The FCC has given the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration notice of the licenses in paired bands of spectrum
it plans to auction by September of 2014.
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
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."