FCC Signals Paired Spectrum for Auction
Needed to give notice to meet congressional deadline
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/21/2013 6:18:44 PM
That came in a letter from FCC chairman Julius Genachowski to NTIA chief Larry Strickling.
By statute -- the spectrum incentive auction legislation -- the FCC has to notify NTIA at least 18 months before the beginning of any auction of frequencies.
In this case, they are the 1695-1710 MHz band and the 1755-1780 band. NTIA identified the 1695-1710 band for reallocation from federal to nonfederal use. The FCC will transfer it to commercial use and license it by February 2015. The FCC also has to allocate and license 2155-2180, which the commercial wireless industry wants to pair with 1755-1780. NTIA is considering sharing that spectrum with commercial wireless, but the FCC included it in the notice to reserve the ability to auction it.
"We are pleased to see that chairman Genachowski has sent a letter to Assistant Secretary Strickling identifying two important bands for auction," said CTIA: The Wireless Association in a statement. "The 1755 to 1780 MHz band is one that the industry identified years ago as a prime band for mobile broadband. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act already has set a deadline for auction and assignment of the 2155 to 2180 MHz band that will make for a perfect pairing. We also are excited to see the 1695 to 1710 MHz band identified, and as we stated in a filing with the FCC just last week, we look forward to the FCC beginning its investigation into pairing 2095 to 2110 MHz with the 1695 MHz spectrum."
"This is the first step in what will be an important process, and I look forward to working with my FCC colleagues, NTIA, and other stakeholders to help American consumers and the economy benefit from this spectrum as quickly as possible," said FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, who last week at a Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearing called on the FCC to make the NTIA notification. "In particular, I continue to believe that we should aim to clear and reallocate the 1755-1780 MHz band rather than forcing federal users and commercial operators to undertake the complicated, untested task of spectrum sharing."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Commerce Committee, also gave the FCC -- and Pai -- props Thursday in a speech to the Free State Foundation, in which he emphasized the need for multiple auctions to free up spectrum. "I am pleased to see the action taken by the FCC yesterday in notifying NTIA of its intent to auction 40 MHz of spectrum to preserve potential pairings. This is exactly what Commissioner Pai advocated for at last week's hearing."
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