Wednesday, May 14, 2008

FCC Seeks Comments 700 MHz D Block Spectrum Reauction

The FCC is seeking public comment on how to proceed with the reauction and licensing of the 700 MHz D Block spectrum while maximizing the public safety and commercial benefits of a nationwide, interoperable broadband network.

In July 2007, the FCC adopted rules for the 700 MHz Band spectrum that included the creation of a 10-megahertz license in the D Block to be part of a 700 MHz Public/Private Partnership with the adjacent 10 megahertz of spectrum dedicated to a Public Safety Broadband License. The 700 MHz Public/Private Partnership was designed to achieve the important public policy goal of promoting public safety interoperability, allowing police, fire and other first responders to better communicate with one another in times of emergency.

Because the D Block did not meet its $1.3 billion reserve price in the 700 MHz Auction, the FCC intends to re-auction this spectrum under revised rules.

Issues for which comments are sought include:

  • the rules governing public safety priority access to the network during emergencies;

  • the performance requirements and license term;

  • whether to license the D Block and public safety broadband spectrum on a nationwide or regional basis;

  • the various fees associated with the shared network;

  • whether or not it would be appropriate for the Public Safety Broadband Licensee or any of its agents, advisors, or service providers to serve as a mobile virtual network operator to manage access and use of the 700 MHz D Block of spectrum by first responders;

  • the process for the D Block licensee and the Public Safety Broadband Licensee to negotiate a Network Sharing Agreement;

  • the potential for requirements that the Public Safety Broadband Licensee be a non-profit organization and that no for-profit entities, apart from certain outside advisors or counsel, be involved; and

  • auction-related issues, such as whether to restrict auction participation and how to determine a reserve price.

See also