The FCC Media Bureau’s designated May 29, 2015 “Pre-Auction Licensing Deadline” is rapidly approaching. Full power and Class A facilities must be licensed by this deadline in order to be eligible for protection in the repacking process that will be part of the television incentive auction. For these purposes, facilities subject to a pending application
SpectrumWatch: FCC Releases Information Related to Repacking Process
Last week, the FCC released a Public Notice (“PN”), following up on its July Public Notice, concerning the software to be used during the Incentive Auction to determine whether the acceptance of each bid from a broadcaster will result in a feasible, and optimal, repacking process.
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SpectrumWatch: Auction of H Block Spectrum Licenses
Continuing its efforts to license spectrum for mobile broadband uses consistent with the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, the FCC announced that it will auction spectrum licenses to the H Block by January 14, 2014. The H Block spectrum will be used for flexible-use services, including mobile broadband, and expand…
SpectrumWatch: Congress, FCC Consider Options for TV Spectrum Repacking, Cable Pricing
A congressional subcommittee held an oversight hearing Tuesday addressing the Federal Communications Commission’s progress in setting rules for the upcoming incentive auction of television broadcast spectrum for mobile broadband use. On Monday, the FCC released a Public Notice addressing one aspect of those rules, which would govern how TV stations that do not sell their spectrum would be assigned new channels. This process is known as the “repacking” of the broadcast spectrum.
Also Tuesday, a Senate bill that would encourage cable and satellite operators to allow subscribers to purchase channels a la carte picked up its first Democratic co-sponsor, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
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SpectrumWatch: FCC Draws Criticism on Band Plan Proposals
A joint statement released today by AT&T, the National Association of Broadcasters, and Verizon criticized the FCC for seeking comments on new proposals for reorganizing the spectrum currently used by television broadcasters, which the statement said would go against the “growing consensus” of the broadcast and wireless industries.
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SpectrumWatch: FCC Considers Alternative Band Plans for Post-Incentive Auction Spectrum
In a Public Notice released yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission asked for comments on several possible plans for reorganizing the spectrum currently used by television broadcasters. Initial comments are due June 14, with reply comments due June 28.
Under a statute passed last year, broadcast television stations will be allowed to voluntarily participate in an auction of their spectrum to mobile broadband providers, after which the FCC will involuntarily repack remaining television stations into a smaller television spectrum band.
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SpectrumWatch: FCC Approves T-Mobile/MetroPCS Merger, Citing Competitive Benefits
On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) approved the proposed merger of cellular service providers T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS. In its written opinion and order, the FCC’s Wireless Bureau concluded that the proposed merger would benefit competition in the wireless market by, among other things, providing the combined company with greater spectrum resources for its LTE network. The Bureau’s action underscores the value that federal policymakers place on maintaining four national carriers―an issue that came to the forefront when regulators rejected the bid of the 2nd-largest carrier, AT&T, to acquire T-Mobile in December 2011.
After reviewing the relevant product and geographic markets, the FCC observed that the merger of T-Mobile and MetroPCS could create limited competitive harms in a few local geographic markets. However, those harms were outweighed by the public interest benefits likely to accrue from the merger, including “the expansion of the MetroPCS brand into new geographical markets, the development of a more robust, national network, improved quality of service,” and the strengthening of T-Mobile’s “ability to compete in the mobile broadband services market.” The agency was persuaded that the merger would permit existing MetroPCS customers access to a larger network (and bring the MetroPCS brand to markets in which it does not currently compete). The merger also would give T-Mobile customers better service quality — particularly in major metropolitan markets, where the combination of the T-Mobile and MetroPCS networks would bolster service in areas where the T-Mobile network was already at capacity. …
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SpectrumWatch: FCC Considers Relocating Spectrum for Wireless Medical Devices in Repacking of Broadcaster Spectrum
The Federal Communications Commission sought comment, in connection with the incentive auction and repacking process reported in previous posts, on whether to relocate wireless medical telemetry service (“WMTS”) users from the 608-614 MHz spectrum band, known as Channel 37, or allow unlicensed devices to coexist with WMTS on Channel 37. The proposal elicited…
SpectrumWatch: 3 Key Areas of Industry Agreement Regarding the FCC’s Spectrum Auction and Repacking Proposals
The Federal Communications Commission received over 300 comments from the public regarding its proposals to allow broadcast television stations to voluntarily participate in an auction of their spectrum to mobile broadband providers and to involuntarily repack remaining television stations into a smaller television spectrum band. Broadcast television station groups, individual stations, mobile broadband providers, wireless microphone operators, proponents of unlicensed spectrum uses, equipment manufacturers, radio astronomers, wireless medical device makers, and a variety of trade associations weighed in on the Commission’s proposals. There was significant disagreement on a number of the FCC’s proposals — including the extent to which viewers’ existing television services should be preserved in the repacking, the timeframe to complete the repacking, and how to address wireless microphones and unlicensed uses in the spectrum band. However, at least three key areas of general industry agreement emerged:…
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Spectrum Watch: FCC Holds Broadcaster LEARN Program Workshop
On Friday, October 26, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission held its first workshop as part of its Learn Everything About Reverse-Auctions Now (“LEARN”) Program — a series that seeks to provide broadcasters guidance on the incentive auction process by which the FCC will reallocate a to-be-determined amount of broadcast television spectrum in the 600 MHz…