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Federal Communications Commission Clarifies Conditional Grant of Renewal Licenses Pursuant to the Wireless Radio Services Order

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Released: March 18, 2011

PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

FCC 11-45

Released: March 18, 2011

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

CLARIFIES CONDITIONAL GRANT OF RENEWAL LICENSES

PURSUANT TO THE WIRELESS RADIO SERVICES ORDER

WT Docket No. 10-112

1. By this Public Notice, we clarify the Commission's Wireless Radio Services Order,1 in which
we directed the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (Bureau) to grant applications for renewal of
certain wireless radio service licenses conditioned on the outcome of the rulemaking proceeding in WT
Docket No. 10-112.

I.

BACKGROUND

2. On May 20, 2010, the Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order in
WT Docket 10-112.2 In the Notice, we proposed to harmonize the requirements for the renewal of
wireless radio service (WRS) licenses for 25 geographically-licensed services and, separately, 15 services
that are licensed on a site basis.3
3. In the companion Wireless Radio Services Order, we froze (i.e., prohibited) the filing of
applications that are mutually exclusive (i.e., competing) with renewal applications filed during the
pendency of the rulemaking proceeding.4 In addition, we directed the "Bureau to grant currently pending
applications for renewal, as well as applications for renewal filed during this rulemaking, on a conditional
basis, subject to the outcome of this proceeding."5 On August 6, 2010, the Wireless Communications


1 See Amendment of Parts 1, 22, 24, 27, 74, 80, 90, 95, and 101 To Establish Uniform License Renewal,
Discontinuance of Operation, and Geographic Partitioning and Spectrum Disaggregation Rules and Policies for Certain
Wireless Radio Services, WT Docket No. 10-112, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Imposition of a Freeze on the
Filing of Competing Renewal Applications for Certain Wireless Radio Services and the Processing of Already-Filed
Competing Renewal Applications, Order, 25 FCC Rcd 6996 (2010) (Notice and Wireless Radio Services Order,
respectively).
2 Id.
3 The Appendix to this Public Notice lists the affected services and associated radio service codes. The Commission
also sought comment on proposals to unify requirements for the discontinuance of service by WRS licensees and the
construction obligations of WRS licensees with spectrum licenses that have been divided by geographic partitioning,
disaggregation of spectrum, or both. Comments and reply comments on the Notice were due August 6 and 23, 2010,
respectively.
4 Wireless Radio Services Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 7034 101.
5 Id. at 7038 113.

Association International, Inc. (WCAI) filed a petition for partial reconsideration of the Wireless Radio
Services Order,
6 requesting that we clarify the purpose of our conditional renewal directive. We address
WCAI's petition and the Bureau's implementation of that directive below.

II.

RENEWAL APPLICATIONS SUBJECT TO COMPETING APPLICATIONS

4. When we adopted the Wireless Radio Services Order, we identified one Personal
Communications Service and 149 Wireless Communications Service pending renewal applications that
were subject to one or more mutually exclusive (i.e., competing) applications for the spectrum.7 The
Bureau subsequently granted these renewal applications with the following condition: "License renewal
granted on a conditional basis, subject to the outcome of FCC proceeding WT Docket No. 10-112 (see FCC
10-86, paras. 113 and 126)."8 This condition "preserve[s] any available legal rights of the applicants that
have already filed competing renewal applications,"9 and memorializes the Commission's retention of
authority to process (i.e., accept for filing) the competing applications, if it determines that doing so
would be appropriate and consistent with any rules and policies that may ultimately be adopted in WT
Docket No. 10-112.10

III.

OTHER RENEWAL APPLICATIONS

5. The Commission's directive to grant applications for renewal conditioned on the outcome of
rulemaking proceeding WT Docket No. 10-112 also applies to: (1) renewal applications pending when we
adopted the Wireless Radio Services Order but not subject to competing applications; and (2) renewal
applications filed during the pendency of the rulemaking proceeding.11 We have determined that to
implement the Wireless Radio Services Order, the Bureau should widen its alert about the conditional
nature of the grant, by placing the conditional language it uses in connection with the renewal of the
licenses identified in the Wireless Radio Services Order on the face of every affected license receiving a
renewal grant during the pendency of the rulemaking proceeding.
6. Accordingly, all licenses renewed on or after May 25, 2010 (the Order's release date) in the
services enumerated in the Appendix to this Public Notice will include the following condition:


6 Petitions for reconsideration were also filed by: (1) CTIA The Wireless Association, AT&T Services, Inc.,
Cricket Communications, Inc., Rural Cellular Association, Sprint Nextel Corporation, T-Mobile USA, United States
Cellular Corporation, and Verizon Wireless; and (2) Green Flag Wireless, LLC, CWC License Holding, Inc., James
McCotter, and NTCH-CA, Inc. In addition, Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. and Tisdale Telephone Company, LLC
filed a Petition for Partial Reconsideration and/or Clarification of the Wireless Radio Services Order on June 24,
2010.
7 Appendix C to the Wireless Radio Services Order lists these applications. The Commission also identified two
pending applications for renewal of Cellular Radiotelephone Service licenses and related competing applications,
which will be addressed separately.
8 On October 22, 2010, Green Flag Wireless, LLC, CWC License Holding, Inc., James McCotter, and NTCH-CA,
Inc. jointly filed a petition for reconsideration of these renewal grants.
9 Wireless Radio Services Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 7034 101.
10 The Commission also could determine, as part of whatever rules and policies it adopts in WT Docket No. 10-112,
to dismiss the competing applications and remove the condition from the licenses. See Wireless Radio Services
Order
, 25 FCC Rcd at 7033-34 100.
11 Wireless Radio Services Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 7038 113.
2

License renewal granted on a conditional basis, subject to the outcome of FCC proceeding
WT Docket No. 10-112 (see FCC 10-86, paras. 113 and 126).

12

IV.

CLARIFICATION

7. We clarify that, pursuant to our direction in the Wireless Radio Services Order, the scope of
the above condition does not include retroactive application of any revisions to the Commission's
substantive license renewal standards that it may adopt in the rulemaking proceeding to renewal
applications filed before or during the pendency of the proceeding.13 Rather, as directed, the Bureau will
continue to review and process renewal applications filed before or during the proceeding under the
applicable renewal standards in effect on the license's expiration date.
8. The purpose of the above condition is to preserve the opportunities of any party that might
otherwise have sought to file a competing application during the proceeding but could not do so because
we have prohibited (i.e., frozen) the filing of competing applications during the rulemaking proceeding.
Thus, if the Commission determines during the rulemaking that it should retain existing rules and policies
that permit the filing of competing applications in a particular wireless radio service, then it would take
the steps it deems necessary and appropriate to afford such potential applicants this opportunity.
9. We also note that the Commission might determine during the rulemaking that it will prohibit
the filing of competing applications in a particular wireless radio service; in which case, it would
accordingly remove the condition from affected licenses.
10.

Further Information

. For further information regarding this Public Notice, please contact
Richard Arsenault, Chief Counsel of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Mobility Division, at
(202) 418-0920, richard.arsenault@fcc.gov, or Michael Connelly, Attorney Advisor of the Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau, Mobility Division, at (202) 418-0132, michael.connelly@fcc.gov.

V.

ORDERING CLAUSE

11. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, that, pursuant to sections 4(i) and 405 of the
Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 405, and section 1.106 of the Commission's rules, 47
C.F.R. 1.106, that the above referenced Petition for Partial Reconsideration filed by the Wireless
Communications Association International, Inc. on August 6, 2010, IS GRANTED to the extent described
in this Public Notice and otherwise denied.
Action by the Commission on March 16, 2011: By Chairman Julius Genachowski, and
Commissioners Michael J. Copps, Robert McDowell, Mignon L. Clyburn, and Meredith A. Baker.
-FCC-


12 We will not apply the condition to renewals of Part 74 Broadcast Auxiliary Services (BAS) stations. Separate
renewal applications are not filed for most BAS stations. Rather, most BAS stations are associated with a broadcast
station and are automatically renewed when the parent broadcast station is renewed. See Licensees of Certain
Broadcast Auxiliary Radio Stations Must Submit License Information to the FCC, Public Notice, 17 FCC Rcd 8426
(WTB 2002). The Act, moreover, prohibits the filing of competing applications against broadcast renewal
applications. See 47 U.S.C. 309(k)(4). Further, our current BAS rules do not provide for the filing of competing
applications against standalone BAS license renewal applications, thus making the condition unnecessary.
13 See WCAI Petition at 3 ("One could read the Order . . . to suggest that even those licensees that receive a
conditional renewal during the pendency of this proceeding will be required to make a `renewal showing' and
submit a `regulatory compliance demonstration' should those new concepts be adopted in response to the NPRM.").
3

APPENDIX

Affected geographically-licensed wireless radio services (rule part) (service codes):

1) 1.4 GHz Service (part 27, subpart I) (BA, BB);
2) 1.6 GHz Service (part 27, subpart J) (BC);
3) 24 GHz Service (part 101, subpart G) (TZ);
4) 39 GHz Service (part 101, subpart B) (TN);
5) 218-219 MHz Service (part 95, subpart F) (ZV);
6) 220-222 MHz Service (part 90, subpart T) (QA);
7) 700 MHz Commercial Services (part 27, subpart F) (WU, WY, WZ);
8) 700 MHz Guard Band Service (part 27, subpart G) (WX);
9) 800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio Service (part 90, subpart S) (YC, YH);
10) 900 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio Service (part 90, subpart S) (YD);
11) Advanced Wireless Service (part 27, subpart L) (AW);
12) Air-Ground Radiotelephone Service (Commercial Aviation) (part 22, subpart G) (CJ);
13) Broadband Personal Communications Service (part 24, subpart E) (CW, CY);
14) Broadband Radio Service (part 27, subpart M) (BR);
15) Cellular Radiotelephone Service (part 22, subpart H) (CL);
16) Dedicated Short Range Communications Service (part 90, subpart M) (QQ);
17) Educational Broadband Service (part 27, subpart M) (ED);
18) Local Multipoint Distribution Service (part 101, subpart L) (LD);
19) Multichannel Video Distribution and Data Service (part 101, subpart P) (DV);
20) Multilateration Location and Monitoring Service (part 90, subpart M) (LS);
21) Multiple Address Systems (EAs) (part 101, subpart O) (MS);
22) Narrowband Personal Communications Service (part 24, subpart D) (CN);
23) Paging and Radiotelephone Service (part 22, subpart E; part 90, subpart P) (CP, CZ, GC);
24) Public Coast Stations, including Automated Maritime Telecommunications Systems (part 80,
subpart J) (PC); and
25) Wireless Communications Service (part 27, subpart D) (WS).
4

Affected wireless radio services licensed by individual site (rule part) (service codes):

1) 220-222 MHz Service (site-based) (part 90, subpart T) (NC, QD, QO, QT);
2) 800/900 MHz (SMR and Business and Industrial Land Transportation Pool) (part 90, subpart S)
(SMR: GL, GM, GR, GX, YL, YM, YS, YX; BILT Pool: GB, GI, GJ, GO, GU, YB, YI, YJ, YO,
YU)
3) Air-Ground Radiotelephone Service (General Aviation) (part 22, subpart G) (CG);
4) Broadcast Auxiliary Services (part 74, subpart F) (AB, AI, AS, LP, LV, RP, TI, TB, TP, TS,
TT);14
5) Common Carrier Fixed Point-to-Point, Microwave Service (part 101, subpart I) (CF);
6) Digital Electronic Message Service (part 101, subpart G) (CE, PE);
7) Industrial/Business Radio Pool (part 90, subpart C) (IG, IK, YG, YK);
8) Local Television Transmission Service (part 101, subpart J) (CT);
9) Multiple Address Systems (site-based), excluding systems licensed to public safety entities (part
101, subpart O) (MG);
10) Non-Multilateration Location and Monitoring Service (part 90, subpart M) (LN);
11) Offshore Radiotelephone Service (part 22, subpart I) (CO);
12) Paging and Radiotelephone Service (site-based) (part 22, subpart E) (CD);
13) Private Carrier Paging (part 90, subpart P) (GS);
14) Private Operational Fixed Point-to-Point Microwave Service, excluding licenses held by public
safety entities (part 101, subpart H) (MG, WA, WM, WR); and
15) Rural Radiotelephone Service (including Basic Exchange Telephone Radio Service) (part 22,
subpart F) (CB, CR).


14 Part 74 Broadcast Auxiliary Services stations are not subject to the renewal condition. See supra note 12.
5

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