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Spectrum

Allocation

What rules and procedures govern spectrum allocation?

The spectrum between nine kilohertz (kHz) and 275 gigahertz is allocated and administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The FCC is responsible for administering spectrum for non-Federal uses, while the NTIA is responsible for administering spectrum for Federal government usage. The FCC maintains a table on its website that describes how spectrum has been allocated for spectrum licenses (www.fcc.gov/engineering-technology/policy-and-rules-division/general/radio-spectrum-allocation). No licence is required for spectrum that has been designated unlicensed, but devices and users must comply with the FCC’s rules imposing technical requirements, such as power limits.

Fees

What fees apply to spectrum allocation/authorisation?

The fees associated with spectrum allocation are the application and regulatory fees. Further, for newly allocated spectrum, the FCC will generally conduct an auction when mutually exclusivity is present.

Transferral

Can spectrum licences be transferred, traded or sub-licensed?

Spectrum can be transferred and sub-licensed, but a prior application must be made to the FCC before the assignment or transfer can be made. Spectrum can also be leased through a spectrum manager lease or through a de facto transfer lease. Such arrangements require FCC approval.

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