800 MHz Expansion Band/Guard Band Access Update

The frequency advisory committees (FACs) eligible to certify 800 MHz channels have submitted an amended Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to the FCC that will govern the frequency coordination and licensing of the 800 MHz Expansion/Guard Band (EB/GB) channels recently made available by the FCC (Vol. XIV, Issue 11). Importantly, the MOA limits any applicant from licensing more than 5 channels within a 70-mile radius. Following FCC approval, FACs will execute the MOA. Shortly thereafter, the FCC is expected to establish the dates on which FACs may share certified application information and submit coordinated applications to the Commission.

TV White Space Rule Changes

On March 19, the FCC adopted a Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration that amends its rules on governing the operation of unlicensed TV white space devices (Vol. XV, Issue 46). Among the changes in the Report and Order are: a requirement that all fixed white space devices incorporate a geo-location capability and eliminate the option allowing geographic coordinates to be determined by professional installers; rules permitting the use of geo-location sources by a fixed white space device when used at a location that inhibits function of its internal geo-location capability; and a requirement that fixed white space devices periodically re-check and report on their geographic coordinates. The Order on Reconsideration affirms most of the FCC’s decisions in its original TV White Spaces Order, however, it increases the maximum fixed white space device antenna height in less congested areas. 

FCC Small Cell Order Appeals Consolidated

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted the FCC’s motion to consolidate 12 different appeals of the Commission’s Small Cell Order (Vol. XVI, Issue 5). The Ninth Circuit Order also assigned the consolidated appeals to the same panel of judges that will consider appeals of the Commission’s declaratory ruling in the One-Touch Make-Ready (OTMR) pole attachment proceeding. Briefing in all cases has been suspended pending a further order of the Court following a case management conference between all petitioners. 

Auction in Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz Bands

The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau announced in a March 20 Public Notice that it will reconfigure the 39 GHz band by way of an incentive action to offer new flexible use licenses in the Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands (Auction 103). Incumbents in the 39 GHz band will be required to choose to either 1) relinquish licenses in exchange for an incentive payment, with the opportunity to bid on new licenses in the incentive auction if they choose to do so, or 2) elect to receive modified licenses and not apply to participate in the auction for new licenses. Comments and Reply Comments on the Bureau’s proposed auction procedures will be due April 15 and April 26, respectively.