A Preview of the FCC's July Open Meeting: Taking the "E" Out of EBS and TV

Perhaps the biggest news of the week was the agenda for the Federal Communications Commission's July 10 Open Meeting, which FCC Chairman Ajit Pai laid out in a blog post on June 18, 2019. I'm traveling to New York this week; below is a shorter-than-usual weekly that takes a look at how Chairman Pai plans to take education out of the Educational Broadband Service -- and broadcast television.

A New National Spectrum Strategy

On October 25, 2018, President Donald Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum ordering federal agencies to review their existing spectrum usage, forecast future demands, and prepare a plan for research and development that will enable better use of spectrum in the future.

Success of Rural Tribal Window Demonstrates Need for Rural Education Window

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission’s first-ever Rural Tribal Priority Window (TPW) came to a close. This special spectrum application window allowed for rural tribal nations to apply for valuable Educational Broadband Service (EBS) frequencies over their lands that had never been licensed. The agency received applications for spectrum on 266 separate tribal lands; 418 applications and amendments were filed in all. The decision to auction unassigned EBS was made in a July 2019 FCC rulemaking regarding EBS. But is auctioning the remaining EBS spectrum the right decision?

FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for Sept 2020 Open Meeting

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the items below are tentatively on the agenda for the Sept Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Sept 30, 2020:

A Big Fall Kickoff

The Federal Communications Commission’s Sept agenda looks like a well-balanced fantasy team; we’re rolling out a diverse lineup featuring at least one item from each of the FCC’s seven bureaus.

Chairman Pai's Response to Members of Congress Regarding the 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window

On Aug 18 and 19,  2020, several Members of Congress wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman AJit Pai requesting the FCC immediately extend the 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window deadline by no less than 180 says "as Tribal nations continue to respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis." On July 31, the FCC published an order granting an extremely limited 30-day extension of the application deadline, "which is 150 days fewer than prior requests from members of Congress and the U.S.

FCC Announces Close Of First-Ever Rural Tribal Priority Window For Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission’s first-ever spectrum priority filing window for rural Tribes closed Sept 2, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. EDT. This 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window presented a unique opportunity for eligible Tribal entities to obtain overlay licenses for prime mid-band spectrum covering rural Tribal lands to help address their connectivity needs and close the digital divide in Indian country. The window opened on Feb 3, 2020, and the FCC received more than 400 applications from Tribal entities throughout the country. 

FCC Announces Winning Bidders of 3.5 GHz Band Auction

The Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice detailing the results of and next steps related to the recently concluded auction of 70 megahertz of Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the 3550-3650 MHz band (Auction 105). This auction made available the greatest number of spectrum licenses ever in a single FCC auction. The Public Notice details auction results—including the names of winning bidders—and announces deadlines for payments and the filing of long-form applications, as well as other post-auction procedures needed for the prompt issuance of licenses.

Spectrum Sharing: An Emerging Success

Spectrum sharing is working, and we now have a larger toolbox of techniques to employ as we move toward repurposing the 3450-3550 MHz band — as well as exploring potential repurposing within 3100-3450 MHz. The current auction of Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service band (CBRS) could not have happened without spectrum sharing in coastal areas where military mobile radars operate. NTIA research

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I Auction and Application Status

By this Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission announces the status of the 505 short-form applications received for Auction 904. Bidding in Auction 904 will begin on Thursday, Oct 29, 2020, and will award up to $16 billion over 10 years to service providers that commit to offer voice and broadband services to fixed locations in unserved high-cost census blocks. This Public Notice also provides important information regarding modification and resubmission of short-form applications and reminds applicants of certain procedures the FCC adopted for this auction.