Tuesday, February 14, 2012

FCC Streamlines 800 MHz Cellular Service Licensing

The FCC adopted rules aimed at providing licensees with greater flexibility to provide advanced communications service in areas currently unlicensed in the 800 MHz Cellular Service (Cellular Service). Specifically, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Order proposes to revise the licensing model for the Cellular Service from a site-based to a geographically-based approach.

Since its inception approximately 30 years ago, the Cellular Service has transformed the
communications landscape by making mobile services broadly available to the American public. For
many years, the Cellular Service’s licensing model helped successfully drive widespread construction and
initial service to the public.

The FCC noted that Cellular Service markets today are almost completely licensed, with
only limited unlicensed Cellular Service area remaining; as such, the site-based model is yielding
diminished returns. As regions become substantially developed, the significant administrative burdens on
licensees associated with the site-based model may no longer outweigh the public benefits.

The proposal for a geographically-based model would bring the Cellular Service into harmony with more flexible licensing schemes used successfully by other similar mobile services, such as PCS, the 700 MHz Service, and AWS.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski commented: "Today we take another important step in our work to reform the FCC, reduce unnecessary administrative burdens, and increase regulatory parity. We are proposing to migrate the 800 MHz cellular spectrum from a site-based to a geographic-based licensing system, which will reduce licensing and filing burdens relating to use of the spectrum."

"The 800 MHz Cellular Radiotelephone Service is the band that spawned the mobile revolution roughly 30 years ago, and its unique site-by-site licensing model helped bring mobile service to all Americans, even in remote rural areas. But the original licensing model has outlived its original utility. It’s time to transition from the old site-based licensing model to a more flexible geographically-licensed model."http://www.fcc.gov


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