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FCC Publishes 700 MHz Band policy update

April 26, 2007

The FCC has just published the text of its Report and Order (Order) and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Further Notice) that addresses rules governing wireless licenses in the 698-806 MHz spectrum band, commonly eferred to as the “700 MHz Band.”

As the FCC notes, this spectrum is currently occupied by television broadcasters during the digital television (DTV) transition and will be made fully available for wireless services, including public safety and commercial services, when the DTV transition is completed on February 17, 2009.

Relevant sections of this document are after the break.

The FCC has been considering rules related to the use of the 700 MHz Band spectrum in
three ongoing proceedings: (1) the 700 MHz Commercial Services proceeding, (2) the 700 MHz Guard Bands proceeding, and (3) the 700 MHz Public Safety proceeding. Today’s Order and Further Notice address issues in all three proceedings.

These decisions and proposals will allowthe FCC to offer a variety of licenses in the 700 MHz auction and facilitate the provision of new and innovative services to consumers across the country, as well as clearing the path fornationwide, interoperable wireless broadband services for the public safety community.

The FCC took several actions related to the commercial services portions of the 700 MHz Band in today’s Order. The FCC adopted a mix of geographic area sizes for licensing the spectrum – including Cellular Market Areas (CMAs), Economic Areas (EAs) and Regional Economic Area Groupings (REAGs) – and established rules related to power limits and other technical issues, as well as initial license terms.

In addition, the FCC applied 911/E911 and hearing aid compatibility rules to all commercial mobile radio services (CMRS) providers, regardless of the spectrum being used, to the extent the service meets the scope requirements in the FCC’s current rules.

In the Further Notice, the FCC sought comment on performance requirements for the unauctioned licenses in the 700 MHz Band. In particular, the FCC sought
comment on the use of geographic build-out requirements. Comment is also sought on several proposals to modify the 700 MHz band plan, including proposals recently filed by Frontline Wireless, LLC, and various public interest groups.

With regard to the 700 MHz Guard Bands, the FCC adopted provisions to encourage the
efficient and effective use of the Guard Band spectrum. The FCC replaced the existing Guard Band Manager leasing rules with the spectrum leasing policies established in the FCC’s
Secondary Markets proceeding, providing Guard Band licensees with greater flexibility.

In addition, the FCC tentatively concluded that it would not adopt certain Guard Band proposals advanced by parties seeking a restructuring of the existing Upper 700 MHz band plan, and sought comment on a proposal recently filed by Access Spectrum/Pegasus.

With regard to the 700 MHz Public Safety spectrum, the FCC tentatively concluded that
the current public safety wideband allocation should be revised such that only broadband applications consistent with a nationwide interoperability standard should be deployed on a going forward basis.

The FCC also tentatively concluded that it should consolidate the 700 MHz Public Safety spectrum, by combining the narrowband spectrum at the upper portion of the
public safety allocation and the broadband spectrum at the lower portion. Today’s proposals, in conjunction with the FCC’s proposal in the 700 MHz Public Safety Ninth Further Notice to establish a national public safety licensee, further the FCC’s goal of establishing nationwide interoperable wireless broadband for public safety.

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