April Open Meeting

A tentative agenda has been posted for the FCC’s April Open Meeting scheduled for April 12. Among other items, the Commission will consider a Public Notice on the incentive auction in the Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands (Vol. XIV, Issue 12), as well as an NPRM that would update fixed wireless infrastructure rules for over-the-air-reception devices (OTARD).

Rural Representatives Send C-Band Letter

On March 25, The Rural Representatives, which “represent a wide variety of organizations and associations that in turn represent the providers that serve the most rural and sparsely populated areas of this country,” sent a letter to Congress and the FCC. The letter recommends that proceeds from an FCC-led C-Band auction be used to support broadband deployment. In 2018, the Commission opened a proceeding to consider sharing in the C-Band (Vol. XV, Issue 48). The letter was sent to Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, Congressman Frank Pallone (D-PA), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Amendment to TV White Space Rule Changes

Pursuant to its Order adopted on March 27, the FCC has extended through September 30 a waiver of its push notification requirements for fixed and Mode II personal/portable white space devices and white space databases that was due to expire on March 31. Petitioners have sought reconsideration of the push notification requirements due to implementation difficulties. Earlier this month, the Commission addressed challenges to its TV White Spaces Order in a Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration, but delayed its response to push notifications and white space device operation (Vol. XIV, Issue 12). 

Rules Released for Promotion of Spectrum Above 95 GHz

The FCC published the text of the Spectrum Horizons First Report and Order on March 21. The Order was adopted on March 15, 2019, looking to encourage technological development and expedite deployment of new services in the spectrum above 95 GHz (Vol. XIV, Issue 11). The Order will allow for enhanced experimental licensing and unlicensed applications above 95 GHz band, advancing the Commission’s commitment to identify and make available unused and underused spectrum in all frequency ranges. 

CAF II Update

On March 28, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) released an Order designating eight Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF II) winning bidders as eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) (Vol. XVI, Issue 10). The FCC acts upon ETC applications only where the state commission lacks authority to grant ETC status. ETC status is one prerequisite for CAF II winning bidders to obtain funding. The FCC also designated three of these bidders as Lifeline-only providers in areas adjacent to areas for which they were winning CAF II bidders. 

Auction 104 Competitive Bidding Procedures

On March 9, the FCC issued a Public Notice scheduling the auction (Auction 104) of construction permits for low power television and TV translator stations (collectively referred to as LPTV/translator stations) for September 10. Permits to be offered in Auction 104 are those that remain mutually exclusive under previously announced procedures governing the post-incentive auction displacement of LPTV/translator stations. Additionally, the Commission seeks comment on competitive bidding structures for Auction 104. Comments and reply comments are due by April 15 and April 29, respectively.