to a Public Safety Broadband Licensee, which will work with the adjacent commercial D Block licensee as part of the 700 MHz Public Safety/Private Partnership.
  • The Public Safety Band is shifted by downward by one megahertz from 764-776/794-806 MHz to 763-775/793-805 MHz in order to protect public safety narrowband operations in the Canadian border areas.
  • To accommodate the shift in the Public Safety Band, the Guard Band A Block is being relocated to a new location between the Upper C and D Blocks, and, to further protect the public safety narrowband operations from potential interference, the Guard Band B Block is being placed above the narrowband block at the top of the 700 MHz Band.

Performance Requirements for Commercial Spectrum

  • New, more stringent performance requirements were adopted for commercial licenses that have not yet been auctioned in order to promote better access to spectrum and the provision of service, especially in rural areas.
  • For licenses based on CMAs and EAs, licensees are required to provide service sufficient to cover at least 35 percent of the geographic area of their license within four years, and 70 percent of this area by the end of the license term.
  • For licenses based on REAGs, licensees must provide service sufficient to cover at least 40 percent of the population of their license area within four years, and 75 percent of the population of the license area by the end of the license term.
  • If licensees fail to meet the four-year, interim geographic or population benchmark, the license term will be reduced from ten to eight years, thus requiring these licensees to meet the end-of-term benchmark at an accelerated schedule. Interim reporting requirements have also been adopted to ensure that build out is timely.
  • If licensees fail to meet the end-of-term buildout requirements, the FCC will automatically reclaim the unserved portions of the license area and make them available to other potential users.

Open Platform

  • The licensees of the Upper 700 MHz Band C Block of spectrum will be required to provide a platform that is more open to devices and applications. This would allow consumers to use the handset of their choice and download and use the applications of their choice in this spectrum block, subject to certain reasonable network management conditions that allow the licensee to protect the network from harm.

Auction Procedures

  • In the upcoming 700 MHz auction, the FCC will use “anonymous” bidding procedures, in which any information that may indicate specific applicants’ interests in the auction, including their license selections and bidding activity, is withheld until after the close of the auction. These procedures will be used irrespective of any pre-auction measurement of likely competition in the auction.
  • The FCC will use “package bidding” procedures when auctioning the 12 licenses in the Upper 700 MHz Band C Block in order to assist bidders that are seeking to create a nationwide footprint.
  • The Order directs the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau to establish reserve prices for the upcoming 700 MHz Band auction.


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