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Mobility Fund Auction Procedures and Filing Requirements

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Released: May 2, 2012
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

DA 12-641
May 2, 2012

MOBILITY FUND PHASE I AUCTION SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 27, 2012

NOTICE AND FILING REQUIREMENTS AND OTHER PROCEDURES FOR AUCTION 901

AU Docket No. 12-25

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Heading
Paragraph #
I.
GENERAL INFORMATION................................................................................................................. 1
A. Introduction and Summary............................................................................................................... 1
B. Overview of Mobility Fund Phase I................................................................................................. 6
1. Background................................................................................................................................ 6
2. Identification of Unserved Census Blocks Eligible for Mobility Fund Support ....................... 9
3. Establishing Unserved Road Mile Units ................................................................................. 24
4. Public Interest Obligations ...................................................................................................... 26
5. Mobility Fund Phase I Eligibility Requirements..................................................................... 32
6. Annual Reporting and Record Retention Requirements ......................................................... 34
C. Auction Specifics ........................................................................................................................... 36
1. Auction Start Date ................................................................................................................... 36
2. Auction Title............................................................................................................................ 38
3. Bidding Methodology.............................................................................................................. 39
4. Pre-Auction Dates and Deadlines............................................................................................ 40
5. Requirements for Participation................................................................................................ 41
D. Rules and Disclaimers.................................................................................................................... 42
1. Relevant Authority .................................................................................................................. 42
2. Prohibited Communications and Compliance with Antitrust Laws ........................................ 46
3. Due Diligence.......................................................................................................................... 71
4. Use of FCC Auction System ................................................................................................... 78
5. Fraud Alert............................................................................................................................... 79
6. Environmental Review Requirements ..................................................................................... 81
II. SHORT-FORM APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS ......................................................................... 82
A. General Information Regarding Short-Form Applications ............................................................ 82
B. SAC Identification ......................................................................................................................... 87
C. Disclosure of Bidding Arrangements............................................................................................. 88
D. Ownership Disclosure Requirements............................................................................................. 91
E. Specific Mobility Fund Phase I Eligibility Requirements and Certifications................................ 93
1. ETC Designation Certification ................................................................................................ 93
2. Access to Spectrum Description and Certification.................................................................. 96
3. Financial and Technical Capability Certification.................................................................... 97

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4. Certification that Applicant Will Not Seek Support for Areas in Which It Has Made a
Public Commitment to Deploy 3G or Better Service by December 31, 2012......................... 98
F. Tribally-Owned or Controlled Providers – 25% Reverse Bidding Credit ..................................... 99
G. Commission Red Light Rules ...................................................................................................... 101
H. USF Debarment............................................................................................................................ 102
I.
Minor Modifications to Short-Form Applications ....................................................................... 103
J. Maintaining Current Information in Short-Form Applications.................................................... 109
III. PRE-AUCTION PROCEDURES....................................................................................................... 110
A. Online Auction Tutorial – Available June 27, 2012 .................................................................... 110
B. Short-Form Applications – Due Prior to 6:00 p.m. ET on July 11, 2012 .................................... 113
C. Application Processing and Minor Corrections ........................................................................... 116
D. Auction Registration .................................................................................................................... 119
E. Remote Electronic Bidding.......................................................................................................... 123
F. Mock Auction – September 25, 2012 .......................................................................................... 125
IV. AUCTION EVENT ............................................................................................................................ 126
A. Auction Structure – Reverse Auction Mechanism....................................................................... 126
1. Single Round Sealed Bid Reverse Auction Format............................................................... 127
2. Aggregation Method – Predefined Aggregations.................................................................. 131
3. Winner Selection Process ...................................................................................................... 143
4. Limited Information Disclosure Procedures: Information Available to Bidders
Before and During the Auction ............................................................................................. 147
5. Auction Delay, Suspension, or Cancellation ......................................................................... 148
B. Bidding Procedures...................................................................................................................... 150
1. Bidding .................................................................................................................................. 150
2. Reserve Prices ....................................................................................................................... 152
3. Bid Removal.......................................................................................................................... 153
4. Auction Announcements ....................................................................................................... 156
5. Auction Results ..................................................................................................................... 157
V. POST-AUCTION PROCEDURES .................................................................................................... 158
A. General Information Regarding Long-Form Applications........................................................... 158
B. Long-Form Application: Disclosures and Certifications ............................................................. 160
1. Ownership Disclosure ........................................................................................................... 161
2. Documentation of ETC Designation ..................................................................................... 163
3. Financial and Technical Capability Certification.................................................................. 164
4. Project Construction Schedule/Specifications....................................................................... 165
5. Spectrum Access ................................................................................................................... 167
6. Letter of Credit Commitment Letter...................................................................................... 169
7. Letter of Credit and Bankruptcy Code Opinion Letter.......................................................... 170
8. Certification as to Program Requirements............................................................................. 173
9. Reasonably Comparable Rate Certification........................................................................... 174
10. Tribal Engagement Requirements: Certification and Summary of Engagement
Results ................................................................................................................................... 181
C. Default Payment Requirements ................................................................................................... 183
1. Auction Default Payment ...................................................................................................... 184
2. Performance Default Payment............................................................................................... 189
VI. CONTACT INFORMATION ............................................................................................................ 193
ATTACHMENT A: Summary of Eligible Census Blocks
ATTACHMENT B: Road Categories, Descriptions, and Total Miles in Eligible Census Blocks
ATTACHMENT C: Top 100 CMAs by Population
ATTACHMENT D: List of Parties
ATTACHMENT E: Summary Listing of Judicial, Commission and Bureau Documents Addressing
Application of Section 1.2105(c)’s Prohibition on Certain Communications Between Auction Applicants
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I.

GENERAL INFORMATION

A.

Introduction and Summary

1.
By this Public Notice, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“Wireless Bureau”) and
the Wireline Competition Bureau (“Wireline Bureau”) (collectively, the “Bureaus”) establish the
procedures that will be used for the reverse auction that will award $300 million in one-time Mobility
Fund Phase I support.1 This auction, which is designated as Auction 901, is scheduled to be held on
September 27, 2012. This Public Notice establishes the procedures, terms, and conditions governing
Auction 901 and the post-auction application process, and provides other important information for
parties that wish to seek Mobility Fund Phase I support.
2.
Auction 901 will award one-time support to carriers that commit to provide 3G or better
mobile voice and broadband services in census blocks where such services are unavailable.2 Support will
be allocated to maximize the road miles covered by new mobile services without exceeding the budget of
$300 million. Winning bidders will be obligated to choose whether to deploy 3G service within two
years or 4G service within three years of the award of support.
3.
Auction 901 will be the first auction to award high-cost universal service support through
competitive bidding. The USF/ICC Transformation Order established the Mobility Fund as a universal
service support mechanism dedicated expressly to mobile services and adopted rules for distribution of
the $300 million initial budget through Mobility Fund Phase I.3 In the USF/ICC Transformation Order,
the Commission delegated authority to the Bureaus to implement Mobility Fund Phase I, including the
authority to prepare for and conduct an auction and administer program details.4 On February 2, 2012,
the Bureaus released the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, which identified a preliminary list of
census blocks potentially eligible for Mobility Fund Phase I support and sought comment on whether
census blocks should be added or removed from the list of potentially eligible census blocks, on the
details of auction procedures, and on certain related program requirements for Auction 901.5


1 Connect America Fund, WC Docket No. 10-90, A National Broadband Plan for Our Future, GN Docket No. 09-51,
Establishing Just and Reasonable Rates for Local Exchange Carriers, WC Docket No. 07-135, High-Cost Universal
Service Support, WC Docket No. 05-337, Developing an Unified Intercarrier Compensation Regime, CC Docket
No. 01-92, Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, CC Docket No. 96-45, Lifeline and Link-Up, WC
Docket No. 03-109, Universal Service Reform – Mobility Fund, WT Docket No. 10-208, Report and Order and
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
, FCC 11-161, 26 FCC Rcd 17663 (2011) (“USF/ICC Transformation
Order
”) , pets. for review pending sub nom. Direct Commc'ns Cedar Valley, LLC v. FCC, No. 11-9581 (10th Cir.
filed Dec. 18, 2011) (and consolidated cases).
2 We use the terms “3G,” “3G or better,” “current generation,” and “advanced” interchangeably to refer to mobile
wireless services that provide voice telephony service on networks that also provide services such as Internet access
and email. We refer throughout this Public Notice to “awarding” or “selecting awardees” by auction for simplicity
of expression. As provided by the Commission’s rules, see 47 C.F.R. §§ 54.1005(b) and 54.1008(a), and discussed
further below, each party that becomes a winning bidder in the auction must file an application for support. Only
after review of the application to confirm compliance with all the applicable requirements will a winning bidder
become authorized to receive support.
3 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17674-75 paras. 28-29
4 Id. at 17783 para.329, 17803 para. 411.
5 “Mobility Fund Phase I Auction Scheduled for September 27, 2012; Comment Sought on Competitive Bidding
Procedures for Auction 901 and Certain Program Requirements, AU Docket No. 12-25,” Public Notice, DA 12-121,
27 FCC Rcd 530 (WTB/WCB 2012) (“Auction 901 Comment Public Notice”). On February 10, 2012, the Bureaus
(continued….)
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4.
After considering 69 separate filings in response to the Auction 901 Comment Public
Notice, in this Public Notice the Bureaus, among other things:
·
Provide the final list of census blocks eligible for Mobility Fund Phase I support in Auction
901;
·
Conclude that to establish the number of qualifying road miles associated with each eligible
census block, we will add three additional Census road categories to the three categories of
roads that we proposed in the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice;
·
Conclude that we will conduct Auction 901 as a single round, sealed bid auction;
·
Provide for bidding on predefined aggregations of eligible census blocks by census tracts,
except in Alaska, where bidding will be permitted on individual eligible census blocks;
·
Require that each winning bidder provide coverage, consistent with the performance
requirements of the rules adopted in the USF/ICC Transformation Order, to a minimum of 75
percent of the road miles in each census tract for which it wins support, calculated as the total
of the road miles in the eligible census blocks in the tract; and
·
Permit winning bidders to demonstrate that they offer supported services at rates comparable
to those in urban areas by offering one (1) stand-alone voice and one (1) data plan in
supported area(s) that match plans in urban areas, i.e, in top 100 Cellular Market Areas
(CMAs), and cost no more than the matching plans.
5.
In addition, this Public Notice reviews important Mobility Fund Phase I program
requirements, including eligibility requirements for participation and the public interest obligations of
winning bidders; describes in detail pre-auction procedures and deadlines, including auction application
requirements; explains requirements and details related to the structure and procedures for bidding as
outlined above; and provides an overview of the post-auction procedures, requirements, and deadlines,
including information on the post-auction application and on payment requirements that will be used to
enforce carriers’ obligations.

B.

Overview of Mobility Fund Phase I

1.

Background

6.
In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission comprehensively reformed and
modernized the high-cost component of the Universal Service Fund (USF) to help ensure the universal
availability of fixed and mobile communication networks capable of providing voice and broadband
services where people live, work, and travel. The Commission’s universal service reforms include a
commitment to fiscal responsibility, accountability, and the use of market-based mechanisms, such as
competitive bidding, to provide more targeted and efficient support than in the past. For the first time, the
(Continued from previous page)


released an updated list of potentially eligible census blocks. “Mobility Fund Phase I Auction; Updated List of
Potentially Eligible Census Blocks, AU Docket No. 12-25,” Public Notice, DA 12-187, 27 FCC Rcd 1476
(WTB/WCB 2012) (“Auction 901 Updated Blocks Public Notice”). Comments and reply comments on most issues
were due on February 24, 2012, and March 9, 2012, respectively. The Bureaus extended the deadlines for filing
comments and reply comments on census block eligibility challenges to March 16, 2012, and March 26, 2012,
respectively. “Mobility Fund Phase I Auction; Limited Extension of Deadlines for Comments and Reply Comments
on Census Block Eligibility Challenges, AU Docket No. 12-25,” Public Notice, DA 12-236, 27 FCC Rcd 1682
(WTB/WCB 2012). A listing of parties that filed comments, reply comments and ex parte notices or other filings
may be found in Attachment D. Filings are identified in this Public Notice by the abbreviated names shown in
Attachment D. Comments specifically addressing census block eligibility issues are identified as “ECB” filings.
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Commission established a universal service support mechanism dedicated expressly to mobile services –
the Mobility Fund.
7.
Phase I of the Mobility Fund will provide up to $300 million in one-time support to
address gaps in mobile services availability by supporting the build-out of current-and next-generation
mobile networks in areas where these networks are unavailable.6 The support offered under Phase I of the
Mobility Fund is in addition to any ongoing support provided under existing high-cost universal service
program mechanisms. Phase II of the Mobility Fund will provide $500 million annually for ongoing
support of mobile services.7 The Commission sought comment on the details for Mobility Fund Phase II
in the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) adopted in the USF/ICC Transformation
Order
.8
8.
The goal for Mobility Fund Phase I is to extend the availability of mobile voice and
broadband service on networks that provide third generation (often called “advanced” or “3G”) or better
performance and to accelerate the deployment of fourth-generation (“4G”) wireless networks in areas
where it is cost effective to do so with one-time support.9 To maximize coverage in eligible unserved
areas within the established budget of $300 million, the USF/ICC Transformation Order established
general rules for a reverse auction to identify those areas where additional investment can make as large a
difference as possible, in a transparent, simple, speedy, and effective way.10 In this reverse auction,
bidders will indicate the amount of one-time support they require to deploy service meeting the defined
performance standard in given unserved areas. Because the auction will generally award support based
on the lowest per-unit bid amount irrespective of geographic area, bidders will compete not only against
other carriers that may be seeking support in the same areas, but also against carriers bidding for support
in other areas nationwide. Support will be awarded based on the lowest bid amounts submitted, but will
not be awarded to more than one provider per area.11 Successful bidders will be awarded support for an
area at the price they bid.
2.

Identification of Unserved Census Blocks Eligible for Mobility Fund
Support

9.
In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission decided to target Mobility Fund
Phase I support to census blocks without 3G or better service at the geometric center of the block, referred
to as the centroid, and concluded that American Roamer data12 is the best available data source for


6 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17773 para. 299. The Commission also designated an additional
$50 million for one-time support targeted exclusively for advanced mobile services on Tribal lands, which will be
awarded by auction in 2013. Id. at 17819-20 para. 481. We will seek separate comment at a later date on issues
relating to the Tribal Mobility Fund.
7 Id. at 17824 para. 494. Up to $100 million of this amount annually is designated for support to Tribal lands.
8 Id. at 18069-85 paras. 1121-88.
9 Id. at 17781 para. 322.
10 Id. at 17781-83 paras. 322-28. We refer to areas without 3G or better services and the road miles within them as
“unserved.” Those unserved areas and road miles eligible for Mobility Fund Phase I are determined as described in
Sections I.B.2 and I.B.3, below.
11 The Commission also provides for a 25 percent bidding credit for Tribally-owned or controlled providers that
participate in Auction 901. Id., 26 FCC Rcd at 17807 para. 430; 47 C.F.R. § 54.1004(c).
12 Since the USF/ICC Transformation Order and Auction 901 Comment Public Notice were released, American
Roamer changed its company name to Mosaik Solutions. See http://www.mosaik.com/. The coverage data analyzed
(continued….)
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determining where such service is unavailable.13 More specifically, the Commission concluded that it
would consider any census block in the 2010 Census as unserved and thus eligible for support, if an
analysis of the American Roamer data indicated that the centroid is not covered by networks using EV-
DO, EV-DO Rev A, or UMTS/HSPA or better.14
10.
In the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, the Bureaus concluded that January 2012
American Roamer data was the most recently available for the purpose of doing an analysis to identify
eligible census blocks and described the methodology for identifying potentially eligible blocks.15 The
Bureaus used geographic information system (GIS) software to determine whether the American Roamer
data show 3G or better wireless coverage at the centroid of each block.16 If the American Roamer data
did not show such coverage, the block was determined to be unserved. In the Auction 901 Updated
Blocks Public Notice
, the Bureaus identified potentially eligible unserved blocks based on their analysis
of 2010 Census data and January 2012 American Roamer data.17 Because Mobility Fund Phase I support
will be awarded based on bid amounts and the number of road miles in each unserved census block, the
list of potentially eligible census blocks did not include any unserved census blocks without road miles.
The updated list consisted of 467,604 census blocks that lacked 3G or better service at the centroid of the
block.
11.
Pursuant to the USF/ICC Transformation Order, we will also make ineligible for support
census blocks for which, notwithstanding the absence of 3G service, any provider has made a regulatory
(Continued from previous page)


to determine eligible census blocks were released when the company was known as American Roamer, and we
continue to refer to that data as “American Roamer data” for purposes of this Public Notice.
13 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17783-84 paras. 332, 334. US Cellular and the Pennsylvania
Commission contend that targeting support to unserved census blocks makes those blocks into service areas in a
manner that conflicts with Section 214 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (“Communications Act”).
US Cellular Comments at 2; Pennsylvania Commission Reply at 2. However, the Commission’s targeting of
support does not redefine any existing ETC’s service area based on the census blocks in which it may receive
Mobility Fund Phase I support. Rather, the support and obligations related to it apply to those census blocks within
the ETC’s service area. USF/ICC Transformation Order at 17798-99 para. 391. With respect to any ETC newly
designated in connection with Mobility Fund Phase I, nothing in the Communications Act bars the use of census
blocks as a method of defining service areas. The Pennsylvania Commission correctly notes that the
Communications Act prescribes the use of a rural telephone company’s study area as a service area in certain
circumstances. Pennsylvania Commission Reply at 3 (citing 47 USC § 214(e)(5)). However, the Commission’s
decision to target support to specific census blocks does not define a “service area” for purposes of determining the
scope of an ETC’s obligations, so this provision is not relevant. Finally, the Pennsylvania Commission asserts that
the Commission’s use of census blocks requires the states to utilize census blocks in defining ETC study areas. Id.
at 2. We disagree. The Commission’s decision does not require the States to use any particular geography in
defining a study area, though a carrier might naturally seek to have its study area defined in conjunction with the
areas in which it may receive support.
14 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17786-87 paras. 343-44.
15 Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 534-35 para. 15.
16 Specifically, the Bureaus used ArcGIS software from Esri to determine whether the American Roamer data
showed 3G or better coverage at each block’s centroid. The following technologies were considered 3G or better:
EV-DO, EV-DO Rev A, UMTS/HSPA, HSPA+, WiMAX, and LTE. We use the term “centroid” to refer to the
internal point latitude/longitude of a census block polygon. For more information, see U.S. Census Bureau, Putting
It All Together, http://lehd.did.census.gov/led/library/doc/PuttingItTogether_20100817.pdf (last visited April 30,
2012).
17 Auction 901 Updated Blocks Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 1476-77 paras. 3-4.
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commitment to provide 3G or better wireless service, or has received a funding commitment from a
federal executive department or agency in response to the carrier’s commitment to provide 3G or better
wireless service.18 Such federal funding commitments include, but are not limited to, those made under
the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP)
authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).19
12.
Furthermore, the Commission established certain bidder-specific restrictions.20
Specifically, each applicant for Mobility Fund Phase I support is required to certify that it will not seek
support for any areas for which it has made a public commitment to deploy, by December 31, 2012, 3G or
better wireless service.21 In determining whether an applicant has made such a public commitment, we
anticipated that we would consider any public statement made with some specificity as to both geographic
area and time period. This restriction will not prevent a bidder from seeking and receiving support for an
unserved area for which another provider has made such a public commitment.
13.
In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission, responding to concerns about
potential errors in determining coverage of a particular area, provided for a limited timeframe for
challenges to those initial determinations. The Commission explained that it would “make public a list of
unserved areas as part of the pre-auction process and afford parties a reasonable opportunity to respond by
demonstrating that specific areas identified as unserved are actually served and/or that additional
unserved areas should be included.”22 In the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, the Bureaus therefore
asked commenters to indicate which blocks included in the revised list should not be eligible for Mobility
Fund Phase I support “and provide supporting evidence.” Similarly, we asked commenters to indicate
which blocks not included in the revised list should be eligible for support “and provide supporting
evidence.”23
14.
We received numerous comments, reply comments, ex parte and other submissions
relating to census block eligibility.24 Three states requested that we add census blocks to the revised list
based on State Broadband Initiative data.25 Five BIP and/or BTOP awardees submitted comments


18 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17786 paras. 341-42.
19 See ARRA, P.L. No. 111-5, 123 Stat. 115 (2009). The ARRA authorized BTOP and BIP. ARRA provided $4.7
billion to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for BTOP and the State
Broadband Data and Development Plan. NTIA’s BTOP grants support the deployment of broadband infrastructure,
enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service.
http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/about (last visited April 30, 2012). The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities
Service (USDA RUS) administers BIP, provides over $3.5 billion in loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations to
assist with addressing the challenge of rapidly expanding the access and quality of broadband services across rural
America and to meet the objectives of the ARRA. http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_bip.html (last visited April 30,
2012).
20 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17802-03 para. 410.
21 See 47 C.F.R. § 54.1005(a)(5).
22 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17785 para. 337.
23 Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 536 para.19.
24 “Mobility Fund Phase I Auction Limited Extension of Deadlines for Comments and Reply Comments on Census
Block Eligibility Challenges, AU Docket No. 12-25” Public Notice, DA 12-236, 27 FCC Rcd 1682 (WTB/WCB
2012).
25 “Launched in 2009, NTIA’s State Broadband Initiative (SBI) implements the joint purposes of the Recovery Act
and the Broadband Data Improvement Act, which envisioned a comprehensive program, led by state entities or non-
(continued….)
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requesting that we remove census blocks. Twenty-two other providers also requested that we either add
or remove census blocks from our updated list of potentially eligible blocks. We received ex parte
submissions as well, including submissions from USDA RUS and NTIA.
15.
Indiana Commission, Kentucky and Minnesota requested through state agencies that we
add to our list census blocks they identify as unserved based on the State Broadband Initiative data
gathered by the individual states for the National Broadband Map, arguing their data differs from our
analysis of American Roamer data.26 In the USF/ICC Transformation Order the Commission rejected the
use of the National Broadband Map generally because of inconsistencies in the initial phase relating to
wireless services data.27 While we appreciate that data submitted for and displayed in the National
Broadband Map may have improved, we conclude that the states have not provided us with enough
information to justify a conclusion that the states’ data is more reliable than the Bureaus’ analysis of
American Roamer and other data, which the Commission determined to use as a consistent basis for
determining eligible census blocks across all states. We therefore decline to add as eligible census blocks
those listed by Indiana Commission, Kentucky and Minnesota in their filings.
16.
We received ex parte submissions from USDA RUS and NTIA providing information on
the location of their BIP and BTOP awards in response to our request for awards proposing mobile
wireless projects using 3G or better technology.28 We made this request in light of the Commission’s
determination to make ineligible for support census blocks where a carrier had made a commitment to
provide 3G or better mobile service in return for a federal funding commitment such as those made under
BIP and BTOP awards.29 Five carriers submitted comments listing census blocks to be removed from our
list of potentially eligible blocks based on their receipt of BIP and/or BTOP awards to provide 3G or
better service.30
17.
USDA RUS provided us with a list of Census 2000 census blocks associated with BIP
awards for mobile wireless projects.31 After converting the USDA RUS list to 2010 census blocks32 and
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profit organizations working at their direction, to facilitate the integration of broadband and information technology
into state and local economies. . . . [t]he SBI program . . . assist[s] states in gathering data twice a year on the
availability, speed, and location of broadband services, as well as the broadband services that community
institutions, such as schools, libraries and hospitals, use. This data is used by NTIA to update the National
Broadband Map, the first public, searchable nationwide map of broadband availability launched February 17, 2011.”
http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/SBDD (last visited April 30, 2012).
26 Minnesota ECB Comments; Kentucky ECB Comments; Indiana Commission ECB Comments; Indiana
Commission ECB Reply.
27 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17784 para. 335.
28 NTIA ex parte; USDA RUS ex parte.
29 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd 17786 at paras. 341-42.
30 Commnet et al. ECB Comments; Keystone ECB Comments; Pine Telephone ECB Comments; PTI Pacifica ECB
Comments; VTel ECB Comments.
31 USDA RUS ex parte.
32 Wireless Bureau staff used the US Census Bureau method for converting Census 2000 tabulation blocks to
Census 2010 tabulation blocks found at: http://www.census.gov/geo/www/2010census/rel_blk_overview.html (last
visited April 30, 2012). These files contain the census block identification number (FIPS number) for 2000 census
vintage geography and its associated 2010 vintage census block identification number. Three distinct cases occur in
this relationship: a) a single 2000 block number is linked to a single 2010 block number, b) a single 2000 block
number is linked to many 2010 block numbers and c) many 2000 block numbers are linked to a single 2010 block
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comparing the results to the 2010 census blocks submitted by the three carriers claiming BIP awards,33 we
find that the blocks submitted by the carriers were also reported by USDA RUS. This consistency leads
us to conclude that the full list of census blocks receiving BIP awards, as identified by USDA RUS,
should be removed from our list of eligible census blocks to comply with the USF/ICC Transformation
Order
.34 As a result, the Census 2000 census blocks submitted by USDA RUS, which relate to seven
awards made to six parties including three that commented in this proceeding, will be converted to 2010
census blocks as described, and removed.
18.
NTIA provided us a list of Census 2000 census tracts associated with BTOP awards
potentially for mobile wireless projects. The NTIA BTOP list may be over inclusive because the NTIA
list describes areas at the census tract rather than the census block level, and it may include middle mile
infrastructure projects rather than projects expressly expanding mobile services.35 We compared this list
with the 2010 equivalents of the census tracts associated with the 2010 census blocks submitted by the
three commenters claiming BTOP awards. The census block data submitted by two of the three
commenters corresponded closely to areas identified by NTIA.36 Based on that correspondence, we
remove the census blocks submitted by the two commenters from the list of eligible census blocks.37
However, because the likely over inclusiveness of the NTIA data reduces our ability to ensure that we
would be targeting areas with planned expansion of 3G or better coverage, we do not remove all of the
areas on the NTIA list from consideration for Mobility Fund Phase I support. Further, we decline to
remove the blocks that a third commenter identified as associated with a BTOP award, because the award
and areas referenced by the commenter are not included in the NTIA list.38
19.
We turn now to the comments we received from 22 carriers requesting changes to our list
of potentially eligible blocks – either removals based on assertions that census blocks listed as potentially
(Continued from previous page)


number. The Census Bureau publishes these relationship files precisely for the purpose of linking geography files
from one year to geography files of another year. Commission staff acquired these crosswalk files from this Census
location above, and pushed them into the FCC Geographic Information Systems database. The resulting database
was a single table containing every 2000 census block identification number and its associated 2010 census block
identification number, for every state and territory. The staff then took the 2000 vintage block numbers filed in the
proceeding and, using the relationship file database established above, published by Census, linked them to their
defined 2010 geography. This link was performed using standard primary/foreign key matching (also known as
tabular joins) in the FCC master database system. The relationship files generated 2010 census geography
identification numbers for all input 2000 census block identification numbers. With this match, we are able to
analyze the comments as they relate to the 2010 census block identification numbers in the list of potentially eligible
areas released in the Auction 901 Updated Blocks Public Notice.
33 Keystone ECB Comments; Pine Telephone ECB Comments; VTel ECB Comments.
34 See USDA RUS ex parte; USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17786 para. 341.
35 See, e.g., Level 3 EON, LLC, Broadband Infrastructure Application Submission to RUS (BIP) and NTIA (BTOP),
submitted August 19, 2009 at
http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/files/grantees/level3_texas_application_part1_review_redacted.pdf (last visited April 30,
2012).
36 Pine Telephone ECB Comments; Commnet et al. ECB Comments.
37 In reply comments, Smith Bagley challenged the list of census blocks, and in particular, the BTOP blocks that
Commnet et al. requested be removed from eligibility. In a subsequent filing, Commnet et al. provided additional
information supporting its request. Commnet et al. ECB ex parte. Smith Bagley submitted a further challenge to
this additional information. Smith Bagley ECB ex parte.
38 PTI Pacifica ECB Comments.
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eligible currently have 3G or better service (or would in the relatively near future) or additions based on
assertions that census blocks not listed as potentially eligible actually lack 3G or better service. First, we
note that three parties, Mid-Rivers, PSW and WUE, filed comments listing census blocks for removal
from the potentially eligible list based on assertions, at least in part, that they would be covered in the
future, i.e., after the close of the record on March 26, 2012.39 We conclude that we will not make census
blocks ineligible based on these assertions. Pursuant to the USF/ICC Transformation Order, we provided
parties with an opportunity to demonstrate “that specific areas identified as unserved are actually
served”40 or that parties had made a “regulatory commitment” to serve particular areas.41 We find that
these assertions of coverage after the close of the record do not demonstrate actual service or a regulatory
commitment that should be reflected in our final list of eligible census blocks.42 Although Mid-Rivers
and PSW also claimed that they currently provide service with respect to some of their listed census
blocks, because they do not differentiate between current and future coverage in their submissions, we
reject their requested exclusions.
20.
We received comments from 15 carriers identifying census blocks for removal and/or
addition to our list of potentially eligible census blocks based on demonstrations of current coverage at
the centroid, or the lack thereof, in the form of maps, discussions of drive tests, explanation of
methodologies for determining coverage and in numerous cases, certifications by one or more individuals
as to the veracity of the material provided.43 We find these demonstrations to be sufficiently credible and


39 Mid-Rivers ECB Comments at 4 (“Mid-Rivers Wireless is in the midst of a 3G network upgrade that will be
completed well in advance of the September 27 Auction . . . .”); PSW ECB Comments at 3 (“[T]he Bureaus should
exclude those census blocks to which PSW intends to provide 4G coverage prior to the start of Auction 901”); WUE
ECB Comments at 2 (“WUE is providing (or will by the close of the comment period provide) 3G service to the
census blocks identified in Attachment A”); WUE ECB Reply at 1-2 (indicating that not all sites discussed in its
comment were completed by the close of the comment period). See also Horry Telephone ECB ex parte (requesting
the removal of census blocks, again based in part on assertions of future coverage).
40 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17785 para. 337.
41 Id., 26 FCC Rcd at 17786, paras. 341-42. Mid-Rivers asserts that its actions regarding future coverage constitute
a “regulatory commitment” to provide coverage that should make the areas involved ineligible for Mobility Fund
Phase I support. Mid-Rivers EBC Comments at 4-5. In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission stated
that support “will not be offered in areas where . . . any provider has made a regulatory commitment to provide 3G
or better wireless service, or has received a funding commitment from a federal executive department or agency in
response to the carrier’s commitment to provide 3G or better service.” USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC
Rcd at 17786 para. 341. As discussed above, the Commission cited funding commitments under programs
authorized by ARRA, including BTOP and BIP, as examples of federal funding commitments that alter an area’s
eligibility. Id. We interpret the “regulatory commitment” provision to cover circumstances in which a provider has
undertaken an obligation to perform where the failure to perform will carry meaningful consequences, just as
recipients of BTOP and BIP funding and/or parties that accept conditions related to Commission approval of
transactions are obligated to perform. While Mid-Rivers cites various statements that might indicate the sincerity of
its commitments, e.g., assertions that it will make representations in future license modification applications and
statements in Board minutes regarding future actions, see Mid-Rivers ECB Comments at 5, it has not demonstrated
that any of these statements obligate it to perform in a way that will lead to meaningful consequences should it fail
to do so. Accordingly, we decline to remove these areas from the list of eligible areas on this basis.
42 As noted below, we make this determination mindful of the Commission’s goal of moving quickly to award
Mobility Fund Phase I support. USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17785 para. 337.
43 Bluegrass ECB Comments; Carolina West ECB Comments; Cellular Network ECB Comments; Commnet et al.
ECB Comments; Cross Valliant ECB Comments; Cross Wireless ECB Comments; CT Cube ECB Comments; Eagle
Telephone ECB Comments; Leaco ECB Comments; Matanuska ECB Comments; Nemont ECB Comments; NNTC
ECB Comments; Panhandle ECB Comments; Texas RSA ECB Comments; WUE ECB Comments; WUE ECB
(continued….)
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convincing to meet the requirements of the USF/ICC Transformation Order and incorporate the requested
changes in our final list of eligible census blocks, to the extent that they contain road miles in any of the
six categories we identify in our discussion below.
21.
Finally, we received comments from five carriers listing census blocks for removal from
the potentially eligible list based on bare assertions that their own coverage maps show they serve census
blocks on our potentially eligible list.44 In contrast to the submissions of the 15 carriers discussed
immediately above, these five did not provide any information regarding the basis for their assertions.
Reply commenters challenged several such submissions as inadequate.45 We conclude that these
assertions without supporting evidence do not demonstrate actual service, as envisioned by the USF/ICC
Transformation Order
, that provides a basis for us to depart from our determination of potentially eligible
census blocks.46
22.
The list of census blocks released with this Public Notice is our final list of eligible
census blocks that were identified by analyzing U.S. Census data, January 2012 American Roamer data,
and information submitted by third parties. The difference between this list and the list provided with the
Auction 901 Updated Blocks Public Notice is that we have removed and added blocks based on the
comments of the 15 carriers that provided sufficiently credible and convincing demonstrations, we have
removed blocks based on BTOP and BIP awards as discussed above, and we have removed blocks that do
not have road miles in any of the six road categories that we identify below. We recognize that no such
list will be perfect or perfectly up-to-date. We are mindful of the Commission’s goal of moving quickly
to expand the availability of advanced mobile services by providing one-time support with the limited
funds budgeted for this purpose. We also heed the Commission’s warning that more extended dialog and
pre-auction review of these issues might risk undue delay in the award of this support.47 Accordingly, the
list of census blocks we release today contains our final determinations with respect to the areas eligible
for Mobility Fund Phase I support. As discussed elsewhere in this Public Notice, these census blocks
will, in most cases, be aggregated into their associated census tracts for bidding purposes.48
23.
We remind those interested in seeking Mobility Fund Phase I support that applicants for
Auction 901 are required to certify that they will not seek support for any areas in which they have made
a public commitment to deploy 3G or better service by December 31, 2012.49 We discuss this
requirement in greater detail in section II.E., where we describe the disclosures and certifications required
in the short-form application for Auction 901. Here we note that we view the submission of the
comments just discussed by carriers that identified census blocks to be removed from our list based on
(Continued from previous page)


Reply. Nemont filed two comments challenging eligible census blocks, one requesting that blocks be added and
another requesting that blocks be removed. Smith Bagley ECB Reply (“Reply Comments of Smith Bagley, Inc.,
regarding February 2, 2012, Public Notice”) provided evidence in support of the addition of census blocks to our
list, but did not provide a list of the specific census blocks they wanted to add. Absent a list of the specific census
blocks in question, we are unable to amend our list as Smith Bagley requests.
44 AT&T ECB Comments; Clearwire Comments; Sprint ECB Comments; T-Mobile ECB Comments; Verizon ECB
Reply.
45 US Cellular ECB Reply; Union Cellular ECB ex parte.
46 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17785 para. 337.
47 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17785 para 337.
48 There are some exceptions to the tract-level aggregation for census blocks in Alaska and in tracts with Tribal
lands. See Section IV.A.2. “Aggregation Method – Predefined Aggregations,” below.
49 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17802-03 para 410.
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future coverage or without an adequate demonstration of current actual service as public commitments to
deploy 3G or better service by December 31, 2012, in the census blocks they list, for purposes of this
certification.
3.

Establishing Unserved Road Mile Units

24.
In the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, we proposed to establish road mile units
based on three road categories defined and reported by the US Census Bureau: S1100, primary roads;
S1200, secondary roads; and S1400, local and rural roads and city streets. We sought comment on this
proposal and provided data on nine categories — the proposed three categories and six more categories.
Several commenters asked us to include additional road categories.50 Specifically, parties requested the
addition of road categories S1500, 4WD vehicular trails; S1640, service drives; and S1740, private roads
for service vehicles.51 Based on our review of these comments and analysis of 2010 census blocks and
TIGER road mile data, we have decided to include these additional road categories. These categories will
add three types of roads that are particularly important in some rural areas: unpaved dirt trails where a
four-wheel drive vehicle is required, service drives that typically connect to highways and other types of
roads, and private roads that are used in areas with logging, mining, oil fields, and ranches. Adding these
categories provides a better representation of roads where people live, work, and travel since it means
that, in every state and territory, we are making support possible for 98 percent or more of the total road
miles in eligible blocks. Furthermore, adding these three categories includes more unserved road miles in
almost all states and, comparing the road miles in the selected categories to the road miles for all nine
categories, increases the parity among the states of the proportion of unserved road miles that are
included.
25.
The list of census blocks released with this Public Notice includes, for each block, the
number of road miles in each of the six selected road categories.
4.

Public Interest Obligations

26.
Voice and Broadband Service. All Mobility Fund Phase I recipients must satisfy
specified public interest obligations in exchange for the support they receive, as must all recipients of any
Connect America Fund (CAF) support for fixed locations. Specifically, all CAF recipients, including
Mobility Fund Phase I recipients, must offer stand-alone voice service to the public.52 Mobility Fund
Phase I recipients must offer voice service with coverage of at least 75 percent or more of the designated
road miles within the area for which support is provided.53 Furthermore, receipt of Mobility Fund Phase I


50 Blooston Comments; GCI Comments; RTG Comments and RTG Reply; ACS Reply; Mid-Rivers Reply; and
NTCA Reply.
51 Parties also requested that factors other than road miles be considered, including mileage of waterways used for
transportation and the population of eligible areas. See ACS Reply at 7-9 (waterways) and NASUCA et al.
Comments at 6-7 (suggesting weighting road miles by population). The Commission, however, has determined that
the relevant coverage unit for Mobility Fund Phase I will be road miles. USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC
Rcd at 17788-89 para. 350; see 47 C.F.R. § 54.1002(b). While NASUCA et al. correctly notes that the Commission
has sought comment on the use of other factors in connection with Phase II of the Mobility Fund, this does not
change the Commission’s determination with respect to Phase I. See NASUCA et al. Comments at 7 (citing
USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 18070 para. 1122). Accordingly, these proposals to change the
Commission’s rules are beyond the scope of the Bureaus’ authority when establishing auction procedures.
52 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17693 para 80, 17791 para. 359; see 47 C.F.R. § 54.101(b).
53 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17792 para. 365; see 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(a) and (b). As
discussed below, support will be available to any recipient that covers a larger percentage of the designated road
miles by the applicable construction deadline, up to 100 percent.
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support is conditioned upon the recipient providing service over a network that achieves particular data
rates under particular conditions, which the Commission, for this purpose, refers to as third generation
(3G) networks or better.54
27.
Data Rates. To provide specificity, and solely for purposes of Mobility Fund Phase I, the
Commission refers to a network as a 3G network if it achieves outdoor minimum data transmission rates
of 50 kilobits per second (kbps) uplink and 200 kbps downlink at vehicle speeds appropriate for the roads
covered.55 Also solely for purposes of Mobility Fund Phase I, the Commission refers to a network as a
fourth generation (4G) network if it achieves outdoor minimum data transmissions rates of 200 kbps
uplink and 768 kbps downlink at vehicle speeds appropriate for the roads covered.56 With respect to both
3G and 4G networks, transmission latency must be low enough to enable the use of real-time applications,
such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).57
28.
Performance Deadlines. Winning bidders in Auction 901 will commit to provide service
over either a 3G or a 4G network, as those terms are used with respect to Mobility Fund Phase I, in their
post-auction long-form applications for support.58 Those parties committing to provide service over a 3G
network must do so for at least seventy-five percent (75%) or more of the designated road miles within
the relevant area within two (2) years of being authorized to receive support.59 Winning bidders
committing to provide service over a 4G network must do so for at least seventy-five percent (75%) or
more of the designated road miles within the relevant area within three (3) years of being authorized to
receive support.60 To the extent that a recipient covers road miles in excess of the minimum, support will
be available for up to 100 percent of the designated road miles for which the recipient demonstrates
coverage within the required timeframe associated with the technology deployed.61
29.
Reasonably Comparable Rates. Recipients of Mobility Fund Phase I support must certify
annually that they offer service in areas with support at rates that are within a reasonable range of rates for
similar service plans offered by mobile wireless providers in urban areas.62 This requirement extends for
a period ending five years after the date of award of support.63 We describe this requirement in more
detail below in our explanation of post-auction application requirements.


54 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17791 para. 360; see 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(a) and (b). In
addition, the Commission expects “that ETCs that offer standalone broadband service in any portion of their service
territory will also offer such service in all areas that receive CAF support.” USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26
FCC Rcd at 17695 para. 86 n.127.
55 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17791-92 para. 361; 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(a)(1).
56 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17792 para. 362; 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(b)(1).
57 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(a)(2) and (b)(2).
58 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17791 para. 360; see 47 C.F.R. § 54.1005(b)(2)(v).
59 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(a).
60 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(b).
61 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17792 para. 365, 17693 para. 367; see 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(a)
and (b).
62 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17917 para 385; 47 C.F.R. §§ 54.1005(b)(2)(viii) and
54.1009(a)(4).
63 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17917 para. 385; see 47 C.F.R. § 54.1009. In the Auction 901
Comment Public Notice
, the Bureaus proposed and sought comment on a standard for assessing compliance with
(continued….)
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30.
Collocation. In exchange for the support provided, Mobility Fund Phase I recipients
shall allow for reasonable collocation by other providers of services that would meet the voice and data
requirements of Mobility Fund Phase I on newly constructed towers that the recipient owns or manages in
the area for which it receives support.64 Consistent with this requirement, a recipient may not enter into
facilities access arrangements regarding relevant facilities that restrict any party to the arrangement from
allowing others to collocate on the facilities.
31.
Voice and Data Roaming. Recipients of Mobility Fund Phase I support must provide
voice and data roaming on networks built with the support, consistent with the requirements of section
20.12 of the Commission’s rules, as those rules were in effect on the date the Commission adopted the
USF/ICC Transformation Order.65 This condition of support is independent of subsequent changes to the
Commission’s rules on voice and data roaming, though to the extent any new rules are generally
applicable, recipients of Mobility Fund Phase I support may be subject to those as well. As these
requirements, as well as all the public interest obligations, are a condition of Mobility Fund Phase I
support, violations may result in the withholding or clawing back of universal service support in addition
to any other applicable sanctions.66
5.

Mobility Fund Phase I Eligibility Requirements

32.
In order to participate in Auction 901 and receive Mobility Fund Phase I support, an
applicant must demonstrate, for the areas on which it wishes to bid, that it has been designated as an
eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) and has access to the spectrum necessary to satisfy the
applicable performance requirements.67 In addition, an applicant must certify that it is financially and
technically capable of providing 3G or better service.68 Below, in our discussion of the short- and long-
form application requirements, we describe in detail how applicants must demonstrate that they meet
these eligibility requirements.
33.
RTG advocates restricting eligibility to participate in the auction based on additional
factors, primarily related to the size of the applicant.69 The Commission previously considered and
rejected similar proposals in the USF/ICC Transformation Order.70 The Commission concluded that the
competitive bidding rules and the procedures to be developed by the Bureaus would “promote its
objectives for the Mobility Fund and provide a fair opportunity for serious, interested parties to
(Continued from previous page)


this requirement. Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 547-49 paras. 65-70. We set forth the
standard below, as well as the comments received in response to the proposal, when discussing the post-auction
application in which a winning bidder must first make the certification.
64 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17794-95 para 376; 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(d).
65 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(e).
66 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17794-95 para. 380. See Section V.C.2. below.
67 Id., 26 FCC Rcd at 17798-17801 paras. 388-99; 47 C.F.R. § 54.1003. A Tribal entity may participate provided it
has applied for designation as an ETC for the relevant area and that application is still pending. Any such entity
must still receive designation prior to support being awarded. USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at
17823 para. 491; 47 C.F.R. § 54.1004(a). The requirement that parties have access to spectrum applies equally to all
parties, including Tribal entities.
68 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17801 paras. 400-03; 47 C.F.R. § 54.1002(c).
69 RTG Comments at 7.
70 See USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17802 paras. 407-09.
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participate.”71 We also note that the Bureaus cannot modify the eligibility requirements, because the
changes RTG advocates are beyond the scope of the Bureaus’ delegated authority and the scope of this
proceeding and would require action by the Commission to reconsider its determination in the USF/ICC
Transformation Order
.72
6.

Annual Reporting and Record Retention Requirements

34.
Winning bidders that are authorized to receive Mobility Fund Phase I support are
required to submit to the Commission an annual report each year for the five years after being so
authorized. The information and certifications required to be included in the annual report are described
in section 54.1009 of the Commission’s rules.73 In addition, authorized winning bidders are required to
submit certain reports before receiving disbursements of support.74 Mobility Fund Phase I support will be
available for disbursement to authorized winning bidders in three stages, with the first disbursement made
when the winning bidder is authorized to receive support.75 A recipient will be eligible to receive the
second disbursement when it submits a report demonstrating coverage of 50 percent of the applicable
coverage requirements of section 54.1006 of the Commission’s rules.76 A recipient will be eligible to
receive the final disbursement when it submits a report demonstrating coverage meeting the applicable
requirements of section 54.1006 of the Commission’s rules.77
35.
A winning bidder authorized to receive Mobility Fund Phase I support and all of its
agents are required to retain any documentation prepared for, or in connection with, the award of Mobility
Fund Phase I support for a period of not less than ten years after the date on which the winning bidder
receives its final disbursement of Mobility Fund Phase I support.78

C.

Auction Specifics

1.

Auction Start Date

36.
Bidding in Auction 901 will be held on

Thursday, September 27, 2012

.79 Unless
otherwise announced, bidding for all census blocks will be offered at the same time.


71 Id. at 17802 para. 409.
72 Other commenters contend that smaller carriers ought to be provided with a bidding preference, such as a bidding
credit, in order to enhance the chance that such carriers might win the auction. See Blooston Comments at 12-13;
NTCA Reply at 4. While the Commission has sought comment on providing such a preference in the FNPRM
adopted in the USF/ICC Transformation Order, it did not adopt such a preference for Mobility Fund Phase I and it is
beyond our authority to do so in this proceeding. See USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 18077-78
paras. 1157-60. In connection with the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission prepared a Final
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis concerning the possible impact on small entities of, among other things, the
Mobility Fund Phase I rules the Bureaus implement in this Public Notice. Id. at 18151 para. 1410.
73 47 C.F.R. § 54.1009. See USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17817 paras. 470-474.
74 47 C.F.R. § 54.1008. See USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17815-16 paras. 464-469.
75 47 C.F.R. § 54.1008(b)(1).
76 47 C.F.R. § 54.1008(b)(2).
77 47 C.F.R. § 54.1008(b)(3).
78 47 C.F.R. § 54.1010.
79 We note that NTCH and US Cellular contend that the auction should be delayed in light of pending litigation
regarding the source of funds to be disbursed based on the auction and in light of the pending Petitions for
(continued….)
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37.
The start and finish time of bidding will be announced by public notice approximately
one week before the start of the auction.
2.

Auction Title

38.
Auction 901 – Mobility Fund Phase I
3.

Bidding Methodology

39.
As discussed in more detail below, the bidding methodology for Auction 901 will be
single-round reverse format.80 The Commission will conduct this auction over the Internet using the FCC
Auction System. Qualified bidders are permitted to bid electronically via the Internet. Telephonic
bidding will not be available for Auction 901 because it will not be feasible given the number of eligible
geographic areas and the manner in which bids will be uploaded.81
4.

Pre-Auction Dates and Deadlines

40.
The following dates and deadlines apply:
Auction Tutorial Available (via Internet) .........................June 27, 2012
Short-Form Application (FCC Form 180)
Filing Window Opens .......................................................June 27, 2012; 12:00 noon ET
Short-Form Application (FCC Form 180)
Filing Window Deadline ..................................................July 11, 2012; 6:00 p.m. ET
Mock Auction……………………………………………September 25, 2012
Auction Begins..................................................................September 27, 2012
5.

Requirements for Participation

41.
Those wishing to participate in this auction must:
·
Submit a short-form application (FCC Form 180) electronically prior to 6:00 p.m. ET, July
11, 2012, following the electronic filing procedures that will be provided in a separate public
notice to be released in the near future; and
·
Comply with all provisions outlined in this Public Notice and applicable Commission rules.

D.

Rules and Disclaimers

1.

Relevant Authority

42.
Prospective applicants in Auction 901 must familiarize themselves with the
Commission’s general universal service rules, contained in 47 C.F.R. Part 54, and the Mobility Fund
(Continued from previous page)


Reconsideration of various aspects of the USF/ICC Transformation Order. See NTCH Comments at 1-2; US
Cellular Reply at 10-11. We disagree that either the pending litigation or the pending Petitions are a sufficient basis
for the Bureaus to delay the scheduled auction start date. The Commission already has considered the issues in the
pending litigation at length in proceedings before it. See USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 18258
Appendix F (denying pending Petitions for Reconsideration of High-Cost Universal Service Support, WC Docket
No. 05-337, CC Docket No. 96-45, Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 10-155, 25 FCC Rcd 12854
(2010)). With respect to the pending Petitions seeking reconsideration of the USF/ICC Transformation Order, we
will not take any action here that would prejudge the Commission’s review of the Petitions.
80 See Section IV.A.1. “Auction Structure – Reverse Auction Mechanism,” below.
81 See Section IV.B.1. “Bidding,” below.
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specifically, 47 C.F.R. §§ 54.1001- 54.1010. They should also familiarize themselves with the
Commission’s decision in the USF/ICC Transformation Order to implement the Mobility Fund Phase I.82
43.
Prospective bidders in Auction 901 must be familiar with the specific competitive
bidding rules for universal service support contained in 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.21000 – 1.21004, as well as the
procedures, terms and conditions contained in this Public Notice, the Auction 901 Comment Public
Notice
, and all other public notices related to Auction 901 (AU Docket No. 12-25).83 Additionally,
prospective Auction 901 bidders will find it helpful to familiarize themselves with the Commission’s
general competitive bidding rules, including recent amendments and clarifications, as well as Commission
decisions in proceedings regarding competitive bidding procedures, application requirements, and
obligations of Commission licensees.84
44.
The terms contained in the Commission’s rules, relevant orders, and public notices are
not negotiable. The Commission may amend or supplement the information contained in its public
notices at any time, and will issue public notices to convey any new or supplemental information to
applicants. It is the responsibility of all applicants to remain current with all Commission rules and with
all public notices pertaining to this auction.
45.
Copies of most auction-related Commission documents, including public notices, can be
retrieved from the FCC Auctions Internet site at http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions. Additionally,
documents are available for public inspection and copying between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time
(ET) Monday through Thursday or 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET Fridays at the FCC Reference Information
Center, 445 12th Street, SW, Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. Documents may also be
purchased from the Commission’s duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc. (“BCPI”), 445
12th Street, SW, Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, 800-378-3160 or at
http://www.bcpiweb.com.85
2.

Prohibited Communications and Compliance with Antitrust Laws

46.
To ensure the competitiveness of the auction process, section 1.21002 of the
Commission’s rules prohibits an applicant in a Mobility Fund auction from cooperating or collaborating
with any other applicant with respect to its own, or one another’s, or any other competing applicant’s bids
or bidding strategies, and from communicating with any other applicant in any manner the substance of


82 See, generally, USF/ICC Transformation Order. See also Connect America Fund; A National Broadband Plan for
Our Future; Establishing Just and reasonable Rates for Local Exchange Carriers; High-Cost Universal Service
Support; Developing a Unified Intercarrier Compensation Regime; Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service;
Lifeline and Link-Up; WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 07-135, 05-337, 03-109, CC Docket Nos. 01-92, 96-45, GN Docket
No. 09-51, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 11-13, 26 FCC Rcd
4554 (2011).
83 See, e.g., Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, Auction 901 Updated Blocks Public Notice.
84 See, e.g., Amendment of Part 1 of the Commission's Rules – Competitive Bidding Procedures, WT Docket No.
97-82, Order on Reconsideration of the Third Report and Order, Fifth Report and Order, and Fourth Further
Notice of Proposed Rule Making
, FCC 00-274, 15 FCC Rcd 15293 (2000) (modified by Erratum, DA 00-2475 (rel.
Nov. 3, 2000)); Seventh Report and Order, FCC 01-270, 16 FCC Rcd 17546 (2001) (“Part 1 Seventh Report and
Order
”); Eighth Report and Order, FCC 02-34, 17 FCC Rcd 2962 (2002); Second Order on Reconsideration of the
Third Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration of the Fifth Report and Order
, FCC 03-98, 18 FCC Rcd
10180 (2003); Second Order on Reconsideration of the Fifth Report and Order, FCC 04-295, 20 FCC Rcd 1942
(2005).
85 When ordering documents from BCPI, please provide the appropriate FCC document number (for example, DA
12-121 for the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice).
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its own, or one another’s, or any other competing applicant’s bids or bidding strategies, until after the
post-auction deadline for winning bidders to submit applications for support, unless such applicants are
members of a joint bidding arrangement identified on the short form application(s) pursuant to section
1.21001(b)(3)-(4).86
47.
Section 1.21002 is based on a similar rule used by the Commission in competitive
bidding for spectrum licenses, section 1.2105(c) of the Commission’s rules.87 Potential bidders should
familiarize themselves with sections 1.2105(c) and 1.21002, as well as the judicial, Commission and
Wireless Bureau decisions addressing application of the rule prohibiting certain communications listed in
Attachment E.88
a.

Entities Subject to Section 1.21002, the Rule on Prohibited
Communications

48.
Section 1.21002’s prohibition on certain communications will apply to any applicant that
submits a short-form application to participate in Auction 901. Thus, unless they have identified each
other on their short-form applications as parties with whom they have entered into agreements under
section 1.21001(b)(3), applicants in Auction 901 must affirmatively avoid all communications with or
disclosures to each other that affect or have the potential to affect bids or bidding strategy.89 In some
instances, this prohibition extends to communications regarding the post-auction market structure.

This
prohibition applies to all applicants regardless of whether such applicants become qualified bidders
or actually bid.

90
49.
For the Mobility Fund Phase I auction, all bidders will compete for support with all other
bidders in Auction 901, regardless of the geographic areas they seek to serve with Mobility Fund support.
Therefore, applicants will be prohibited from making certain communications with all other applicants in
Auction 901 regardless of the geographic areas they select, unless the parties disclose agreements reached
between the parties on their short-form applications.
50.
For purposes of the prohibition on certain communications, section 1.21002 defines
“applicant” broadly to include the applicant, each party capable of controlling the applicant, including all


86 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.21001(b)(4), 1.21002; see also USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17807 para.
431.
87 47 C.F.R. § 1.2105(c).
88 Because section 1.21002 was recently adopted for Mobility Fund competitive bidding, the Commission’s prior
experience in this area in in the context of section 1.2105(c). Applicants should review information regarding our
interpretation of section 1.2105(c) to gain insight into the Commission’s views on prohibited communications
during competitive bidding for Mobility Fund support.
89 “Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Provides Guidance on the Anti-Collusion Rule for D, E and F Block
Bidders,” Public Notice, DA 96-1460, 11 FCC Rcd 10134 (1996).
90 See, e.g., Star Wireless, LLC, Forfeiture Order, DA 04-3026, 19 FCC Rcd 18626, 18628 para. 4 & n.19 (2004),
order granted in part sub nom, Star Wireless, LLC and Northeast Communications of Wisconsin, Inc., Order on
Review
, FCC 07-80, 22 FCC Rcd 8943 (2007) (“Star and Northeast Review Order”), petition for review denied, Star
Wireless, LLC v. FCC
, 522 F.3d 469 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (section 1.2105(c) applies to applicants regardless of whether
they are qualified to bid); Letter to Robert Pettit,[Esquire], from Margaret W. Wiener, Chief, Auctions and Industry
Analysis Division
, DA 00-2905, 16 FCC Rcd 10080 (2000) (declining to exempt an applicant’s controlling interest
from coverage by the communication prohibitions of section 1.2105(c), even though the applicant never made an
upfront payment for the auction and was not listed as a qualified bidder).
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officers and directors, and each party that may be controlled by the applicant or by a party capable of
controlling the applicant.91
51.
Individuals and entities subject to section 1.21002 should take special care in
circumstances where their officers, directors and employees may receive information directly or indirectly
relating to any competing applicant’s bids or bidding strategies. For example, the Wireless Bureau has
found that, when an individual serves as an officer for two or more applicants, the bids and bidding
strategies of one applicant are conveyed to the other applicant, and, absent a disclosed bidding agreement,
an apparent violation of the rule prohibiting certain communications occurs.92 The Wireless Bureau has
not addressed a situation where non-principals (i.e., those who are not officers or directors, and thus not
considered to be the applicant) receive information regarding a competing applicant’s bids or bidding
strategies and whether that information should be presumed to be communicated to the applicant.
52.
Moreover, Auction 901 applicants are encouraged not to use the same individual as an
authorized bidder. A violation of section 1.21002 could occur if an individual acts as the authorized
bidder for two or more competing applicants, and conveys information concerning the substance of bids
or bidding strategies between such applicants. Also, if the authorized bidders are different individuals
employed by the same organization (e.g., a law firm or engineering firm or consulting firm), a violation
similarly could occur.93 In such a case, at a minimum, applicants should certify on their applications that
precautionary steps have been taken to prevent communication between authorized bidders, and that the
applicant and its bidders will comply with section 1.21002.94
b.

Prohibition Applies Until Long Form Application Deadline

53.
The section 1.21002 prohibition on certain communications begins at the short-form
application filing deadline and ends at the long form application deadline after the auction closes, which
will be announced in a future public notice.95
c.

Prohibited Communications

54.
Applicants must not communicate directly or indirectly about bids or bidding strategy to
other applicants in this auction (as described above).96 Section 1.21002 prohibits not only communication
about an applicant’s own bids or bidding strategy, it also prohibits communication of another applicant’s


91 47 C.F.R. § 1.21002(a).
92 See, e.g., Letter to Colby M. May, TCCSA, Inc., d/b/a Trinity Broadcasting Network, from Barbara A. Kreisman,
Chief, Video Division, Media Bureau, and Margaret W. Wiener, Chief, Auctions and Spectrum Access Division,
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, DA 05-2445, 20 FCC Rcd 14648 (2005) (finding apparent violation of
communication prohibitions of section 1.2105(c) where applicants with mutually exclusive applications reported
sharing same individual as an officer and director and reported having no bidding agreement).
93 See Application of Nevada Wireless, Memorandum Opinion and Order, DA 98-1137, 13 FCC Rcd 11973, 11977-
78 paras. 11-12 (1998) (“Nevada Wireless Order”).
94 Id.
95 47 C.F.R. § 1.21002(b). Unless otherwise provided by public notice, winning bidders for Mobility Fund Phase I
support must file an application for Mobility Fund Phase I support (also known as the long form application) no later
than 10 business days after the public notice identifying them as winning bidders. 47 C.F.R. § 54.1005(b)(1).
96 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17807 para. 431. See also Part 1 Seventh Report and Order, 16
FCC Rcd at 17553-54 para. 12. For a discussion of the term “applicant” within the meaning of section 1.21002, see
Section I.D.2.a. above.
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bids or bidding strategy.97 While section 1.21002 does not prohibit non-auction-related business
negotiations among auction applicants, each applicant must remain vigilant so as not to directly or
indirectly communicate information that affects, or could affect, bids, bidding strategy, or the negotiation
of settlement agreements.
55.
Applicants are cautioned that the Commission remains vigilant about prohibited
communications taking place outside of the auction itself. For example, the Commission has warned that
prohibited “communications concerning bids and bidding strategies may include communications
regarding capital calls or requests for additional funds in support of bids or bidding strategies to the extent
such communications convey information concerning the bids and bidding strategies directly or
indirectly.”98 Moreover, the Commission has found a violation of the rule against prohibited
communications where an applicant used the Commission’s bidding system to disclose “its bidding
strategy in a manner that explicitly invited other auction participants to cooperate and collaborate in
specific markets,”99 and has placed auction participants on notice that the use of its bidding system “to
disclose market information to competitors will not be tolerated and will subject bidders to sanctions.”100
Applicants also should use caution in their dealings with other parties, such as members of the press,
financial analysts, or others who might become conduits for the communication of prohibited bidding
information. For example, an applicant’s statement to the press that it intends to stop bidding in the
auction could give rise to a finding of a section 1.21002 violation.101 Similarly, an applicant’s public
statement of intent not to participate in Auction 901 bidding could also violate the rule. Applicants are
hereby placed on notice that public disclosure of information relating to bids, or bidding strategies, or to
post auction market structures may violate section 1.21002.
d.

Disclosure of Bidding Agreements and Arrangements

56.
The Commission’s rules do not prohibit applicants from entering into otherwise lawful
bidding agreements before filing their short-form applications, as long as they disclose the existence of
the agreement(s) in their short-form applications.102 Applicants must identify in their short-form
applications all parties with whom they have entered into any agreements, arrangements, or
understandings of any kind relating to the Mobility Fund Phase I support they seek, including any
agreements relating to post-auction market structure.103


97 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.21002(b). See also Notice of Apparent [L]iability for Forfeiture of Western PCS BTA 1 Corp.,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 99-385, 14 FCC Rcd 21571, 21574 para. 8 (1999).
98 Implementation of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act – Competitive Bidding, PP Docket No. 93-253,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 94-295, 9 FCC Rcd 7684, 7689 para. 12 (1994) (“Competitive Bidding
Memorandum Opinion and Order
”).
99 Mercury PCS II, LLC, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, FCC 97-388, 12 FCC Rcd 17970, 17974,
17976 paras. 12, 17 (1997).
100 Mercury PCS II, LLC, Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 98-203, 13 FCC Rcd 23755, 23760 para. 11
(1998).
101 Compare “Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Responds to Questions About the Local Multipoint Distribution
Service Auction,” Public Notice, DA 98-37, 13 FCC Rcd 341, 347-48 (1998) (“Public statements can give rise to
collusion concerns. This has occurred in the antitrust context, where certain public statements can support other
evidence which tends to indicate the existence of a conspiracy.”).
102 47 C.F.R. § 1.21001(b)(3)-(4).
103 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.21001(b)(3)-(4), 1.21002.
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57.
If parties agree in principle on all material terms prior to the short-form application filing
deadline, each party to the agreement must identify the other party or parties to the agreement on its short-
form application under section 1.21001(b)(3), even if the agreement has not been reduced to writing.104 If
the parties have not agreed in principle by the short-form filing deadline, they should not include the
names of parties to discussions on their applications, and they may not continue negotiation, discussion or
communication with any other applicants after the short-form application filing deadline.105
58.
Section 1.21002 of the Commission’s rules does not prohibit non-auction-related
business negotiations among auction applicants.106 However, certain discussions or exchanges could
touch upon impermissible subject matters because they may convey pricing information and bidding
strategies. Such subject areas include, but are not limited to, issues such as management, sales, local
marketing agreements, and other transactional agreements.107
e.

Section 1.21001(b)(4)-(5) Applicant Certifications

59.
By electronically submitting a short-form application, each applicant in Auction 901
certifies its compliance with sections 1.21001(b)(3) and 1.21002.108 In particular, an applicant must
certify under penalty of perjury that the application discloses all real parties in interest to any agreements
involving the applicant’s participation in the competitive bidding for Mobility Fund support.109 Also, the
applicant must certify that it and all applicable parties have complied with and will continue to comply
with 47 C.F.R. § 1.21002.110
60.
The Bureaus caution, however, that merely filing a certifying statement as part of an
application will not outweigh specific evidence that a prohibited communication has occurred, nor will it
preclude the initiation of an investigation when warranted.111 The Commission has stated that it
“intend[s] to scrutinize carefully any instances in which bidding patterns suggest that collusion may be
occurring.”112 Any applicant found to have violated section 1.21001(b)(4) and (5) may be subject to
sanctions.113


104 47 C.F.R. § 1.21001(b)(3).
105 See “Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Clarifies Spectrum Auction Anti-Collusion Rules,” Public Notice,
DA 95-2244, 11 FCC Rcd 9645, 9646 (WTB 1995) (“Anti-Collusion Public Notice”).
106 See, e.g., Todd Stuart Noordyk, Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 01-275, 16 FCC Rcd 18113, 18116-17
para. 12 (2001).
107 See Amendment of Part 1 of the Commission's Rules – Competitive Bidding Procedures, WT Docket No. 97-82,
Third Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, FCC 97-413, 13 FCC Rcd 374, 467-
68 para. 163 (1997).
108 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.21001(b)(3), 1.21002.
109 47 C.F.R. § 1.21001(b)(4).
110 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.21001(b)(5), 1.21002.
111 Nevada Wireless Order, 13 FCC Rcd at 11978 para. 13.
112 Competitive Bidding Memorandum Opinion and Order, 9 FCC Rcd at 7689 para. 12.
113 See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. § 1.2109(d).
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f.

Duty to Report Prohibited Communications

61.
Section 1.21002(c) provides that any applicant that makes or receives a communication
that appears to violate section 1.21002 must report such communication in writing to the Commission
immediately, and in no case later than five business days after the communication occurs.114 An
applicant’s obligation to make such a report continues until the report has been made.115
62.
In addition, section 1.65 of the Commission’s rules requires an applicant to maintain the
accuracy and completeness of information furnished in its pending application and to notify the
Commission of any substantial change that may be of decisional significance to that application.116 Thus,
section 1.65 requires an Auction 901 applicant to notify the Commission of any substantial change to the
information or certifications included in its pending short-form application. An applicant is therefore
required by section 1.65 to report to the Commission any communication the applicant has made to or
received from another applicant after the short-form application filing deadline that affects or has the
potential to affect bids or bidding strategy, unless such communication is made to or received from a
party to an agreement identified under section 1.21001(b)(4).117
63.
Sections 1.65(a) and 1.21002 of the Commission’s rules require each applicant in
competitive bidding proceedings to furnish additional or corrected information within five days of a
significant occurrence, or to amend its short-form application no more than five days after the applicant
becomes aware of the need for amendment.118 These rules are intended to facilitate the auction process
by making the information available promptly to all participants and to enable the Bureaus to act
expeditiously on those changes when such action is necessary.119
g.

Procedure for Reporting Prohibited Communications

64.
A party reporting any prohibited communication pursuant to sections 1.65, 1.21001(b), or
1.21002(c) must take care to ensure that any report of the prohibited communication does not itself give
rise to a violation of section 1.21002.120 For example, a party’s report of a prohibited communication
could violate the rule by communicating prohibited information to other applicants through the use of
Commission filing procedures that would allow such materials to be made available for public inspection.
65.
Parties must file only a single report concerning a prohibited communication and must
file that report with Commission personnel expressly charged with administering the Commission’s
auctions.121 This rule is designed to minimize the risk of inadvertent dissemination of information in such


114 47 C.F.R. § 1.21002(c); see also Part 1 Seventh Report and Order, 16 FCC Rcd at 17553-55 paras. 13-17.
115 47 C.F.R. § 1.21002(c).
116 47 C.F.R. § 1.65; see also Part 1 Seventh Report and Order, 16 FCC Rcd at 17550-51 para. 9.
117 See Part 1 Seventh Report and Order, 16 FCC Rcd at 17550-51 para. 9.
118 Procedural Amendments to Commission Part 1 Competitive Bidding Rules, WT Docket No. 10-18, Order, FCC
10-4, 25 FCC Rcd 521, 523 para. 8 (2010) (“Part 1 Procedural Amendments Order”).
119 Id.
120 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.65, 1.21001(b)(3)-(5), 1.21002.
121 Part 1 Procedural Amendments Order, 25 FCC Rcd at 522 para. 4. This process differs from filing procedures
used in connection with other Commission rules and processes which may call for submission of filings to the
Commission’s Office of the Secretary or ECFS. Filing through the Office of Secretary or ECFS could allow the
report to become publicly available and might result in the communication of prohibited information to other
auction applicants.
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reports. Any reports required by section 1.21002(c) must be filed consistent with the instructions set forth
in this Public Notice.122 For Auction 901, such reports must be filed with the Chief of the Auctions and
Spectrum Access Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, by the most expeditious means
available. Any such report should be submitted by e-mail to the following e-mail address:
auction901@fcc.gov. If you choose instead to submit a report in hard copy, any such report must be
delivered only to: Margaret W. Wiener, Chief, Auctions and Spectrum Access Division, Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Room 6423,
Washington, DC 20554.
66.
A party seeking to report such a prohibited communication should consider submitting its
report with a request that the report or portions of the submission be withheld from public inspection by
following the procedures specified in section 0.459 of the Commission’s rules.123 We encourage such
parties to coordinate with the Auctions and Spectrum Access Division staff about the procedures for
submitting such reports.124 This Public Notice provides additional guidance on procedures for submitting
application-related information below.125
h.

Winning Bidders May Need to Disclose Terms of Agreements

67.
Each applicant that is a winning bidder may be required to disclose in its long-form
applications the specific terms, conditions, and parties involved in any agreement it has entered into.126
This may apply to any bidding consortia, joint venture, partnership, or agreement, understanding, or other
arrangement entered into relating to the competitive bidding process, including any agreement relating to
the post-auction market structure. Failure to comply with the Commission’s rules can result in
enforcement action.
i.

Additional Information Concerning Rule Prohibiting Certain
Communications

68.
A summary listing of documents issued by the Commission and the Wireless Bureau
addressing the application of the rule prohibiting certain communications may be found in Attachment
E.127 These documents are available on the Commission’s auction web page at
http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions/prohibited_communications.


122 Id.
123 See 47 C.F.R. § 0.459 (requests that materials or information submitted to the Commission be withheld from
public inspection). Filers requesting confidential treatment of documents must be sure that the cover page of the
filing prominently displays that the documents seek confidential treatment. For example, a filing might include a
cover page stamped with “Request for Confidential Treatment Attached” or “Not for Public Inspection.” Any such
request must cover all of the material to which the request applies. See 47 C.F.R. § 0.459(a).
124 See Section VI. “Contact Information,” below.
125 See Section II. J. “Maintaining Current Information in Short-Form Applications,” below.
126 See 47 C.F.R. § 54.1005(b)(2)(xi) (applicants for Mobility Fund Phase I support will need to provide such
additional information as the Commission may require).
127 As noted above, these documents discuss the rule prohibiting certain communications in the context of
competitive bidding for spectrum licenses or broadcast permits, section 1.2105(c). Applicants will find this
information helpful to understanding the similar prohibition in the context of competitive bidding for Mobility Fund
support.
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j.

Antitrust Laws

69.
We also remind applicants that, regardless of compliance with the Commission’s rules,
they remain subject to the antitrust laws, which are designed to prevent anticompetitive behavior in the
marketplace.128 Compliance with the disclosure requirements of section 1.21002 will not insulate a party
from enforcement of the antitrust laws.129 For instance, a violation of the antitrust laws could arise out of
actions taking place well before any party submitted a short-form application.130 Similarly, the Wireless
Bureau previously reminded potential applicants and others that “[e]ven where the applicant discloses
parties with whom it has reached an agreement on the short-form application, thereby permitting
discussions with those parties, the applicant is nevertheless subject to existing antitrust laws.”131
70.
To the extent the Commission becomes aware of specific allegations that suggest that
violations of the federal antitrust laws may have occurred, the Commission may refer such allegations to
the United States Department of Justice for investigation.132 If an applicant is found to have violated the
antitrust laws or the Commission’s rules in connection with its participation in the competitive bidding
process, it may be subject to a forfeiture and may be prohibited from participating in future auctions,
among other sanctions.133
3.

Due Diligence

71.
The Bureaus remind each potential bidder that it has sole responsibility for investigating
and evaluating all technical and marketplace factors that may have a bearing on the level of Mobility
Fund Phase I support it submits as a bid in Auction 901. Each bidder is responsible for assuring that, if it
wins the support, it will be able to build and operate facilities in accordance with the Mobility Fund
obligations and the Commission’s rules generally.
72.

Applicants should be aware that Auction 901 represents an opportunity to apply for

Mobility Fund support, subject to certain conditions and regulations. Auction 901 does not
constitute an endorsement by the FCC of any particular service, technology, or product, nor does
Mobility Fund support constitute a guarantee of business success.




128 See Amendment of Part 1 of the Commission’s Rules – Competitive Bidding Procedures, WT Docket No. 97-82,
Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 99-384, 14 FCC Rcd 21558, 21560-61 para. 4 & n.17 (1999)
quoting Competitive Bidding Memorandum Opinion and Order, 9 FCC Rcd at 7689 para. 12 (“[W]e wish to
emphasize that all applicants and their owners continue to be subject to existing antitrust laws. Applicants should
note that conduct that is permissible under the Commission's Rules may be prohibited by the antitrust laws.”);
Implementation of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act – Competitive Bidding, PP Docket No. 93-253,
Fourth Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 94-264, 9 FCC Rcd 6858, 6869 n.134 (1994)(“[A]pplicants will also
be subject to existing antitrust laws.”) (“Fourth Memorandum Opinion and Order”).
129 See Competitive Bidding Memorandum Opinion and Order, 9 FCC Rcd at 7689 para. 12. See also “Justice
Department Sues Three Firms Over FCC Auction Practices,” Press Release 98-536 (DOJ Nov. 10, 1998).
130 See, e.g., Fourth Memorandum Opinion and Order, 9 FCC Rcd at 6869 n.134. The Commission has cited a
number of examples of potentially anticompetitive actions that would be prohibited under antitrust laws: for
example, actual or potential competitors may not agree to divide territories in order to minimize competition,
regardless of whether they split a market in which they both do business, or whether they merely reserve one market
for one and another market for the other. Id.
131 Anti-Collusion Public Notice, 11 FCC Rcd at 9646.
132 See Competitive Bidding Second Report and Order, 9 FCC Rcd at 2388 para. 226.
133 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.2109(d); see also Competitive Bidding Second Report and Order, 9 FCC Rcd at 2388 para.
226.
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73.
An applicant should perform its due diligence research and analysis before proceeding, as
it would with any new business venture. In particular, the Bureaus strongly encourage each potential
bidder to review all underlying Commission orders, including the USF/ICC Transformation Order.134
Each potential bidder should perform technical analyses or refresh its previous analyses to assure itself
that, should it become a winning bidder for Mobility Fund Phase I support, it will be able to build and
operate facilities that will fully comply with all applicable technical and legal requirements. The Bureaus
strongly encourage each applicant to inspect any prospective transmitter sites located in, or near, the
service area for which it plans to construct transmitters with Mobility Fund support, to confirm the
availability of such sites, and to familiarize itself with the Commission’s rules regarding environmental
compliance.135
74.
The Bureaus strongly encourage each applicant to conduct its own research prior to
Auction 901 in order to determine the existence of pending administrative or judicial proceedings,
including pending allocation rulemaking proceedings that might affect its decision to participate in the
auction. The due diligence considerations mentioned in this Public Notice do not comprise an exhaustive
list of steps that should be undertaken prior to participating in this auction. As always, the burden is on
the potential bidder to determine how much research to undertake, depending upon specific facts and
circumstances related to its interests.
75.
The Bureaus also remind each applicant that pending and future judicial proceedings, as
well as certain pending and future proceedings before the Commission – including applications,
applications for modification, petitions for rulemaking, requests for special temporary authority, waiver
requests, petitions to deny, petitions for reconsideration, informal objections, and applications for review
– may relate to particular licensees or applicants for support in Auction 901. Each prospective applicant
is responsible for assessing the likelihood of the various possible outcomes and for considering the
potential impact on Mobility Fund Phase I support available through this auction.
76.

Each applicant is solely responsible for identifying associated risks and for

investigating and evaluating the degree to which such matters may affect its ability to bid on or
otherwise receive Mobility Fund Phase I support.
Each potential bidder is responsible for undertaking
research to ensure that any support won in this auction will be suitable for its business plans and needs.
Each potential bidder must undertake its own assessment of the relevance and importance of information
gathered as part of its due diligence efforts.
77.
The Commission makes no representations or guarantees regarding the accuracy or
completeness of information in its databases or any third party databases, including, for example, court
docketing systems. To the extent the Commission’s databases may not include all information deemed
necessary or desirable by an applicant, it must obtain or verify such information from independent sources
or assume the risk of any incompleteness or inaccuracy in said databases. Furthermore, the Commission
makes no representations or guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of information that has
been provided by incumbent licensees and incorporated into its databases.
4.

Use of FCC Auction System

78.
Bidders will be able to participate in Auction 901 over the Internet using the FCC
Auction System. The Commission makes no warranty whatsoever with respect to the FCC Auction
System. In no event shall the Commission, or any of its officers, employees, or agents, be liable for any
damages whatsoever (including, but not limited to, loss of business profits, business interruption, loss of


134 See, generally, USF/ICC Transformation Order.
135 47 C.F.R. Part 1, Subpart I.
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business information, or any other loss) arising out of or relating to the existence, furnishing, functioning,
or use of the FCC Auction System that is accessible to qualified bidders in connection with this auction.
Moreover, no obligation or liability will arise out of the Commission’s technical, programming, or other
advice or service provided in connection with the FCC Auction System.
5.

Fraud Alert

79.
As is the case with many business investment opportunities, some unscrupulous
entrepreneurs may attempt to use Auction 901 to deceive and defraud unsuspecting investors. Common
warning signals of fraud include the following:
·
The first contact is a “cold call” from a telemarketer, or is made in response to an inquiry
prompted by a radio or television infomercial.
·
The offering materials used to invest in the venture appear to be targeted at IRA funds, for
example, by including all documents and papers needed for the transfer of funds maintained
in IRA accounts.
·
The amount of investment is less than $25,000.
·
The sales representative makes verbal representations that: (a) the Internal Revenue Service,
Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), FCC, or
other government agency has approved the investment; (b) the investment is not subject to
state or federal securities laws; or (c) the investment will yield unrealistically high short-term
profits. In addition, the offering materials often include copies of actual FCC releases, or
quotes from FCC personnel, giving the appearance of FCC knowledge or approval of the
solicitation.
80.
Information about deceptive telemarketing investment schemes is available from the FCC
as well as the FTC and SEC. Additional sources of information for potential bidders and investors may
be obtained from the following sources:
·
the FCC’s Consumer Call Center at (888) 225-5322 or by visiting
http://wireless.fcc.gov/csinfo#fraud
·
the FTC at (877) FTC-HELP ((877) 382-4357) or by visiting
http://ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/invest/inv03.shtm
·
the SEC at (202) 942-7040 or by visiting
http://sec.gov/cgi-bin/txt-srch-sec?text=fraud&section=Investor+Information&x=8&y=5.
Complaints about specific deceptive telemarketing investment schemes should be directed to the FTC, the
SEC, or the National Fraud Information Center at (800) 876-7060.
6.

Environmental Review Requirements

81.
Recipients of Mobility Fund support, like all licensees, must comply with the
Commission’s rules regarding implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal
environmental statutes.136 The construction of a wireless antenna facility is a federal action, and any
entity constructing a wireless antenna facility must comply with the Commission’s environmental rules
for each such facility.137 The Commission’s environmental rules require, among other things, that the


136 47 C.F.R. Part 1, Subpart I.
137 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1301-1.1319.
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entity constructing the facility consult with expert agencies having environmental responsibilities,
including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Army Corps of
Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (through the local authority with jurisdiction
over floodplains). In assessing the effect of facilities construction on historic properties, the entity
constructing the facility must follow the provisions of the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement
Regarding the Section 106 National Historic Preservation Act Review Process.138 The entity must
prepare environmental assessments for facilities that may have a significant impact in or on wilderness
areas, wildlife preserves, threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitats, historical or
archaeological sites, Indian religious sites, floodplains, and surface features. The entity also must prepare
environmental assessments for facilities that include high intensity white lights in residential
neighborhoods or excessive radio frequency emission, or that are over 450 feet in height.139 Facilities that
require antenna registration will also be required to complete an environmental notification process.140

II.

SHORT-FORM APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

A.

General Information Regarding Short-Form Applications

82.
An application to participate in Auction 901, referred to as a short-form application or
FCC Form 180, provides information used to determine whether the applicant is legally, technically, and
financially qualified to participate in Commission auctions for universal service funding support.141 The
short-form application is the first part of the Commission’s two-phased auction application process. In
the first phase, each party desiring to participate in the auction must file a streamlined, short-form
application in which it certifies under penalty of perjury as to its qualifications.142 Each applicant must
take seriously its duties and responsibilities and carefully determine before filing an application that it has
the legal, technical and financial resources to participate in the auction and be able to meet the public
interest obligations associated with Mobility Fund Phase I support. Eligibility to participate in bidding is
based on the applicant’s short-form application and certifications, as explained below. In the second
phase of the process, each winning bidder must file a more comprehensive long-form application (FCC
Form 680).
83.
Every entity seeking support available in Auction 901 must file a short-form application
electronically via the FCC Auction System prior to 6:00 p.m. ET on July 11, 2012. The short-form
application requires each applicant to establish its eligibility for bidding for Mobility Fund Phase I
support. Among other things, to establish eligibility at the short-form stage, an applicant must certify that
it is a designated ETC in any geographic area for which it will seek support or that it is a Tribally-owned
or controlled entity with a pending application for ETC designation, and provide the Study Area Code(s)
(SAC(s)) associated with its ETC designation and/or provide the name(s) of its corresponding Tribal
land(s) in lieu of a SAC. Each applicant will also be required to provide a general narrative description of
its access to the spectrum it plans to use to meet Mobility Fund obligations in the particular area(s) for
which it plans to bid and certify that it will retain its access to the spectrum for at least five years from the


138 47 C.F.R. Part 1, Appendix C.
139 The requirement to prepare environmental assessments for towers over 450 feet in height is pending approval by
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
140 See National Environmental Policy Act Compliance for proposed Tower Registrations, WT Docket Nos. 08-61,
03-187, Order on Remand, FCC 11-181, 26 FCC Rcd 16700 (2011). This requirement is also pending OMB
approval.
141 47 C.F.R. § 1.21001.
142 Id.
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date of award of support. If an applicant claims eligibility for a Tribal land bidding credit as a Tribally-
owned or controlled143 entity, the information provided in its FCC Form 180 will be used in determining
whether the applicant is eligible for the claimed bidding credit. Below we describe more fully the
information disclosures and certifications required in the short-form application. Each applicant filing a
short-form application is subject to the Commission’s rule prohibiting certain communications beginning
on the deadline for filing, as described above.144
84.
Each applicant bears full responsibility for submitting an accurate, complete and timely
short-form application. Each applicant must certify on its short-form application under penalty of perjury
that it is legally, technically, financially and otherwise qualified to receive universal service support
funding.145 Each applicant should consult the Commission’s rules to ensure that, in addition to the
materials described below, all the information required is included in its short-form application.
85.
A party may not submit more than one short-form application for Auction 901. If a party
submits multiple short-form applications, only one application may be accepted for filing.
86.
Each applicant also should note that submission of a short-form application (and any
amendments thereto) constitutes a representation by the certifying official that he or she is an authorized
representative of the applicant, that he or she has read the form’s instructions and certifications, and that
the contents of the application, its certifications, and any attachments are true and correct. An applicant is
not permitted to make major modifications to its application; such impermissible changes include a
change of the certifying official to the application.146 Submission of a false certification to the
Commission may result in penalties, including monetary forfeitures, the forfeiture of universal service
support, license forfeitures, ineligibility to participate in future auctions, and/or criminal prosecution.

B.

SAC Identification

87.
An applicant will not be required to select the specific census blocks on which it wishes
to bid when submitting its short-form application. Based on the SAC(s) or Tribal land(s) information
entered by an applicant, the FCC Auction System will identify eligible tracts and blocks in the associated
state(s) or Tribal land(s) for each applicant during the application process.

C.

Disclosure of Bidding Arrangements

88.
An applicant will be required to identify in its short-form application all real parties in
interest to any agreements relating to the participation of the applicant in the competitive bidding for
Mobility Fund support.147
89.
Each applicant will also be required to certify under penalty of perjury in its short-form
application that it has disclosed all real parties in interest to any agreements involving the applicant’s
participation in the competitive bidding for Mobility Fund support.148 If an applicant has had discussions,
but has not reached an agreement by the short-form application filing deadline, it should not include the


143 See Section II.F. “Tribally-Owned or Controlled Providers – 25% Bidding Credit,” below.
144 Section I.D.2. “Prohibited Communications and Compliance with Antitrust Laws.”
145 47 C.F.R. § 1.21001(b)(6).
146 47 C.F.R. § 1.21001.
147 47 C.F.R. § 1.21001(b)(3).
148 47 C.F.R. § 1.21001(b)(4).
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names of parties to the discussions on its application and may not continue such discussions with any
applicants after the deadline.149
90.
Moreover, each applicant will also be required to certify under penalty of perjury in its
short-form application that it and all applicable parties have complied with and will continue to comply
with section 1.21002 of the Commission’s rules.150 While section 1.21002 does not prohibit non-auction-
related business negotiations among auction applicants, we remind applicants that certain discussions or
exchanges could touch upon impermissible subject matters because they may convey pricing information
and bidding strategies.151 Further, as discussed above, compliance with the disclosure requirements of
section 1.21002 of the Commission’s rules will not insulate a party from enforcement of the antitrust
laws.152

D.

Ownership Disclosure Requirements

91.
Each applicant must comply with the uniform Part 1 ownership disclosure standards and
provide information required by sections 54.1005(a)(1) and 1.2112(a) of the Commission’s rules.153
Specifically, in completing the short-form application, an applicant will be required to fully disclose
information on the real party- or parties-in-interest and the ownership structure of the applicant, including
both direct and indirect ownership interests of 10 percent or more, as prescribed in section 1.2112(a) of
the Commission’s rules.154 Each applicant is responsible for ensuring that information submitted in its
short-form application is complete and accurate.
92.
In certain circumstances, an applicant’s most current ownership information on file with
the Commission, if in an electronic format compatible with the short-form application (FCC Form 180)
(such as information submitted in an FCC Form 602 or in an FCC Form 175 filed for a previous
Commission spectrum license auction using the FCC Auction System), will automatically be entered into
the applicant’s short-form application. Each applicant must carefully review any information
automatically entered to confirm that it is complete and accurate as of the deadline for filing the short-
form application. Any information that needs to be corrected or updated must be changed directly in the
short-form application.

E.

Specific Mobility Fund Phase I Eligibility Requirements and Certifications

1.

ETC Designation Certification

93.
In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission concluded that, in order to apply
to participate in an auction offering Mobility Fund support, any entity first had to be designated as an
ETC pursuant to Section 214 of the Communications Act in any geographic area for which it seeks
support, with one narrow exception for Tribally-owned or controlled entities.155 An applicant must be the


149 Section I.D.2. “Prohibited Communications and Compliance with Antitrust Laws,” above.
150 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.21001(b)(5), 1.21002.
151 Section I.D.2. “Prohibited Communications and Compliance with Antitrust Laws,” above.
152 Id.
153 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.2112(a), 1.21001(b)(1), 54.1005(a)(1). See also USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC
Rcd at 17804 para. 418. 47 C.F.R. § 54.1005(a)(1) requires the disclosure on the short-form application of the
applicant’s ownership information as set forth in 47 C.F.R. § 1.2112(a).
154 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.2112(a), 54.1005(a)(1).
155 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17769 para. 289; see also 47 U.S.C. § 214.
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entity designated by a State or the Commission as an ETC in that geographic area. For example, if a
designated ETC is a subsidiary of a parent holding company, only the subsidiary that is designated an
ETC, and not the holding company, would be eligible to participate in the auction. For purposes of
participation in the Mobility Fund, a party’s ETC designation may not be limited in any way.
Accordingly, a party designated as an ETC solely for purposes of the Low Income Program cannot satisfy
the ETC eligibility requirement for the Mobility Fund on that basis.156 Of course, nothing prohibits such a
party from seeking a general designation as an ETC and then, if it receives such a designation,
participating in the Mobility Fund.
94.
ETC status carries with it certain obligations. So that a party might obtain the required
ETC designation but not be subject to those obligations unless and until it wins any Mobility Fund
support, the Commission further determined that a party might participate with an ETC designation
conditioned upon the party winning support in the auction.157 At the short-form application stage, an
applicant will be required to state that it is designated as an ETC in any area for which it will seek support
or is a Tribal entity with a pending application to become an ETC in any such area, and certify that the
disclosure is accurate. A winning bidder will be required to provide proof of its ETC designation in all of
the areas in which it will receive support before it may receive support.
95.
Pending ETC Designations. The Commission further decided to permit participation by
a Tribally-owned or controlled entity158 that at the short-form application deadline has an application for
ETC designation pending for the provision of service within the boundaries of the associated Tribal
land.159 The Commission did so to afford Tribes an increased opportunity to participate at auction, in
recognition of their interest in self-government and self-provisioning on their own lands.160 A Tribally-
owned or controlled entity whose application for ETC designation remains pending at the short-form
application deadline is requested to provide the date the application was filed, with whom (i.e. the
Commission or relevant state regulatory agency), any file or case number associated with the application,
and its current status.
2.

Access to Spectrum Description and Certification

96.
Pursuant to the USF/ICC Transformation Order, any applicant for Auction 901 must
have access to the necessary spectrum to fulfill any obligations related to support.161 In an application to


156 NTCH has filed a petition for reconsideration of the USF/ICC Transformation Order, in which it seeks in part
clarification or reconsideration regarding whether Lifeline-only ETCs may participate in the Mobility Fund. See
Connect America Fund et al.
, WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., Petition for Reconsideration of NTCH, Inc. (filed Dec.
29, 2011) (“NTCH Petition”). The Bureaus’ discussion of the current rule in no way prejudges the Commission’s
review and action on the pending petition.
157 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17809 para. 439; see 47 C.F.R. § 54.1003(a).
158 Only the following entities may be designated as qualifying Tribal entities: (1) Tribes, which, as previously
defined, are federally-recognized American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages; (2) Tribal consortia; and (3)
entities that are more than 50 percent owned and controlled by a Tribe or Tribes.
159 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17823 para. 491; 47 C.F.R. § 54.1004(a).
160 However, allowing such participation at auction in no way prejudges the ultimate decision on a Tribally-owned
or controlled entity’s petition for ETC designation. Moreover, support will be disbursed only after an applicant
receives such designation. A Tribally-owned or controlled entity that does not obtain and provide the required ETC
designation will not be entitled to any support payments and may ultimately be in default in accordance with the
rules. See 47 C.F.R. § 54.1005(b)(3)(v); 47 C.F.R. § 1.21004.
161 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17799 para. 394.
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participate in Auction 901, each applicant must describe its required spectrum access and certify that the
description is accurate and the applicant will retain such access for at least five (5) years from the date on
which it is authorized to receive support.162 Specifically, an applicant will be required to disclose whether
it currently holds or leases the spectrum and whether such spectrum access is contingent on obtaining
support in Auction 901. For the described spectrum access to be sufficient as of the date of the short-form
application, the applicant must obtain any necessary approvals from the Commission for the spectrum
access prior to filing the application.163 A pending request for such an approval is not sufficient to satisfy
this requirement. Furthermore, only assured access is sufficient, which means that the access must be to
licensed spectrum subject to limited access.164 Accordingly, the applicant should identify the license
applicable to the spectrum to be accessed, the licensee, and, if the licensee is a different party than the
applicant, the relationship between the applicant and the licensee that provides the applicant with the
required access. With the exception of the certification, the terms of which are set forth in FCC Form 180,
an applicant must provide all required information relating to spectrum access in an attachment to FCC
Form 180, designated as a “Spectrum Access” attachment.
3.

Financial and Technical Capability Certification

97.
The Commission requires that an applicant certify in the pre-auction short-form
application that it is financially and technically capable of providing 3G or better service within the
specified timeframe in the geographic areas for which it seeks support.165 This certification indicates that
an applicant for Mobility Fund Phase I funds can provide the requisite service without any assurance of
ongoing support for the areas in question after Mobility Fund Phase I support has been exhausted. An
applicant should be aware that in making a certification to the Commission it exposes itself to liability for
a false certification. An applicant should take care to review its resources and its plans before making the
required certification and be prepared to document its review, if necessary.
4.

Certification that Applicant Will Not Seek Support for Areas in Which It
Has Made a Public Commitment to Deploy 3G or Better Service by
December 31, 2012

98.
The Commission requires each applicant for Mobility Fund Phase I support to certify that
the applicant will not seek support for any areas in which it has made a public commitment to deploy 3G
or better wireless service by December 31, 2012.166 In determining whether an applicant has made such a
public commitment we would consider any public statement made with some specificity as to both
geographic area and time period as well as level of service. For example, in the public record generated
in response to the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, which sought comment on a list of census blocks
potentially eligible for Mobility Fund Phase I support, more than one party publicly identified areas that


162 47 C.F.R. § 54.1005(a)(4).
163 47 C.F.R. § 54.1005(a)(4) (as amended by Connect America Fund et al., WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., Order, DA
12-147, 27 FCC Rcd 605 (WCB/WTB 2012) (“USF/ICC Clarification Order”)).
164 Townes Telecommunications, Inc. has filed a petition for reconsideration of the USF/ICC Transformation Order,
in which it seeks clarification or reconsideration determining that access to unlicensed spectrum is sufficient to meet
the spectrum access requirement. See Connect America Fund et al., WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., Petition for
Reconsideration of Townes Telecommunications, Inc. (filed Dec. 29, 2011). The Bureaus’ discussion of the current
rule in no way prejudges the Commission’s review and action on the pending petition.
165 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd 17801 at para. 401.
166 Id. at 17802-03 para. 410; 47 C.F.R. § 54.1005(a)(5).
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they intend to cover with 3G or better service no later than December 31, 2012.167 This requirement helps
to assure that Mobility Fund Phase I support will not go to finance coverage that carriers would have
provided in the near term without any subsidy. Furthermore, the requirement may conserve funds and
avoid displacing private investment by making a carrier that made such a commitment ineligible for
Mobility Fund Phase I support with respect to the identified geographic area(s). Because circumstances
are more likely to change over a longer term, we do not hold providers to any statements for any time
period beyond December 31, 2012. Applicants should note that this restriction does not prevent a party
from seeking and receiving support for an eligible geographic area where another provider has announced
such a commitment to deploy 3G or better.168

F.

Tribally-Owned or Controlled Providers – 25% Reverse Bidding Credit

99.
The Commission adopted a 25 percent “reverse” bidding credit for Tribally-owned or
controlled providers seeking either general or Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I support.169 In order to be
eligible for the bidding credit, a qualifying Tribally-owned or controlled provider must certify in its short-
form application that it is qualified and identify the applicable Tribe and Tribal lands.170
100.
The bidding credit will effectively reduce the Tribal entity’s bid amount by 25 percent for
the purpose of comparing it to other bids, thus increasing the likelihood that Tribally-owned and
controlled entities will receive funding. If the Tribally-owned or controlled entity were to win, support
would be calculated at the full, undiscounted bid amount. The preference is available with respect to the
eligible census blocks located within the geographic area defined by the boundaries of the Tribal land
associated with the Tribally-owned or controlled provider seeking support.

G.

Commission Red Light Rules

101.
Applications to participate in Auction 901 are subject to the Commission’s rules
regarding an applicant with delinquent debts, often referred to as the Commission Red Light Rules.171
Pursuant to the Red Light Rules, unless otherwise expressly provided for, the Commission will withhold
action on an application by any entity found to be delinquent in its debt to the Commission for purposes
of the Red Light Rule.172 Accordingly, parties interested in filing applications to participate in Auction
901 should review the status of any debts that they owe the Commission before submitting their
application and resolve any delinquent debts. The Commission maintains a Red Light Display System
(RLD) to enable entities doing business with the FCC to determine if they have any outstanding
delinquent debt. The RLD enables a party to check the status of its account by individual FCC


167 See, e.g., Mid-Rivers ECB Comments at 4, stating “Mid-Rivers Wireless is in the midst of a 3G network upgrade
that will be completed well in advance of the September 27, 2012, Auction[.]” See also WUE ECB Comments at 2
(“Based on the attached showings, WUE is providing (or will by the close of the comment period provide) 3G
service to the census blocks identified in Attachment A.”).
168 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17802-3 para. 410.
169 See id. at 17823 para. 490; 47 C.F.R. § 54.1004(c); see also “Further Inquiry into Tribal Issues Relating to
Establishment of a Mobility Fund, WT Docket No. 10-208,” Public Notice, DA 11-702, 26 FCC Rcd 5997 (2011).
170 47 C.F.R. § 54.1004(c).
171 Parties familiar with spectrum license auctions should note that the stricter spectrum license application rules
supersede the Commission’s Red Light Rules in the context of a spectrum license auction. See 47 C.F.R.
§ 1.1902(f). No corresponding provision applies with respect to Auction 901, however. Accordingly, the
Commission’s standard Red Light Rules will apply.
172 47 C.F.R. § 1.1910(b)(2).
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Registration Numbers (FRNs), and links other FRNs sharing the same Tax Identification Number (TIN)
when determining whether there are outstanding delinquent debts. The RLD is available at
http://www.fcc.gov/redlight/. Additional information is available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/debt_collection/.

H.

USF Debarment

102.
The Commission’s rules provide for the debarment of those convicted of or found civilly
liable for defrauding the high-cost support program.173 Applicants are reminded that those rules apply
with equal force to the Mobility Fund Phase I.

I.

Minor Modifications to Short-Form Applications

103.
After the deadline for filing initial applications, an Auction 901 applicant is permitted to
make only minor changes to its application. Permissible minor changes include, among other things,
deletion and addition of authorized bidders (to a maximum of three) and revision of the addresses and
telephone numbers of the applicant and its contact person. An applicant is not permitted to make a major
modification to its application (e.g., change in control of the applicant or change of the certifying official)
after the initial application filing deadline.174 Thus, any change in control of an applicant, resulting from
a merger, for example, will be considered a major modification, and the application will consequently be
dismissed.175
104.
If an applicant wishes to make permissible minor changes to its short-form application,
such changes should be made electronically to its short-form application using the FCC Auction System
whenever possible. For the change to be submitted and considered by the Commission, be sure to click
on the SUBMIT button. After the revised application has been submitted, a confirmation page will be
displayed that states the submission time, submission date and a unique file number.176
105.
An applicant cannot use the FCC Auction System outside of the initial and resubmission
filing windows to make changes to its short-form application other than administrative changes (e.g.,
changing certain contact information or the name of an authorized bidder). If these or other permissible
minor changes need to be made outside of these windows, the applicant must submit a letter briefly
summarizing the changes and subsequently update its short-form application in the FCC Auction System
once it is available. Moreover, after the filing window has closed, the system will not permit applicants to
make certain changes, such as the applicant’s legal classification.
106.
Any letter describing changes to an applicant’s short-form application must be submitted
by e-mail to auction901@fcc.gov. The e-mail summarizing the changes must include a subject or caption
referring to Auction 901 and the name of the applicant, for example, “RE: Changes to Auction 901 Short-
Form Application of ABC Corp.” The Bureaus request that parties format any attachments to e-mail as
Adobe® Acrobat® (pdf) or Microsoft® Word documents. Questions about short-form application
amendments should be directed to the Auctions and Spectrum Access Division at (202) 418-0660.


173 47 C.F.R. § 54.8.
174 47 C.F.R. § 1.21001(d).
175 We reiterate that, even if an applicant’s short-form application is dismissed, the applicant would remain subject
to the communication prohibitions of 47 C.F.R. § 1.2105(c) until the long form application deadline after the auction
closes.
176 The Bureaus advise applicants to print and retain a copy of this confirmation page.
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107.
Any application amendment and related statements of fact must be certified by an
appropriate party. For example, one of the partners if the applicant is a partnership; or an officer, director,
or duly authorized employee, if the applicant is a corporation; or a member who is an officer, if the
applicant is an unincorporated association.177
108.
Applicants must not submit application-specific material through the Commission’s
Electronic Comment Filing System (“ECFS”), which was used for submitting comments regarding
Auction 901. Further, as discussed above, parties submitting information related to their applications
should use caution to ensure that their submissions do not contain confidential information or
communicate information that would violate section 1.21002 or the limited information procedures
adopted for Auction 901.178 A party seeking to submit information that might reflect non-public
information should consider submitting any such information along with a request that the filing or
portions of the filing be withheld from public inspection until the end of the prohibition of certain
communications pursuant to section 1.21002.

J.

Maintaining Current Information in Short-Form Applications

109.
Section 1.65 of the Commission’s rules requires an applicant to maintain the accuracy
and completeness of information furnished in its pending application.179 If an amendment reporting
changes is a “major amendment,” as defined by section 1.21001(d)(4), the major amendment will not be
accepted and may result in the dismissal of the application.180 As noted above, after the application filing
deadline, applicants may make only minor changes to their applications. For changes to be submitted and
considered by the Commission, be sure to click on the SUBMIT button in the FCC Auction System. In
addition, an applicant cannot update its short-form application using the FCC Auction System after the
initial and resubmission filing windows close. If information needs to be submitted pursuant to section
1.65 after these windows close, a letter briefly summarizing the changes must be submitted by e-mail to
auction901@fcc.gov. This e-mail must include a subject or caption referring to Auction 901 and the
name of the applicant. The Bureaus request that parties format any attachments to e-mail as Adobe®
Acrobat® (pdf) or Microsoft® Word documents. Applicants must not submit application-specific material
through ECFS. A party seeking to submit information that might reflect non-public information should
consider submitting any such information along with a request that the filing or portions of the filing be
withheld from public inspection until the end of the prohibition of certain communications pursuant to
section 1.21002.

III.

PRE-AUCTION PROCEDURES

A.

Online Auction Tutorial – Available June 27, 2012

110.
No later than Wednesday, June 27, 2012, the Commission will post an educational
auction tutorial on the Auction 901 web page for prospective bidders to familiarize themselves with the
auction process. This online tutorial will provide information about pre-auction procedures, completing
short-form applications, auction conduct, the FCC Auction System, auction rules, and Mobility Fund
rules. The tutorial will also provide an avenue to ask FCC staff questions about the auction, auction
procedures, filing requirements, and other matters related to this auction.


177 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.917.
178 See Section I.D.2.f. “Duty to Report Prohibited Communications,” above.
179 47 C.F.R. § 1.65.
180 47 C.F.R. § 1.21001(d)(4).
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111.
This interactive, online tutorial should provide an efficient and effective way for
interested parties to further their understanding of the auction process. The Auction 901 online tutorial
will allow viewers to navigate the presentation outline, review written notes, listen to audio of the notes,
and search for topics using a text search function. Additional features of this web-based tool include links
to auction-specific Commission releases, e-mail links for contacting Commission licensing and auction
staff, and a timeline with deadlines for auction preparation. The online tutorial will be accessible through
a web browser with Adobe Flash Player.181 As always, Commission staff will be available to promptly
answer questions posed by telephone and e-mail throughout the auction process.182
112.
The auction tutorial will be accessible from the FCC’s Auction 901 web page at
http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions/901/ through an “Auction Tutorial” link. Once posted, this tutorial will
remain available for reference in connection with the procedures outlined in this Public Notice and
accessible anytime.

B.

Short-Form Applications – Due Prior to 6:00 p.m. ET on July 11, 2012

113.
In order to be eligible to bid in this auction, applicants must first follow the procedures to
submit a short-form application (FCC Form 180) electronically via the FCC Auction System. This short-
form application must be submitted prior to 6:00 p.m. ET on July 11, 2012.

Late applications will not
be accepted.

No application fee is required.
114.
Applications may generally be filed at any time beginning at noon ET on June 27, 2012,
until the filing window closes at 6:00 p.m. ET on July 11, 2012. Applicants are strongly encouraged to
file early and are responsible for allowing adequate time for filing their applications. Applications can be
updated or amended multiple times until the filing deadline on July 11, 2012.
115.
An applicant must always click on the SUBMIT button on the “Certify & Submit” screen
to successfully submit its FCC Form 180 and any modifications; otherwise the application or changes to
the application will not be received or reviewed by Commission staff. Additional information about
accessing, completing, and viewing the FCC Form 180 will be provided in a separate public notice. FCC
Auctions Technical Support is available at (877) 480-3201, option nine; (202) 414-1250; or (202) 414-
1255 (text telephone (TTY)); hours of service are Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
ET. In order to provide better service to the public, all calls to Technical Support are recorded.

C.

Application Processing and Minor Corrections

116.
After the deadline for filing FCC Form 180 applications, Commission staff will process
all timely submitted applications to determine which are complete, and subsequently will issue a public
notice identifying (1) those that are complete; (2) those that are rejected; and (3) those that are incomplete
or deficient because of minor defects that may be corrected. The public notice will include the deadline
for resubmitting corrected applications.
117.
As described above, after the application filing deadline on July 11, 2012, applicants can
make only minor corrections to their applications.183 They will not be permitted to make major
modifications (e.g., change control of the applicant or change of the certifying official).184


181 Most users will already have the Flash Player browser plug-in, which can be downloaded from
http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/.
182 Contact information for subject matter experts may be found in Section VI. of this Public Notice, below.
183 See Section II.J. “Minor Modifications to Short-Form Applications,” above.
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118.
Commission staff will communicate only with an applicant’s contact person or certifying
official, as designated on the short-form application, unless the applicant’s certifying official or contact
person notifies the Commission in writing that applicant’s counsel or other representative is authorized to
speak on its behalf.185 Authorizations may be sent by e-mail to auction901@fcc.gov.

D.

Auction Registration

119.
Approximately ten days before the auction, the Bureaus will issue a public notice
announcing all qualified bidders for the auction. Qualified bidders are those applicants with submitted
FCC Form 180 applications that are deemed timely-filed, accurate, and complete.
120.
All qualified bidders are automatically registered for the auction. Registration materials
will be distributed prior to the auction by overnight mail. The mailing will be sent only to the contact
person at the contact address listed in the FCC Form 180 and will include the SecurID® tokens that will
be required to place bids, the “FCC Auction System Bidder’s Guide,” and the Auction Bidder Line phone
number.
121.
Qualified bidders that do not receive this registration mailing will not be able to submit
bids. Therefore, any qualified bidder that has not received this mailing by noon on Thursday, September
20, 2012, should call the Auctions Hotline at (717) 338-2868. Receipt of this registration mailing is
critical to participating in the auction, and each applicant is responsible for ensuring it has received all of
the registration material.
122.
In the event that SecurID® tokens are lost or damaged, only a person who has been
designated as an authorized bidder, the contact person, or the certifying official on the applicant’s short-
form application may request replacements. To request replacement of these items, call Technical
Support at (877) 480-3201, option nine; (202) 414-1250; or (202) 414-1255 (TTY).

E.

Remote Electronic Bidding

123.
The Commission will conduct this auction over the Internet. Only qualified bidders are
permitted to bid. Each authorized bidder must have its own SecurID® token, which the Commission will
provide at no charge. Each applicant with one authorized bidder will be issued two SecurID® tokens,
while applicants with two or three authorized bidders will be issued three tokens. A bidder cannot bid
without their SecurID tokens.

For security purposes, the SecurID

® tokens, a telephone number for
bidding questions, and the “FCC Auction System Bidder’s Guide” are only mailed to the contact
person at the contact address listed on the FCC Form 180.
Each SecurID® token is tailored to a
specific auction. SecurID® tokens issued for other auctions or obtained from a source other than the FCC
will not work for Auction 901.
124.
Please note that the SecurID® tokens can be recycled and the Bureaus encourage bidders
to return the tokens to the FCC. Pre-addressed envelopes will be provided to return the tokens once the
auction has ended.
(Continued from previous page)


184 47 C.F.R. § 1.21001(d)(4); see also Two Way Radio of North Carolina, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order,
FCC 99-189, 14 FCC Rcd 12035 (1999).
185 In no event, however, will the Commission send auction registration materials to anyone other than the contact
person listed on the applicant’s FCC Form 180 or respond to a request for replacement registration materials from
anyone other than the authorized bidder, contact person, or certifying official listed on the applicant’s FCC Form
180. See Section III.D. “Auction Registration,” below.
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F.

Mock Auction – September 25, 2012

125.
All qualified bidders will be eligible to participate in a mock auction on Tuesday,
September 25, 2012. The mock auction will enable qualified bidders to become familiar with the FCC
Auction System and to practice submitting bids prior to the auction. We strongly recommend that all
qualified bidders participate to gain experience with the bidding procedures. Details will be announced
by public notice.

IV.

AUCTION EVENT

A.

Auction Structure – Reverse Auction Mechanism

126.
Auction 901 will be held on Thursday, September 27, 2012. The start and finish time of
the bidding round will be announced in a public notice listing the qualified bidders, which will be released
approximately 10 days before the start of the auction. Our choice of auction design for Auction 901 – a
single round format with other design characteristics described below – is specific to the particular
context of the Mobility Fund Phase I auction.186 The choices we make here do not prejudge our future
auction design choices for other phases of the Mobility Fund or other competitive bidding mechanisms
related to the USF.
1.

Single Round Sealed Bid Reverse Auction Format

127.
As proposed in the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, we will conduct Auction 901
using a single round of bidding. Several commenters address our proposal to use a single round auction.
AT&T, Blooston, and NASUCA support the proposal, with Blooston noting that it believes a multiple
round auction may favor large carriers over small and rural carriers.187 Verizon recommends a maximum
of three rounds, so that bidders can adjust their bids based on auction conditions.188
128.
Two other commenters indicate a preference for a multiple round auction format. Belloni
et al. assert that a single round format would not give bidders adequate opportunity to express their bid
strategies, which could involve complex interactions under the bidder-defined combinatorial design that
was proposed.189 Power Auctions also favors a multiple round approach, claiming that it would be
strategically simpler for bidders, would enable bidders to adjust the geography of their bids based on
other bidders’ interests, would economize on bid evaluation costs, and would enable a higher number of
road miles to be covered within the budget.190


186 A few commenters oppose the use of competitive bidding to disburse universal service funds. NTCA Reply at 1,
see also Blooston Comments at 2 (noting opposition to use of auctions in pending petition for reconsideration). The
Commission decided to use a reverse auction for Mobility Fund Phase I in the USF/ICC Transformation Order and
that decision is not subject to review here by the Bureaus. USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17781
para. 322. We note that pending Petitions for Reconsideration of the USF/ICC Transformation Order present the
same issue. See, e.g., Connect America Fund et al., WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., Petition for Reconsideration of
Blooston Rural Carriers (filed Dec. 29, 2011). The Bureaus’ action here in no way prejudges the Commission’s
review and action on the pending petitions.
187 AT&T Comments at 4; NASUCA et al. Comments at 9; Blooston Comments at 6.
188 Verizon Comments at 4.
189 Belloni et al. Comments at 3-7. They further argue that the cost of obtaining relevant information about the costs
facing other bidders would be lower under a multiple round format. Belloni et al. Reply at 1-2.
190 Power Auctions Reply at 2.
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129.
We conclude that a multiple round auction would not be appropriate in the context of the
Mobility Fund Phase I, especially in light of the complications involved in conducting multiple rounds
with many thousands of items.191 We recognize that multiple round auctions can have important
advantages, and in fact, the Commission generally uses a multiple round format for its spectrum license
auctions. However, we do not believe that the circumstances favoring a multiple round auction – i.e.,
when there are strong interactions among items and when bidders are unsure as to the market value of the
item – are significant enough here to outweigh our concerns about the complexity it would add to the
auction. As a result, we will conduct Auction 901 using a single round of bidding.
130.
We received several comments addressing the alternative single round, Milgrom/Eilat-
type auction format that we mentioned briefly in the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice.192 We do not
adopt the particular other features of that auction design here, but we note that our choices here do not
preclude consideration of other auction designs for future auctions.
2.

Aggregation Method – Predefined Aggregations

a.

Census Blocks Aggregated to Census Tracts

131.
Consistent with the framework laid out by the Commission in the USF/ICC
Transformation Order, in the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice the Bureaus discussed several
approaches to aggregating census blocks for bidding, noting that some aggregation of census blocks will
be necessary because census blocks are on average far smaller than the average area covered by a single
cell tower, which is likely to be the minimum incremental geographic area of expanded coverage.193 The
Auction 901 Comment Public Notice proposed an approach that would give bidders the ability to create a
limited number of package bids of blocks within a CMA – the bidder-defined option – and also described
a predefined aggregation option whereby bidders would bid to cover the eligible blocks within census
tracts.194 The record we received in response to our Auction 901 Comment Public Notice was mixed. As
we discuss in more detail below, based largely on considerations of speed and simplicity of
implementation, we conclude that we will use predefined aggregations of eligible census blocks – i.e.,
census tracts – for bidding in Auction 901.
132.
We received comments on our auction design aggregation options from a number of
parties – small and rural carriers, large carriers, and academic auction experts. Generally, the carriers are
split on which of the aggregation approaches we should adopt. The small and rural carriers that prefer the
bidder-defined approach generally do so based on an interest in tailoring their bids to those areas where
they hold spectrum and ETC status.195 Small and rural carriers that prefer the predefined option cite the
greater simplicity and transparency of the auction process made possible by that approach.196 In
supporting the predefined option, Blooston additionally indicates a preference for bidding on packages no
larger than a census tract.197


191 AT&T Reply at 8 (noting the additional complications for bidders).
192 See, e.g., AT&T Comments at 17-18; McAdams Reply at 18-19; Power Auctions Reply at 3.
193 Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 538 para 28.
194 Id. at 538-43 paras. 28-50.
195 RTG Comments at 5; RTG Reply at 4-5; US Cellular Comments at 8-9; Mid-Rivers Reply at 6-7.
196 Blooston Comments at ii-iii, 7-8; NTCH Comments at 2-3.
197 Blooston Comments at 7.
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133.
The larger carriers that favor the bidder-defined approach also indicate a general interest
in tailoring their bids more specifically to targeted areas, and suggest that the bidder-defined option will
encourage participation.198 US Cellular, while supporting the bidder-defined option, requests that bidders
be able to upload bids on a tract basis to help avoid errors, and notes a general interest in simplicity.199
AT&T, on the other hand, supports the predefined tract option, basing its preference on an interest in
transparency, manageability, and strategic and computational simplicity.200
134.
Several academic auction experts – in Economics, Decision Sciences, and Operations
Research – weighed in on the auction design issues discussed in the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice
and propose alternatives to the options we suggested.201 Some of the experts additionally discuss the
strategic and computational complexity associated with the combinatorial optimization required for the
bidder-defined option.202 Others note more generally the importance of a strategically simple auction
format.203
135.
Given the schedule for the Mobility Fund Phase I auction, the record received, and the
amount of support being provided here, we adopt a predefined aggregation approach, largely on
considerations of speed and simplicity of implementation. Under that approach, all eligible census blocks
will be grouped by the census tract in which they are located, and bidders will be able to bid for support
for the eligible census blocks in a census tract, not on individual blocks. For each tract a bidder bids on,
the bidder will indicate a per-unit price to cover the road miles in the eligible census blocks within that
tract. The auction will assign support to awardees equal to the per-road mile rate of their bid multiplied
by the number of road miles associated with the eligible census blocks within the tract as shown in the
files provided by the Bureaus. Bidders may bid on multiple tracts and win support for any or all of
them.204 Awardees will be required to cover a given percentage of the total eligible units in the tract –
that is, a percentage of the total road miles that are in the eligible census blocks in the tract. Blocks in
Alaska will not be aggregated for bidding, however, and bidders can place bids for support on individual
census blocks in Alaska.205 We also modify our tract aggregation approach for some tracts that include
census blocks covering Tribal lands.
136.
The Bureaus conclude that aggregating census blocks into tracts for bidding, except in
Alaska, will provide a manageable bidding process, both for participants and the Commission,
particularly in light of the speed with which we want to proceed in distributing this one-time support. As
noted in the Auction 901 Updated Blocks Public Notice, our list of potentially eligible census blocks
includes over 460,000 blocks; bundled into tracts for bidding, there are approximately 6,100 tracts.


198 US Cellular Reply at 7-10; Verizon Comments at 2. Verizon supported this approach so that bidders could have
“input into what they can do, where they can deploy, and how much subsidy is required.” Id.
199 US Cellular Comments at 8.
200 AT&T Comments at 3-17; AT&T Reply at 1-10.
201 Belloni et al. Comments and Belloni et al Reply; Pekeč Comments and Pekeč Reply; Power Auctions Reply;
McAdams Reply.
202 Pekeč Comments at 2-3; Pekeč Reply at 2; Belloni et al. Comments at 2; Belloni et al. Reply at 2.
203 McAdams Reply at 5-6; Power Auctions at 2.
204 As discussed below in para. 137, this approach requires separate bids on individual census tracts.
205 This exception for Alaska is discussed further below, in Section IV.A.2.b.
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137.
The predefined aggregation option that we adopt does not permit package bidding – that
is, it does not permit bidders to create their own groupings of census tracts on which to submit all-or-
nothing bids. It does allow bidders to bid on as many individual tracts as they wish, and to win support
for any or all of those tracts. The absence of explicit package bidding simplifies the process of
determining which bids will be awarded support, relative to the proposed bidder-defined option (that
allows bidders to create packages of census blocks), and consequently, may simplify the bidding
process.206
b.

Exception, for Alaska, to Aggregation by Census Tract

138.
As mentioned above, we will not aggregate eligible census blocks in Alaska into tracts
for bidding, but will permit bidders to bid for support for individual census blocks. Bidders seeking
support for eligible blocks in Alaska will indicate a per-unit price to cover the road miles in the eligible
census block. The auction will assign support to awardees equal to the per-road mile rate of their bid
multiplied by the number of road miles associated with the eligible census block, as shown in the files
provided by the Bureaus. Bidders may bid on multiple blocks – including, if they wish, all the eligible
census blocks in a tract, but they will have to bid on the blocks individually – and may win support for
any or all of them.
139.
In the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, we sought comment on this alternative
approach for areas in Alaska under the suggested predefined aggregation option, which we adopt here.207
In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission noted the large size of census blocks in Alaska,
and in the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, we further pointed out that the average area of the Alaska
census blocks on the preliminary list of eligible areas is approximately 40 square miles compared to an
average area of approximately 1.1 square miles for blocks in the rest of the country.208 Commenters do
not address this particular question specifically, but given the extreme difference in average size of census
areas in Alaska relative to those in the rest of the country, and because census blocks in Alaska may be
closer in size to a minimum scale of buildout than are most blocks elsewhere, we believe it will be helpful
to give bidders the flexibility to bid on individual census blocks in Alaska.
140.
We do not, however, make a more general size-based exception to our decision to
conduct bidding on a census tract basis. In the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, we also asked
whether outside of Alaska, in areas where tracts exceed a certain size, we should use a geographic area
other than tracts, but we received only limited response. Mid-Rivers notes the Commission’s recognition
that the large size of census blocks in Alaska may require bidding on individual census blocks, and argues
that large census blocks are “also a concern in very rural areas of the Continental U.S. including
Montana.”209 Mid-Rivers states that census tracts in its service areas are often very large but they do not
specifically advocate bidding by blocks in those areas; in a related context, they support allowing bidders
to bid on areas corresponding to their licensed areas, which in Mid-Rivers’ case include fill-in spectrum


206 Because of the simple auction design we are adopting, we will not need to use a combinatorial optimization
algorithm to determine winning bids. This obviates the need to publish such an algorithm prior to the auction, as
several commenters request. See, e.g., AT&T Comments at 6; USA Coalition Reply at 3; Verizon Comments at 4;
US Cellular Reply at 10.
207 Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 541 para. 41.
208 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17788 para. 347. See also Auction 901 Comment Public Notice,
27 FCC Rcd at 541 para. 41.
209 Mid-Rivers Reply at 5-7
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areas.210 An analysis of the census blocks in the list from the Auction 901 Updated Blocks Public Notice
demonstrates that the average size of the blocks in Alaska are much larger than the average size of the
blocks in other states, including Montana. The average size of the Montana areas are much closer to the
average size of the areas in the other 48 states than they are to the average size of the areas in Alaska.211
We also note that other states have larger average block and tract sizes than Montana. Thus, based on this
record (including the absence of any input on an appropriate size cutoff point at which we would switch
from bidding on a tract basis to bidding on a block basis), we decline to extend our provisions for block-
by-block bidding beyond Alaska.
c.

Census Block Aggregation for Tracts with Tribal Lands

141.
Another exception to aggregation by census tract will exist for some tracts that include
census blocks covering Tribal lands. For tracts that contain some eligible blocks that are in a Tribal land
and other eligible blocks that are not in a Tribal land, there will be separate aggregations of the Tribal
blocks and the non-Tribal blocks. If the Tribal blocks in a tract are located in more than one Tribal area,
there will be separate aggregations for each Tribal area.
d.

Coverage Requirement

142.
A winning bidder will be required to provide coverage to a minimum of 75% of the road
miles associated with the eligible blocks in each tract for which it is awarded support within two years
after its award of support is authorized for 3G deployments or three years for 4G deployments.212 If a
winning bidder covers more than the minimum 75% of qualifying road miles within the required
timeframe, it may collect support for up to 100% of the qualifying road miles in each tract.213 This
requirement is consistent with the coverage requirement associated with the predefined approach
described in the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice.214 In contrast, in the Auction 901 Comment Public
Notice
we proposed that a higher minimum coverage requirement – of 95% to 100% of the qualifying
road miles in each block – apply under the bidder- defined approach, which we do not adopt.215 A
number of commenters indicate support for a coverage requirement of 75%, although many of them do so
in the context of the bidder-defined approach.216


210 Id. Mid-Rivers also indicates that they agree with RTG that bidders should be able to adjust bids “to areas that
make the most sense to serve.” Id. at 6.
211 The average size of the blocks in Alaska that were included in the Auction 901 Updated Blocks Public Notice is
42.4 square miles, and the average size per tract is 5,286 square miles. The average size of the blocks in Montana
that were included is 2.2 square miles, and the average size per tract is 430 square miles. The average size of the
blocks in the other 48 states is 1.1 square miles per block and 82 square miles per tract.
212 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17792, para. 365; see 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(a) and (b).
213 See USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17792-93 paras. 365, 367.
214 Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 542 para. 45.
215 Id. at 540 para. 36.
216 ACS Comments at 4-5; RTG Comments at 5; Blooston Comments at 7 (for Tier III carriers); RTG Reply at 7-8
(for Tier III carriers); US Cellular Comments at 7-8; US Cellular Reply at 6-8; USA Coalition Reply at 6; AT&T
Comments at 16-17. In addition, Blooston proposes, and RTG supports, different percentage coverage requirements
for carriers of different sizes, effectively permitting smaller carriers to cover less of areas in which they receive
support than the area that larger carriers would have to cover. Blooston Comments at 7; RTG Reply at 7-8. Such
differential treatment would conflict with the goal of extending coverage to the greatest extent possible. Moreover,
the Commission's rule establishes a uniform minimum coverage requirement without regard to the size of the
carrier. 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(a) and (b). In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission expressly
(continued….)
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3.

Winner Selection Process

143.
Under the auction format that we adopt, during the single bidding round, bidders will be
able to submit bids that indicate a per-road mile support price at which they are willing to meet our
requirements to cover the qualifying road miles in a given tract. The qualifying road miles in a tract are
the road miles in the selected road categories in the eligible census blocks in the tract.217
144.
After the single bidding round closes, in order to select winning bidders, the FCC
Auction System will rank bids from lowest to highest per-road mile bid amount and assign support first to
the bidder making the lowest per-road mile bid. For bidders claiming eligibility for a Tribal land bidding
credit, the auction system will reduce the Tribal entity’s bid amount by 25 percent for the purpose of
comparing it to other bids, thus increasing the likelihood that Tribally-owned and controlled entities will
receive funding.218 For all selected bids, an amount equal to the per-mile bid times the number of
qualifying road miles in the area will be deducted from the total available funds. The auction system will
continue to assign support to the next lowest per-unit bids in turn, as long as support has not already been
assigned for that geographic area, deducting assigned support funds from the remaining available funds,
and will continue until the sum of support funds of the winning bids is such that no further winning bids
can be supported given the funds available.219 If there are any identical bids – in the same per-unit
amounts to cover the same tract, submitted by different bidders – only one such bid, chosen randomly,
will be considered in the ranking.220 A bidder will be eligible to receive support for each of its winning
bids equal to the per-unit rate of a winning bid multiplied by the number of road miles in the eligible
census blocks covered by the bid, subject to meeting the obligations associated with receiving support.
145.
This method of identifying winning bidders will likely result in monies remaining in the
fund after identifying the last lowest per-unit bid that does not exceed the funds available. When the
auction reaches this point, the FCC Auction System will continue to consider bids in order of per-unit bid
amount while skipping bids that would require more support than is available. In the unlikely event that
the winner selection procedure arrives at a situation where there are two or more bids for the same per-
unit amount but for different areas and remaining funds are insufficient to satisfy all of the tied bids, the
auction system will award support to that combination of tied bids that will most nearly exhaust the
available funds.
146.
Commenters generally do not address the winner determination process for the
predefined approach specifically. AT&T agrees that the predefined approach is consistent with this
(Continued from previous page)


delegated to the Bureaus the question of whether to require a coverage percentage higher than the minimum in the
event that applicants would be permitted to bid on individual census blocks, as applicants then would be able to
target areas where they could cover a higher percentage, without any consideration of the size of the applicants.
USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17792 para. 365. Both the rule and the delegation appear to
presume that the same percentage of coverage would be required of all bidders. In light of the goal of extending
coverage as much as possible and the presumption of uniform coverage requirements, we decline to adopt
Blooston's proposal.
217 As discussed elsewhere, qualifying road miles refers to road miles in the road categories we have selected:
S1100, S1200, S1400, S1500, S1640, and S1740.
218 See Section II.F. “Tribally-Owned or Controlled Providers – 25% Reverse Bidding Credit,” above.
219 When calculating how much of the budget remains, for each winning bid the auction system will multiply the
per-unit rate bid by the total number of road miles in the uncovered blocks. This is because an awardee may receive
support for up to 100 percent of the road miles in the blocks for which it receives support.
220 The auction system will use a random number generator to assign a random number to each bid upon submission.
The tied bid with the highest random number wins the tiebreaker and will be considered in the ranking.
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simple means of selecting winning bids, but suggests (supported by Belloni et al.) a modification to only
set aside support funds adequate to meet the minimum coverage requirement, rather than deducting
support that would cover all the qualifying road miles in the assigned tract, when calculating the impact
on the remaining support funds of an assigned bid. They argue that our proposal will result in some funds
going unused, since many winning bidders may ultimately not cover more than the minimum required
number of miles.221 We recognize that our approach may result in some unused funds when support
awardees do not fully build out, but we wish to encourage the extension of services as completely as
possible within the tracts that are awarded support, and therefore we must reserve funds sufficient to fully
cover the supported tracts. We anticipate that funds unused under Mobility Fund Phase I will be put to
productive use under later stages of the Mobility Fund program or other USF reform efforts.222
4.

Limited Information Disclosure Procedures: Information Available to
Bidders Before and During the Auction

147.
We will conduct Auction 901 using procedures for limited information disclosure, as we
proposed, and as we have discretion to do under the rules adopted in the USF/ICC Transformation
Order
.223 That is, for Auction 901, the Bureaus will withhold, until after the close of bidding and
announcement of auction results, the public release of (1) information from applicants’ short-form
applications regarding their interests in eligible census tracts and/or blocks in particular states and/or
Tribal lands and (2) information that may reveal the identities of bidders placing bids and taking other
bidding-related actions. Because we will conduct Auction 901 using a single round of bidding, we do not
anticipate a need to release bidding-related actions during the auction as we would in a multiple round
auction. If such circumstances arise prior to the release of non-public information and auction results,
however, we will not indicate the identity of any bidders taking such actions. After the close of bidding,
information regarding applicants’ interests in eligible geographic areas in particular state and/or Tribal
lands, their bids, and any other bidding-related actions and information will be made publicly available.
5.

Auction Delay, Suspension, or Cancellation

148.
In the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, the Bureaus proposed that, by public notice
or by announcement during the auction, they may delay, suspend, or cancel the auction in the event of
natural disaster, technical obstacle, administrative or weather necessity, evidence of an auction security
breach or unlawful bidding activity, or for any other reason that affects the fair and efficient conduct of
competitive bidding.224 We received no comments on this issue.
149.
Because this approach has proven effective in resolving exigent circumstances in
previous auctions, the Bureaus adopt these proposals regarding auction delay, suspension, or cancellation.
By public notice or by announcement during the auction, we may delay, suspend, or cancel the auction in
the event of natural disaster, technical obstacle, administrative or weather necessity, evidence of an


221 AT&T Comments at 16; Belloni et al. Reply at 2.
222 See USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17815 para. 462.
223 Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 543 para. 51; USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd
at 17807 para. 431, see 47 C.F.R. § 1.21003(b)(1). See also, e.g., “Auction of 700 MHz Band Licenses Scheduled
for January 24, 2008; Notice and Filing Requirements, Minimum Opening Bids, Reserve Prices, Upfront Payments,
and Other Procedures for Auctions 73 and 76,” Public Notice, DA 07-4171, 22 FCC Rcd 18141, 18181-85 paras.
145-56 (2007); “Auction of Advanced Wireless Services Licenses Scheduled for June 29, 2006; Notice and Filing
Requirements, Minimum Opening Bids, Upfront Payments and Other Procedures for Auction No. 66,” Public
Notice,
FCC 06-47, 21 FCC Rcd 4562, 4600-05 paras. 140-57 (2006).
224 Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 537 para. 22.
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auction security breach or unlawful bidding activity, or for any other reason that affects the fair and
efficient conduct of competitive bidding. In such cases, the Bureaus, in their sole discretion, may elect to
resume the auction starting from the point at which the auction was suspended, or cancel the auction in its
entirety. Network interruption may cause the Bureaus to delay or suspend the auction. We emphasize
that we will exercise this authority solely at our discretion.

B.

Bidding Procedures

1.

Bidding

150.
All bidding will take place through the web-based FCC Auction System. To place bids a
bidder will upload a text file that includes, for each tract in the bid file, the tract number and the bid for
the tract, expressed in dollars per road mile. For areas in Alaska, bids will include block numbers instead
of tract numbers. When a bidder uploads a bid file, the FCC Auction System will provide a verification
that includes the tract and/or block numbers, the dollars per road mile bid for each tract and/or block, the
number of road miles in each tract and/or block, the total bid amount for each tract and/or block, and the
county and state for each tract and/or block. The bidder then submits the bids, or the bidder can cancel
the bids if it wishes to make changes.
151.
Bidders must submit their bids before the finish time of the bidding round, which will be
announced in a public notice listing the qualified bidders, which will be released approximately 10 days
before the start of the auction.
2.

Reserve Prices

152.
Under the Commission’s rules on competitive bidding for high-cost universal service
support adopted in the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Bureaus have discretion to establish
maximum acceptable per-unit bid amounts and reserve amounts, separate and apart from any maximum
opening bids.225 As proposed, we choose not to establish any maximum acceptable per-unit bid amounts
or reserve prices.226 Although two commenters suggest that we may want to consider some sort of
reserve price, we continue to believe that cross-area competition for support from a budget that is not
likely to cover support for all of the areas receiving bids will constrain the bid amounts, and that a reserve
price is not needed to guard against any unreasonably high winning bids.227
3.

Bid Removal

153.
For Auction 901, before the end of the single round of bidding, a bidder will have the
option of removing any bid it has placed. By removing a selected bid(s), a bidder may effectively “undo”
any of its bids placed within the single round of bidding. Once the single round of bidding ends, a bidder
may no longer remove any of its bids.
154.
To remove bids a bidder will upload a text file that includes the tract or block number for
each bid it wants to remove. When a bidder uploads such a file, the FCC Auction System will provide a
verification that includes the tract and/or block numbers, and the county and state for each tract and/or
block.


225 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17806 para. 423-24; 47 C.F.R. § 1.21003(b)(4).
226 Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 544 para. 57.
227 Belloni et al. Comments at 2 (in the context of the bidder-defined approach, which we do not adopt); Verizon
Comments at 4 (in case competition is less than expected).
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155.
This decision on bid removal is consistent with our proposal. One commenter addressed
bid removal, agreeing with our proposal.228
4.

Auction Announcements

156.
The Bureaus will use auction announcements to report necessary information. All
auction announcements will be available by clicking a link in the FCC Auction System.
5.

Auction Results

157.
The Bureaus will determine the winning bids based on the lowest per-road mile bids, as
described elsewhere in this Public Notice.229 After the Bureaus announce the auction results, we will
provide downloadable files of the bidding and results data.

V.

POST-AUCTION PROCEDURES

A.

General Information Regarding Long-Form Applications

158.
For the Mobility Fund Phase I auction, the Commission adopted a two-phased auction
application process. Pursuant to section 54.1005(b), winning bidders for Mobility Fund Phase I support
are required to file an application for support, referred to as a long-form application, no later than 10
business days after the public notice identifying them as winning bidders. Shortly after bidding has
ended, the Commission will issue a public notice declaring the auction closed, identifying the winning
bidders, and establishing the deadline for the long-form application. Winning bidders will use the new
FCC Form 680 and the FCC Auction System to submit the long-form application. Details regarding the
submission and processing of the long-form application will be provided in a public notice after the close
of the auction.
159.
In addition to the long-form application process described below, any bidder winning
support for areas within Tribal lands must notify the relevant Tribal government no later than five
business days after being identified by Public Notice as such a winning bidder.230 Information identifying
the appropriate point of contact for the Tribal governments will be available through the Commission’s
Office of Native Affairs and Policy (“ONAP”), in coordination with the Wireless Bureau.

B.

Long-Form Application: Disclosures and Certifications

160.
Unless otherwise provided by public notice, within ten business days after release of the
auction closing public notice, a winning bidder must electronically submit a properly completed long-
form application (FCC Form 680) for the areas for which it submitted winning bids. A Tribally-owned or
controlled provider claiming eligibility for a Tribal land bidding credit must certify as to its eligibility for
the bidding credit. Further filing instructions will be provided to winning bidders in the auction closing
public notice.
1.

Ownership Disclosure

161.
In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission adopted for the Mobility Fund
the existing Part 1 ownership disclosure requirements that already apply to short-form applicants to
participate in spectrum license auctions and long-form applicants for licenses in wireless services.231


228 RTG Comments at 7.
229 See Section IV.A.3. “Winner Selection Process,” above.
230 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17822-23 para. 489.
231 Id. at 17808-09 para. 438.
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Under these requirements, an applicant for Mobility Fund support must fully disclose its ownership
structure as well as information regarding the real party- or parties-in-interest of the applicant or
application.
162.
US Cellular contends that it is unclear why requiring auction winners to comply with
these ownership disclosure requirements is necessary and suggests that doing so would be redundant and
burdensome.232 First, we note that the Commission has already adopted the ownership requirements and
that the Bureaus have no authority to revisit this decision. Furthermore, it would be inappropriate for the
Commission to award Mobility Fund support to entities without having first conducted a detailed review
of their ownership. As the Commission has previously noted, wireless providers that have participated in
spectrum license auctions, such as US Cellular, will already be familiar with the disclosure
requirements.233 They already will have ownership disclosure reports (in the short-form application) on
file with the Commission, which may simply need to be updated. To minimize the reporting burden on
winning bidders, we will allow them to use ownership information stored in existing Commission
databases and update that information as necessary.234
2.

Documentation of ETC Designation

163.
A winning bidder is required to submit with its long-form application appropriate
documentation of its ETC designation in all of the areas for which it will receive support and certify that
its proof is accurate.235 Appropriate documentation should include the original designation order, any
relevant modifications, e.g., expansion of service area or inclusion of wireless, along with any name-
change orders. Any relevant information provided as an attachment to the long-form application must be
designated as an “Eligible Telecommunications Carrier” attachment.
3.

Financial and Technical Capability Certification

164.
As in the pre-auction short-form application stage, a long-form applicant must certify that
it is financially and technically capable of providing 3G or better service within the specified timeframe in
the geographic areas in which it seeks support. This certification indicates that an applicant for Mobility
Fund Phase I funds can provide the requisite service without any assurance of ongoing support for the
areas in question after Mobility Fund Phase I support has been exhausted. An applicant should be aware
that in making a certification to the Commission it exposes itself to liability for a false certification. An
applicant should take care to review its resources and its plans before making the required certification
and be prepared to document its review, if necessary.
4.

Project Construction Schedule/Specifications

165.
Applicants are required to provide in their long-form application an attachment for each
winning bid with a detailed project description which describes the network, identifies the proposed
technology, demonstrates that the project is technically feasible, discloses the complete project budget
and describes each specific phase of the project, e.g., network design, construction, deployment, and
maintenance.236 A complete project schedule, including timelines, milestones and costs must be provided.
Milestones should include the start and end date for network design; start and end date for drafting and


232 US Cellular Comments at 4-5.
233 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17808-09 para. 438.
234 Id.
235 47 C.F.R. § 54.1005(b)(2)(iii).
236 See 47 C.F.R. § 54.1005(b)(2)(iv).
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posting requests for proposal (“RFPs”); start and end date for selecting vendors and negotiating contracts;
start date for commencing construction and end date for completing construction; and the dates by
which it will meet applicable requirements to receive the installments of Mobility Fund support.237
166.
Applicants will indicate for each winning bid whether the supported network will provide
third generation (3G) mobile service within the period prescribed by section 54.1006(a) or fourth
generation (4G) mobile service within the period prescribed by section 54.1006(b). The description of the
proposed technology should include information on whether the network will qualify as either a 3G or 4G
network.
5.

Spectrum Access

167.
Applicants are required to provide a description of the spectrum access that the applicant
will use to meet its obligations in areas for which it is the winning bidder, including whether the applicant
currently holds a license for or leases the spectrum. The description should identify the license applicable
to the spectrum to be accessed. The description of the license must include the type of service, e.g.,
AWS, 700 MHz, BRS, PCS, the particular frequency bands and the call sign. If the licensee is a different
party than the applicant, the licensee name and the relationship between the applicant and the licensee that
provides the applicant with the required access should be described. If the applicant is leasing spectrum
the lease number should be provided along with the license information. An applicant must provide this
required information relating to spectrum access in an attachment to the long-form application that is
designated as a “Spectrum Access” attachment.
168.
Applicants must also certify that the description of the spectrum access is accurate and
that the applicant will retain such access for at least five (5) years after the date on which it is authorized
to receive support. Applications will be reviewed to assess the reasonableness of the certification.
6.

Letter of Credit Commitment Letter

169.
Within ten business days after release of the auction closing public notice, a winning
bidder must submit with its long-form application either a Letter of Credit (“LOC”) for each winning bid,
or a written commitment letter from an acceptable bank to issue such an LOC. If the applicant submits a
commitment letter, the letter will at a minimum provide the dollar amount of the LOC and the issuing
bank’s agreement to follow the terms and conditions of the Commission’s model LOC, found in
Appendix N of the USF/ICC Transformation Order.238 The commitment letter must be from an
acceptable bank, as defined in section 54.1007(a)(1).
7.

Letter of Credit and Bankruptcy Code Opinion Letter

170.
After receipt and review of the long-form applications, the Commission will issue a
public notice identifying each winning bidder that may be authorized to receive Mobility Fund Phase I
support. Upon notice from the Commission, a winning bidder for Mobility Fund Phase I support must
submit an irrevocable stand-by LOC, issued in substantially the same form as set forth in the model LOC
provided in Appendix N of the USF/ICC Transformation Order239 by a bank that is acceptable to the
Commission.240 An LOC must be submitted for each winning bid in an amount equal to one-third of the


237 Universal Service Reform: Mobility Fund, WT Docket No. 10-208, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 10-
182, 25 FCC Rcd 14716, 14740 para. 84 (2010).
238 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 18319 Appendix N.
239 Id.
240 See 47 C.F.R. § 54.1007(a)(1).
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winning bid amount, plus an additional 10 percent of the winning bid amount which shall serve as a
performance default payment. The Commission’s rules provide specific requirements, as defined in
section 54.1007(a)(1), for a bank to be acceptable to the Commission to issue the LOC. Those
requirements vary for United States banks and non-U.S. banks.
171.
In addition, a winning bidder will be required to provide with the LOC an opinion letter
from legal counsel clearly stating, subject only to customary assumptions, limitations and qualifications,
that, in a proceeding under the Bankruptcy Code, the bankruptcy court would not treat the LOC or
proceeds of the LOC as property of winning bidder’s bankruptcy estate, or the bankruptcy estate of any
other bidder-related entity requesting issuance of the LOC, under section 541 of the Bankruptcy Code.241
172.
We received comments and reply comments from several parties regarding the
requirement that winning bidders for Mobility Fund Phase I support provide an irrevocable stand-by
LOC. 242 Some commenters assert that they are unlikely to be able to obtain an irrevocable stand-by LOC
or that there are certain cost constraints associated with meeting the requirement.243 We note that in the
USF/ICC Transformation Order,244 the Commission adopted this requirement after considering comments
raising similar concerns, and the LOC requirement is not one on which the Bureaus sought comment in
the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice. All applicants for Mobility Fund Phase I support are able to
factor the cost of meeting this requirement into their bid amounts, and we find that the best course of
action is to apply the requirement consistently so that all applicants are subject to the same requirements
and calculate their bids accordingly. In addition, we are not convinced that the commenters have
explored all avenues and financial arrangements by which they might fulfill the requirement. Finally, we
note that the Bureaus cannot modify the requirement for winning bidders to provide an irrevocable stand-
by LOC, because the changes that the commenters advocate are beyond the scope of the Bureaus’
delegated authority and the scope of this proceeding and would require action by the Commission to
reconsider its determination in the USF/ICC Transformation Order.
8.

Certification as to Program Requirements

173.
The long-form application contains certifications that the applicant has available funds
for all project costs that exceed the amount of support to be received and will comply with all program
requirements.245 The requirements include the public interest obligations contained in the Commission’s
rules and set forth above in Section I.B.4.246 Applicants must certify that they will meet the applicable
deadline for construction of a network meeting the coverage and performance requirements set forth in
the rules, that they will comply with the Mobility Fund Phase I collocation obligations specified in the
rules, and that they will comply with the voice and data roaming obligations the Commission has


241 11 U.S.C. § 541.
242 ACS Comments at 5-6; ARC Comments at 4; Blooston Comments at 11-12; RTG Comments at 7-9; US Cellular
Comments at 3-4; NTCA Reply at 3-4; Pennsylvania Commission Reply at 6-7; RTG Reply at 8; USA Coalition
Reply at 4-5; US Cellular Reply at 2-3.
243 See, e.g., Blooston Comments at 11.
244 See USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17810-13 paras. 443-451.
245 47 C.F.R. § 54.1005(b)(2)(vi).
246 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006.
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established with respect to Phase I of the Mobility Fund. With respect to demonstrating compliance with
the coverage requirements, the Commission rules set forth the standards for applicable drive test data.247
9.

Reasonably Comparable Rate Certification

174.
To satisfy one of the public interest obligations that an applicant will have if it receives
support, the long-form application also must contain a certification that the applicant will offer service in
supported areas at rates that are within a reasonable range of rates for similar service plans offered by
mobile wireless providers in urban areas for a period extending until five (5) years after the date on which
it is authorized to receive support.248 As noted in the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, the
Commission delegated authority to the Bureaus to specify how support recipients could demonstrate
compliance with this rate certification, in light of the fact that the voice and broadband rates survey data
the Commission will collect pursuant to the USF/ICC Transformation Order will not be available prior to
the Mobility Fund Phase I auction.249 The approach adopted for Phase I of the Mobility Fund in no way
prejudges the approach to be taken with respect to Phase II of the Mobility Fund or the CAF generally.
The appropriate approach for purposes of later phases of the Mobility Fund or other components of the
CAF will be determined after review of the record developed in response to the Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking portion of the USF/ICC Transformation Order.
175.
The Bureaus proposed that a Mobility Fund Phase I support recipient could demonstrate
compliance with the required certification that its rates are reasonably comparable if each of its service
plans in supported areas is substantially similar to a service plan offered by at least one mobile wireless
service provider in an urban area and is offered for the same or a lower rate than the matching urban
service plan.250 The Bureaus expressly noted that any provider that itself offers the same service plan for
the same rate in a supported area and in an urban area would meet this requirement.251
176.
The Bureaus crafted this proposal in order to provide recipients with flexibility to tailor
their offerings to consumer demand while complying with the rule. Solely for purposes of Phase I of the
Mobility Fund, the proposal would treat any rate equal to or less than the highest rate for a matching
service charged in an urban area as reasonably comparable to, i.e., within a reasonable range of rates for
similar service in urban areas. Urban areas are generally served by multiple and diverse providers
offering a range of rates and service offerings in competition with one another.252 Consequently, even the
highest rate might be considered as “being within a reasonable range of rates for similar service in urban
areas,”253 because the rates for the matching urban services reflect the effects of competition in the urban


247 See 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(c). Recipients of Mobility Fund Phase I support must provide coverage of road miles
and scattered site testing is not acceptable as an alternative to drive tests to demonstrate such coverage. See id.
248 47 C.F.R. § 54.1005(b)(2)(viii).
249 See Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 547 para. 65, citing USF/ICC Transformation Order,
26 FCC Rcd at 17797 para. 385.
250 See below for a discussion of how “urban areas” should be defined for this purpose. We note that any provider
that itself offers the same service plan for the same rate in a supported area and in an urban area would be able to
meet this requirement.
251 Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 547 n.74.
252 Most consumers in the 100 most populated CMAs in the country are covered by between four to six mobile
wireless providers. Commission analysis of October 2011 American Roamer coverage maps and Census 2010 block
data.
253 Under this approach, the supported party must offer services at rates within the range but that do not exceed one
particular rate that is presumed to be a part of that range. Previously, rates for supported services in high-cost,
(continued….)
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area. For purposes of this requirement, the Bureaus proposed defining “urban area” as one of the 100
most populated CMAs in the United States.254 Multiple providers currently serve these areas – 99.2
percent of the population in these markets is covered by between four to six operators – offering a range
of different service plans at prices generally constrained by the numerous providers.255 Finally, the
Bureaus further proposed that they would retain discretion to consider whether and how variable rate
structures should be taken into account.
177.
The Bureaus sought comment on all aspects of the proposal, and specifically sought
comment on whether a support recipient should be required to make this comparison for all of its service
plans, or just its required stand-alone voice plan and one other plan offering broadband, or a set of its
plans adopted by a specified percentage of its customers. With respect to the rates for services to which
supported services are to be compared, the Bureaus asked whether additional information was required to
validate the assumption that an urban service rate reflects the effects of competition in the urban area —
for example, whether an urban service used for matching should be required to have a certain number of
subscribers or percentage of the relevant market in order to demonstrate its market acceptance. The
Bureaus noted that detailed information about the number of subscribers at a particular rate might be
difficult to obtain. The Bureaus further sought comment on whether parties should be required to make
comparisons only to a subset of the most populated CMAs that are geographically closest to the supported
area, such as the 30 or 50 of the top 100 CMAs that are closest to the supported service area. This might
protect against regional economic variations distorting the range of prices useable for comparison. For
example, such a restriction might cause providers to compare supported rates in Oklahoma to rates in
Houston or Chicago rather than in New York City.
178.
There was support among some commenters for the framework of the Bureaus’
proposal.256 Most commenters that addressed this issue generally favored employing as simple a standard
as possible for determining whether a supported provider offered rates reasonably comparable to those in
urban areas.257 Some parties advocated allowing supported parties to satisfy the requirement based on
(Continued from previous page)


insular and rural areas served by non-rural carriers were presumed to be reasonably comparable to urban rates
nationwide if they fell below the national rate benchmark, which was set at two standard deviations above the
average urban rate as reported in an annual rate survey published by the Wireline Competition Bureau. See Federal-
State Joint Board on Universal Service, High-Cost Universal Service Support, WC Docket No. 05-337, CC Docket
No. 96-45, Order on Remand and Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 10-56, 25 FCC Rcd 4072, 4088, para. 8
(2010), pet. for review den’d, Vermont Public Service Bd.v. F.C.C., 661 F.3d 54 (D.C. Cir. 2011). Thus, while the
approaches differ, both serve to assure that rates for supported services are reasonably comparable to rates in urban
areas.
254 A list of the top 100 CMAs is included in Attachment C.
255 Commission analysis of October 2011 American Roamer coverage maps and Census 2010 block data.
256 NASUCA et al. Comments at 11 (“in the absence of rate survey data, this is a reasonable approach”); RTG
Comments at 9 (“RTG agrees with the FCC’s proposed reasonably comparable rates requirement”). Commenters
made related observations that are not directly on point with how to satisfy this requirement that we need not address
here. See, e.g., NASUCA et al. Comments at 9 (regarding a minimum number of minutes per month). Finally, we
note that US Cellular challenged the Commission’s authority to consider whether rates for broadband service are
comparable given that broadband service is not within the definition of supported service. US Cellular Comments at
6 (arguing that broadband should be defined as a supported service). The Commission decided in the USF/ICC
Transformation Order
that the comparable rate requirement applied to broadband services offered with universal
service support and we will not revisit that decision here. See USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at
17708-09 paras. 113-14.
257 AT&T Comments at 21; US Cellular Comments at 6-7; US Cellular Reply at 5; see Verizon Comments at 5.
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their offering the same rate, either nationwide, statewide, or in non-supported areas.258 We note that, to
the extent a provider offers the same service at the same rate in an urban area, as the Bureaus define it for
these purposes, these proposals are all consistent with the Bureaus’ proposal. The commenters’ proposals
diverge from the Bureaus’ in so far as a provider offers the same rate for the same service in an
unsupported area but that unsupported area does not qualify as urban for purpose of this requirement.
Two parties specifically object to the use of out-of-Alaska areas as points of comparison for service
within Alaska.259 They both argue that, given the unique challenges of offering service anywhere in
Alaska, parties offering service in supported areas in Alaska only should have to demonstrate that their
rates are reasonably comparable with more urban areas of Alaska, even though those areas do not qualify
as urban under the Bureaus’ proposal.
179.
We decline generally to alter the proposal to permit comparisons with rates for services in
areas that are not within the definition of urban that the Bureaus proposed for this purpose in the Auction
901 Comment Public Notice
. As the Bureaus explained in the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, the
areas proposed both meet a population-based definition of urban and have a degree of competition among
wireless service providers that should help to assure that the rates offered are reasonable. None of the
parties advocating intrastate comparisons, or reliance on comparisons between the rates a supported
carrier offers in supported areas and other areas, provides a basis for concluding that the other areas
proposed have a comparable level of competition. Nevertheless, in light of the distinct character of
Alaska and the related costs of providing service, we will make an exception for supported parties in
Alaska and allow them to demonstrate comparability by comparison with rates offered in the CMA for
Anchorage, Alaska. In this regard, we note that the Anchorage CMA has a population of over 250,000
and four wireless providers, which indicates that, while reflecting the particular challenges of offering
service in Alaska, competition for customers there could act to keep rates for offered services reasonable.
180.
One commenter expressly supported the proposed requirement that supported providers
demonstrate that all of their service plans are offered at comparable rates while another argued that
providing one such plan should be sufficient.260 On further review, we conclude that it will be sufficient
for a supported provider to demonstrate that its required stand-alone voice plan and one service plan that
offers data services, presuming it offers such plans, satisfies the reasonably comparable rate requirement.
We conclude that customers should have available to them other rate plans should they so choose, so long
as the provider satisfies the reasonably comparable rate requirement with respect to a stand-alone voice
plan and one of any plans that offer data services.261 In addition, this will simplify the supported parties’
compliance with the rule.


258 AT&T Comments at 21 (nationwide or statewide); US Cellular Reply at 5 (same, citing AT&T Comments);
NASUCA et al. Comments at 10 (“If the winning bidder does not offer service in urban territory, the supported rate
should be the same rate that applies to the service offered by the bidder in its other territory.”)
259 ACS Comments at 7; GCI Comments at 3.
260 NASUCA et al. Comments at 12 (“preliminary view . . . required to offer all of their service plans at comparable
rates”); US Cellular Reply at 5 (“one basic service rate plan that is reasonably comparable”).
261 In addition, we note that the Commission expects “that ETCs that offer standalone broadband service in any
portion of their service territory will also offer such service in all areas that receive CAF support.” USF/ICC
Transformation Order
, 26 FCC Rcd at 17695 para.86 n.127.
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10.

Tribal Engagement Requirements: Certification and Summary of
Engagement Results

181.
Beginning at the long-form application stage, and continuing throughout the term of
support, Mobility Fund Phase I winning bidders are required to comply with the Tribal engagement
obligations applicable to all ETCs.262 As the Commission discussed in the USF/ICC Transformation
Order
, these obligations are designed to ensure that Tribal governments have been formally and
effectively engaged in the planning process and that the services to be provided will advance the goals
established by the Tribal government. At a minimum, such discussions must include: (1) a needs
assessment and deployment planning with a focus on Tribal community anchor institutions; (2) feasibility
and sustainability planning; (3) marketing services in a culturally sensitive manner; (4) rights of way
processes, land use permitting, facilities siting, environmental and cultural review processes; and
(5) compliance with Tribal business and licensing requirements.
182.
Specific procedures and further guidance regarding the Tribal engagement process are
being developed by ONAP, in coordination with the Bureaus. Winning bidders are encouraged to initiate
the engagement process as soon as possible. We contemplate that, at a minimum, a long-form applicant
would be required to include a certification and detailed description of its efforts to contact the relevant
Tribal government(s) and initiate substantive discussions regarding the topics noted above. Any
information provided as an attachment to the long-form application must be designated as a “Tribal
Information” attachment. Such certification and description must also be submitted to the appropriate
Tribal government official concurrent with the filing of the long-form application. Thereafter, support
recipients will be obligated to demonstrate their compliance with Tribal engagement requirements on an
annual basis, and prior to any disbursement of support from the Universal Service Administrative
Company (USAC). We remind carriers that failure to satisfy the Tribal government engagement
obligation could subject them to financial consequences, including potential reduction in support should
they fail to fulfill their obligations.

C.

Default Payment Requirements

183.
In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission determined that it would impose
two types of default payment obligations on winning bidders: a default payment owed by Mobility Fund
winning bidders that default on their winning bids prior to approval for receiving support and a default
payment owed by Mobility Fund winning bidders that apply for and are approved to receive support but
subsequently fail to meet their public interest obligations or other terms and conditions of Mobility Fund
support.263 Under the competitive bidding rules adopted in the USF/ICC Transformation Order, bidders
selected by the auction process to receive USF support have a binding obligation to file a post-auction
long-form application – by the applicable deadline and consistent with other requirements of the long-
form application process – and failure to do so constitutes an auction default.264 In addition, a
performance default occurs when a winning bidder that the Commission has authorized to receive support
fails to meet its minimum coverage requirement or adequately comply with quality of service or any other
requirements upon which support was granted.265


262 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17822-23 para. 489; see also id. at 17868-69 paras. 636-637.
263 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17814 paras. 460-61; 47 C.F.R. § 1.21004(b), 47 C.F.R. §
54.1006(f).
264 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17808 para. 436; 47 C.F.R. § 1.21004(a).
265 47 C.F.R. § 54.1007(c).
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1.

Auction Default Payment

184.
Any winning bidder that fails to timely file a long-form application, is found ineligible or
unqualified to receive Mobility Fund support, has its long-form application dismissed, or otherwise
defaults on its bid or is disqualified for any reason after the close of the auction and prior to the
authorization of support for each winning bid will be subject to an auction default payment.266 Agreeing
to such payment in event of a default is a condition for participating in bidding.267 In the event of an
auction default, we will assess a default payment of five percent of the total defaulted bid.
185.
In the USF/ICC Transformation Order, the Commission determined that a default
payment is appropriate to ensure the integrity of the auction process and safeguard against costs to the
Commission and the USF. The Commission left it to the Bureaus to consider methodologies for
determining such a payment, but specified that if the Bureaus established a default payment to be
calculated as a percentage of the defaulted bid, that percentage was not to exceed 20 percent of the total
amount of the defaulted bid.268 Accordingly, in the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, the Bureaus
proposed an auction default payment of five percent of the total defaulted bid.269 The Bureaus also sought
comment on alternative methodologies, such as basing the auction default payment on the difference
between the defaulted bid and the next best bid to cover the same number of road miles as without the
default. The Bureaus further sought comment on whether, prior to bidding, all applicants for Auction 901
should be required to furnish a bond or place funds on deposit with the Commission in the amount of the
maximum anticipated auction default payment.270
186.
Commenters supported the Bureaus’ proposal for a rate of five percent of the total
defaulted bid.271 AT&T urges the Bureaus to consider adopting a higher figure, such as ten percent,
saying that if the penalty percentage is too low it will not serve as a sufficient deterrent.272 Other
commenters suggest a less “punitive” approach or ask the Bureaus to refrain from enforcing default
payments except in cases of “egregious” failure, such as the failure to submit any long-form
application.273 The Bureaus received no comments on any alternative methodologies for determining an
appropriate auction default penalty.
187.
We are not persuaded that we should modify our proposal to establish an auction default
payment at the rate of five percent of the total defaulted bid. Such a requirement should serve to deter
failures to fulfill auction obligations that might undermine the stability and predictability of the auction
process and impose costs on the Commission as well as higher support costs for USF, and is yet not


266 47 C.F.R. § 1.21004.
267 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17813-14 paras. 458-460.
268 Id. at 17814 para. 460.
269 Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 545-46 para. 61.
270 Id. at 546 para. 62.
271 ACS Comments at 6; RTG Comments at 7 (suggests that it should be added to bid amount and included in LOC).
272 AT&T Comments at 18-19. See also Verizon Comments at 4-5 (apparently conflating auction default and
performance default payments, but suggesting a penalty in the 25 percent range, because a five percent penalty is too
low and “unlikely to deter gamesmanship in the bidding process.”)
273 ARC Comments at 5; Blooston Comments at 10. See also USA Coalition Reply at 5.
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DA 12-641

unduly punitive. Liability for the auction default payment will be imposed without regard to the
intentions or fault of any specific defaulting bidder.274 We therefore adopt our proposal.
188.
The Bureaus received a single comment addressing whether auction applicants should be
required to furnish a bond or place funds on deposit prior to bidding. AT&T supports such a requirement,
but prefers that the Bureaus require posting a bond, as it is issued “quickly and easily” and is used in the
normal course of business.275 We think our adoption of an auction default payment will provide adequate
protection against costs to the Commission and the USF, and therefore we find that establishing a bond or
deposit requirement is unnecessary.
2.

Performance Default Payment

189.
A winning bidder that has received notice from the Commission that it is authorized to
receive Mobility Fund support will be subject to a performance default payment if it fails or is unable to
meet its minimum coverage requirement, other service requirements, or fails to fulfill any other term or
condition of Mobility Fund Phase I support.276 We will assess a performance default penalty of ten
percent on the total level of support for which a winning bidder is eligible.277
190.
The Commission recognized in the USF/ICC Transformation Order that a Mobility Fund
recipient’s failure to fulfill its obligations may impose significant costs on the Commission and higher
support costs for the USF and concluded that it was necessary to adopt a default payment obligation for
performance defaults.278 In addition to being liable for a performance default payment, the recipient will
be required to repay the Mobility Fund all of the support it has received, and depending on circumstances,
could be disqualified from receiving any additional Mobility Fund or other USF support.279 In the
Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, we proposed to establish the performance default payment
percentage at ten percent of the total level of support for which a winning bidder is eligible.280 Under this
proposal, the irrevocable stand-by LOC that winning bidders will be required to provide would include an
additional ten percent based on the total level of support for which a winning bidder is eligible.
191.
We received support for our proposal.281 Some commenters, however, urge the Bureaus
to assess a lesser default payment for failure to meet performance requirements.282 AT&T argues that it
would be more reasonable to assess a winning bidder failing to meet one or more of the performance
requirements a payment equal to some percentage of the award associated with the portion of the total
build-out and coverage obligation that the provider failed to fulfill.283 RTG supports a ten percent default


274 Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 546 para. 62.
275 AT&T Comments at 19.
276 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17814 para. 460.
277 See 47 C.F.R. § 54.1006(f).
278 USF/ICC Transformation Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 17810-11 para. 446.
279 Id. at 17814 para. 461.
280 Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 546 para. 64.
281 ACS Comments at 6.
282 See, e.g., USA Coalition Reply at 5.
283 AT&T Comments at 18-19.
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payment only if an awardee fails to meet an 80 percent coverage requirement.284 Blooston urges the
Bureaus to not apply the performance default payment obligation to rural carriers.285 As discussed above,
the Commission has already defined the conditions that constitute a performance default. Changing the
terms of the performance default requirement in any way is beyond the scope of the Bureaus’ delegated
authority and beyond the scope of this proceeding and would require action by the Commission to
reconsider its determination in the USF/ICC Transformation Order.
192.
While both auction defaults and performance defaults may threaten the integrity of the
auction process and impose costs on the Commission and the USF, an auction default occurs earlier in the
process and may facilitate an earlier use of the funds that were assigned to the defaulted bid consistent
with the purposes of the universal service program.286 We therefore proposed that the performance
default payment be set at a higher percentage than the auction default payment percentage.287 We did not
receive specific comments on our proposal to establish the performance default payment percentage at ten
percent. We anticipate that a performance default payment of ten percent of the defaulted support level
will be effective in encouraging those seeking support to make every effort to assure that they are capable
of meeting their obligations and protecting against costs to the Commission and the USF without unduly
discouraging auction participation. We therefore adopt our proposal.

VI.

CONTACT INFORMATION

193.
Contact Information Table:

General Auction 901 Information

FCC Auctions Hotline

General Auction Questions
(888) 225-5322, option two; or
Auction Process and Procedures
(717) 338-2868
Hours of service: 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET,
Monday through Friday

Auction 901 Legal Information

Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

Auction Rules, Policies, Regulations, including

Auctions and Spectrum Access Division

Reports of Section 1.21002 Violations and
Sayuri Rajapakse
Application Major Modifications
Stephen Johnson
(202) 418-0660

General Universal Service Questions

Wireline Competition Bureau
Telecommunications Access Policy Division

Alex Minard
(202) 418-7400


284 RTG Comments at 8-9, RTG Reply at 9 (also suggesting that an awardee should only have to pay back “overage”
for areas not covered).
285 Blooston Comments at 11-12.
286 Auction 901 Comment Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 547 para. 64.
287 Id.
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Technical Support

FCC Auctions Technical Support Hotline

Electronic Filing
(877) 480-3201, option nine; or (202) 414-1250
FCC Auction System (Hardware/Software
(202) 414-1255 (TTY)
Issues)
Hours of service: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. ET,
Monday through Friday

Auction Bidder Line

Will be furnished only to qualified bidders

FCC Copy Contractor

Best Copy and Printing, Inc

Additional Copies of
445 12th Street, SW, Room CY-B402
Commission Documents
Washington, DC 20554
(800) 378-3160
http://www.bcpiweb.com

Press Information

Cecila Sulhoff (202) 418-0587

FCC Forms

(800) 418-3676 (outside Washington, DC)
(202) 418-3676 (in the Washington area)
http://www.fcc.gov/formpage.html

Accessible Formats

Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau

Braille, large print, electronic files, or
(202) 418-0530 or (202) 418-0432 (TTY)
audio format for people with disabilities
fcc504@fcc.gov

Small Businesses

Office of Communications Business

Additional information for small and

Opportunities

disadvantaged businesses
(202) 418-0990
http://www.fcc.gov/ocbo/

Tribal Issues

Office of Native Affairs and Policy

Additional information for entities seeking to provide (202) 418-2930
service to Tribal lands and Tribal governments
native@fcc.gov

FCC Internet Sites

http://www.fcc.gov
http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions
http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls
– FCC –
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ATTACHMENT A

Auction 901 – Mobility Fund Phase I Auction

Summary of Eligible Census Blocks

This page was intentionally inserted as a placeholder for Attachment A, which is available as a separate
file.
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ATTACHMENT B

Road Categories, Descriptions, and Total Miles in Eligible Census Blocks

Total
MTFCC
Feature Class
Feature Class Description
Miles
S1100
Primary Road
Primary roads are generally divided, limited-access highways
420
within the interstate highway system or under state
management, and are distinguished by the presence of
interchanges. These highways are accessible by ramps and may
include some toll highways.
S1200
Secondary Road
Secondary roads are main arteries, usually in the U.S. Highway,
31,937
State Highway or County Highway system. These roads have
one or more lanes of traffic in each direction, may or may not
be divided, and usually have at-grade intersections with many
other roads and driveways. They often have both a local name
and a route number.
S1400
Local
Generally a paved non-arterial street, road, or byway that
590,357
Neighborhood
usually has a single lane of traffic in each direction. Roads in
Road, Rural Road, this feature class may be privately or publicly maintained.
City Street
Scenic park roads would be included in this feature class, as
would (depending on the region of the country) some unpaved
roads.
S1500
Vehicular Trail
An unpaved dirt trail where a four-wheel drive vehicle is
75,018
(4WD)
required. These vehicular trails are found almost exclusively in
very rural areas. Minor, unpaved roads usable by ordinary cars
and trucks belong in the S1400 category.
S1640
Service Drive
A road, usually paralleling a limited access highway, that
12,100
usually along a
provides access to structures along the highway. These roads
limited access
can be named and may intersect with other roads.
highway
S1740
Private Road for
A road within private property that is privately maintained for
33,810
service vehicles
service, extractive, or other purposes. These roads are often
(logging, oil fields, unnamed.
ranches, etc.)
743,643
Source: Appendix F – MAF/TIGER Feature Class Code (MTFCC) Definitions, pages F-186 and F-187,
at http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/tgrshp2010/documentation.html (last visited Feb. 2, 2012), and
FCC analysis.
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ATTACHMENT C

Top 100 CMAs by Population

This page was intentionally inserted as a placeholder for Attachment C, which is available as a separate
file.
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ATTACHMENT D

Auction 901 – Mobility Fund Phase I

List of Parties Filing in AU Docket No. 12-25

The following is a listing of parties that filed in response to the Auction 901 Comment Public
Notice. The party name is followed by the abbreviated name of the filing as used in this Public Notice.

Initial Commenters

1. Alaska Communications Systems Group, Inc. (ACS Comments)
2. Alaska Rural Coalition (ARC Comments)
3. AT&T Inc. (AT&T Comments)
4. Belloni, Alexandre, Sandro Brusco, Giuseppe Lopomo and Leslie M. Marx (Belloni et al.
Comments)
5. Blooston Rural Carriers (Blooston Comments)
6. Clearwire Corporation (Clearwire Comments)
7. General Communication, Inc. (GCI Comments)
8. Kentucky, Commonwealth of, Office of Broadband Outreach and Development (Kentucky
Comments)
9. National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, Maine Office of the Public Advocate,
the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel and the Utility
Reform Network (NASUCA et al. Comments)
10. NTCH, Inc. (NTCH Comments)
11. Pekeč, Aleksandar Saša (Pekeč Comments)
12. Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. (RTG Comments)
13. United States Cellular Corporation (US Cellular Comments)
14. Verizon and Verizon Wireless (Verizon Comments)

Reply Commenters

1. Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc. (ACS Reply)
2. AT&T Inc. (AT&T Reply)
3. Belloni, Alexandre, Sandro Brusco, Giuseppe Lopomo and Leslie M. Marx (Belloni et al. Reply)
4. Kentucky, Commonwealth of, Office of Broadband Outreach and Development (Kentucky
Reply)
5. McAdams, David (McAdams Reply)
6. Mid-Rivers Telephone Cooperative, Inc., and Cable & Communications Corporation, d/b/a/ Mid-
Rivers Communications (Mid-Rivers Reply)
7. National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA Reply)
8. Pekeč, Aleksandar Saša (Pekeč Reply)
9. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (Pennsylvania Commission Reply)
10. Power Auctions LLC (Power Auctions Reply)
11. Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. (RTG Reply)
12. United States Cellular Corporation (US Cellular Reply)
13. Universal Service for America Coalition (USA Coalition Reply)
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Ex Parte and Other Filings

1. Pangasa, Maneesh288
2. Pine Telephone Company, Inc. (Pine Telephone ex parte)
3. Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. (RTG ex parte)

Initial Commenters – Eligible Census Blocks

1. AT&T (AT&T ECB Comments)
2. Bluegrass Cellular, Inc. (Bluegrass ECB Comments)
3. Carolina West Wireless, Inc. (Carolina West ECB Comments)
4. Cellular Network Partnership, LP (Cellular Network ECB Comments)
5. Commnet Wireless, LLC, NTUA Wireless, LLC, and SAL Spectrum, LLC (Commnet et al. ECB
Comments)
6. Cross Valliant Cellular Partnership (Cross Valliant ECB Comments)
7. Cross Wireless, LLC (Cross Wireless ECB Comments)
8. C T Cube, LP d/b/a/ West Central Wireless (CT Cube ECB Comments)
9. Eagle Telephone System, Inc. (Eagle Telephone ECB Comments)
10. Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, Larry S. Landis, Commissioner (Indiana Commission
ECB Comments)
11. Kentucky, Commonwealth of, Office of Broadband Outreach and Development (Kentucky ECB
Comments)
12. Keystone Wireless, LLC d/b/a Immix Wireless (Keystone ECB Comments)
13. Leaco Rural Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (Leaco ECB Comments)
14. Matanuska Telephone Association (Matanuska ECB Comments)
15. Mid-Rivers Telephone Cooperative, Inc., and Cable & Communications Corporation, d/b/a/ Mid-
Rivers Communications (Mid-Rivers ECB Comments)
16. Minnesota Department of Commerce, Dennis Ahlers, Assistant Commissioner (Minnesota ECB
Comments)
17. Nemont Communications (Nemont ECB Comments) (2 filings)
18. NNTC Wireless, LLC, subsidiary of Nucla-Naturita Telephone Company (NNTC ECB
Comments)
19. Panhandle Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (Panhandle ECB Comments)
20. Pine Telephone Company, Inc. (Pine Telephone ECB Comments)
21. PTI Pacifica Inc. d/b/a IT&E (PTI Pacifica ECB Comments)
22. Public Service Wireless Services, Inc. (PSW ECB Comments)
23. Sprint Nextel Corp. (Sprint ECB Comments)
24. Texas RSA 7B3, LP d/b/a Peoples Wireless (Texas RSA ECB Comments)
25. T-Mobile USA, Inc. (T-Mobile ECB Comments)
26. VTel Wireless, Inc. (VTel ECB Comments)
27. WUE, Inc. (WUE ECB Comments)


288 Pangasa expresses views on a number of issues in 16 separate submissions in this docket, none of which are
responsive or relevant to the proposals and questions raised in the Auction 901 Comment Public Notice. Pangasa has
made similar filings in many other open dockets involving a range of issues under consideration by the Commission.
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Reply Commenters – Eligible Census Blocks

1. Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, Larry S. Landis, Commissioner (Indiana Commission
ECB Reply)
2. Smith Bagley, Inc. (Smith Bagley ECB Reply) (2 reply filings)
3. United States Cellular Corporation (U.S. Cellular ECB Reply)
4. Verizon and Verizon Wireless (Verizon ECB Reply)
5. WUE, Inc. (WUE ECB Reply)

Ex Parte and Other Filings – Eligible Census Blocks

1. Commnet Wireless, LLC, NTUA Wireless, LLC, and SAL Spectrum, LLC (Commnet et al. ECB
ex parte)
2. Horry Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (Horry Telephone ECB ex parte)
3. National Telecommunications and Information Administration/Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau (NTIA ex parte)
4. Pangasa, Maneesh289
5. Union Cellular Telephone Company d/b/a Union Wireless (Union Cellular ECB ex parte)
6. United States Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service (USDA RUS ex parte)
7. Smith Bagley (Smith Bagley ECB ex parte)


289 See note 1, above.
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ATTACHMENT E

Summary Listing of Judicial, Commission and Bureau Documents Addressing

Application of Section 1.2105(c)’s Prohibition on Certain Communications Between Auction

Applicants

A. Judicial Decisions

Star Wireless, LLC v. FCC, 522 F.3d 469 (D.C. Cir. 2008).
High Plains Wireless, L.P. v. FCC, 276 F.3d 599 (D.C. Cir. 2002).

B. Commission Decisions

Procedural Amendments to Commission Part 1 Competitive Bidding Rules, Order, FCC 10-4, 25 FCC
Rcd 521 (2010).
Service Rules for the 698-746, 747-762 and 777-792 MHz Bands, WT Docket No. 06-150, Second Report
and Order
, FCC 07-132, 22 FCC Rcd 15289, 15395 ¶¶ 285-86, 15489 (2007).
Star Wireless, LLC and Northeast Communications of Wisconsin, Inc., Order on Review, FCC 07-80, 22
FCC Rcd 8943 (2007).
Amendment of Part 1 of the Commission’s Rules – Competitive Bidding Procedures, WT Docket No. 97-
82, Seventh Report and Order, FCC 01-270, 16 FCC Rcd 17546 (2001).
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture of Western PCS BTA 1 Corp., Memorandum Opinion and
Orde
r, FCC 99-385, 14 FCC Rcd 21571 (1999); Application of Western PCS BTA I Corp., Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture,
FCC 98-42, 13 FCC Rcd 8305 (1998).
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture of US West Communications, Inc., Order, FCC 99-90, 14
FCC Rcd 8816 (1999); Application of US West Communications, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture,
FCC 98-41, 13 FCC Rcd 8286 (1998).
Application of Mercury PCS II, LLC, Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 98-203, 13 FCC Rcd
23755 (1998); Applications of: Mercury PCS II, LLC, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, FCC
97-388, 12 FCC Rcd 17970 (1997).
Amendment of Part 1 of the Commission’s Rules – Competitive Bidding Procedures, WT Docket No.
97-82, Third Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, FCC 97-413, 13
FCC Rcd 374, 463-469 ¶¶ 155-166 (1997).
Commercial Realty St. Pete, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 96-400, 11 FCC Rcd 15374
(1996); Commercial Realty St. Pete, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, FCC 95-58, 10 FCC
Rcd 4277 (1995).
Implementation of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act – Competitive Bidding, PP Docket No.
93-253, Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 94-295, 9 FCC Rcd 7684, 7687-7689 ¶¶ 8-12 (1994).
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Implementation of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act – Competitive Bidding, PP Docket No.
93-253, Fourth Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 94-264, 9 FCC Rcd 6858, 6866-6869 ¶¶ 47-60
(1994).
Implementation of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act – Competitive Bidding, PP Docket No.
93-253, Second Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 94-215, 9 FCC Rcd 7245, 7253-7254 ¶¶ 48-53
(1994).
Implementation of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act – Competitive Bidding, PP Docket No.
93-253, Fifth Report and Order, FCC 94-178, 9 FCC Rcd 5532, 5570-5571 ¶¶ 91-92 (1994).
Implementation of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act – Competitive Bidding, PP Docket No.
93-253, Second Report and Order, FCC 94-61, 9 FCC Rcd 2348, 2386-2388 ¶¶ 221-226 (1994).

C. Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Decisions

Lotus Communications Corp., Order, DA 08-1364, 23 FCC Rcd 9107 (Wireless Telecom. Bur. 2008).
Application of Nevada Wireless, Memorandum Opinion and Order, DA 98-1137, 13 FCC Rcd 11973
(Wireless Telecom. Bur. 1998).
Applications of High Plains Wireless, L.P., Memorandum Opinion and Order, DA 97-2451, 12 FCC Rcd
19627 (Wireless Telecom. Bur. 1997).
Applications of Mercury PCS II, LLC, Memorandum Opinion and Order on Reconsideration, DA 97-
2324, 12 FCC Rcd 18093 (Wireless Telecom. Bur. 1997); Applications of Mercury PCS II, LLC,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, DA 97-1782, 13 FCC Rcd 5756 (Wireless Telecom. Bur. 1997).
Applications of GWI PCS, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, DA 97-674, 12 FCC Rcd 6441
(Wireless Telecom. Bur. 1997).
Amendment of Parts 21 and 74 of the Commission’s Rules With Regard to Filing Procedures in the
Multipoint Distribution Service and in the Instructional Television Fixed Service, MM Docket No. 94-
131, Order, DA 95-2292, 11 FCC Rcd 9655 (Wireless Telecom. Bur. 1995).
1. Public Notices
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Reminder of Anti-Collusion Rule Obligations, Public Notice, DA
04-3677, 19 FCC Rcd 22880 (Wireless Telecom. Bur. 2004).
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Staff Provides Guidance on Completing the Short-Form
Application (FCC Form 175) for Auction No. 40, Auction of Licenses for Lower and Upper Paging
Bands, Public Notice, DA 01-2122, 16 FCC Rcd 16391 (Wireless Telecom. Bur. 2001).
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Responds to Questions About the Local Multipoint Distribution
Service Auction, Public Notice, DA 98-37, 13 FCC Rcd 341 (Wireless Telecom. Bur. 1998).
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Provides Guidance on the Anti-Collusion Rule for D, E and F
Block Bidders, Public Notice, DA 96-1460, 11 FCC Rcd 10134 (Wireless Telecom. Bur. 1996).
FCC Staff Clarifies Application of Anti-Collusion Rule to Broadband PCS "C" Block Reauction, Public
Notice,
DA 96-929, 11 FCC Rcd 7031 (Auc. Div. 1996).
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Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Clarifies Spectrum Auction Anti-Collusion Rules, Public Notice,
DA 95-2244, 11 FCC Rcd 9645 (Wireless Telecom. Bur. 1995).
2. Letters from the Office of General Counsel, the Wireless Telecommunications

Bureau and the Media Bureau

Letter to John Cooper, Aurora Communications, Inc., from Margaret W. Wiener, DA 06-157, 21 FCC
Rcd 523 (Auc. Div. 2006).
Letter to Howard A. Kalmenson, Lotus Communications Corp., from Margaret W. Wiener, DA 06-156,
21 FCC Rcd 520 (Auc. Div. 2006).
Letter to Colby M. May from Barbara A. Kreisman and Margaret W. Wiener, DA 05-2445, 20 FCC Rcd
14648 (Video and Auc. Divs. 2005).
Letter to Robert Pettit from Margaret W. Wiener, DA 00-2905, 16 FCC Rcd 10080 (Auc. Div. 2000).
Letter to John Reardon, Mobex Communications, Inc., from Amy J. Zoslov, DA 98-1861, 13 FCC Rcd
17877 (Auc. Div. 1998).
Letter to Elliott J. Greenwald from Christopher J. Wright, DA 98-644, 13 FCC Rcd 7132 (Gen. Counsel
1998).
Letter to David L. Nace from Kathleen O’Brien Ham, DA 96-1566, 11 FCC Rcd 11363 (Auc. Div. 1996).
Letter to Mark Grady from Kathleen O’Brien Ham, DA 96-587, 11 FCC Rcd 10895 (Auc. Div. 1996).
Letter to Jonathan D. Blake from Kathleen O’Brien Ham, DA 95-2404, 10 FCC Rcd 13783 (Auc. Div.
1995).
Letter to Leonard J. Kennedy from Rosalind K. Allen, Acting Chief, Commercial Radio Division,
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (released December 14, 1994).
Letter to R. Michael Senkowski from Rosalind K. Allen, Acting Chief, Commercial Radio Division,
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (released December 1, 1994).
Letter to Gary M. Epstein and James H. Barker from William E. Kennard, General Counsel, Federal
Communications Commission (released October 25, 1994).
Letter to Alan F. Ciamporcero from William E Kennard, General Counsel, Federal Communications
Commission (released October 25, 1994).

D. Enforcement Bureau Decisions

Cascade Access, L.L.C., Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, DA 09-207, 24 FCC Rcd 1350 (Enf.
Bur. 2009).
Application of Star Wireless, LLC, Forfeiture Order, DA 04-3026, 19 FCC Rcd 18626 (Enf. Bur. 2004);
Application of Star Wireless, LLC, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, DA 03-2722, 18 FCC Rcd
17648 (Enf. Bur. 2003).
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Application of Northeast Communications of Wisconsin, Inc., Forfeiture Order, DA 04-3027, 19 FCC
Rcd 18635 (Enf. Bur. 2004); Application of Northeast Communications of Wisconsin, Inc., Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
, DA 03-2723, 18 FCC Rcd 17672 (Enf. Bur. 2003).

E. Civil Actions Initiated by U.S. Department of Justice

USA v. Northeast Communications of Wisconsin, Inc., No. 07-C-715, 608 F.Supp.2d 1049 (E.D.Wis. June
25, 2008).
U.S. v. Omnipoint Corp., Proposed Final Judgments and Competitive Impact Statements, Department of
Justice, 63 Fed. Reg. 65,228 (Nov. 25, 1998).
“Justice Department Sues Three Firms Over FCC Auction Practices,” Press Release, U.S. Department of
Justice (Nov. 10, 1998).
Complaint, U.S. v. Omnipoint Corp., No. 1:98CV02750 (D.D.C. Nov. 10, 1998).
Complaint, U.S. v. Mercury PCS II, L.L.C., No. 1:98CV02751 (D.D.C. Nov. 10, 1998).
Complaint, U.S. v. 21st Century Bidding Corp., No. 1:98CV02752 (D.D.C. Nov. 10, 1998).

How to Obtain Copies of Listed Decisions

Many of the documents listed in this attachment can be retrieved from the following Commission web
site: http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions/prohibited_communications.
Additionally, all of the documents can be ordered in hard copy for a fee from the Commission’s
duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc., 445 12th Street, SW, Room CY-B402, Washington,
DC 20554, (800) 378-3160, or at http://www.bcpiweb.com.
E - 4

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

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