WASHINGTON-The Federal Communications Commission recently settled some outstanding issues regarding the 220 MHz (220-222 MHz) band in preparation for an auction of licenses scheduled to start Sept. 15.
The FCC denied four requests to modify licenses because they were either not filed on time or not properly signed. The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau allowed one license to be modified after it accepted that the signature on the application was authentic.
The 220 MHz service auction is considered Phase II of the FCC’s licensing plan. Licensees in Phase I were authorized by lotteries in 1992 and 1993.
The Wireless Bureau said it did not have the discretion to extend the deadlines so those applications filed late would not be considered. This decision upheld a previous ruling.
Gary Stoffer also was warned that his license could be revoked if the wireless bureau found in the future that it was not his signature on the application. The bureau had denied only one of several applications to modify a license Stoffer filed in 1996 when it felt the signature was not authentic. Stoffer submitted an affidavit saying that indeed it was his signature and the bureau now accepts that answer, albeit with the warning.
Also, in preparation for the auction, the FCC formally said 220 MHz-auction winners can disaggregate and partition their licenses. This decision was expected by industry analysts. Specifically, the following are the rules for 220 MHz disaggregation and partitioning:
Partitioning, with the exception of the public radio and emergency medical radio service, is permitted on any geographic area defined by the parties;
Disaggregation, with the exception of the public radio and emergency medical radio service, is allowed for any amount of spectrum, with no requirement the disaggregator retain a certain amount of spectrum;
Non-nationwide Phase I licensees may only partition and disaggregate after commencing service;
Nationwide Phase I licensees only are allowed to partition and disaggregate after construction of 40 percent of their proposed system is complete;
Phase II licensees may negotiate with their partial assignees to determine how the construction requirements will be met; and
Those obtaining spectrum through disaggregation and partitioning may hold their licenses for the remainder of the original licensee’s term and may earn a renewal expectancy similar to other 220 MHz licensees.