Auction Season at the FCC

Preparations for the AWS-3 auction are ramping up. Applications must be submitted before 6pm ET nowadays. The auction begins on Nov 13.

Several government agencies have worked hard to make substantial information available to possible bidders in advance of this auction regarding the scope of coordination that will be required with these federal incumbent users of the band. Wednesday, we announced the discharge by NTIA of a new Workbook and Workbook Information File, prepared by the Department of Defense (DoD). DoD developed the Workbook to provide guidance to potential bidders regarding their obligation to coordinate along with DoD systems in 1755-1780 MHz. This release is unprecedented the scope and granularity of authorities data provided to help applicants get ready for an auction. The Wireless Agency strongly encourages all applicants in order to delve into this important resource.

Before I go farther, our lawyers remind me that I should provide the following caveat:

As stated in the Auction 97 Procedures Public Notice, an applicant need to perform its due diligence research and analysis before proceeding, as it would with any new business venture. Specifically, the Bureau strongly encourages each potential bidder to review all Commission orders and public notices establishing rules and policies for the AWS-3 bands, including incumbency issues with regard to AWS-3 licensees, Federal and non-Federal relocation and sharing and cost sharing obligations, and protection of Federal and non-Federal incumbent functions. The Commission makes no representations or warranties about the use of this particular spectrum for particular services.

In other words, bidders shouldn’t rely on a blog post to formulate a bidding technique. Review all of the official information releases and do your own analysis!

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s continue. The Wireless Agency has analyzed the revised Workbook. I would like to share some initial information about the paired portion of the AWS-3 band.

First, with all the talk about Federal revealing and relocation, it bears reminding that the downlink at 2155-2180 MHz is free of government users and it is available for use after licenses are granted. (There are some coordination requirements with incumbent non-Federal users, because there were in the PCS and AWS-1 bands. ) This is 25 megahertz of valuable downlink spectrum, usually available from day one.

Second, the need to organize with Federal incumbents prior to application in the uplink at 1755-1780 MHz largely goes away five and a half years after the auction. At that point, incumbent coordination zones contain only about 8% of the MHz-Pops in the uplink; 92% of the uplink is free and apparent. (This analysis assumes that AWS-3 licensees avail themselves of the “Streamlined Coordination Option”, described in the Shared Public Notice, with respect to 25 satellite stations in the uplink band. )

3rd, for licensees that wish to deploy in the protection zones on an accelerated timeframe, the Workbook Information Document contains important information explaining how DoD intends to go about the coordination evaluation. For example , DoD explains that it programs to use “real-world assumptions about ground, clutter, network loading, and other guidelines to the maximum degree possible. inch As a result, DoD says that “commercial operations and federal operations can more effectively share spectrum within much reduced coordination zones than those established in the Workbook, thus enabling greater access by commercial operations compared to that described in the Workbook for many geographic areas. ”

The bottom line is clear. AWS-3 represents an important and significant chance for expanding commercial wireless service in the United States. We reached this result via a lot of hard work and cooperation amongst all of the involved Federal agencies. We all at the FCC thank them for those of these efforts.

Now we look forward to an effective auction!


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