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Released: October 29, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 13-136

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Promoting Interoperability in the 700 MHz
)
WT Docket No. 12-69
Commercial Spectrum
)
)
)

Requests for Waiver and Extension of Lower 700
)
WT Docket No. 12-332
MHz Band Interim Construction Benchmark
)
Deadlines
)

REPORT AND ORDER AND ORDER OF PROPOSED MODIFICATION

Adopted: October 25, 2013

Released: October 29, 2013

By the Commission: Acting Chairwoman Clyburn and Commissioner Rosenworcel issuing separate
statements.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Heading
Paragraph #
I. INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................................. 1
II. BACKGROUND.................................................................................................................................... 4
III. DISCUSSION ...................................................................................................................................... 13
A. Technical Rules for D and E Blocks.............................................................................................. 15
B. Channel 51 ..................................................................................................................................... 35
1. Assessment of Likelihood of Reverse Intermodulation Interference ...................................... 35
2. Clearing Channel 51................................................................................................................ 43
C. Transition to Interoperability ......................................................................................................... 46
D. Performance Requirements and Construction Benchmarks........................................................... 55
1. Construction Benchmarks Applicable to Lower 700 MHz E Block ....................................... 55
2. Interim Construction Deadlines for A and B Block Licenses ................................................. 60
IV. ORDER OF PROPOSED MODIFICATION....................................................................................... 67
V. PROCEDURAL MATTERS................................................................................................................ 74
A. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis............................................................................................ 74
B. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis ............................................................................................... 75
C. Further Information........................................................................................................................ 76
VI. ORDERING CLAUSES....................................................................................................................... 77
APPENDIX A – Final Rules
APPENDIX B – Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
APPENDIX C – List of Commenters

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification, we take certain steps to
implement an industry solution to provide interoperable Long Term Evolution (LTE) service in the Lower
700 MHz band in an efficient and effective manner to improve choice and quality for consumers of

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FCC 13-136

mobile services. A number of the principal wireless providers licensed in this band, along with the
Competitive Carriers Association, have developed a voluntary industry solution that would resolve the
lack of interoperability in this band while allowing flexibility in responding to evolving consumer needs
and dynamic and fast-paced technological developments. The amendments to our rules and modifications
to licenses proposed herein will serve the public interest by enabling consumers, especially in rural areas,
to enjoy the benefits of greater competition and more choices, and by encouraging efficient use of
spectrum, investment, job creation, and the development of innovative mobile broadband services and
equipment.
2.
The steps we take here will assist consumers and the economies in rural areas, as well as
small and regional businesses that operate there. Additional competition in rural areas is likely to result in
lower-priced services, or plan options that are tailored to local communities. Small or regional providers
serving rural areas drive economic growth in these rural areas, directly, by investing in their networks and
creating jobs, and indirectly, by enabling the growth of other small businesses. But in order to promote
competition – and enable small business customers of 700 MHz band licensees to operate successfully in
the 21st century – these licensees need to be able to offer service choices. Interoperability of LTE service
in the Lower 700 MHz band will remove an unnecessary barrier to the successful operation of businesses
that can drive economic growth, promote competitive service, and create jobs in rural America, where 1.3
million people (and approximately 13% of rural road miles) still lack any mobile wireless broadband
coverage and over one-third of the population still lacks coverage by more than two mobile broadband
providers.1
3.
As described in more detail below, the Commission launched this proceeding last year to
promote interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band.2 It sought comment on the core issue of whether
providing interoperable LTE service with the use of a unified band class (to achieve interoperability)
would result in harmful interference to customers using service on the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks
and whether, if harmful interference were likely to exist, it reasonably could be mitigated.3 The
Commission expressed its preference for an industry solution for interoperability, but also recognized
that, if the industry failed to move in a timely manner toward interoperability, additional regulatory steps
might be appropriate to further the public interest.4 On September 10, 2013, key parties in this
proceeding filed letters with the Commission indicating their support for a voluntary industry consensus
agreement to resolve the lack of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band.5 In this Report and Order
and Order of Proposed Modification, we take the following steps:

1 See Implementation of Section 6002(b) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, Annual Report and
Analysis of Competitive Market Conditions with Respect to Mobile Wireless, Including Commercial Mobile
Services, WT Docket No. 11-186, Sixteenth Report, 28 FCC Rcd 3700, 3945 at ¶¶ 392-393 (2013) (16th Annual
Mobile Wireless Competition Report
). Only 65.4% of the Nation’s rural population (and only 35.7% of rural road
miles) has coverage by more than two mobile broadband providers. Id.
2 Promoting Interoperability in the 700 MHz Commercial Spectrum, WT Docket 12-69, Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking
, 27 FCC Rcd 3521 (2012) (Interoperability NPRM).
3 Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3522, ¶ 3.
4 Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3543, ¶ 49.
5 Letter from Joan Marsh, Vice Pres. Fed. Regulatory, AT&T Services, Inc. to the Hon. Mignon Clyburn,
Chairwoman, FCC, WT Docket No. 12-69, filed Sept. 10, 2013 (AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte); Letter from
Jeffrey H. Blum, Senior Vice Pres. & Dep. Gen. Counsel, DISH Network, Corp., to the Hon. Mignon Clyburn,
Chairwoman, FCC, WT Docket No. 12-69, filed Sept. 10, 2013 (DISH Network Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte); Letter
from Grant Spellmeyer, Vice Pres. Fed. Affairs & Pub. Policy, US Cellular, Ben Moncrief, Dir. – Govt. Relations, C
Spire Wireless, Scott Wills, Vulcan Wireless LLC, Allison Cryor NiNardo, Pres., Gen. Partner, King Street
Wireless, L.P., Nash Nyland, Gen. Counsel, Cavalier Wireless LLC, T.Clark Akers, Exec. Vice Pres. Continuum
(continued….)
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FCC 13-136

 We revise our Part 27 rules to modify the technical requirements for the Lower 700 MHz D
and E Blocks to eliminate potential harmful interference while continuing to allow high value
uses of the D and E Blocks. We establish a process for higher power uses primarily in rural
areas if the D/E Block licensee has the consent of affected 700 MHz licensees, or can show
no harmful interference.
 We need take no action to address claims of reverse intermodulation interference from
adjacent Channel 51 operations to B and C Block operations, because we conclude based on
the record that harmful interference from such reverse intermodulation products is unlikely
and therefore is not an impediment to implementation of the voluntary industry solution for
achieving interoperability.
 Pursuant to Section 316 of the Communications Act,6 we propose to modify AT&T’s B and C
Block licenses as outlined herein and in AT&T’s commitment letter7 to effectuate the
voluntary industry solution that will resolve the lack of interoperability in the Lower 700
MHz band in an effective and efficient manner.
 We waive the construction requirements for E Block licensees, extending the interim and
final deadlines and permitting a showing of population coverage, rather than geographic
coverage.
 We waive the construction requirements for A and B Block licensees, extending the interim
deadline to December 13, 2016, and removing the interim deadline for certain A Block
licensees adjacent to Channel 51 operations.

II.

BACKGROUND

4.
The 700 MHz Band. As shown in the diagram below, the 700 MHz band (698-806 MHz)
is comprised primarily of 70 megahertz of commercial spectrum and 34 megahertz of public safety
spectrum.8 The Commission divided the band into the Lower and Upper 700 MHz bands pursuant to the
Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which provided for a transition of this spectrum from broadcast to
commercial and public safety wireless use and established a deadline for the auction of the Upper 700
MHz band but not for the auction of the Lower 700 MHz band.9 That Act also established specific
criteria for the mandatory transition to DTV that freed up spectrum for commercial and public safety use.
5.
The Lower 700 MHz band spectrum (698-746 MHz), which is the subject of this Report
and Order, consists of 48 megahertz of commercial spectrum – three blocks of 12 megahertz each of
paired spectrum (Lower A, B, and C Blocks), and two blocks of 6 megahertz each of unpaired spectrum
(Lower D and E Blocks). The Lower 700 MHz A Block spectrum is adjacent to Channel 51 (692-698
(Continued from previous page)
700 LLC, and Steven K. Berry, Pres. and CEO, Competitive Carriers Association to the Hon. Mignon Clyburn,
Chairwoman, FCC, WT Docket No. 12-69, filed Sept. 10, 2013 (Coalition Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte).
6 47 U.S.C. § 316.
7 AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte.
8 The band also includes 4 megahertz of guard band spectrum in the Upper 700 MHz band. The 34 megahertz of
public safety spectrum includes what was formerly the Upper 700 MHz D Block, which was reallocated to public
safety use in September 2012 under the Spectrum Act. See Implementing Public Safety Broadband Provisions of the
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, PS Docket No. 12-94, Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd
10953 (2012); see also Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, § 1411, 126 Stat.
158, 205 (2012), 47 U.S.C. 1411 (Spectrum Act).
9 Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Pub. L. No. 105-33, 111 Stat. 251, § 3004 (1997) (Balanced Budget Act of 1997).
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FCC 13-136

MHz), which has been allocated for TV broadcast operations at power levels of up to 1000 kW.10 The
Lower 700 MHz A Block is also adjacent to the unpaired Lower 700 MHz E Block, where licensees may
operate at power levels up to 50 kW.11 The Commission first assigned licenses for the Lower 700 MHz
band when it auctioned all the licenses in the Lower 700 MHz C and D Blocks in Auction 44 in 2002.12
Licenses unsold in Auction 44 were subsequently sold in 2003 and 2005 in Auctions 49 and 60.13
700 MHz Band and 3GPP Band Classes
6.
In 2005, the Digital Transition and Public Safety Act (DTV Act) established a nationwide
deadline for the DTV transition that would make 700 MHz spectrum available for commercial and public
safety use and mandated that the Commission commence an auction for all the remaining recovered
spectrum.14 Following the enactment of the DTV Act, the Commission auctioned licenses in the Lower
700 MHz A, B, and E Blocks in 2008 as part of Auction 73, which garnered over $19 billion in
revenues.15 The relatively few unsold Lower A and B Block licenses were later sold in Auction 92 in
2011.16
7.
Although U.S. service providers have, in the past, deployed different mobile wireless
network technologies, today the evolution of these technologies is converging on LTE. LTE increases the
capacity and speed of wireless networks by redesigning and simplifying the network architecture to
transition from the existing combination of circuit and packet switching to an all-IP architecture system.

10 See 47 C.F.R. § 73.622(f)(8). As discussed elsewhere in this Report and Order, we are considering the incentive
auction of broadcast television spectrum, including Channel 51, in a separate proceeding. See Expanding the
Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions, GN Docket No. 12-268, Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking
, 27 FCC Rcd 12357, 12360-61, ¶ 9, 12415, ¶ 160 (2012) (Incentive Auctions NPRM).
11 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.50(c)(7). Lower 700 MHz C, D, and E Block fixed and base stations may operate at total
power levels up to 50 kW ERP in their authorized spectrum blocks.
12 See Lower 700 MHz Band Auction Closes, Public Notice, 17 FCC Rcd 17272 (2002).
13 See Lower 700 MHz Band Auction Closes, Public Notice, 18 FCC Rcd 11873 (2003); See Auction of Lower 700
MHz Band Licenses Closes, Public Notice, 20 FCC Rcd 13424 (2005).
14 Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Digital Transition and Public Safety Act, Pub. L. 109-171, 120 Stat. 4 (2006). The
DTV Delay Act subsequently extended the deadline for transition to digital television. See Pub. L. 111-4, 123 Stat.
112 (2009).
15 See Auction of 700 MHz Band Licenses Closes, Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd 4572 (2008). Auction 73 included
licenses for the Lower 700 MHz A, B, and E Blocks and the Upper 700 MHz C and D Blocks.
16 See Auction of 700 MHz Band Licenses Closes, Public Notice, 26 FCC Rcd 10494 (2011).
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All of the major mobile wireless providers (including those with both GSM and CDMA legacy networks)
now offer or plan to deploy LTE.17 By September 2012, for example, AT&T announced that it had LTE
coverage in 63 markets, and had plans to deploy LTE to 80 percent of the U.S. population by the end of
2013.18
8.
Industry standards for LTE are developed by 3GPP, an international partnership of
industry-based telecommunications standards bodies that, among other things, establishes standards for
different LTE band classes.19 A specific band class standard allows LTE operations only in its specified
range of frequencies, along with other technical specifications and signaling protocol.20 In November
2007, prior to Auction 73, the Band Class 12 LTE standard was introduced, consistent with its precedent
of establishing a unified band class for each spectrum band.21
9.
After the conclusion in March 2008 of Auction 73, Motorola initiated steps to have 3GPP
establish a new industry standard (later designated as Band Class 17) that would be limited to the Lower
700 MHz B and C Blocks. In proposing Band Class 17, Motorola cited the need to address concerns
about high power broadcast transmissions in Channel 51 and the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks.22 As
envisioned and ultimately adopted, the Band Class 17 standard allows LTE operations in only the Lower
700 MHz B and C blocks using a specific signaling protocol that would filter out all other frequencies.
Although Band Class 17 operates on two of the three blocks common to Band Class 12, Band Class 17
devices use “more narrow filters,”23 which have the effect of permitting a smaller range of frequencies to
“pass through” the filter. Such filters provide more attenuation of signals from Lower 700 MHz E Block
frequencies, and from Channel 51 television stations, whose frequency band (as depicted above) lies
immediately below the Lower 700 MHz A Block. This attenuation is accomplished by using the two
paired A Block frequencies as de facto guard bands. By contrast, Band Class 12 devices use A Block
frequencies for transmissions as well as the B and C Block frequencies. In addition, Band Class 12 and
Band Class 17 signaling protocols are not compatible. Therefore, services provided by stations using
these two band classes are not interoperable in the Lower 700 MHz band. 3GPP finalized the initial
standards and specifications for Band Class 17 five months after its introduction in September 2008.24
10.
The creation of two non-interoperable band classes has had numerous effects. For
example, customers are unable to switch between a licensee deploying its service using Band Class 17
and a licensee that provides its service using Band Class 12 without purchasing a new device (even when
the two operators use the same 2G and 3G technologies and bands), and Band Class 12 devices and Band

17 16th Annual Mobile Wireless Competition Report, 28 FCC Rcd at 3822, ¶ 185.
18 16th Annual Mobile Wireless Competition Report, 28 FCC Rcd at 3825-26, ¶ 189.
19 3GPP is not associated with any governmental agency. Its worldwide partners come from Asia, Europe, and
North America. 3GPP’s many technical specification groups meet in various countries throughout the year to carry
out the organization’s mission. See 3GPP – ABOUT 3GPP, http://www.3gpp.org/-About-3GPP (last visited Mar. 17,
2013).
20 Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3525-26, ¶ 10.
21 See 3GPP TR 25.822, v1.0.0, 3rd Generation Partnership Project; Technical Specification Group TSG RAN;
UMTS 700 MHz Work Item Technical Report (Release 8) (dated Nov. 2007), at 14 (Sec. 6.1);Vulcan Comments at
3; Rural Telecommunications Group Comments at 2 n.7. Band Class 12 was presented to 3GPP in November 2007,
but it was ratified in December 2010.
22 See Vulcan Comments at 4 n.12. See also Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3525-26, ¶ 10.
23 Motorola Comments at 2.
24 AT&T Comments, Wolter Declaration ¶ 13; Rural Telecommunications Group Comments at 2 n.7. Cf. Vulcan
Reply Comments at 37 (Band 17 first proposed in May 2008 and approved in August 2008).
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Class 17 devices cannot roam on each other’s networks. In September 2009, four Lower 700 MHz A
Block licensees filed a petition for rulemaking asking the Commission to impose for this spectrum block
an interoperability mandate similar to that imposed in 1981 for the cellular band.25 In the Interoperability
NPRM,
the Commission discussed the importance of interoperability in furthering the public interest, and
sought comment on whether taking action to ensure reintegration of the three paired Lower 700 MHz
blocks into a single band class would cause harmful interference to LTE operations on the Lower 700
MHz B and C Block licensees if Band Class 12 devices were used.26 The Commission noted that entities
involved in the creation of Band Class 17 during 3GPP proceedings had claimed that it was necessary to
create a separate band class for Lower 700 MHz B and C Block licenses to avoid reverse intermodulation
interference issues from DTV stations operating on Channel 51 and blocking from high power operations
in the E Block, and sought comment, as described above, on whether reintegration of the band pursuant to
an interoperability mandate would result in “harmful interference.”27
11.
On September 10, 2013, key stakeholders involved in this proceeding filed letters with
the Commission indicating their support for a voluntary industry consensus agreement to resolve the lack
of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band. In its letter, AT&T outlines its commitments to help
achieve Lower 700 MHz interoperability, including its commitment to begin rolling out interoperable
devices within 24 months.28 DISH similarly outlines its commitments to address interference concerns
regarding high powered operations in the E Block spectrum.29 A coalition of Lower 700 MHz A Block
licensees also filed a letter indicating their support for the commitments contained in AT&T’s letter as a
means to ensure restoration of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band.30
12.
Channel 51 Broadcast Operations. As set out earlier in the 700 MHz band plan, Channel
51 broadcast stations are adjacent to the lower portion of the Lower 700 MHz band. Channel 51 stations
give rise to one of the two alleged interference issues potentially affecting interoperability – the
possibility of reverse intermodulation interference resulting from the interplay of Channel 51 and Lower
700 MHz B and C Block signals. Separate from this issue, and not relevant to the interoperability of

25 See 700 MHz Block A Good Faith Purchaser Alliance Petition for Rulemaking Regarding the Need for 700 MHz
Mobile Equipment to be Capable of Operating on All Paired Commercial 700 MHz Frequency Blocks, filed Sept.
29, 2009 (Petition).
26 Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3535-36, ¶ 30. The technical analysis in the Interoperability NPRM
focused on two primary issues, reverse intermodulation interference from adjacent DTV Channel 51 operations, and
blocking interference from neighboring high-powered operations in Lower 700 MHz E Block. See id. at 3536-37, ¶
32. The Commission received 36 comments and 17 reply comments in response to the Interoperability NPRM. A
list of these commenters and reply commenters is set forth in Appendix C to this Report and Order and Order of
Proposed Modification.
27 Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3525-26, ¶ 10. We define “harmful interference” in accordance with
established Commission rules. See 47 C.F.R. § 15.3(m). As we discuss below in Sec.III.B.1. with respect to DTV
transmissions from Channel 51, an issue concerning reverse intermodulation interference can arise where there is a
“mix” or interaction of Channel 51 transmissions and transmissions from a wireless device in Lower 700 MHz B
and C Blocks. The issue is whether, and the degree to which, the resulting third transmission, or intermodulation
product, can occur on frequencies used by the wireless device to receive transmissions. The risk of reverse
intermodulation interference to Lower 700 MHz B and C Block licensees because of the existence of Channel 51
operations is separate and distinct from the limitations placed on Lower 700 MHz A Block licensees to protect
Channel 51 operations from adjacent channel interference from Lower 700 MHz A Block operations. See 47 C.F.R.
§ 27.60(a)(2).
28 AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte.
29 DISH Network Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte.
30 Coalition Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte.
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service within the Lower 700 MHz band, are questions of adjacent channel interference between Channel
51 and Lower 700 MHz A Block signals. Because of the potential for such adjacent channel interference,
Commission rules establish “exclusion zones” in which Lower A Block operations are prohibited, which
are designed to protect Channel 51 stations from possible interference.31 There are currently 27 full-
power Channel 51 broadcast stations, and 6 Class A low-power television operations on Channel 51 in the
U.S., including Puerto Rico. Nearly 190 million American consumers live outside these exclusion zones,
including almost 50 million of the 60 million American consumers living in rural areas.32 More than 3.2
million square miles, or more than 90 percent of the land area in the U.S. is located outside the exclusion
zones, including 2.8 million square miles in rural areas.

III.

DISCUSSION

13.
As noted above, on September 10, 2013, parties in this proceeding filed letters with the
Commission indicating that they have reached agreement on a voluntary industry solution to resolve the
lack of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band.33 Here we take steps to implement this voluntary
industry solution, the substantive terms of which we find to be consistent with the public interest,
convenience, and necessity as well as the record in this proceeding for the reasons set forth below. First,
and in accordance with the industry consensus, we address interference concerns that have been raised as
obstacles to the voluntary adoption of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band. We find that the
current technical rules governing the D and E Blocks would likely lead to harmful interference to Lower
700 MHz B and C Block licensees and therefore do constitute a barrier to interoperability. We therefore
modify those rules to eliminate that barrier in a manner consistent with the industry solution. In addition,
after review of the extensive record in this proceeding, and based on our technical expertise and
predictive judgment, we find that any harmful interference to Lower 700 MHz mobile devices operating
on the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks as a result of Channel 51 broadcast operations is unlikely.
Having addressed the potential interference issues, we propose to modify AT&T’s B and C Block licenses
as outlined herein and in AT&T’s commitment letter34 to effectuate the voluntary industry solution and
resolve the lack of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band in an effective and efficient manner.
Implementing the substantive terms of the industry solution to establish a clear path to interoperability in
the Lower 700 MHz spectrum is consistent with the Commission’s longstanding interest in promoting the
interoperability of wireless mobile services (an objective that has been realized for cellular, PCS, AWS,
and public safety broadband, and other services) and furthers important public interests, including
promoting the widest possible deployment of mobile broadband services, ensuring the most efficient use
of spectrum, promoting competition and enhancing consumer choice of wireless services.
14.
Finally, in light of our foregoing actions, we modify the construction requirements for E
Block licensees, extending the interim and final deadlines and license terms and permitting licensees to
meet a population-based coverage requirement as an alternative to a geographic-based requirement. We
also modify the construction requirements for A and B Block licensees, extending the interim
construction benchmark deadline to December 13, 2016 and removing the interim deadline for certain A
Block licensees adjacent to Channel 51 operations.

31 See 47 C.F.R. §27.60.
32We designate as “rural” the population of Census blocks where the associated county has a population of 100
persons or less per square mile. Likewise, we estimate “rural” area (in square miles) by designating as rural the area
within counties that have a population of 100 persons or less per square mile.
33 See AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte; DISH Network Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte; and Coalition Sept. 10, 2013 Ex
Parte.
34 See AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte.
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A.

Technical Rules for D and E Blocks

15.
Background. Under Section 27.50(c)(7) of the Commission’s rules, a licensee authorized
to operate in the 710–716, 716–722, or 740–746 MHz bands, or in any unpaired spectrum blocks within
the 698–746 MHz band may operate a fixed or base station at an Effective Radiated Power (ERP) of up to
50 kW within its authorized bandwidth.35 Further, the antenna height for such stations is limited only to
the extent required to satisfy the power flux density requirements of Section 27.55(b) of the rules, which
provide that the power transmitted from a fixed or base station may not exceed 3000 microwatts per
square meter on the ground at any distance within 1 km of the stations.36 By contrast, other fixed or base
stations in the Lower 700 MHz band transmitting a signal with an emission bandwidth greater than 1
megahertz, including stations authorized in the Lower 700 MHz A and B Block, are restricted to an ERP
of 1,000 to 2,000 watts/MHz and an antenna height of 305 m height above average terrain (HAAT).37
16.
In 2011, the Commission recognized that high-powered operations in the D and E Blocks
could be a source of harmful interference, and conditioned the approval of AT&T’s acquisition of
Qualcomm’s Lower 700 MHz D and E Block spectrum on certain technical requirements designed to
ensure that AT&T’s operations on the Lower 700 MHz spectrum would not limit the potential of third
parties to fully utilize other Lower 700 MHz spectrum.38 The AT&T-Qualcomm Order also prohibited
AT&T from using the Qualcomm spectrum for uplink transmissions and imposed a coordination and
mitigation condition with respect to possible interference caused by AT&T’s use of the Lower 700 MHz
D and E Blocks for supplemental downlink to the uplink operations of other licensees operating in the
Lower 700 MHz A, B, and C Blocks.39
17.
The 3GPP has adopted certain technical specifications for user equipment operating in
different 700 MHz bands. 3GPP’s specifications for output power and the out-of-band emission (OOBE)
specifications for LTE equipment are the same for all commercial paired frequencies in the Lower 700
MHz band.40 The 3GPP specifications differ, however, with respect to receiver blocking, which is the
required ability of a receiver to tolerate a much stronger (Lower 700 MHz E Block) signal spectrally
located near the desired signal.41 The 3GPP-specified requirements for receiver blocking are the same for
Band Class 13 and Band Class 14 equipment, but Band Class 12 and Band Class 17 have distinct
blocking requirements, due to differences in each band’s relative proximity to neighboring high-powered
operations in the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks.42

35 47 C.F.R. § 27.50(c)(7).
36 Id.; see also 47 C.F.R. § 27.55(b).
37 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.50(c)(3), (4). Antenna height may increase if power level is reduced. See id.
38 Application of AT&T Inc. and Qualcomm Incorporated for Consent to Assign Licenses and Authorizations, WT
Docket 11-18, FCC 11-188, Order, 26 FCC Rcd 17589, 17616-17, ¶¶ 61-67 (2011) (AT&T-Qualcomm Order).
39 AT&T-Qualcomm Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17616-17, ¶¶ 61-67.
40 See Sections 6.2.2, 6.6.2, and 6.6.2.2.3 of 3GPP TS 36.101 V9.9.0 (2011-09). The class 3 devices (UE) maximum
transmit power is 23dBm for all bands with ±2dB tolerance, and Table 6.6.2.2.3-1 specifies the spectrum emission
limits for available channel bandwidths.
41 Receiver blocking requirements address a receiver’s ability to receive at least 95% of the maximum throughput at
its assigned channel in the presence of an unwanted interfering signal falling into the device receive band or into the
first adjacent 15 megahertz. See Table 7.6.1.1-2, Section 7.6.1 of 3GPP TS 36.104 V9.9.0 (2011-09).
42 The 3GPP standard specifies blocking requirements of -56 dBm and -30 dBm (maximum received signal strength
from the Lower 700 MHz E Block transmissions for LTE operations in the Lower 700 MHz B Block) for Band
Class 12 and Band Class 17 devices, respectively. Id.
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18.
In the Interoperability NPRM, the Commission sought comment on whether potential
interference from the 700 MHz Lower E Block might be preventing the voluntary adoption of Band Class
12 by Lower B and C block licensees.43 The Interoperability NPRM sought comment on whether there
are any measures the Commission could take to address such interference concerns, including whether
they could be adequately addressed by adopting technical conditions set forth in the AT&T-Qualcomm
Order
.44 The Commission sought comment on whether there were changes the Commission could adopt
to its rules that would address concerns that Lower 700 MHz B and C Block licensees might experience
harmful interference from Lower 700 MHz D and E Block operations and encourage these licensees to
voluntarily adopt interoperable devices.45 The Commission also sought comment on how such
modifications would affect the operations and plans of Lower E Block licensees, other than AT&T.46
19.
On September 10, 2013, AT&T and DISH made ex parte filings as part of the voluntary
industry solution in which they set out certain steps to address potential interference concerns from the
Lower 700 MHz E Block to the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks.47 DISH states that it shares the
Commission’s goals of promoting efficient spectrum use of the Lower 700 MHz band and, as part of an
industry consensus on interoperability, it is willing to consent to a reduction in power.48 Specifically,
DISH states that, to support the Commission’s efforts and objectives, it “will consent to a reduction of the
ERP of base stations for its Lower 700 MHz E Block licenses to 1,000 watts/MHz in urban areas and
2,000 watts/MHz in rural areas.”49 DISH further states that it “currently plans to deploy an LTE network
similar to what Lower 700 MHz A, B, C, and D block operators have deployed today, and to similarly
enhance the network as the LTE technology evolves, which would make the above power levels
consistent within the band.”50 Finally, DISH asserts that it “should retain a limited right to operate at
existing ERP limits pursuant to operator-to-operator agreements with other affected licensees or upon a
demonstration to the Commission of no harmful interference to other relevant Lower 700 MHz
licensees.”51 According to DISH “[t]he need to reserve a limited opportunity for high-power operations is
particularly important for rural America and the deployment of high-power services to underserved
communities.”52 DISH notes that “[t]his rural-focused flexibility – dependent upon actual licensee
agreement or further FCC action – will provide DISH with the opportunity to better serve underserved
communities without adversely affecting the Commission’s objective to better utilize the Lower 700 MHz
band.”53 In its filing, AT&T states that its commitments to Lower 700 MHz interoperability are premised
on requirements that all Lower 700 MHz E Block licensees transmitting a signal with an emission

43 Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3540, ¶ 42.
44 Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3541, ¶ 43.
45 Id.
46 Id.
47 See AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte; DISH Network Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte.
48 DISH Network Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 1-2.
49 DISH Network Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 2. DISH also states that it “is willing to consent to a reduction of power
if the Commission takes similar concrete steps to: (i) make corresponding changes to the E Block licensee
obligations and rights to coincide with the dramatic change in operating characteristics; and (ii) unlock the more
efficient use of spectrum in the AWS-4 band, the H Block, and the proposed AWS-3 bands.” Id.
50 DISH Network Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 2.
51 DISH Network Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 3.
52 Id.
53 Id.
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bandwidth greater than 1 megahertz are restricted to an ERP of 1,000 watts to 2,000 watts per megahertz
and an antenna height of 305 m HAAT.54
20.
Discussion. Based on the record, we find that, under the current rules, there is a
significant threat of harmful interference from high power transmissions in the Lower 700 MHz D and E
Blocks to Band Class 12 devices operating on the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks that could jeopardize
the viability of interoperability in the band. Consistent with the record in this proceeding and the AT&T-
Qualcomm Order,55
we revise the technical rules applicable to the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks by
reducing the maximum permissible power levels and antenna heights on these blocks. We also modify
our rules to limit all operations in the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks to downlink only. We provide
that Lower 700 MHz D and E Block licensees may operate particular sites at power levels higher than
permitted under the revised rules under certain specified conditions. We find these changes to be in the
public interest because they eliminate likely harmful interference, thereby promoting interoperable LTE
operations in the Lower 700 MHz band. Indeed, without these measures, the public would not be able to
realize the substantial benefits of mobile broadband deployment and interoperability in the Lower 700
MHz band. The technical changes we adopt today will continue to enable the six megahertz of unpaired
Lower 700 MHz E Block spectrum to be put to commercial use while facilitating effective and efficient
use of 36 megahertz of the Lower 700 MHz A, B, and C Blocks for mobile broadband services.56
21.
Specifically, we revise our rules to provide that the Lower 700 MHz D and E Block base
station transmitting a signal with an emission bandwidth of 1 MHz or less must not exceed 1 kW ERP in
non-rural areas or 2 kW ERP in rural areas. In addition, Lower 700 MHz D and E Block base station
transmitting a signal with an emission bandwidth greater than 1 MHz must not exceed 1 kW ERP per
megahertz in non-rural areas or 2 kW ERP per megahertz in rural areas. Lower 700 MHz D and E Block
licensees operating at these maximum permissible ERP are limited to an antenna height of 305 m
HAAT.57 We also limit operations in the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks to downlink only.58 Finally,
we find that it would serve the public interest to permit a Lower 700 MHz D or E Block licensee to
operate particular sites at a higher ERP level up to 50 kW in conjunction with the current power flux
density (PFD) limit59 if the Lower 700 MHz D or E Block licensee enters into operator-to-operator
agreements with other affected licensees or, absent agreements with all affected licensees, pursuant to a
waiver upon a demonstration to the Commission of no harmful interference to other relevant Lower 700
MHz licensees.

54 AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 6.
55 See AT&T-Qualcomm Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17616-17, ¶¶ 61-67.
56 DISH’s current deployment plans and its agreement to these technical rule changes provide further support for
such changes.
57 Except pursuant to consent or waiver as described below, the specific revisions to the Commission’s rules adopted
in this Report and Order that modify the applicable power limits and the antenna height restrictions applicable to
Lower 700 MHz D and E Block licenses are consistent with the current rules applicable to the Lower 700 MHz A
and B Block licenses and with conditions adopted in the AT&T-Qualcomm Order that were placed on all the Lower
700 MHz D Block licenses and those E Block licenses that are held by AT&T. See also 47 C.F.R § 27.50 (Tables 1,
2, 3, and 4). For the reasons set forth in this Report and Order, our revised rules will apply to all D and E Block
licensees, including AT&T, and operate to supersede the conditions adopted in the AT&T Qualcomm Order
applicable to AT&T’s D and E Block operations. The revised rules will supersede the conditions adopted in the
AT&T Qualcomm Order only after they become final and unappealable.
58 The new rule that provides that operations in the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks are limited to downlink only is
consistent with, and as noted above supersedes, a condition adopted in the AT&T-Qualcomm Order that applies to
all the Lower 700 MHz D Block licenses and those E Block licenses that are held by AT&T.
59 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.50(c)(7) and 27.55(b).
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22.
As discussed in detail below, we find that the current technical rules, which permit a 50
kW ERP level in conjunction with a PFD limit, are likely not sufficient to prevent harmful blocking
interference into neighboring operations in the Lower 700 MHz bands providing interoperable service.
More specifically, based on the record in this proceeding, we conclude first that low-powered two-way
mobile broadband LTE service provided on the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks using Band Class 12
devices would likely be subject to harmful blocking interference from high-powered Lower 700 MHz D
and E Block operations. In evaluating whether a Band Class 12 device is being subjected to harmful
interference based on the test data submitted in the record, we assume 3 dB desense60 as the appropriate
threshold, along with considerations of the probability and potential locations of such interference events.
In other words, a Band Class 12 device should only be required to receive successfully61 in the presence
of blocking interference, a desired signal 3 dB above the receiver’s reference sensitivity. We note that
this approach is consistent with the Commission’s analysis in the H Block proceeding. 62 Using 3 dB
desense, and based on the test data in the record, we find that there are likely to be significant areas where
a Band Class 12 device would be subjected to harmful blocking interference without a change to our
current technical rules. In particular, we find that the V-COMM Study shows the 3 dB desense of Band
Class 12 devices using the Lower 700 MHz B and C Block spectrum occurs when the Lower 700 MHz E
Block received signal strength is about -26 dBm.63 Therefore we conclude that interference to Band Class
12 devices is likely to occur when the interfering signal strengths reach those levels.64 Moreover, the V-
COMM and Hyslop-Kolodzy test data show that received signals of -26 dBm and higher from E Block
transmissions are not uncommon.65 Indeed, the Hyslop-Kolodzy Report shows areas on drive tests where
signals were stronger than -16 dBm, which is significantly worse than the -26 dBm threshold. Based on
these data and on our technical expertise and predictive judgment, we find that the current technical rules

60 Receiver “desense” or “desensitization” is the amount of receiver sensitivity degradation due to interference
relative to the unencumbered receiver sensitivity (the lowest received signal power that a “noise limited” receiver
needs to be functional), measured in dB. For example, a 3 dB desense occurs when the interference power is equal
to the receiver’s system noise power.
61 Receiver blocking requirements address a receiver’s ability to receive at least 95% of the reference throughput at
the reference sensitivity, at its assigned channel in the presence of an unwanted interfering signal falling into the
device receive band or into the first adjacent 15 megahertz. See Table 7.6.1.1-2, Section 7.6.1 of 3GPP TS 36.104
V9.9.0 (2011-09).
62 See Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services H Block, WT Docket 12-357, FCC 13-88, Report and Order,
28 FCC Rcd. 9483, 9527, 9537-8, ¶¶ 114, 143-45 (2013) (H Block Report and Order).
63 See V-COMM Reply Comments at 36, Figure 24 (V-COMM Study).
64 Based on these test data, we are not persuaded by DISH Network’s assertion that “Band 12 devices [will] exceed
the 3GPP minimum [Adjacent Channel Selectivity] and blocking specifications by more than 30 dB and can perform
at 95% throughput at adjacent E Block levels as high as -13 dBm.” DISH Network Aug. 8, 2013 Ex Parte at 6-7.
We note that DISH Network tested a single device and based its results on desense values far in excess of our 3dB
threshold, i.e., having used 6dB for the Lower B and C Blocks and 14dB for the Lower A Block, presumably to be
consistent with 3GPP test points. See DISH Network Ex Parte letter, Aug. 8, 2013, at 6-7, Attachment A at 10.
However, 3GPP test points are not intended to be reflective of an acceptable interference threshold. See Qualcomm
Reply Comments at 6.
65 See V-COMM Study at 42-44, Figures 28-33 (showing large red dashed lines around E Block sites where signal
could exceed -26 dBm) and Letter from R. Nash Neyland, Cavalier Wireless LLC and other parties to Marlene H.
Dortch, Secretary, FCC, Letter and Attachment, Doug Hyslop and Paul Kolodzy, “Lower 700 MHz Test Report:
Laboratory and Field Testing of LTE Performance near Lower E Block and Channel 51 Broadcast Stations,” WT
Docket No. 12-69, at 76, Table A.1: Nokia Field Measurements of Analog and Digital Television (May 29, 2012)
(Hyslop-Kolodzy Report).
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are not sufficient to protect against harmful interference, because harmful blocking interference is likely
to occur in a significant number of instances.66
23.
We next find that mitigation techniques for blocking interference from high-powered
Lower 700 MHz E Block transmitters are not practical to overcome potentially many instances of harmful
interference from the Lower 700 MHz E Block transmitters, would be costly and difficult67 and could
address only some instances of potential harmful interference. If Lower 700 MHz E Block stations were
to commence high-powered operations, Lower 700 MHz B and C Block licensees using Band Class 12
devices may need to make many RF network design and optimization modifications to mitigate the high-
power E Block interference due to a potentially large number of high-power 700 MHz E Block
transmitters, including the possible deployment of sites that otherwise would not be needed.68 In addition,
mitigating interference from high-powered Lower 700 MHz E Block transmitters by co-locating with
lower-powered LTE transmitters does not appear to be an effective option in many cases,69 given that
Lower 700 MHz licensees have already either planned or deployed their LTE networks in many cases and
that DISH Network has not deployed the vast majority of its Lower 700 MHz E Block transmitters yet.70
As a practical matter, co-location could be cost effective only with respect to Lower 700 MHz E Block
transmitters that exist at the time the LTE network is being designed and built. While co-location on
subsequently deployed Lower 700 MHz E Block transmitters is possible, newly co-located LTE
transmitters could require costly re-engineering for the rest of the LTE network. As a result, we conclude
that modification of the maximum permissible ERP level for the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks is
needed to lower the probability and decrease the potential instances and locations in which the receive
signal strengths of Lower 700 MHz D and E Block licensees could exceed -26 dBm.71
24.
Similar to other Lower 700 MHz licensees, we further revise our rules to provide that the
Lower 700 MHz D and E Block licensees operating at the maximum permissible ERP are limited to an
antenna height of 305 m HAAT.72 We note that power levels and antenna heights are closely linked:
operating less than the maximum permissible ERP would allow a licensee to have a higher HAAT.73
Fixed or base stations transmitting a signal with an emission bandwidth of 1 MHz or less may operate at
antenna heights greater than 305 m HAAT if ERP levels are reduced below 1kW for non-rural areas in
accordance with Table 1, or below 2kW ERP for rural areas in accordance with Table 2 of the
Commission’s rules, Section 27.50. Fixed or base stations transmitting a signal with an emission
bandwidth greater than 1 MHz may operate at antenna heights greater than 305 m HAAT if ERP levels

66 See Hyslop-Kolodzy Report at 28, Figure 4.5: Signal Strength: Lower E System in Atlanta. A service provider’s
signal may be significantly weaker in locations that are not represented by an antenna on the roof of a car that is
driving down the middle of the street. In some of these cases where the LTE receive signal is weak, the E Block
signal may also be weaker, but this is not necessarily true, especially if the E Block and LTE transmitters are not
collocated.
67 See, e.g., AT&T Comments at 8 and AT&T Reply Comments at 48-50.
68 This challenge is in contrast to the ability of B and C Block licensees to address potential reverse intermodulation
interference from Channel 51 transmitters, which is described below are limited in number, known, and stable, and
expected to decrease over time.
69 See AT&T Reply Comments at 8.
70 DISH Network Comments at 2-3 and DISH Network March 21, 2013 Ex Parte.
71 We note that a signal strength threshold of -26 dBm would likely cause harmful interference to adjacent channel
operations, and this threshold is much lower than what the current rules allow as signal strength on the ground which
is up to -12 dBm, using the current PFD limit.
72 47 C.F.R. § 27.50.
73 Id.
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are reduced below 1kW per megahertz for non-rural areas in accordance with Table 3, or below 2kW per
megahertz ERP for rural areas in accordance with Table 4 of the Commission’s rules, Section 27.50.
25.
Finally, consistent with DISH’s current plans to deploy an LTE network similar to that
deployed by Lower 700 MHz A, B, C, and D Block operators, we find it in the public interest to modify
our rules to impose certain restrictions on all D and E Block operations that are similar to conditions
imposed upon AT&T in the AT&T-Qualcomm Order in connection with AT&T’s use of its Lower 700
MHz D and E Block licenses. In particular, we revise our rules to provide that Lower 700 MHz D and E
Block licensees may not use their licenses for uplink transmission and must instead use this spectrum
only for downlink transmissions. This change serves the public interest by preventing harmful
interference and facilitating interoperability. Because the surrounding blocks are used for downlink
operations, uplink or TDD operations in the E Block will cause harmful interference to mobile receivers
in the adjacent bands unless very strict power limits, stringent out of band emission limits, and guard
bands are employed on all three blocks.
26.
These rule changes reflect the significant developments in the Lower 700 MHz band
since the original adoption of the technical rules in 2002. In 2002, the Commission recognized that high
power transmissions could cause interference to adjacent channels, especially those that operate at low
power levels, but found that the risk of harmful interference from power levels up to 50 kW could be
mitigated by limiting permissible power flux density levels for base stations operating in excess of 1kW
ERP.74 At that time, however, the Commission’s expectation was that operations at lower power would
not be prevalent, and we permitted power levels up to 50 kW in all of the Lower 700 MHz Blocks.75
Operation at similar power levels would result in signal desired to undesired ratios that would minimize
the likelihood of harmful interference. The Lower 700 MHz band was then the home to broadcasters “in
the midst of a technically complex transition to digital television.”76 In particular, when the Commission
adopted these rules in the Lower 700 MHz Report and Order, it observed that the Lower 700 MHz band
“will remain principally a television band until the end of the digital transition” pursuant to the
requirements of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.77 In light of the uncertainty regarding the availability
and future use of this band, and the expectation that much of the band would be occupied by full-power
broadcast stations for an indefinite period of time, the Commission adopted a flexible use approach to
allow for fixed and mobile services, along with “broadcast and other broadband applications that could
include two-way interactive, cellular, and mobile television broadcasting services.”78
27.
Since 2002, significant developments in the Lower 700 MHz band include the active
deployment of mobile broadband services in the Lower 700 MHz Band and the fact that it is no longer a
TV band. After the Commission adopted the Lower 700 MHz Report and Order, Congress passed the
Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 (DTV Act),79 which accelerated the DTV

74 Reallocation and Service Rules for the 698-746 MHz Spectrum Band (Television Channels 52-59), GN Docket
01-74, Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd 1022,1064, ¶ 104 (2002) (Lower 700 MHz Report and Order).
75 Lower 700 MHz Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd at1063-65, ¶¶ 102-107.
76 Lower 700 MHz Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd at 1028, ¶ 9.
77 See Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Although this Act required analog broadcasters to cease operations in the 700
MHz band by the end of 2006, it also required the Commission to extend the end of the transition on a market-by-
market basis if one or more of the four largest network stations or affiliates were not broadcasting in digital, digital
to analog converter technology was generally not available, or 15 percent or more television households were not
receiving a digital signal. Id.
78 Lower 700 MHz Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd at 1051-52, ¶ 70.
79 Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-171, 120 Stat. 4 (2006).
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transition by providing a date certain, February 17, 2009, for the end of the transition.80 The Commission
subsequently revised its rules in 2007 pursuant to the DTV Act prior to Auction 73, which included the
Lower A, B, and E Blocks.81 There also have been significant developments since 2007, when, as DISH
notes, the Commission declined to adjust the 50 kW power limit82 applicable to the Lower D and E
Blocks. Now six years later, by contrast, the demand for and use of mobile broadband services have
grown significantly and continue to increase, and Lower 700 MHz licensees are deploying LTE networks
to respond to this demand83 in spectrum adjacent to the Lower E Block, and there is no longer any high-
power broadcast service being provided to consumers on this spectrum. Moreover, the record of this
proceeding includes detailed studies of interference effects on the mobile devices now in use in
connection with the lower power services that have displaced higher power broadcast operations in the
band, which lower power services are more vulnerable to blocking interference from high power E Block
transmissions. The Commission has thus changed its position on this matter in light of these intervening
developments and the updated information in this record.
28.
As indicated above, we also find that these rule changes are fully consistent with the
current plans by the two major licensees of these Blocks and with the voluntary industry solution
proposed by stakeholders. Indeed, we find that these changes to our technical rules also will facilitate the
anticipated uses of the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks.84 As stated in its recent ex parte filing, DISH
Network plans to use its unpaired 700 MHz E Block licenses to deploy an LTE network similar to what
Lower 700 MHz A, B, C, and D Block operators have deployed today, and to similarly enhance the
networks as the LTE technology evolves.85 AT&T has indicated that its current plans are to use the
unpaired 700 MHz Lower D and E Block licenses it acquired from Qualcomm in December 2011 for LTE
video services while also looking at pairing this spectrum with other bands, as a supplemental downlink
for mobile LTE.86 These facts strongly support our conclusion that these modifications will further the
public interest.
29.
In sum, modifying the power limits and the antenna height restrictions for the Lower 700
MHz D and E Blocks, along with limiting these licenses to downlink transmissions, is necessary to enable
Lower 700 MHz interoperability by resolving concerns about interference from high-powered
transmissions and enable provisioning of mobile broadband LTE services in the adjacent bands. These
changes also will facilitate the plans of the Lower D and E Block licensees to utilize this spectrum to
provide commercial services to American consumers.

80 The end of the DTV transition was subsequently extended to June 30, 2009 pursuant to the DTV Delay Act. See
DTV Delay Act, Pub. L. 111-4, 123 Stat. 112 (2009).
81 See Service Rules for the 698-746, 747-762 and 777-792 MHz Bands, WT 06-150, Second Report and Order, 22
FCC Rcd 15289 (2007) (700 MHz Second Report and Order).
82 See 47 C.F.R. 27.50(c)(7).
83 For instance, AT&T has stated that it is using its Lower 700 MHz B and C Block spectrum for its LTE
deployment. See AT&T-Qualcomm Order 26 FCC Rcd at 17626-27, ¶¶ 91-92.
84 DISH Network Comments at 2 and DISH Network Ex Parte, March 21, 2013; AT&T-Qualcomm Order 26 FCC
Rcd at 17626-27, ¶¶ 91-92.
85 DISH Network Comments at 2 and DISH Network Ex Parte, March 21, 2013.
86 See “AT&T’s Randall Stephenson at Goldman Sachs 2013 Communacopia Conference” Sept. 24, 2013, available
at http://www.att.com/gen/landing-pages?pid=5718; as an audio file at
http://mp3.talkpoint.com/gold006/092413a_gm/20_M40XKUD_audio.mp3. See also AT&T-Qualcomm Order 26
FCC Rcd at 17626-27, ¶¶ 86-93.
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30.
We also find that, in addition to ensuring interoperability and facilitating use of the D and
E Blocks, these rule changes also will facilitate Lower 700 MHz A Block operations because LTE service
provided on the A Block would otherwise likely be subject to harmful interference from high-power
operations in the Lower 700 MHz E Block. In particular, mobile devices operating near a Lower E Block
transmitter but far from their serving LTE base stations face a substantial risk of receiving harmful
interference from E Block transmitters. The potential for this interference would exist because of vastly
different radio propagation characteristics between the high-powered Lower 700 MHz E Block and lower
powered A Block LTE systems, and such interference would result in significant degradation of service to
A Block operations in areas close to high-powered E Block transmitters. Accordingly, the harmonized
technical rules will facilitate provisioning of mobile broadband LTE services to consumers in all of the
paired Lower 700 MHz bands without significant service degradation.
31.
We agree as well with DISH’s proposal87 in its recent ex parte filing that it also would
serve the public interest to permit particular Lower 700 MHz D or E Block stations to operate under the
existing ERP level of up to 50 kW, in conjunction with the existing power flux density (PFD) limit, so
long as the licensee obtains consent of all affected licensees. In taking this action, we find that this
flexibility will provide D and E Block licensees with the opportunity to better serve rural and underserved
communities without adversely affecting the Commission’s objective to more effectively utilize the
Lower 700 MHz band.88 Specifically, we amend Section 27.50 to provide that Lower 700 MHz D and E
Block licensees may operate stations at existing power limits89 if they are able to obtain the written
concurrence of all potentially affected licensees. For purposes of this rule, we find that potentially
affected licensees are all A, B, C, D and E Block licensees licensed within 120 km of the proposed higher
powered site.90 Prior to operation, Lower 700 MHz D and E Block licensees must obtain written
concurrence from each potentially affected licensee and file a copy of each agreement with the Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau via FCC Form 601.91 If a licensee is unable to obtain written concurrence
from one or more affected licensees, it may seek a waiver of this rule with respect to a particular
transmitter. The waiver request must meet the waiver standard articulated in Section 1.925 of the
Commission’s Rules.92 In assessing whether a waiver grant is warranted, we will determine whether the
licensee has made reasonable efforts to obtain the written concurrence of all affected licensees and has
shown that operation at higher power from the particular transmitter facility will not cause harmful
interference to affected licensees’ existing operations. Our determination will take into account a number
of factors, including the following: the location of the transmitter, the technology, and relevant technical
parameters of the transmitter facility; the location(s) and technical characteristics of the potentially
affected licensees’ stations; and any engineering studies demonstrating no harmful interference. The
nature of the potential harmful interference suggests that it likely will be more difficult to demonstrate no
harmful interference to affected licensees in urban areas than in rural areas. Finally, in order to protect
future operations of potentially affected licensees, any waiver granted will be conditioned on causing no

87 DISH Network Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 3.
88 DISH Network Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 3.
89 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.50(c)(7) and 27.55(b).
90 This provision is consistent with our rule requiring coordination when licensees operate at higher power levels in
rural areas. 47 C.F.R. § 27.50(c)(5).
91 We note that there are fewer than 10 licensees that will file a copy of the agreement via FCC Form 601, and thus
our action here does not trigger the Paperwork Reduction Act, 5 C.F.R. § 1320.3(c)(4).
92 47 C.F.R. § 1.925.
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harmful interference to future deployments by affected licensees (or obtaining their written
concurrence).93
32.
Consistent with the AT&T Qualcomm Order, we also require that the Lower 700 MHz D
and E Block licensees take steps to mitigate the potential for harmful interference from their downlink
operations to uplink operations in the A, B, and C Blocks. In particular, we require D and E Block
licensees to take the following measures: (1) coordinate with A, B, or C Block licensees to mitigate the
potential for harmful interference; (2) mitigate interference to A, B, or C Block operations within 30 days
after receiving written notice from the affected A, B, or C Block licensees; and (3) ensure that D or E
Block transmissions are filtered at least to the extent that the D or E Block transmissions are filtered in
markets where the D or E Block licensee holds an A, B, or C Block license, as applicable.94 Coordination
and mitigation steps should include, but are not limited to, the following measures: If a Lower A, B, or C
Block licensee deploys a network after the D or E Block deploys a network on its Lower 700 MHz D or E
Block spectrum in the same geographic market, the D or E Block licensee will work with the A, B, or C
Block licensee to identify sites that will require additional filtering, and will help the A, B, or C Block
licensee to identify proper filters.95 The D or E Block licensee is also required to permit these licensees to
collocate on the towers it owns at prevailing market rates.96 On the other hand, if a Lower A, B, or C
Block licensee deploys a network before a D or E Block licensee deploys a network in the same
geographic market, the D or E Block licensee will work with the A, B, or C Block licensee to identify
sites that will need additional filtering and will purchase and pay for installation of required filters on
such sites.97 For purposes of this condition, “deployment of a network” shall be the date upon which the
network is able to support a commercial mobile voice or data service.98
33.
We find that we have authority to adjust the technical requirements for the Lower 700
MHz D and E Blocks as outlined above. Title III of the Act provides the Commission with broad
authority to manage spectrum, including allocating and assigning radio spectrum for spectrum based
services and modifying spectrum usage conditions in the public interest. The Commission is charged
with maintaining control “over all the channels of radio transmission” in the United States.99 Section 301
states that “[i]t is the purpose of this Act, among other things, to maintain the control of the United States
over all the channels of radio transmission; and to provide for the use of such channels, but not the
ownership thereof, by persons for limited periods of time, under licenses granted by Federal authority,
and no such license shall be construed to create any right, beyond the terms, conditions, and periods of the
license.”100 The issuance of a Commission license does not convey any ownership or property interests in
the spectrum and does not provide the licensee with any rights that can override the Commission’s proper

93 While we did not address such a limited exception to reduced power in the AT&T-Qualcomm Order, that order
was premised on questions raised by other Lower 700 MHz band licensees about “the potential for harmful
interference” to them. AT&T-Qualcomm Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17615-16 ¶¶ 60-65. The requirements set forth
above for this limited exception to the reduced power limits for D and E Block licensees are consistent with
protecting against such harmful interference. As noted above, our revised rules supersede the operational conditions
adopted in the AT&T-Qualcomm Order that are applicable to AT&T’s D and E Block licenses.
94 See AT&T-Qualcomm Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17617, ¶ 67.
95 Id.
96 Id.
97 Id.
98 Id.
99 47 U.S.C. § 301.
100 Id.
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exercise of its regulatory power over the spectrum.101 As the D.C. Circuit held well before the E Block
auction here, Congress specifically applied to licenses acquired by auction this “long tradition of
Commission authority to change rules governing already-issued licenses.”102
34.
We therefore take our actions here to revise the technical service rules applicable to the D
and E Blocks pursuant to Sections 303(b) and 303(f) of the Act.103 Section 316 of the Act grants the
Commission broad authority to modify existing licenses if it determines that such action “will promote
the public interest, convenience, and necessity.”104 We do not disregard the importance of stability in our
rules, but the substantial record evidence now compiled in this proceeding concerning both the likely
harmful interference from higher power D and E Block operations to the services actually now deployed
in the B and C Blocks and the public interest benefits of securing interoperability outweighs this concern.
As the demand for mobile broadband continues to grow, it is critical that there is nationwide mobile
broadband coverage, including service in rural and underserved areas, competition within the mobile
wireless broadband industry that provides consumers (particularly in these isolated areas) with greater
selection from among different service offerings and pricing plans, and choice for consumers so that they
can more readily change providers in order to avail themselves of competitive alternatives. Revising the
technical requirements for Lower 700 MHz D and E Block licenses is a critical part of allowing
interoperability and necessary to eliminate the potential for harmful interference to other 700 MHz bands.
These changes are thus strongly in the public interest and authorized by Title III.

B.

Channel 51

1.

Assessment of Likelihood of Reverse Intermodulation Interference

35.
Background. Channel 51 (692-698 MHz), which has been allocated for TV broadcast
operations at power levels up to 1000 kW, lies just below the Lower 700 MHz Band.105 One of the
interference issues raised by some as a possible technical obstacle to interoperability in the Lower 700
MHz band is “reverse intermodulation interference” from DTV Channel 51 broadcast transmissions to the
operations of wireless providers in the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks.106 The issue of reverse
intermodulation interference could arise when the Channel 51 signals interact, or “mix,” with
transmissions from a wireless device to create a third transmission, or intermodulation product, that falls
on a frequency used by the wireless device for receiving operation.107

101 47 U.S.C. §§ 301, 304, 309. Section 301 states that the Act provides for use, under federally-issued licenses of
limited duration, of channels of radio transmission, “but not the ownership thereof,” and that “no such license shall
be construed to create any right, beyond the terms, conditions, and periods of the license.” Section 304 states that
“[n]o station license shall be granted by the Commission until the applicant therefore shall have waived any claim to
the use of any particular frequency or of the electromagnetic spectrum as against the regulatory power of the United
States because of the previous use of the same, whether by license or otherwise.” Section 309(h) requires that each
FCC license contain, inter alia, a condition that the “station license shall not vest in the licensee any right to operate
the station nor any right in the use of the frequencies designated in the license beyond the term thereof nor in any
other manner than authorized therein.”
102 Celtronix Telemetry, Inc. v. FCC, 272 F.3d 585, 589-90 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (citing 47 U.S.C. §§ 309(j)(6)(C)-(D).
103 47 U.S.C. §§ 303(b), 303(f).
104 47 U.S.C. § 316.
105 See 47 C.F.R. § 73.622(f)(8). Maximum ERP of 1000 kW is allowed if antenna HAAT is at or below 365
meters. For higher HAAT levels, lower maximum ERP is allowed according to the “Maximum Allowable ERP and
Antenna Height for DTV Stations on Channels 14-59, All Zones” table. Id. § 73.622(f)(8)(i).
106 Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3536 ¶ 32.
107 See, e.g., AT&T Comments at 29; Qualcomm Comments at 34-35; V-COMM Study at 4-5.
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36.
In the Interoperability NPRM, the Commission requested that interested parties submit
measurements and quantitative analyses regarding the interference risk from adjacent Channel 51
transmissions for Band Class 12 devices operating in the Lower B and C Blocks, asked how the
Commission could encourage voluntary industry efforts to find interference solutions, and requested that
commenters quantify the costs of implementing any proposed solutions to interference issues.108
37.
The record includes studies on reverse intermodulation interference to Band Class 12
devices on Lower 700 MHz Blocks B and C from Channel 51 operations. Studies were submitted by a
number of Lower 700 MHz A Block licensees (consisting of the V-COMM Study and the Hyslop-
Kolodzy Report),109 to demonstrate that any such interference is unlikely, and if it does occur there are
reasonable steps an operator can take to mitigate it. AT&T and Qualcomm filed studies that argue to the
contrary (consisting of AT&T submitted studies from Reed and Tripathi,110 PCTEST,111 and 7Layers112,
and Qualcomm’s own study.113 In its recent commitment letter, AT&T states that “high power broadcasts
currently permitted in Channel 51 and in the Lower 700 MHz E block create the potential for significant
interference problems for LTE deployments.”114
38.
Discussion. Based on the extensive record in this proceeding and our technical and
predictive judgment, we conclude that harmful interference to Lower 700 MHz mobile devices operating
on the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks as a result of Channel 51 broadcast operations is unlikely for a
number of reasons.115 Moreover, we find that providers can undertake reasonable steps to mitigate the
impacts of any interference that might occur from Channel 51 transmissions to LTE Band Class 12

108 See Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3539-44 ¶¶ 40-52.
109 V-COMM Study; V-COMM, L.L.C’s Ex Parte Reply Comments, WT Docket No. 12-69 (Oct. 26, 2012) (V-
COMM Oct. 26, 2012 Ex Parte Reply Comments); Hyslop-Kolodzy Report.
110 AT&T Comments, Exhibit A, Jeffrey H. Reed and Nishith D. Tripathi, “Impact of Channel 51 and E Block
Interference on Band 12 and Band 17 User Equipment Receivers” (Reed and Tripathi Report); AT&T Reply
Comments, Attachment A, Jeffrey H. Reed and Nishith D. Tripathi, “Supplemental Analysis: Impact of Channel 51
and E Block Interference on Band 12 and Band 17 User Equipment Receivers,” (Reed and Tripathi Reply Report)
and Exhibit A Test Methodology. AT&T submitted additional material from Reed and Tripathi. See Letter from
David L. Lawson, Sidley Austin LLP, for AT&T, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, Letter & Attachment
(AT&T Oct. 3, 2012 Letter), Attachment, Reed and Tripathi, “Analysis of the V-COMM Report Estimating the
Impact of Channel 51 and E Block Interference on Band 12 and Band 17 User Equipment Receivers” (Reed and
Tripathi Supplement).
111 Reed and Tripathi Reply Report, Attachment A, Exhibit B, “Evaluation Report; Assess Potential Interference to
Band Class 12 and Band Class 17 LTE Devices from Channel 51 Broadcasting” (prepared by PCTEST Engineering
Laboratory, Inc., (PCTEST) for AT&T Services Inc.) (PCTEST Study).
112 Reed and Tripathi Reply Report, Attachment A, Exhibit C, “Test Report: Assess Interference to Band Class 12
LTE Devices from Channel 51 Broadcasting” (prepared by 7Layers for AT&T Services Inc.) (7Layers Study);
AT&T Oct. 3, 2012 Letter, Reed and Tripathi Supplement, Exhibit A, 7Layers, “Test Report: Test Configuration for
Evaluation of the Impact of Varying LTE Signal Levels on the Band 12 Device Performance in the Presence of
Channel 51 Interference” (7Layers Supplement).
113 See Qualcomm Comments (also referred to as “Qualcomm Study”); see also Qualcomm Reply Comments. In
addition, Motorola comments that Band Class 12 devices will have reduced sensitivity due to Channel 51
operations. See Motorola Comments at 2-3.
114 AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 1.
115 See 47 C.F.R. §2.1(c)(defining “Interference” and “Harmful Interference”); H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC
Rcd at 9494-95 ¶ 23. See also Hyslop-Kolodzy Report at 67-68; Vulcan Comments at 14-15; U.S. Cellular
Comments at 6-8; V-COMM Study at 2, 9, 11-29.
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devices.116 In addition, any issue is likely to be time-limited, as the number of full-power Channel 51
stations decreases over time. We note as well that, even though AT&T identifies this issue in its
September 10 letter, the proposed conditions in its letter and attachment, upon which its commitment of
interoperability is based, address only potential E Block interference, and do not include any provisions
relating to potential reverse intermodulation interference from Channel 51 broadcast operations. 117
39.
We find first that reverse intermodulation interference would occur only in the unlikely
event of a coincidence of a number of different factors. For Channel 51 broadcast transmission to cause
reverse intermodulation interference, all of the following would have to occur at the same time: the
Channel 51 broadcast transmission reaches a very strong signal strength threshold received at the LTE
mobile device, the LTE device is transmitting and receiving in certain specific frequencies within that
carrier, and the mobile device is transmitting at maximum power.118 We also note there is a stable set of
no more than 27 full-power, licensed broadcast facilities in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, and over time
the number of full-power Channel 51 stations will likely decrease, principally as a result of the incentive
auction proceeding.
40.
Our conclusions rely as well on our evaluation of the evidence in the record. We find
that the tests and analyses of the proponents of an interoperability rule are more convincing than the tests
and analyses submitted by opponents because, inter alia, the proponents used more reasonable testing
parameters such as the placement of the LTE carrier frequency and the number of resource blocks.119 The
proponents also tested more devices under more possible interference scenarios which give a more
comprehensive picture of the overall device performance, in both lab and field tests.120 Qualcomm used a
“commercially-available power amplifier” that transmitted at 1930 MHz,121 which is not as representative
of operating in the 700 MHz band as the 700 MHz devices that were used in the other tests.
41.
The evidence in the record also shows that the high Channel 51 signal levels that raise the
risk of interference occur rarely. For instance, V-COMM’s testing shows that the level of a Channel 51
signal strength threshold that would likely cause interference is -13 dBm with 1 dB desense.122 According
to the record, only 8 of 26 Channel 51 full-power, licensed broadcast facilities in the continental U.S.
could, using the conservative line-of-sight (LOS) propagation model, theoretically exceed the signal
strength threshold of -13 dBm, and these areas are limited to 450 meters or less from the Channel 51
broadcast tower.123 In addition, V-COMM’s drive testing results near actual Channel 51 DTV
transmitters show that very high Channel 51 signal strengths, e.g. above -13 dBm, are mostly confined to

116 See V-COMM Study at 2, 9; see also RCA Reply Comments at 8, n. 19.
117 See AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte, generally.
118 See Hyslop-Kolodzy Report at 67-68; Vulcan Comments at 14-15; U.S. Cellular Comments at 6-8.
119 See, e.g., Letter from Christopher J. Termini, Counsel to Vulcan Wireless LLC, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary,
FCC, WT Docket No. 12-69, at 2 (filed Aug. 9, 2012) (Vulcan Aug. 9, 2012 Ex Parte) at 2; V-COMM Oct. 26, 2012
Ex Parte Reply Comments at 14. See also PCTEST Study at 14; 7Layers Supplement at 6-7.
120 Compare V-COMM Study at 5-6; V-COMM Oct. 26, 2012 Ex Parte Reply Comments at 10, 14-15; Hyslop-
Kolodzy Report at 15; Letter from Michele C. Farquhar, Counsel to Vulcan Wireless LLC, to Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary, FCC, WT Docket No. 12-69, at attachment slide 3 (filed Nov. 20, 2012)(Vulcan Nov. 20, 2012 Ex Parte)
with PCTEST Study,7Layers Study, 7Layers Supplement, Exhibit A at 3.
121 See Qualcomm Comments at 37 & n.40; Letter from Benjamin M. Moncrief, Dir. Govt. Relations, C Spire
Wireless to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, WT Docket No. 12-69, at 2 (filed Aug. 3, 2012) (C Spire Aug. 3,
2012 Ex Parte) at 1.
122 V-COMM Study at 9.
123 Id. at 2, 9, 11-14 and Figures 5, 6; see also Hyslop-Kolodzy Report at 48-51.
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locations near Channel 51 transmitters.124 However, to be consistent with the Commission’s analysis in
the H Block proceeding,125 we find that using a 3dB desensitization level is more appropriate in this case.
According to lab tests in the record, this requires a Channel 51 signal strength of -9 dBm, or 4 dB stronger
than the level used by V-COMM. The drive tests in the record demonstrate that a signal level of -9 dBm
is very rare in the field.
42.
Accordingly, we conclude that interference allegations based on reverse intermodulation
products arising from Channel 51 broadcast operations are not an impediment to implementation of the
voluntary industry solution for achieving interoperability.
2.

Clearing Channel 51

43.
While we find that the presence of Channel 51 broadcast stations is not an impediment to
700 MHz interoperability, the clearing of Channel 51 broadcast stations can lead to other important public
interest benefits by removing certain limitations placed on operations in the adjacent Lower A Block.126
The Commission has taken a number of steps to limit the potential impact of Channel 51 broadcast
operations on the use of Lower 700 MHz band spectrum.127 In August 2011, the Media Bureau adopted a
freeze on both the filing of new applications and the processing of pending applications with respect to
operations on Channel 51, in order to permit the Commission to evaluate claims of interference for Lower
700 MHz A Block licensees in planning their network deployments.128 In addition, the Media Bureau
lifted the previous freeze on the filing of petitions for rulemaking by full power television stations seeking
to relocate from Channel 51 pursuant to voluntary relocation agreements with Lower 700 MHz A Block
licensees.129 Media Bureau staff has approved, or has under review, agreements to relocate Channel 51
operations or otherwise modify those operations that reduce the possibility of interference.130
44.
Moreover, in September 2012, the Commission launched, pursuant to the Spectrum Act,
the incentive auction process with the aim of repurposing broadcast television spectrum for mobile
broadband use.131 In the Incentive Auctions NPRM, the Commission sought comment on facilitating
requests for channel relocation prior to the auction associated with voluntary agreements between the

124 See V-COMM Study at 11-29.
125 See H Block Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 9527 ¶¶ 114, 9537-38 ¶¶143-45.
126 See infra Sec. III.D.2.
127 Parties have raised issues concerning broadcast operations in Channel 51, including the clearing of the channel.
See, e.g., Letter from Michele C. Farquhar, Counsel to Vulcan Wireless LLC, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary,
FCC, Ex Parte (filed Sept. 20, 2013) (Vulcan Sept. 20, 2013 Ex Parte).
128 See General Freeze on the Filing and Processing of Applications for Channel 51 Effective Immediately and Sixty
(60) Day Amendment Window for Pending Channel 51 Low Power Television TV Translator and Class A
Applications, Public Notice, 26 FCC Rcd 11409 (MB 2011) (Channel 51 PN); see also Petition for Rulemaking and
Request for Licensing Freezes by CTIA - the Wireless Association and Rural Cellular Association, RM-11626, filed
March 15, 2011.
129 Channel 51 PN, 26 FCC Rcd at 11411; see also Freeze on the Filing of Petitions for Digital Channel
Substitutions, Effective Immediately, Public Notice, 26 FCC Rcd 7721 (MB 2011).
130 See, e.g., Amendment of Section 73.622(i), Post-Transition Table of DTV Allotments, Television Broadcast
Stations (Greenville, North Carolina), MB Docket No. 12-130, RM-11662, Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 8865
(MB 2012); Amendment of Section 73.622(i), Post-Transition Table of DTV Allotments, Television Broadcast
Stations (Lincoln, Nebraska), MB Docket No. 110192, RM-11646, Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 433 (MB 2012).
131 See Incentive Auctions NPRM; see also Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Seeks to Supplement the Record
on the 600 MHz Band Plan, GN Docket No. 12-268, Public Notice, 28 FCC Rcd 7414 (WTB 2013) (Band Plan
PN
).
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affected parties.132 In addition, the Commission clarified that any Channel 51 station that relocates
pursuant to a private arrangement, and is subsequently required to relocate a second time because its
channel assignment is changed during the auction’s repacking process, will be eligible for payment of
costs and will not be disadvantaged in its ability to claim reimbursement.133
45.
In April 2012, the Commission adopted rules for the sharing of broadcast channels in
connection with the incentive auction.134 The Commission is interested in possibly authorizing one or
more channel sharing pilots in order to demonstrate the technical and legal arrangements necessary to
implement a successful channel sharing operation. We encourage Channel 51 broadcasters to consider
participating in such a pilot and to bring proposals for channel sharing pilots to the Media Bureau for
consideration. Although it is likely that Channel 51 clearing issues in connection with the Incentive
Auctions
proceeding will not be resolved and fully implemented for several years, we note that all of the
band plans in the Incentive Auctions NPRM and record propose to clear Channel 51, and that the Incentive
Auctions NPRM
seeks comment on the appropriate length of time for television stations to move channels
or cease broadcasting after the completion of the incentive auction.135

C.

Transition to Interoperability

46.
Background. In the Interoperability NPRM, the Commission expressed its preference for
an industry solution to the lack of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band.136 The Commission
stated that an industry solution would be preferable because it would allow the market greater flexibility
in responding to evolving consumer needs and dynamic and fast-paced technological developments.137 At
the same time, the Commission recognized that, if the industry failed to move toward interoperability in a
timely manner, additional regulatory steps might be justified.138
47.
Discussion. As noted above, an industry solution that will resolve the lack of
interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band has now been developed. In a letter filed on September 10,
2013, AT&T committed to adopting interoperability upon resolution of interference issues associated
with high power broadcast transmissions from the Lower 700 MHz E Block.139 A coalition of Lower 700
MHz A Block licensees, joined by the Competitive Carriers Association, filed a letter supporting AT&T’s

132 Incentive Auctions NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 12416 ¶ 165 & n.246 (noting the Commission has been facilitating
such relocation requests since August 2011). Apart from relocation, in the Channel Sharing Report and Order the
Commission adopted a general framework for channel sharing in connection with the incentive auction process, and
stated that it would establish in a future proceeding additional rules governing channel sharing arrangements.
Innovation in the Broadcast Television Bands: Allocations, Channel Sharing and Improvements to the VHF, ET
Docket No. 10-235, Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 4616, 4621-25 ¶¶ 11-18 (2012) (Channel Sharing Report and
Order
). The Commission sought comment on channel sharing issues in the Incentive Auctions NPRM. See
Incentive Auctions NPRM
, 27 FCC Rcd at 12477-80 ¶¶ 362-72.
133 Incentive Auctions NPRM 27 FCC Rcd at 12472 ¶ 349.
134 See Channel Sharing Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 4616; see also Incentive Auctions NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at
12477-80 ¶¶ 362-72. The Commission specified that the rules adopted in the Channel Sharing Report and Order
“will be limited to broadcasters participating in an incentive auction process,” and that channel sharing outside of
the incentive auction context would be considered in a future proceeding. Channel Sharing Report and Order, 27
FCC Rcd at 4622 ¶ 11.
135 Incentive Auctions NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 12464-66 ¶¶ 321-329.
136 See Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3543, ¶ 49.
137 See Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3543, ¶ 49.
138 See Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3543, ¶ 49.
139 See AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 1-3.
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commitments as a means to ensure restoration of interoperability.140 Having resolved the potential
interference issues as discussed above, we now take steps to implement AT&T’s voluntary commitments
and establish a path to interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band.
48.
Specifically, pursuant to Section 316, we propose in the Order of Proposed Modification
below to modify AT&T’s B and C Block licenses to implement its interoperability commitments.141
These commitments relate both to AT&T’s deployment of a Multi-Frequency Band Indicator (MFBI)
software feature (a network technology that enables interoperability by permitting simultaneous support
of both Band Class 12 and Band Class17 devices) and to AT&T’s transition to Band Class 12 capable
devices. As set out in AT&T’s letter:
Deployment of MFBI
1) AT&T commits to moving forward expeditiously with testing the 3GPP Multi-Frequency
Band Indicator software feature as soon as it is made available to AT&T by its RAN vendors.
AT&T further agrees to fully deploy the new MFBI software feature in its 700 MHz network
within 24 months of September 30, 2013. The end of the 24-month period will also
commence the beginning of the device roll-out period.
2) If AT&T concludes that, despite its best efforts, implementation of the MFBI feature within 24
months as committed to herein will result in significant negative customer impact, AT&T will
file a certification, consistent with Commission rules (including but not limited to Sections
1.16, 1.17 and 1.65142), so asserting and outlining in specific detail the commercially
reasonable steps taken to meet the deadline and the reason for the delay. Any such filing must
be made on or before August 31, 2015. With the filing of such a certification, the 24-month
deadline for MFBI implementation and the start of the Band 12 capable device roll-out period
shall be extended by the period requested in the certification, up to an additional 6 months.
3) Once MFBI has been fully implemented by AT&T consistent with paragraph 2, AT&T shall
provide LTE roaming to carriers with compatible Band 12 devices, consistent with the
Commission’s rules on roaming.
The Transition
4) “Band 12 capable device” shall mean any device that is capable of supporting 3GPP Band
Class 12. At this time, AT&T is exploring various Band 12 implementation approaches with
its chipset and OEM partners and AT&T reserves the right to pursue the most efficient
solutions available based on evolving network and device capabilities on a technology neutral
basis.
5) During the first year of the device roll-out period, 50% of all new unique devices that operate
on the paired Lower 700 MHz bands, as identified by unique SKU numbers, introduced by
AT&T into its device portfolio will be Band 12 capable devices. Memory or color finish
variations on a single device shall not be considered separate unique SKUs. Machine-to-

140 See Coalition Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte.
141 AT&T’s commitments are premised on final resolution of the E Block interference issues, in accordance with the
power and height limitations adopted above. AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 6.
142 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.16, 1.17.1.65.
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Machine (M-to-M) devices shall not be counted as “new unique devices” for purposes of this
commitment.
6) During the second year of the device roll-out period, 75% of new unique devices that operate
on the paired Lower 700 MHz bands, as identified by unique SKU numbers, introduced by
AT&T into its device portfolio will be Band 12 capable devices. Memory or color finish
variations on a single device shall not be considered separate unique SKUs. M-to-M devices
shall not be counted as “new unique devices” for purposes of this commitment.
7) Commencing at the conclusion of the second year of the device roll-out period, all new unique
devices that operate on the paired Lower 700 MHz bands introduced by AT&T into its device
portfolio will be Band 12 capable devices. In addition, from that time forward, AT&T will
agree that its specifications for all new devices that are designed to operate in the paired Lower
700 MHz frequencies, including M-to-M devices, will call for Band 12 capability. However,
M-to-M devices shall not be counted as “new unique devices” for purposes of this
commitment.
8) The commitments outlined above apply to all new unique data-capable devices that connect to
or provide connectivity on AT&T’s paired Lower 700 MHz FDD network. AT&T’s
commitment shall not extend to any devices that are uniquely designed to operate on spectrum
bands owned and operated by AT&T that are not in the paired Lower 700 MHz bands. AT&T
reserves the express right to support devices that do not operate in the paired Lower 700 MHz
bands.
9) To demonstrate progress on its commitments, AT&T shall submit comprehensive written
reports and meet with the Commission staff at each of 12 months, 18 months and 24 months
from the date of its September 10, 2013 commitment letter that will provide information on
AT&T’s progress toward meeting these commitments. Additionally, AT&T shall provide
comprehensive written reports at 28 months, 40 months and 46 months to report on progress
during the device roll-out period, and it shall file a certification to the Commission at the end
of the device roll-out period to certify final completion of these commitments within 30 days.
10) Fulfillment of these commitments will require the implementation of new functionality in
AT&T’s paired Lower 700 MHz network as well as collaboration with AT&T’s chipset and
OEM partners and vendors. AT&T will use its best efforts to proceed diligently to complete
the activities necessary to fulfill its commitments. However, if at any time, AT&T encounters
obstacles beyond its control that threaten its ability to meet these commitments, or undermine
the quality of the service it is providing on its network, AT&T reserves the right to so inform
the Commission and seek an extension of time or a waiver as appropriate.
11) Consistent with these commitments, AT&T anticipates that its focus and advocacy within the
3GPP standards setting process will shift to Band 12 related projects and work streams. More
specifically, upon adoption of this commitment, AT&T commits to placing priority within the
3GPP RAN committee on the development of various Band 12 carrier aggregation scenarios.
Upon completing implementation of the MFBI feature, AT&T anticipates that its focus on
new standards related to the paired Lower 700 MHz spectrum will be almost exclusively on
Band 12 configurations, features and capabilities. AT&T reserves the right to seek revisions
and updates to Band 17 standards to the extent necessary to support legacy Band 17 devices
and continuing Band 17 functionality on its network.
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12) AT&T’s commitments to Lower 700 MHz interoperability outlined in its letter are premised
on final resolution of the E Block interference issues, which requires the Commission to adopt
an Order requiring that all E Block licensees transmitting a signal with an emission bandwidth
greater than 1 megahertz are restricted to an ERP of 1,000 to 2,000 watts/MHz and an antenna
height of 305 m above average terrain. AT&T anticipates that the Commission will adopt
such an Order no later than December 31, 2013. If such an Order is not adopted by the
Commission, or if it is adopted but subject to appellate review, AT&T reserves the right to
declare these commitments null and void.
49.
We find that implementing the voluntary industry solution for interoperability by
adopting AT&T’s commitments as modifications would promote the public interest, convenience and
necessity. These modifications would establish a clear path toward interoperability for the Lower 700
MHz band. In doing so, they would promote the efficient use of spectrum, the availability of higher
quality and lower priced offerings and enhanced choices for customers of all wireless broadband
providers, overall timely deployment of nationwide wireless broadband coverage, and the delivery of
such service to rural and underserved areas. Our actions in proposing these modifications here are
consistent with the Commission’s longstanding interest in promoting the interoperability of mobile
services (an objective that has been realized for cellular, PCS, AWS, and public safety broadband
service), and allow the market greater flexibility in responding to evolving consumer needs and dynamic
and fast-paced technological developments. By ensuring that AT&T, the largest license holder of
spectrum in the B and C Blocks, transitions to interoperability, we conclude that the steps we take today
will be enough to ensure that the public interest benefits of interoperability are realized while avoiding
unnecessary regulatory burdens.
50.
The record demonstrates that the existence of two incompatible band classes is a
substantial obstacle to the ability of subscribers to switch their service provider to take advantage of
higher quality or lower cost service.143 Conversely, as the Commission has recognized, interoperability
directly promotes “the ability of consumers to switch . . . at low cost.” 144 Accordingly, by establishing a
clear path to interoperability, we promote consumers’ ability to choose the higher quality service at
affordable prices and thus increased competition.
51.
In addition, adopting the industry plan for achieving interoperability will help promote
deployment of mobile broadband services and the full and efficient use of Lower 700 MHz spectrum.
The record shows that the absence of interoperability has delayed deployment of networks in Lower 700
MHz band spectrum. U.S. Cellular, for example, asserts that, except for its own deployment, “there has
been no comparable deployment of advanced 4G LTE services by Band 12 licensees, including Cavalier
Wireless, LLC, Continuum 700 LLC, C Spire Wireless, Vulcan Wireless LLC and others, despite
significant efforts to overcome the lack of a Band 12 device ecosystem. Cox TMI Wireless LLC even
was forced to abandon its original plans to launch 4G LTE services.”145 Likewise, Cellular South, Inc.
d/b/a C Spire Wireless (Cellular South) asserts that the lack of available Band Class 12 devices and the

143 See, e.g., Comments of Rural Telecommunications Group at 6.
144 Amendment of the Commission’s Rules to Establish New Personal Communications Services, Memorandum
Opinion and Order
, 9 FCC Rcd 4957, 5021-22 ¶¶ 163-64 (1994). See also T-Mobile Reply Comments at 5-6; Letter
from Michele C. Farquhar, Counsel to Vulcan Wireless LLC to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC WT Docket No.
12-69, filed July 15, 2013 at 3; Consumers Union et al. Comments at 5. See also Implementation of Section 6002(b)
of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, Annual Report and Analysis of Competitive Market Conditions
with Respect to Mobile Wireless, Including Commercial Mobile Services, WT Docket No. 10-133, Fifteenth Report,
26 FCC Rcd 9664, 9816 at ¶ 256; 16th Annual Mobile Wireless Competition Report 28 FCC Rcd at 3900-01 ¶ 306.
145 U.S. Cellular Comments at 3.
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inability of such devices to roam nationwide render the current environment inadequate “to support
commercial deployment of a LTE network on Band 12.”146 Cavalier Wireless argues that the lack of
interoperability has “delayed new wireless broadband deployments, services, and competition in
Mississippi, Arkansas, and in rural states across the country.”147
52.
The record indicates that interoperability will promote further build out and deployment
of Lower 700 MHz spectrum, with the resulting benefits of competitive mobile broadband service
available to consumers. Cellular South, for example, asserts that, upon adoption of an interoperability
requirement, it would begin “network design, site acquisition, and engaging equipment and device
vendors to support the deployment of 4G LTE services.”148 Other parties likewise assert that resolving
interoperability would facilitate their deployment of advanced wireless services.149 We find that the lack
of interoperability and of the development of a Band Class 12 ecosystem has seriously limited
development of the Lower 700 MHz band and that 700 MHz interoperability will encourage and enable
Lower 700 MHz A Block licensees to further invest in and build out advanced broadband networks. The
difficulties of obtaining prompt delivery from vendors of the choices of 4G devices at affordable prices
necessary to attract and retain subscribers have discouraged LTE network deployments for smaller new
market entrants. We conclude that, by promoting deployment of advanced mobile broadband networks,
AT&T’s interoperability commitments would serve the public interest by encouraging licensees to deploy
networks in the Lower 700 MHz band using the most efficient wireless technology available today.
53.
Our actions today also further our statutory mandate to promote nationwide service.150
Most A Block licensees are small or regional businesses,151 many of which provide or would be able to
provide wireless broadband service to nearly 50 million people in rural areas, where 1.3 million people
(and approximately 13% of rural road miles) still lack any such service at all. More than one-third of the
population in rural areas still lacks coverage from more than two mobile broadband service providers.152
Rural low density areas are often low income areas (per capita income less than $30,000 per year.)
Evidence in the record shows that the absence of interoperability has affected these licensees’ ability to
deploy broadband services in the Lower 700 MHz bands.153 By eliminating barriers to deployment by

146 Cellular South Comments at 3-5, 20. Similarly, Pittsburgh Mobile asserts that “lack of interoperability is an
absolute barrier to entry for small businesses.” See Letter from Vincent D. McBride, Pittsburgh Mobile to Marlene
H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, WT Docket No. 12-69 at 2 (filed Jun. 13, 2013).
147 Letter from Susan Butler on behalf of Cavalier Wireless, LLC to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, WT Docket
No. 12-69, at 2 (filed Jun. 24, 2013). By contrast, Cavalier asserts, when interoperability existed during the first
three generations of wireless networks, “rural, regional and new entrant carriers” in Mississippi and Arkansas
“effectively competed against national carriers and were first to build out rural markets and economically depressed
areas.” Id. at 1.
148 Letter from Benjamin M. Moncrief, Dir. Govt. Relations, C Spire Wireless to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary,
FCC, WT Docket No. 12-69, at 2 (filed Jan. 14, 2013) (C Spire Jan. 14, 2013 Ex Parte).
149 See, e.g., Letter from Michele C. Farquhar, Counsel to Vulcan Wireless LLC to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary,
FCC, WT Docket No. 12-69, filed Jan. 31, 2013; Letter from Michael Hagg, CEO, Horry Telephone Cooperative to
Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, WT Docket No. 12-69, filed July 26, 2013.
150 47 U.S.C. § 151.
151 See infra Appendix B (Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis), at ¶¶ 9-10.
152 See n.1, supra.
153 See e.g., Cellular South Reply Comments at 2; Vulcan Comments at 19; Cavalier Wireless and Continuum
Comments at 6-7
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small and rural providers, we take another important step toward fulfilling our mandate to bring these
advanced services, “so far as possible, to all the people of the United States.”154
54.
In addition, the AT&T license modifications we propose today in the Order of Proposed
Modification below also will help promote reasonable roaming arrangements among 700 MHz providers.
As noted above, AT&T commits to providing LTE roaming to carriers with compatible Band 12 devices
once AT&T has implemented the MFBI software feature in its network.155 As a result, the number of
technically compatible providers for nationwide LTE roaming partnerships would increase.

D.

Performance Requirements and Construction Benchmarks

1.

Construction Benchmarks Applicable to Lower 700 MHz E Block

55.
Background. Section 27.14(g) of the Commission’s rules requires EA licensees holding
authorizations for Block E in the 722-728 MHz bands to provide signal coverage and offer service over at
least 35 percent of the geographic area of their license no later than June 13, 2013, or within four years of
initial license grant, if the initial authorization is granted after June 13, 2009.156 Certain E Block licensees
in the band, including DISH, have requested a waiver of 27.14(g) seeking an extension of the interim
construction benchmark deadline to at least two years from the current deadline,157 stating they have faced
challenges related to equipment availability and uncertainty created by the Interoperability NPRM,158
including the possibility that the Commission may “dramatically reduce maximum operation power in the
Lower 700 MHz E Block.”159 As discussed above, DISH outlined its proposal to address interference
concerns regarding high-powered operations in the E Block spectrum, contingent on certain Commission
actions, including extending relief regarding its Lower 700 MHz E Block buildout requirements.160
56.
Discussion. Today we adopt technical rule changes affecting all Lower 700 MHz E
Block licensees to reduce potential interference and facilitate interoperability in the 700 MHz band, and in
order to more fully implement the voluntary industry solution, including DISH’s commitment, we find it
is in the public interest to provide the same regulatory flexibility to all E Block licensees to promote rapid
deployment of mobile broadband services. Accordingly, we take various actions discussed below.161 We
grant the requests for extension of time or waiver regarding 700 MHz E Block licenses filed by DISH and
Kurian only to the extent discussed herein and extend relief to all active Lower 700 MHz band E Block
licensees regarding certain buildout requirements. We also provide additional relief on our own motion to
all active Lower E Block licensees as discussed below to facilitate implementation of the industry
solution.162 Specifically, for all active Lower 700 MHz E Block licensees, we extend the interim

154 47 U.S.C. § 151.
155 See AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 4.
156 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(g).
157 See ULS File No. 0005773320, Attachment, Waiver Request for Extension of Time and Construction –
WQJZ677 by Thomas K. Kurian (filed May 07, 2013) (Kurian Extension Request); ULS File Nos. 0005817992-
0005818159, Attachment, Request for Extension and/or Waiver by Manifest Wireless L.L.C. (filed June 12, 2013)
(DISH Extension Request). We note that Manifest Wireless L.L.C. is a subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation.
158 See Kurian Extension Request at 1-3; DISH Extension Request at 8.
159 DISH Extension Request at 5.
160 DISH Network Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte.
161 We clarify that the relief described herein for active Lower 700 MHz E block licensees is transferrable, so that
proposed assignees or transferees are not required to file individual justifications seeking application of such relief.
162 An active license is a license granted by the Commission that has not expired or been cancelled or terminated. A
license becomes active immediately upon grant. See Universal Licensing System Glossary, at
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construction benchmark deadline in Section 27.14(g) until March 7, 2017 and the end-of-term
construction benchmark deadline in Section 27.14(g) until March 7, 2021. This additional time will
afford licensees a sufficient opportunity to adjust their business plans in light of the technical changes to
the band and also provide valuable services to the public in the near term. We also waive the ten-year
license period set forth in Section 27.13(b) and extend the license term for all active Lower 700 MHz E
Block licensees until March 7, 2021.163
57.
We waive section 27.14(g) for all active Lower E Block licensees in order to permit them
to meet a population-based coverage requirement as an alternative to the geographic-based requirement in
Section 27.14(g).164 Specifically, we waive the requirement that Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees
must provide signal coverage and offer service over at least 35 percent of the geographic area to meet the
interim construction benchmark deadline and provide signal coverage and provide service over at least 70
percent of the geographic area to meet the end-of-term construction benchmark deadline.165 Under this
waiver, all active Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees may meet their interim construction
benchmark deadline by providing signal coverage and offering service to at least 40 percent of its total E
Block population, and a licensee’s total E Block population shall by calculated by summing the
population of each its license areas in the E Block. Under this waiver, all active Lower 700 MHz band E
Block licensees may meet their end-of-the term construction benchmark deadline by providing signal
coverage to at least 70 percent of the population in each of its license areas.166 When filing a notification
of construction pursuant to section 1.946(d),167 licensees must state whether they are using the population-
based performance benchmark or the geographic-based performance benchmark to meet the respective
interim and end-of-term requirements.
58.
We also waive section 27.14(g)(1) to the extent necessary and, accordingly provide that
in the event a Lower 700 MHz E Block fails to either provide signal coverage and offer service to either
40 percent of the population in each of its licensed areas or provide signal coverage or offer service over
at least 35 percent of the geographic area by March 7, 2017, the term of that license authorization will be
reduced by one year. 168
(Continued from previous page)
http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=glossary (last visited Sept. 18, 2013). The status of a license is reflected
in the Commission’s Universal Licensing System.
163 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.13(b). The waiver extending the license term until March 7, 2021 does not apply to E Block
licensees that provide broadcast services, whether exclusively or in combination with other services, which terms are
limited by statute to a period not to exceed eight years. See 47 U.S.C. § 307(c); 47 C.F.R. § 27.13(b).
164 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(g).
165 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(g).
166 We clarify that, though this waiver, E Block licensees have the option of complying with the current Section
27.14(g) geographic-area based interim and/or end-of-term construction benchmarks or complying with the
respective population-based benchmarks described herein. We note, however, that the option provided in Section
27.14(g) to exclude land owned or administered by the government as part of the relevant service area is not
applicable to a population-based coverage requirement. See 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(g).
167 47 C.F.R. § 1.946(d).
168 Consistent with current rule section 27.14(g), Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees that fail to meet the
interim construction benchmark deadline remain subject to potential proportional license reduction and enforcement
actions, including forfeitures. Licensees that fail to meet the end-of-term construction benchmark deadline remain
subject to automatic license termination without Commission action for those geographic portion of its license in
which the licensee is not providing service and potential license termination and enforcement actions, including
forfeitures. See 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(g)(1) and (2). In the event that a licensee's authority to operate in a license area
terminates automatically without Commission action, such areas will become available for reassignment pursuant to
Section 27.14(j). See 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(j).
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59.
Finally, we grant a limited waiver of Section 27.14(l) to extend the deadline until March
7, 2019, for the filing of the required second status report regarding the licensees’ efforts to meet the
performance requirements applicable to their authorizations in their respective spectrum bands and the
manner in which that spectrum is being utilized.169
2.

Interim Construction Deadlines for A and B Block Licenses

60.
Background. As noted above, the Commission adopted performance requirements for the
700 MHz band to promote commercial access to the spectrum that require licensees to provide specified
levels of service and certain consequences for failing to meet those requirements within prescribed
timeframes.170 For licensees that fail to meet the applicable interim benchmark, the license term is
reduced by two years, which would require that the end-of-term benchmark be met within eight years, and
the Commission may take other enforcement action.171 At the end of the license term, licensees that fail
to meet the end-of-term benchmark are subject to a “keep what you use” rule, which will make unused
spectrum available to other potential users.172
61.
We take the opportunity in this Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification to
address the requests for waiver and extension of the interim construction benchmark deadline filed
individually by Lower 700 MHz band A and B Block licensees, which the Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau placed on public notice in a separate docket.173 We also recognize that the issues raised in this
proceeding may substantially affect Lower 700 MHz band licensees that have not specifically sought an
extension of the interim construction benchmark deadline. In light of today’s action reducing permissible
ERP levels for D and E Blocks and voluntary industry commitments on the record to promote
interoperability,174 we extend the interim construction benchmark deadline for all active 700 MHz band

169 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(l) (requiring that each licensee that meets its interim benchmark shall file a second report
with the Commission no later than June 13, 2016, and no sooner than 30 days prior to this date, and that each
licensee that does not meet its interim benchmark shall file this second report no later than on June 13, 2015, and no
sooner than 30 days prior to this date). See id. We note that licensees were required to file their first status report by
January 13, 2012. See 700 MHz Reporting Requirements Public Notice.
170 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(a); Lower 700 MHz Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd at 1079 ¶¶ 149-51; 47 C.F.R. §
27.13(b); 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15348 ¶ 153.
171 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.14(g)(1), (h)(1). The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau reminded licensees of
enforcement actions for failure to meet interim construction benchmarks. See 700 MHz Reporting Requirements
Public Notice.
172 See 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15293-94 ¶ 6. See also Service Rules for the 698-746,
747-762 and 777-792 MHz Bands, Implementing a Nationwide, Broadband, Interoperable Public Safety Network in
the 700 MHz Band, WT Docket No. 06-150; PS Docket No. 06-229, Memorandum Opinion and Order and Order
on Reconsideration
, 28 FCC Rcd 2671 (2013).
173 Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Seeks Comment on Requests for Waiver and Extension of Time to
Construct 700 MHz A and B Block Licenses, WT Docket 12-332, Public Notice, DA 12-1827 (WTB 2012) (700
MHz PN). The Commission sought comment on the requests filed as of November 2012, and since the release of
the public notice, additional Lower 700 MHz band licensees filed similar requests. Additionally, Cavalier and
Continuum filed an ex parte letter regarding the need for extensions of the construction deadlines and made
proposals for such extensions. See Letter from Thomas Gutierrez, Counsel for Continuum 700 LLC and Cavalier
Wireless L.L.C., to the Hon. Mignon Clyburn, Chairwoman, FCC, WT Docket No. 12-69, filed Sept. 18, 2013.
174 See AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte; DISH Network Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte.
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Lower A and B Block licensees until December 13, 2016, and issue a waiver of the interim construction
benchmark deadline for certain Lower 700 MHz A Block licensees as described below.175
62.
Specifically, as their interim construction benchmark deadlines approached, a number of
Lower 700 MHz band A and B Block licensees requested a waiver of Section 27.14(g) of the rules176 to
provide for an extension of at least two years from the applicable interim construction deadlines.177 These
licensees generally claimed that an extension or a waiver is warranted for reasons including a lack of
interoperability in the 700 MHz band.178 Some of the licensees claimed an extension was warranted
because of issues regarding protection of TV Channel 51 stations, and some licensees claimed that high
power Lower 700 MHz band E Block operations have affected their ability to meet the deadline.179
63.
As discussed above, on September 10, 2013, DISH filed a letter stating that it will
consent to an ERP reduction of its base stations for its Lower 700 MHz band E Block licenses.180 AT&T
also filed a letter on September 10, 2013, stating that it is committed to supporting interoperability in the

175 We clarify that this relief is transferrable, so that proposed assignees or transferees are not required to file
individual justifications seeking application of the December 13, 2016 interim construction benchmark deadline or
waiver of the interim construction benchmark deadline, as applicable.
176 47 C.F.R. §27.14(g).
177 See 700 MHz PN. In addition, in its Ex Parte letter of March 1, 2013, NTCA also urged the Commission to grant
700 MHz B Block licensees an extension to keep them on the same construction schedule as the A Block licensees.
NTCA Ex Parte letter, March 1, 2013. We note that the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) filed a pleading
seeking an extension of the interim construction benchmark deadline for two years from the conclusion of the
Commission’s interoperability rulemaking for Lower 700 MHz Band A Block licensees, many of which have filed
individual requests for extension of time. See CCA Request for Extension of the Build-Out Deadlines for Lower
700 MHz A Block Licensees, Letter, WT Docket No. 12-69 (filed Oct. 17, 2012). We also note that the Minority
Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) filed a pleading on September 24, 2012, requesting that the
Commission waive, extend or modify the interim benchmarks for section 27.14(g) for certain Lower 700 MHz A
and B Block licensees so that prospective licensees would enter into transactions with 700 MHz license holders
granted relief. MMTC also requested that the Commission apply population coverage percentages in lieu of the
current requirement that licensees cover a percentage of specific geographic area. On May 21, 2013, MMTC filed a
Supplemental Showing of Standing in support of its September, 2012 Petition. Given the relief provided to Lower
700 MHz licensees in today’s action, we dismiss as moot both the CCA Petition and the MMTC Petition, as
supplemented. We also dismiss the MMTC Petition as moot because the Commission recently addressed in a
separate proceeding, in which MMTC did not participate, arguments by other licensees that the Commission should
reconsider its adoption of a requirement for coverage to certain percentages of geographic area in lieu of population
coverage. See Service Rules for the 698-746, 747-762, and 777-792 MHz Bands, Memorandum Opinion and Order
on Reconsideration
, 28 FCC Rcd 2671, 2674-75 ¶¶ 6-8 (2013).
178 700 MHz PN at 2.
179 Id. On February 13, 2013, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a limited waiver and extended the
interim construction deadline in Section 27.14(g) until December 13, 2013, for all active Lower 700 MHz A Block
licensees with an interim four-year construction benchmark deadline before December 13, 2013. See Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau Extends 700 MHz A Block Licensee Interim Construction Benchmark Deadline Until
December 13, 2013, WT Docket 12-332, Public Notice, DA 13-210 (WTB rel. Feb. 13, 2013). On April 10, 2013,
the Bureau issued a similar waiver and extension for the majority of active Lower 700 MHz B Block licensees. See
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Extends 700 MHz B Block Licensee Interim Construction Benchmark
Deadline Until December 13, 2013, Public Notice, 2013 WL 1497036 (WTB rel. Apr. 10, 2013).
180 DISH Network Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 2. As noted above, DISH, which holds 168 E Block licenses, consents
to an ERP reduction of its E Block bases stations from 50 kW to 1,000 watts/MHz in urban areas and 2,000
watts/MHz in rural areas. Id.
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Lower 700 MHz band, conditioned on final resolution of the E Block interference issue.181 As outlined
above, AT&T provided a number of commitments to achieve this goal including a staggered rollout
period during which AT&T will introduce Band Class 12 capable devices into its device portfolio.182
64.
Discussion. In the extension requests, licensees claim that, due to a lack of available
devices, they are unable to offer compelling or competitive advanced mobile services to potential
customers and therefore building out such a network by the current interim deadline is not economically
viable.183 Further, licensees state that the “fragmentation of the Lower 700 MHz band was unforeseen,”
making the situation “unique and unusual.”184 We find that today’s decision, in conjunction with the
voluntary industry commitments on the record, addresses these concerns and will facilitate
interoperability and promote rapid deployment of advanced mobile services for consumers. The vast
majority of licensees seek an extension of the interim construction benchmark deadline until two years
after the Commission concludes the interoperability rulemaking proceeding.185 Taking into account
today’s action and the timeline specified by AT&T for roll-out of Band Class 12 capable devices, we find
that an extension until December 13, 2016 will allow licensees to make appropriate business decisions
regarding build-out and to meet the interim construction benchmark deadline. We therefore extend the
interim construction benchmark deadline in Section 27.14(g)186 until December 13, 2016 for all active
Lower 700 MHz band A and B Block licensees, with certain exceptions described below.
65.
We find it in the public interest to waive the interim construction benchmark deadline for
certain Lower 700 MHz A Block licensees that must limit their deployments in order to protect incumbent
Channel 51 operations.187 Pursuant to Section 27.60, Lower 700 MHz band A Block licensees must
provide interference protection to existing U.S. full power DTV and Class A stations188 operating in the
adjacent Channel 51 by maintaining a minimum distance separation (from base station to TV transmitter)
of as much as 108 km.189 Further, Section 27.60 specifies a minimum distance separation of 96.5 km

181 AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 1-2.
182 AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 4-5.
183 See 700 MHz PN at 2.
184 See ULS File No. 0005448442, Request for Extension of Initial Construction Benchmarks filed by Continuum,
Attachment at 6 (filed Oct. 15, 2012). See also ULS File No. 0005449634, Supplement to Request for Extension of
Build Out Requirement for A and B Block Licenses in the Lower 700 MHz Band filed by Cellular South,
Attachment at 1 (filed Feb. 25, 2013). Cellular South states that “a two-year extension of its build-out deadline is
warranted due to the unforeseen and unresolved lack of device interoperability in the 700 MHz Band.” Id. at 1.
185 See e.g., Cavalier Waiver Request at 1; Continuum Extension Request at 1; Cox Extension Request at 1; Nex-
Tech Wireless Extension Request at 1.
186 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(g).
187 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(g) (requiring A Block licensees to provide signal coverage and offer service over at least
35 percent of their license area within four years of the initial license grant, with a failure to do so resulting in a two-
year reduction of the license term).
188 Under the Community Broadcasters Protection Act of 1999, Pub. L. No. 106-113 (codified at 47 U.S.C. §
336(f)), certain qualifying LPTV stations (i.e., what are now Class A stations) are accorded primary status as
television broadcasters as long as they continue to meet the requirements set forth in the statute for a qualifying low-
power station. See also In the Matter of a Class A Television Service, MM Docket No. 00-10, Report and Order, 15
FCC Rcd 6355, 6359 (2000). Thus, A Block licensees must afford the Class A stations in Channel 51 the same
protection as for full power broadcast stations.
189 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.60(b)(1). Pursuant to this section, 700 MHz band licensees are also permitted to demonstrate
compliance with TV/DTV protection requirements through the following alternative means: (i) calculating
geographic separations in accordance with the required designed signal-to-undesired signal ratios when station
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between mobile units operating on the A Block adjacent to Channel 51 broadcast stations.190 A
substantial number of Lower 700 MHz A Block licensees argue in requests for extension of the interim
construction benchmark deadline that Channel 51 broadcasters have been unwilling to negotiate consent
or relocation agreements in advance of the impending incentive auction, leaving affected licensees with
no reasonable alternative for providing service to certain areas of their markets before the interim
deadline.191 Based on the record, we find that, although interoperability is likely to facilitate the provision
of service by many licensees with Channel 51 broadcast stations in their license areas, relief from the
particular interim construction benchmark deadline is warranted in certain circumstances. We therefore
waive, on our own motion, the interim construction benchmark deadline of Section 27.14(g) for each
Lower 700 MHz band A Block licensee where a 108 km radius around a Channel 51 transmitter overlaps
at least a portion of the license’s market area (“overlap”) and either: (1) 30 percent or more of the
geographic license area is within that overlap; or (2) less than 30 percent of the geographic license area is
within that overlap but more than two-thirds of the population is within that overlap. 192 We find that such
relief is necessary because these licensees either face siting restrictions in a substantial portion of their
license areas, or a majority of the market’s population is in an area of overlap. Accordingly, these
licensees will only be subject to the end-of-term construction benchmark requirement and other status
reporting requirements.193 We expect that many Lower 700 MHz band A Block licensees will provide
service in areas unaffected by the existence of Channel 51 and that others will take meaningful steps
toward constructing their systems even while broadcasters remain on Channel 51—such as procuring
equipment, designing their networks, and securing transmitter sites—so that installation, testing, and
deployment can occur rapidly upon relocation of the broadcasters. We note that 700 MHz band licensees
are free to negotiate early relocation agreements with Channel 51 broadcasters to further speed
deployment.
66.
Finally, for all active Lower 700 MHz band A and B Block licensees, other than licensees
subject to a waiver of the interim construction benchmark deadline due to Channel 51 interference
protection requirements, as described above, we waive the requirement in Section 27.14(l) of the
Commission’s rules that these licensees file a second status report regarding the licensees’ efforts to meet
(Continued from previous page)
parameters are greater than those indicated in the table; (ii) submit an engineering study justifying the proposed
separations based on the parameters of the land mobile station and the TV/DTV station; or (iii) obtain written
concurrence from the applicable TV/DTV station. Id. See also 47 C.F.R. § 90.309.
190 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.60(b)(2)(ii)(C). As Verizon and AT&T have noted, licensees deploying LTE (where mobile
units transmit within the lower A Block spectrum, 698 – 704 MHz, adjacent to Channel 51) will be required to
configure their systems to ensure that mobiles do not operate within 96.5 km of a Channel 51 broadcast station.
See Letter from Tamara Preiss, Verizon, to Marlene H. Dortch, FCC, WT Docket No. 06-150, RM-11592, dated
Sept. 1, 2011 (and attached Technical Report Analysis of Cavalier Wireless, LLC at 1) (Verizon Sept. 1, 2011 Ex
Parte); AT&T Comments at 15 (citing Verizon Sept. 1, 2011 Ex Parte); AT&T Reply Comments at 64 (citing
Verizon Sept. 1, 2011 Ex Parte Letter).
191 See e.g., CBW Extension Request at 12; Continuum Extension Request at 10; Cox Extension Request at 7;
MetroPCS Extension Request at 6-7.
192 Although we expect Lower A Block license holders will deploy LTE networks using a band plan consistent with
adjacent deployments, the proposed parameters for obtaining relief from the interim construction benchmark are
technologically neutral and would allow for different deployment options. Specifically, the use of the rule 27.60
required distance separation of up to 108 km (base to Channel 51 station) as the basis for calculations, as opposed to
calculations based solely on a mobile exclusion zone of 96.5 km applicable to LTE deployments, is generally a more
conservative approach and will afford substantial relief to licensees sufficiently impacted by our Channel 51
interference protection requirements, regardless of technology deployed.
193 A Block licensees that do not meet this standard remain subject to the extended interim construction benchmark
deadline of September 10, 2016.
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the performance requirements applicable to their authorizations in their respective spectrum bands and the
manner in which that spectrum is being utilized.194 The Commission adopted reporting requirements “to
monitor whether further assessment of the rules or other actions are necessary in the event spectrum is
being stockpiled or warehoused, or if it is otherwise not being made available despite existing demand.”195
Due to the extended interim construction benchmark deadline licensees will now file similar information
in their notifications of construction in December 2016 shortly after the existing deadlines for the second
status report. Therefore, we find it is in the public interest to reduce filing burdens on the industry and
waive the requirement that Lower 700 MHz band A and B Block licensees file a second status report.
However, because A Block licensees sufficiently affected by Channel 51 interference protection
requirements to warrant a waiver of the interim construction benchmark deadline will not file interim
notifications of construction, we do not waive the Section 27.14(l) requirement and these licensees are
still required to file a second status report on June 13, 2016, so that the Commission can monitor their
buildout progress.

IV.

ORDER OF PROPOSED MODIFICATION

67.
For the reasons discussed above, we propose to modify AT&T’s B and C Block licenses
pursuant to Section 316 to implement the commitments contained in AT&T’s letter of September 10,
2013 and effectuate the voluntary industry solution that will resolve the lack of interoperability in the
Lower 700 MHz band in an effective and efficient manner. 196 Specifically, pursuant to Section 316, we
propose to modify AT&T’s B and C Block licenses to implement the following interoperability
commitments. These commitments relate both to AT&T’s deployment of a Multi-Frequency Band
Indicator (MFBI) software feature and to AT&T’s transition to Band Class 12 capable devices. For the
reasons discussed throughout this Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification, we conclude
that it is in the public interest, convenience, and necessity to propose to modify AT&T’s B and C Block
licenses as follows:
 AT&T must move forward expeditiously with testing the 3GPP Multi-Frequency Band
Indicator software feature as soon as it is made available to AT&T by its RAN vendors.
AT&T must fully deploy the new MFBI software feature in its 700 MHz network within 24
months of September 30, 2013. The end of the 24-month period will also commence the
beginning of the Band 12 capable device roll-out period.
 If AT&T concludes that, despite its best efforts, implementation of the MFBI feature within 24
months will result in significant negative customer impact, AT&T will file a certification,
consistent with Commission rules (including but not limited to Sections 1.16, 1.17 and
1.65197), so asserting and outlining in specific detail the commercially reasonable steps taken
to meet the deadline and the reason for the delay. Any such filing must be made on or before
August 31, 2015. With the filing of such a certification, the 24-month deadline for MFBI
implementation and the start of the Band 12 capable device roll-out period shall be extended
by the period requested in the certification, up to an additional 6 months.

194 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(l) (requiring that each licensee that meets its interim benchmark shall file a second report
with the Commission no later than June 13, 2016, and no sooner than 30 days prior to this date. Each licensee that
does not meet its interim benchmark shall file this second report no later than on June 13, 2015, and no sooner than
30 days prior to this date). See id. We note that licensees were required to file their first status report by January 13,
2012. See 700 MHz Reporting Requirements Public Notice.
195 See 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15352 ¶ 165.
196 See supra Section III.C; AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte.
197 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.16, 1.17.1.65.
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 Once MFBI has been fully implemented by AT&T, AT&T shall provide LTE roaming to
carriers with compatible Band 12 devices, consistent with the Commission’s rules on roaming.
 “Band 12 capable device” shall mean any device that is capable of supporting 3GPP Band
Class 12. At this time, AT&T is exploring various Band 12 implementation approaches with
its chipset and OEM partners and AT&T may pursue the most efficient solutions available
based on evolving network and device capabilities on a technology neutral basis.
 During the first year of the device roll-out period, 50% of all new unique devices that operate
on the paired Lower 700 MHz bands, as identified by unique SKU numbers, introduced by
AT&T into its device portfolio will be Band 12 capable devices. Memory or color finish
variations on a single device shall not be considered separate unique SKUs. Machine-to-
Machine (M-to-M) devices shall not be counted as “new unique devices” for purposes of this
commitment.
 During the second year of the device roll-out period, 75% of new unique devices that operate
on the paired Lower 700 MHz bands, as identified by unique SKU numbers, introduced by
AT&T into its device portfolio will be Band 12 capable devices. Memory or color finish
variations on a single device shall not be considered separate unique SKUs. M-to-M devices
shall not be counted as “new unique devices” for purposes of this commitment.
 Commencing at the conclusion of the second year of the device roll-out period, all new unique
devices that operate on the paired Lower 700 MHz bands introduced by AT&T into its device
portfolio will be Band 12 capable devices. In addition, from that time forward, AT&T must
ensure that its specifications for all new devices that are designed to operate in the paired
Lower 700 MHz frequencies, including M-to-M devices, will call for Band 12 capability.
However, M-to-M devices shall not be counted as “new unique devices” for purposes of this
commitment.
 The commitments outlined above apply to all new unique data-capable devices that connect to
or provide connectivity on AT&T’s paired Lower 700 MHz FDD network. AT&T’s
commitment shall not extend to any devices that are uniquely designed to operate on spectrum
bands licensed for use by AT&T that are not in the paired Lower 700 MHz bands. AT&T
reserves the express right to support devices that do not operate in the paired Lower 700 MHz
bands.
 To demonstrate progress on its commitments, AT&T shall submit comprehensive written
reports and meet with the Commission staff at each of 12 months, 18 months and 24 months
from the date of its September 10, 2013 commitment letter that will provide information on
AT&T’s progress toward meeting these commitments.198 Additionally, AT&T shall provide
comprehensive written reports at 28 months, 40 months and 46 months to report on progress
during the device roll-out period, and it shall file a certification to the Commission at the end
of the device roll-out period to certify final completion of these commitments within 30 days.
 Fulfillment of these commitments will require the implementation of new functionality in
AT&T’s paired Lower 700 MHz network as well as collaboration with AT&T’s chipset and
OEM partners and vendors. AT&T will use its best efforts to proceed diligently to complete

198 See AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte.
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the activities necessary to fulfill its commitments. However, if at any time, AT&T encounters
obstacles beyond its control that threaten its ability to meet these commitments, or undermine
the quality of the service it is providing on its network, AT&T may so inform the Commission
and seek an extension of time or a waiver as appropriate.
 Consistent with these commitments, AT&T anticipates that its focus and advocacy within the
3GPP standards setting process will shift to Band 12 related projects and work streams.
AT&T must place priority within the 3GPP RAN committee on the development of various
Band 12 carrier aggregation scenarios. Upon completing implementation of the MFBI feature,
AT&T anticipates that its focus on new standards related to the paired Lower 700 MHz
spectrum will be almost exclusively on Band 12 configurations, features and capabilities.
AT&T may seek revisions and updates to Band 17 standards to the extent necessary to support
legacy Band 17 devices and continuing Band 17 functionality on its network. 199
68.
We find that the proposed license modifications will serve the public interest by
establishing a clear path toward interoperability for the Lower 700 MHz band. Resolving the lack of
interoperability is an important objective for the Commission and we intend to remain vigilant to ensure
that AT&T follows through with its commitments and transitions to interoperability in an efficient
manner.
69.
We find that we have the legal authority to adopt these proposed modifications to
AT&T’s licenses. Section 316 of the Act authorizes the Commission to “modif[y]” existing licenses
when taking such action will “promote the public interest, convenience, and necessity.”200 Title III
provides the Commission with broad authority to manage spectrum and endows the Commission with
“expansive powers” and a “comprehensive mandate to ‘encourage the larger and more effective use of
radio in the public interest.’”201 Section 303 of the Act, authorizes the Commission to exercise its
authority as “the public interest, convenience, and necessity requires” to “[p]rescribe the nature of the
service to be rendered by each class of licensed stations and each station within any class.”202
70.
We find that these provisions give us ample authority to adopt the proposed
modifications to AT&T’s B and C Block licenses, which track AT&T’s commitments and which we find
to be in the public interest. Specifically, we find that, pursuant to our authority under Title III, the
proposed modifications described above will “promote the public interest, convenience, and necessity” by
promoting competition and consumer choice among mobile broadband service providers for innovative
services (both initially and in switching to higher quality or lower cost offerings), promoting the
widespread deployment of 4G networks (particularly in rural and unserved areas), and strengthening the

199 As discussed above, AT&T’s commitments were premised on final resolution of the E Block interference issues.
By this Order, we modify the E Block technical rules to address the E Block interference issues. AT&T has
reserved the right to declare its commitments null and void if those modifications are not adopted by December 31,
2013, or if adopted but subject to appellate review. Because resolution of the E Block interference issue has always
been essential to a resolution of the interoperability issue, any order of modification of AT&T’s licenses pursuant to
the terms of the foregoing proposal shall become effective only at such time as the changes adopted today to the
technical rules applicable to E Block operations become final and unappealable. In the event that AT&T elects to
declare its commitments null and void, the Commission continues to retain all its authority under the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, to adopt any rules or further orders in this proceeding necessary or
appropriate to promote interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band.
200 47 U.S.C. § 316.
201 NBC v. United States, 319 U.S. 190 (1943), (quoting 47 U.S.C. § 303(g)). Accord, Cellco, 700 F. 3d at 542.
202 47 U.S.C. § 303(b). See also id. §§ 153 (40), 153(49), 153(57), 303(r).
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ability of providers to offer consumers nationwide coverage. Establishing interoperability will remove
barriers to infrastructure investment for mobile broadband services and increase spectrum utilization
among Lower 700 MHz A Block licensees.
71.
In accordance with Section 316(a) of the Communications Act, as amended, and Section
1.87(a) of the Commission’s rules, we will not issue a modification order(s) until AT&T has received
notice of our proposed action and has had an opportunity to protest. 203 We direct the staff to send this
Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification by certified mail, return receipt requested to
AT&T. Pursuant to Section 316(a)(1) of the Act and Section 1.87(a) of the Commission’s rules, receipt
of this Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification by certified mail, return receipt requested,
shall constitute notification in writing of our Order of Proposed Modification proposing to modify
AT&T’s B and C Block licenses and of the grounds and reasons therefor. 204 AT&T shall have until
January 15, 2014 to protest such Order of Proposed Modification. For the reasons discussed throughout
this Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification, the Commission finds that it will serve the
public interest to adopt the voluntary industry solution that will provide interoperability in the Lower 700
MHz band. To effectuate the terms of the industry agreement,205 we conclude that it is reasonable to
allow AT&T until January 15, 2014 to protest the proposed license modifications. To protest the
proposed modifications, AT&T must, by January 15, 2014 submit a written statement with sufficient
evidence to show that the modification would not be in the public interest. The protest must be filed in
the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) under WT Docket No. 12-69206 or with the Office of the
Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 Twelfth Street, S.W., Room TW-A235,
Washington, D.C. 20554; and the protesting party must send a copy of the protest via electronic mail to
Jennifer Salhus of the Spectrum Competition and Policy Division of the Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau at Jennifer.Salhus@fcc.gov.207 Once the protest period has lapsed, AT&T’s right to file a protest
expires, and the Commission may modify the licenses as noticed.208
72.
We delegate to the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau the authority to issue a license
modification order for AT&T’s B and C Block licenses, but the Bureau’s delegation of authority does not
extend to any modification of AT&T’s B and C Block licenses that is materially different from the
provisions in paragraphs 67 through 70 above.
73.
Ex Parte Status. Unless otherwise provided by the Commission or its staff pursuant to
Section 1.1200(a),209 a license modification proceeding under Title III of the Communications Act is
treated as a restricted proceeding for ex parte purposes under Section 1.1208 of the Commission’s

203 47 U.S.C. § 316(a); 47 C.F.R. § 1.87(a).
204 Id.
205 See AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte.
206 As discussed below, we are using WT Docket No. 12-69 for any filings related to the instant Order of Proposed
Modification for administrative convenience only.
207 This address is proper only for protests submitted by U.S. mail. For hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper
filings, the proper address is 236 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Suite 110, Washington, D.C. 2002. For documents sent
by overnight delivery service other than United States Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail, the proper
address is 9300 East Hampton Dr., Capitol Heights, MD 20743. For further information, contact the Office of the
Secretary at (202) 418-0300 or mdortch@fcc.gov.
208 We also note, as set forth in Section 316(a)(2), that “[a]ny other licensee or permittee who believes its license or
permit would be modified by the proposed action may also protest the proposed action before its effective date.” 47
U.S.C. § 316(a)(2); see also 47 C.F.R. § 1.87(c).
209 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1200(a) (“[w]here the public interest so requires in a particular proceeding, the Commission and
its staff retain the discretion to modify the applicable ex parte rules by order, letter, or public notice.”).
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rules.210 In this case, the license modification proceedings are related to the above-captioned rulemaking
proceeding, WT Docket No. 12-69, which is designated as a permit but disclose proceeding under the ex
parte
rules.211 Due to the interrelated nature of these proceedings, we find that it is in the public interest
to treat the license modification proceedings as permit but disclose proceedings under Section 1.1206 of
the Commission’s rules.212 Therefore, any ex parte presentations that are made with respect to the issues
involved in the subject license modification proceedings subsequent to the release of this Order of
Proposed Modification will be permissible but must be disclosed in accordance with the requirements of
Section 1.1206(b) of the Commission's Rules.213 Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy
of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business
days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons
making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1)
list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was
made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the
presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the
presenter’s written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide
citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying
the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of
summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex parte
meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b).
For administrative convenience only, any filings related to this Order of Proposed Modification must be
filed in WT Docket No. 12-69 and may be filed using the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS),
http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/2d. In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has
made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing
oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment
filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt,
searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex
parte
rules.

V.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

A.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

74.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)214 requires that an agency prepare a regulatory
flexibility analysis for notice and comment rulemakings, unless the agency certifies that “the rule will not,
if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.”215
Accordingly, we have prepared a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis concerning the possible impact of
the rule changes contained in the Report and Order on small entities. The Final Regulatory Flexibility
Analysis is set forth in Appendix B.

210 47 C.F.R. § 1.1208 (restricted proceedings).
211 See Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3548, ¶ 61.
212 47 C.F.R. § 1.1206 (permit-but-disclose proceedings).
213 47 C.F.R. § 1.1206(b).
214 See 5 U.S.C. § 601–612. The RFA has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness
Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
215 5 U.S.C. § 605(b).
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B.

Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

75.
This document does not contain new information collection requirements subject to the
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13. In addition, therefore, it does not contain
any new information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees,
pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C.
3506(c)(4).

C.

Further Information

76.
For further information about this Report and Order, please contact Jennifer Salhus at
(202) 418-1310, Jennifer.Salhus@fcc.gov.

VI.

ORDERING CLAUSES

77.
IT IS ORDERED that pursuant to sections 1, 2, 4(i), 4(j), 301, 302(a), 303(b), 303(e),
303(f), 303(g), 303(r), 304, 307(a), 309(j)(3), and 316(a)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934, as
amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 152, 154(i), 154(j), 301, 302a(a), 303(b), 303(e), 303(f), 303(g), 303(r), 304,
307(a), 309(j)(3), and 316(a)(1), and Sections 1.87 and 1.401 et seq. of the Commission’s Rules, 47
C.F.R. §§ 1.87, 1.401 et seq., this Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification IS ADOPTED.
78.
IT IS FURTHER PROPOSED, pursuant to Sections 4(i) and 316(a) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 316, and Section 1.87 of the
Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. § 1.87, that AT&T’s 700 MHz B and C Blocks licenses BE MODIFIED
consistent with Section IV (Order of Proposed Modification) of this Report and Order and Order of
Proposed Modification. Pursuant to Section 316(a)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,
47 U.S.C. § 316(a)(1), and Section 1.87(a) of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 1.87(a), receipt of this
Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification by certified mail, return receipt requested, shall
constitute notification in writing of our Order of Proposed Modification that proposes to modify AT&T’s
Lower 700 MHz B and C Block licenses and of the grounds and reasons therefor, and AT&T shall have
until January 15, 2014 to protest such Order of Proposed Modification. The Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau is delegated authority to issue an order of modification if no protests are
filed.
79.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau SHALL
SEND this Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification by certified mail, return receipt
requested to AT&T.
80.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the license modification proceeding commenced by the
Order of Proposed Modification shall be treated as a permit-but-disclose proceeding under the
Commission’s ex parte rules, 47 C.F.R. § 1.1200 et seq.
81.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications Act, as
amended, 47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and Sections 1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(g) of Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. §§
1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(g), we grant a limited waiver of Section 24.14(g) and extend the interim
construction benchmark deadline until December 13, 2016, for all active Lower 700 MHz band A and B
Block licensees. Accordingly, the pending requests for extension and waiver of Section 27.14(g) of the
Commission’s Rules filed by Lower 700 MHz A and B Block are GRANTED to the extent described
herein and are otherwise DENIED.
82.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications Act, as
amended, 47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and Sections 1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(g) of Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. §§
1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(g), we waive, on our motion, the interim construction benchmark deadline in
Section 27.14(g) of the Commission’s Rules for each active Lower 700 MHz A Block licensee where a
108 km radius around a Channel 51 transmitter overlaps at least a portion of the license’s market area
(“overlap”) and either: (1) 30 percent or more of the geographic license area is within that overlap; or (2)
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less than 30 percent of the geographic license area is within that overlap but more than two-thirds of the
population is within that overlap.
83.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications Act, as
amended, 47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and Sections 1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(l) of Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. §§
1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(l), we grant, on our own motion, a waiver of the requirement in Section 24.14(l) for
all active Lower 700 MHz band A and B Block licensees subject to the extended interim construction
benchmark deadline to file a second status report regarding the licensees’ efforts to meet the performance
requirements applicable to their spectrum authorizations, except that Lower 700 MHz band A Block
licensees subject to a waiver of the interim construction benchmark deadline because of Channel 51
interference protection requirements shall remain subject to the Section 27.14(l) requirement to file a
second status report no later than June 13, 2016.
84.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications Act, as
amended, 47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and Sections 1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(g) of Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. §§
1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(g), we grant a limited waiver of Section 24.14(g) to extend the interim construction
benchmark deadline until March 7, 2017, for all active Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees and, on
our motion, extend the end-of-term construction benchmark deadline until March 7, 2021, for all active
Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees. Accordingly, the pending requests for extension and waiver of
Section 27.14(g) of the Commission’s Rules filed by Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees are
GRANTED to the extent described herein and are otherwise DENIED.
85.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications Act, as
amended, 47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and Sections 1.3, 1.925, and 27.13(b) of Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. §§
1.3, 1.925, and 27.13(b), we grant, on our own motion, a waiver of Section 24.13(b) and waive the ten
year license period and extend the license term until March 7, 2021, for all active Lower 700 MHz E
Block licensees.
86.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications Act, as
amended, 47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and Sections 1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(g) of Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. §§
1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(g), we grant, on our own motion, a limited waiver of Section 24.14(g) to allow all
active Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees to meet their interim construction benchmark deadline by
providing signal coverage and offering service to at least 40 percent of its total E Block population (where
a licensee’s total E Block population shall by calculated by summing the population of each its license
areas in the E Block), and to meet their end-of-term construction benchmark by providing signal coverage
to at least 70 percent of the population in each of its license areas, as an alternative to meeting
geographic-based performance requirements.
87.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications Act, as
amended, 47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and Sections 1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(g) of Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. §§
1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(g), we grant, on our own motion, a limited waiver of Section 24.14(g) so that all
active Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees that fail to meet the interim construction benchmark
deadline will have the term of that license authorization reduced by one year.
88.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications Act, as
amended, 47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and Sections 1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(l) of Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. §§
1.3, 1.925, and 27.14(l), we grant, on our own motion, a limited waiver of the filing requirement in
Section 27.14(l), to extend the deadline until March 7, 2019, for all active Lower 700 MHz band E Block
licensees to file a second status report regarding the licensees’ efforts to meet the performance
requirements applicable to their spectrum authorizations.
89.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Part 27 of the Commission’s rules IS AMENDED as
set forth in Appendix A, effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, except as otherwise
provided herein.
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90.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis in Appendix
B hereto IS ADOPTED.
91.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission SHALL SEND a copy of this Report
and Order to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review
Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).
92.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission’s Consumer & Governmental Affairs
Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Report and Order, including the
Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary
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APPENDIX A

Final Rules

Part 27 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended to read as follows:

1. Section 27.2 is amended by adding new paragraph (e) to read as follows:
§ 27.2 Permissible communications.
* * * * *
(e) 716–722 MHz and 722-728 MHz bands. The 716-722 and 722-728 MHz frequencies may not be
used for uplink transmission and must be used only for downlink transmissions.
2. Section 27.50 is amended by revising paragraph (c)(7) and adding new paragraphs (c)(12) and
(c)(13), to read as follows:
§ 27.50 Power limits and duty cycle.
* * * * *
(c) ***
* * * * *
(7) A licensee authorized to operate in the 710-716 or 740-746 MHz bands may operate a fixed or
base station at an ERP up to a total of 50 kW within its authorized, 6 megahertz spectrum block if the
licensee complies with the provisions of § 27.55(b). The antenna height for such stations is limited
only to the extent required to satisfy the requirements of § 27.55(b).
* * * * *
(12) A licensee authorized to operate in the 716-722 or 722-728 MHz bands may operate a fixed or
base station at an ERP up to a total of 50 kW within its authorized, 6 megahertz spectrum block if the
licensee complies with the provisions of § 27.55(b), obtains written concurrences from all affected
licensees in the 698-746 MHz bands within 120 km of the proposed high power site, and files a copy
of each written concurrences with the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau on FCC Form 601. The
antenna height for such stations is limited only to the extent required to satisfy the requirements of §
27.55(b).
(13) Licensees authorized to operate in the 716-722 or 722-728 MHz bands must coordinate with
licensees with uplink operations in the 698-716 MHz band to mitigate the potential for harmful
interference. Licensees authorized to operate in the 716-722 or 722-728 MHz bands must mitigate
harmful interference to licensees’ uplink operations in the 698-716 MHz band within 30 days after
receiving written notice from the affected licensees. A licensee authorized to operate in the 716-722
or 722-728 MHz bands must ensure that 716-728 MHz band transmissions are filtered at least to the
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extent that the 716-728 MHz band transmissions are filtered in markets where the 716-728 MHz band
licensee holds any license in the 698-716 band, as applicable. For purposes of coordination and
mitigations measures in paragraphs (i) and (iii) below, network will be deemed “deployed” as of the
date upon which the network is able to support a commercial mobile or data service. The
coordination and mitigation measures should include, but are not limited to, the following:
(i) If a licensee operating in the 698-716 and 728-746 MHz band deploys a network after the 716-722
or 722-728 MHz bands licensee deploys a network on its 716-722 or 722-728 MHz spectrum in the
same geographic market, the 716-722 or 722-728 MHz bands licensee will work with the licensee
with uplink operations in the 698-716 MHz band to identify sites that will require additional filtering,
and will help the licensee operating in the 698-716 and 728-746 MHz bands to identify proper filters;
(ii) The 716-722 or 722-728 MHz bands licensee must permit licensees operating in the 698-716 and
728-746 MHz bands to collocate on the towers it owns at prevailing market rates; and
(iii) If a 698-716 and 728-746 MHz bands licensee deploys a network before a licensee in the 716-
722 or 722-728 MHz bands deploys a network in the same geographic market, the 716-722 or 722-
728 MHz bands licensee will work with licensees in the 698-716 and 728-746 MHz bands to identify
sites that will need additional filtering and will purchase and pay for installation of required filters on
such sites.
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APPENDIX B

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

1.
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),1 an Initial
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was incorporated in the Interoperability NPRM.2 The Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) sought written public comment on the proposals in the NPRM,
including comment on the IRFA. This present Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) conforms to
the RFA.3
2.
We find that it would serve the public interest to analyze the possible significant
economic impact of the policy and rule changes in the 700 MHz band on small entities. Accordingly, this
FRFA contains an analysis of this impact in connection with the technical rule changes that fall within the
scope of this Report and Order.

A.

Need for, and Objectives of, the Report and Order

3.
The Report and Order and Order of Proposed Modification takes steps to implement an
industry solution to provide interoperable long term evolution (LTE) service in the Lower 700 MHz band
in an efficient and effective manner to improve choice and quality for consumers of mobile services. The
public interest benefits of the steps taken in the Report and Order will assist consumers and the economies
in rural areas, as well as for small and regional businesses that operate there. Small or regional providers
serving rural areas drive economic growth in these rural areas, directly, by investing in their networks and
creating jobs, and indirectly, by enabling the growth of other small businesses. But in order to promote
competition – and enable small business customers of 700 MHz band licensees to operate successfully in
the 21st century – these licensees need to be able to offer service choices, including the potential for
nationwide coverage through roaming, comparable to those offered by the national providers.
Interoperability of LTE service in the Lower 700 MHz band will remove an unnecessary barrier to the
successful operation of businesses that can drive economic growth, promote competitive service, and
create jobs in rural America.
4.
To effectuate the industry solution, the Report and Order addresses interference concerns
that have been raised as possible obstacles to interoperability. It finds that, under the current rules, there
is a significant threat of harmful interference from high power transmissions in the Lower 700 MHz D
and E Blocks to Band Class 12 devices operating on the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks that could
jeopardize the viability of interoperability in the band. The Report and Order therefore revises the
technical rules applicable to the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks by reducing the maximum permissible
power levels and antenna heights on these blocks. It also modifies the rules to limit all operations in the
Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks to downlink only. The Report and Order also provides that Lower 700
MHz D and E Block licensees may operate particular sites at power levels higher than permitted under the
revised rules under certain specified conditions. The Report and Order finds these changes to be in the
public interest because, without them, the public would not be able to realize the substantial benefits of
mobile broadband deployment and interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band. The technical changes
the Report and Order adopts will continue to enable the six megahertz of unpaired Lower 700 MHz E

1 See 5 U.S.C. § 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. § 601 – 612, has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
2 See Interoperability NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 3551-56.
3 See 5 U.S.C. § 604.
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Block spectrum to be put to commercial use while facilitating effective and efficient use of 36 megahertz
of the Lower 700 MHz A, B, and C Blocks for mobile broadband services.

B.

Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to the
IRFA

5.
There were no comments filed that specifically addressed the rules and policies proposed
in the IRFA.

C.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Proposed
Rules Would Apply

6.
The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and, where feasible, an estimate of,
the number of small entities that may be affected by the rules adopted herein.4 The RFA generally
defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small
organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.”5 In addition, the term “small business” has the
same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act.6 A “small business
concern” is one which: (1) is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of
operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business Administration
(SBA).7
7.
Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental Jurisdictions. Our
action may, over time, affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. We therefore
describe here, at the outset, three comprehensive, statutory small entity size standards that encompass
entities that could be directly affected by the proposals under consideration.8 As of 2009, small
businesses represented 99.9% of the 27.5 million businesses in the United States, according to the SBA.9
Additionally, a “small organization” is generally “any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently
owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.”10 Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately
1,621,315 small organizations.11 Finally, the term “small governmental jurisdiction” is defined generally
as “governments of cities, counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a
population of less than fifty thousand.”12 Census Bureau data for 2007 indicate that there were 89,527
governmental jurisdictions in the United States.13 We estimate that, of this total, as many as 88,761

4 5 U.S.C. § 604(a)(3).
5 5 U.S.C. § 601(6).
6 5 U.S.C. § 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of “small-business concern” in the Small Business
Act, 15 U.S.C. § 632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies “unless an
agency, after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity
for public comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the
agency and publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register.”
7 15 U.S.C. § 632.
8 See 5 U.S.C. § 601(3)–(6).
9 See SBA, Office of Advocacy, “Frequently Asked Questions,” available at
http://web.sba.gov/faqs/faqindex.cfm?areaID=24 (last visited Aug. 31, 2012).
10 5 U.S.C. § 601(4).
11 INDEPENDENT SECTOR, THE NEW NONPROFIT ALMANAC & DESK REFERENCE (2010).
12 5 U.S.C. § 601(5).
13 U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES: 2011, Table 427 (2007).
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entities may qualify as “small governmental jurisdictions.”14 Thus, we estimate that most governmental
jurisdictions are small.
8.
Wireless Telecommunications Carrier (Except Satellite) This industry comprises
establishments engaged in operating and maintaining switching and transmission facilities to provide
communications via the airwaves. Establishments in this industry have spectrum licenses and provide
services using that spectrum, such as cellular phone services, paging services, wireless Internet access,
and wireless video services.15 The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wireless
Telecommunications Carriers. The size standard for that category is that a business is small if it has 1,500
or fewer employees.16 Under the present and prior categories, the SBA has deemed a wireless business to
be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.17 For this category, census data for 2007 show that there
were 11,163 firms that operated for the entire year.18 Of this total, 10,791 firms had employment of 999
or fewer employees and 372 had employment of 1000 employees or more.19 Thus under this category and
the associated small business size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless
telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities.20 Similarly, according to Commission
data, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of wireless telephony, including
cellular service, Personal Communications Services (“PCS”), and Specialized Mobile Radio (“SMR”)
Telephony services.21 Of these, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 152 have more than
1,500 employees.22 Consequently, the Commission estimates that approximately half or more of these
firms can be considered small. Thus, using available data, we estimate that the majority of wireless firms
can be considered small.

14 The 2007 U.S Census data for small governmental organizations are not presented based on the size of the
population in each such organization. There were 89,476 local governmental organizations in 2007. If we assume
that county, municipal, township, and school district organizations are more likely than larger governmental
organizations to have populations of 50,000 or less, the total of these organizations is 52,095. If we make the same
population assumption about special districts, specifically that they are likely to have a population of 50,000 or less,
and also assume that special districts are different from county, municipal, township, and school districts, in 2007
there were 37,381 such special districts. Therefore, there are a total of 89,476 local government organizations. As a
basis of estimating how many of these 89,476 local government organizations were small, in 2011, we note that
there were a total of 715 cities and towns (incorporated places and minor civil divisions) with populations over
50,000. CITY AND TOWNS TOTALS: VINTAGE 2011 – U.S. Census Bureau, available at
http://www.census.gov/popest/data/cities/totals/2011/index.html. If we subtract the 715 cities and towns that meet
or exceed the 50,000 population threshold, we conclude that approximately 88,761 are small. U.S. CENSUS
BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES 2011, Tables 427, 426 (Data cited therein are
from 2007).
15 http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch?code=517210&search=2007%20NAICS%20Search
16 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
17 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517210. The now-superseded, pre-2007 C.F.R. citations were 13 C.F.R. §
121.201, NAICS codes 517211 and 517212 (referring to the 2002 NAICS).
18 U.S. Census Bureau, Subject Series: Information, Table 5, “Establishment and Firm Size: Employment Size of
Firms for the United States: 2007 NAICS Code 517210” (issued Nov. 2010).
19 Id. Available census data do not provide a more precise estimate of the number of firms that have employment of
1,500 or fewer employees; the largest category provided is for firms with “100 employees or more.”
20See
http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ2&prod
Type=table
21 See Trends in Telephone Service at Table 5.3.
22 See id.
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9.
Lower 700 MHz Band Licenses. The Commission previously adopted criteria for
defining three groups of small businesses for purposes of determining their eligibility for special
provisions such as bidding credits.23 The Commission defined a “small business” as an entity that,
together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues not exceeding $40
million for the preceding three years.24 A “very small business” is defined as an entity that, together with
its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues that are not more than $15 million for
the preceding three years.25 Additionally, the Lower 700 MHz Service had a third category of small
business status for Metropolitan/Rural Service Area (MSA/RSA) licenses—“entrepreneur”—which is
defined as an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues
that are not more than $3 million for the preceding three years.26 The SBA approved these small size
standards.27 An auction of 740 licenses (one license in each of the 734 MSAs/RSAs and one license in
each of the six Economic Area Groupings (EAGs)) was conducted in 2002. Of the 740 licenses available
for auction, 484 licenses were won by 102 winning bidders. Seventy-two of the winning bidders claimed
small business, very small business or entrepreneur status and won licenses.28 A second auction
commenced on May 28, 2003, closed on June 13, 2003, and included 256 licenses.29 Seventeen winning
bidders claimed small or very small business status, and nine winning bidders claimed entrepreneur
status.30 In 2005, the Commission completed an auction of 5 licenses in the Lower 700 MHz band. All
three winning bidders claimed small business status.
10.
In 2007, the Commission reexamined its rules governing the 700 MHz band in the 700
MHz Second Report and Order.31 An auction of A, B and E block 700 MHz licenses was held in 2008.32
Twenty winning bidders claimed small business status (those with attributable average annual gross
revenues that exceed $15 million and do not exceed $40 million for the preceding three years). Thirty
three winning bidders claimed very small business status (those with attributable average annual gross
revenues that do not exceed $15 million for the preceding three years).
11.
Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment
Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this category as follows: “This industry comprises
establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing radio and television broadcast and wireless
communications equipment. Examples of products made by these establishments are: transmitting and
receiving antennas, cable television equipment, GPS equipment, pagers, cellular phones, mobile
communications equipment, and radio and television studio and broadcasting equipment.” The SBA has
developed a small business size standard for Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless

23 See Reallocation and Service Rules for the 698–746 MHz Spectrum Band (Television Channels 52–59), Report
and Order
, 17 FCC Rcd 1022 (2002) (“Channels 5259 Report and Order”).
24 See id., 17 FCC Rcd at 1087–88 ¶ 172.
25 See id.
26 See id., 17 FCC Rcd at 1088 ¶ 173.
27 See Letter from Aida Alvarez, Administrator, SBA, to Thomas Sugrue, Chief, Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau, FCC (Aug. 10, 1999).
28 See Lower 700 MHz Band Auction Closes, Public Notice, 17 FCC Rcd 17,272 (2002).
29 See Lower 700 MHz Band Auction Closes, Public Notice, 18 FCC Rcd 11,873 (2003).
30 See id.
31 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at15359 n.434 (2007).
32 See Auction of 700 MHz Band Licenses Closes, Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd 4572 (2008).
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Communications Equipment Manufacturing, which is: all such firms having 750 or fewer employees. 33
According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were a total of 939 establishments in this category that
operated for part or all of the entire year. Of this total, 912 had fewer than 500 employees and 27 had
more than 500 employees.34 Thus, under this size standard, the majority of firms can be considered small.

D.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance
Requirements for Small Entities

12.
The Report and Order will not impose any new reporting or recordkeeping requirements
on small entities. As described in Section A of this FRFA, to minimize interference and enable
interoperability, the Report and Order revises the technical rules applicable to the Lower 700 MHz D and
E Blocks by reducing the maximum permissible power levels and antenna heights on these blocks. It also
modifies the rules to limit all operations in the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks to downlink only. The
Report and Order also provides that Lower 700 MHz D and E Block licensees may operate particular sites
at power levels higher than permitted under the revised rules under certain specified conditions.

E.

Steps Taken to Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and
Significant Alternatives Considered

13.
The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, specifically small business
alternatives that it has considered in developing its approach, which may include the following four
alternatives (among others): “(1) the establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or
timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification,
consolidation, or simplification of compliance and reporting requirements under the rule for such small
entities; (3) the use of performance rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of
the rule, or any part thereof, for such small entities.”35
14.
The changes to the rules will benefit small or regional wireless providers serving rural
areas by facilitating Lower 700 MHz A Block operations because LTE service provided on the A Block
would otherwise likely be subject to harmful interference from high-power operations in the Lower 700
MHz E Block. In particular, mobile devices operating near a Lower E Block transmitter but far from their
serving LTE base stations face a substantial risk of receiving harmful interference from E Block
transmitters. The potential for this interference would exist because of vastly different radio propagation
characteristics between the high-powered Lower 700 MHz E Block and lower powered A Block LTE
systems, and such interference would result in significant degradation of service to A Block operations in
areas close to high-powered E Block transmitters. Accordingly, the changes to the technical rules will
facilitate Lower A Block licensees’ ability to provision mobile broadband LTE services to consumers in
all of the paired Lower 700 MHz bands without significant service degradation.
15.
In revising the technical rules for the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks, the Commission
carefully considered the various benefits identified in the record, and the costs for Lower 700 MHz D and
E Block licensees that would be associated with a new rule. The Commission considered alternative
actions, including maintaining the current technical rules, but determined that modifying the power limits
and antenna height restrictions for the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks would enable Lower 700 MHz
interoperability by resolving concerns about interference from high-powered transmissions. The Report
and Order provides flexibility for licensees by indicating that Lower 700 MHz D and E Block licensees

33 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 334220.
34 The NAICS Code for this service 334220. See 13 C.F.R 121/201. See also
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-geo_id=&-_skip=300&;-
ds_name=EC0731SG2&-_lang=en.
35 5 U.S.C. § 603(c)(1) – (c)(4).
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may operate particular sites at power levels higher than permitted under the revised rules under certain
specified conditions.
16.
In addition, to minimize the impact of the changes in the technical rules, the Report and
Order waives the construction requirements, extending the construction benchmark deadlines for Lower
700 MHz A, B, and E Block licensees. The Report and Order concludes that waiving the construction
requirements will allow licensees to make appropriate business decisions regarding build-out and to meet
the construction benchmark deadlines.
17.

Report to Congress:

The Commission will send a copy of the Report and Order,
including this FRFA, in a report to be sent to Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.36 In
addition, the Commission will send a copy of the Report and Order, including this FRFA, to the Chief
Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA. A copy of the Report and Order and FRFA (or summaries thereof)
will also be published in the Federal Register.37

36 See 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(A).
37 See 5 U.S.C. § 604(b).
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APPENDIX C

List of Commenters

Comments

AT&T Services, Inc. (AT&T)
Blooston Rural Carriers (Blooston)
CTIA – The Wireless Association (CTIA)
Cavalier Wireless, LLC (Cavalier)
Cellular South, Inc. d/b/a C Spire Wireless (Cellular South)
Chris Barton
Community Liberty and Innovation Project (CLIP)
Continuum 700 LLC (Continuum)
Cricket Communications, Inc. (Cricket)
DISH Network, Inc. (DISH Network)
Donald G. Everist, P.E., on behalf of Cohen, Dippell and Everist, P.C. (Everist)
Edison Electric Institute (Edison)
Horry Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Information Age Economics
King Street Wireless, L.P. (King Street)
Maneesh Pangasa
McBride Spectrum Partners, LLC (McBride)
MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (MetroPCS)
Mike Cornell
Motorola Mobility, Inc. (Motorola)
NTCH, Inc. (NTCH)
National Association of Police Organizations, Inc. (NAPO)National Telecommunications Cooperative
Association (NTCA)
Nick Dunklee
Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Qualcomm Incorporated (Qualcomm)
RCA – The Competitive Carriers Association (RCA)
Research in Motion Corporation (RIM)
T-Mobile USA, Inc. (T-Mobile)
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)
The Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. (RTG)
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)
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Vulcan Wireless, LLC (Vulcan)

Reply Comments

AT&T Services, Inc. (AT&T)
Blooston Rural Carriers (Blooston)
CenturyLink, Inc. (Century Link)
Consumers Union
CTIA – The Wireless Association (CTIA)
Cricket Communications, Inc. (Cricket)
DISH Network, LLC (DISH)
Free Press
Information Age Economics
King Street Wireless, L.P. (King Street)
McBride Spectrum Partners, LLC (McBride)
Metro PCS Communications, Inc. (Metro PCS)
New America Foundation
Public Knowledge
Qualcomm Inc. (Qualcomm)
RCA - The Competitive Carriers Association (RCA)
SouthernLINC Wireless (SouthernLINC)
T-Mobile USA, Inc. (T-Mobile)
United States Cellular Corporation (USCC)
V-COMM, LLC (V-COMM)
Verizon Wireless
Vulcan Wireless, LLC (Vulcan)
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STATEMENT OF

ACTING FCC CHAIRWOMAN MIGNON L. CLYBURN

Re: Promoting Interoperability in the 700MHz Commercial Spectrum, WT Docket No. 12-69; Requests
for Waiver and Extension of Lower 700 MHz Band Interim Construction Benchmark Deadlines, WT
Docket No. 12-332
.
In rural America, where nearly 50 million consumers live, work and play, just over one-third
receive coverage from two or fewer mobile broadband providers. For years, small wireless carriers in
these communities have stated that the lack of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band has stifled
growth and limited options for their customers. Today’s Order removes barriers that have kept these
carriers from operating in this band, and acts to spur private investment, job creation and the development
of new services and devices. It does so by implementing a voluntary industry solution to restore a
framework that will substantially benefit the public interest and promote greater competition for advanced
wireless services.
This expected innovation and investment in advanced communications has been on hold for far
too long. In 2006, the Commission first initiated a proceeding to adopt service rules and auction this
band. That proceeding was widely followed, not just by wireless companies, but application developers
and other technology innovators due to the excellent propagation characteristics of the band. Those who
participated in the 2008 auction for this spectrum fully expected that the band would be interoperable
across all allocated blocks just as with other wireless mobile services, including cellular, PCS, AWS, and
public safety broadband. After this spectrum was auctioned, however, a standard setting process created
two non-interoperable separate band classes that ended up stifling deployment of service into rural areas.
That is why, when the Commission first initiated this rulemaking proceeding in March 2012, I
stated a preference for an expeditious path towards a voluntary solution to restore interoperability in the
lower 700 MHz band. I had hoped that NPRM would create the proper incentives for wireless companies
on opposite sides of this debate to reach a solution before the end of 2012. Unfortunately, that did not
happen.
In fact, when I became Acting Chairwoman in May 2013, these parties still seemed as far apart as
they did a year earlier. Nonetheless, I remained steadfast in my belief that the quickest way for
consumers to see the benefits of an interoperability solution for this band was not a regulatory mandate
that would likely be challenged in court; but a collaborative industry wide solution with a timetable for
implementation. That is why I issued statements indicating that I expected an interoperability solution –
whether voluntary or regulatory -- during my tenure. I was pleased that the parties accepted my invitation
to meet and engage in good-faith. I am particularly grateful to AT&T, The Interoperability Alliance, The
Competitive Carriers Association, DISH, and the consumer advocacy groups who worked collaboratively
with FCC staff to hammer out a solution that benefits all consumers.
Under the agreement, AT&T will modify its 700 MHz LTE network with new software that will
enable it to support Band 12-capable devices and also work with manufacturers to develop devices that
support Band Class 12. In plain English, it will be possible for customers of small and regional providers
to roam on AT&T’s LTE network, and devices like the iPhone that used to work exclusively for AT&T,
will work on other networks in the Lower 700 MHz band.
The adoption of this Order is an important step in ensuring a proper transition to interoperability.
It addresses interference concerns by modifying the technical rules of the D and E blocks, so as to remove
the likelihood of harm caused by attendant power levels, and finds that harmful interference from Channel
51 broadcast operations is unlikely. The Order also carefully notes the responsibilities of all involved to
finally bring interoperability to the Lower 700 MHz band to ensure full coverage in all markets and
compatibility on a nationwide basis.
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This is a big win for consumers, especially in rural areas, who will soon see more competition
and have more choices.
My sincere thanks to Ruth Milkman, Jim Schlichting, and the rest of her staff in the Wireless
Bureau as well as Michele Ellison and Louis Peraertz in the Chair’s office for working so diligently
throughout this proceeding and for quickly drafting this Order.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL

Re: Promoting Interoperability in the 700MHz Commercial Spectrum, WT Docket No. 12-69; Requests
for Waiver and Extension of Lower 700 MHz Band Interim Construction Benchmark Deadlines, WT
Docket No. 12-332
.
For too long, lack of interoperability in the lower 700 MHz band has left some carriers and some
consumers with fewer choices and higher prices. That is why I have long supported the push to find a
voluntary solution to this problem. I am gratified today that we do so by codifying an industry technical
consensus.
The Commission is taking steps that have the potential to provide consumers of small and rural
wireless carriers access to more cutting-edge devices. Moreover, these devices will be available faster.
Thanks to economies of scale, they also will be less expensive. In fact, according to some estimates,
interoperability can cut development costs for new equipment by as much as $200 million. Furthermore,
at a time when demand for our airwaves is growing at a breathtaking pace, we are ushering into use 12
megahertz of prime wireless spectrum that previously had been barely used. This is good all around.
However, I remain concerned by the way the Commission has tied other upcoming auction and
spectrum decisions to this interoperability effort. Nonetheless, I believe that today’s decision warrants
support on its own merits.
52

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