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Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services H Block

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Released: January 22, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554
January 22, 2014

DA 14-73

Small Entity Compliance Guide

Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services H Block - Implementing Section

6401 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 Related to
the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz Bands (H Block R&O)
FCC Number: 13-88
WT Docket Nos.: 12-357
Released: June 27, 2013
Auction: Number 96
Auction Date: January 22, 2014

This Guide is prepared in accordance with the requirements of Section
212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.
It is intended to help small entities—small businesses, small organizations
(non-profits), and small governmental jurisdictions—comply with the
new rules adopted in the above-referenced FCC rulemaking docket(s).
This Guide is not intended to replace the rules and, therefore, final
authority rests solely with the rules. Although we have attempted to
cover all parts of the rules that might be especially important to small
entities, the coverage may not be exhaustive. This Guide may, perhaps,
not apply in a particular situation based upon the circumstances, and the
FCC retains the discretion to adopt approaches on a case-by-case basis
that may differ from this Guide, where appropriate. Any decisions
regarding a particular small entity will be based on the statute and
regulations.

In any civil or administrative action against a small entity for a violation
of rules, the content of the Small Entity Compliance Guide may be
considered as evidence of the reasonableness or appropriateness of
proposed fines, penalties or damages. Interested parties are free to file
comments regarding this Guide and the appropriateness of its application
to a particular situation; the FCC will consider whether the
recommendations or interpretations in the Guide are appropriate in that
situation. The FCC may decide to revise this Guide without public notice
to reflect changes in the FCC’s approach to implementing a rule, or to
clarify or update the text of the Guide. Direct your comments and
recommendations, or calls for further assistance, to the FCC’s Consumer
Center:

1

1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322)

TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)

Fax: 1-866-418-0232

fccinfo@fcc.gov
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I.

OBJECTIVES OF THE PROCEEDING

1. The H Block R&O increased the Nation’s supply of flexible-use spectrum for mobile
broadband, by adopting rules for fixed and mobile services, including advanced wireless
services, in the 1915-1920 MHz band and the 1995-2000 MHz band. These paired spectrum
bands are collectively known as the “H Block.” The H Block R&O implemented the
Congressional directive in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012
(“Spectrum Act”) that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC/Commission) grant new
initial licenses for these spectrum bands through a system of competitive bidding. The
Spectrum Act states that the Commission, by February 2015, shall allocate the H Block bands
for commercial use, and through a system of competitive bidding grant new initial licenses for
the use of each band, subject to flexible use service rules. In compliance with the Spectrum
Act, the Commission has adopted auction procedures and scheduled an auction for the H Block,
Auction 96, that is set to start on January 22, 2014. This additional spectrum for mobile use
will help ensure that the speed, capacity, and ubiquity of the Nation’s wireless networks keep
pace with the skyrocketing demand for mobile services.

II.

H BLOCK BAND PLAN

H Block Bands

Block
Frequencies (MHz)
Bandwidth
Pairing
Area Type
Licenses
H
1915-1920/1995-2000
10 MHZ
2 x 5 MHz
EA
176

H Block License Summary

A.

H Block Band Plan

2. The 1915-1920 MHz band will be used for mobile and low power fixed (i.e., uplink)
operations and the 1995-2000 MHz band will be used for base station and fixed (i.e., downlink)
operations, configured as paired 5 + 5 megahertz blocks. The Commission adopted a
geographic-area licensing scheme and concluded, based on the record, that the H Block
spectrum should be licensed on an Economic Area (EA) basis, including for the Gulf of
Mexico. Auction 96 will offer one license for each of the 176 EAs. The existing definition of
the Gulf of Mexico EA contained in Section 27.6 of the Commission rules will be used to
license the Gulf.
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III.

SMALL BUSINESS PROVISIONS FOR GEOGRAPHIC AREA LICENSES

3. The auction provisions of the Communications Act mandate that the Commission
“ensure that small businesses, rural telephone companies, and businesses owned by members of
minority groups and women are given the opportunity to participate in the provision of
spectrum-based services.” In addition, those provisions require that, in establishing eligibility
criteria and bidding methodologies, the Commission shall seek to promote a number of
objectives, including “promoting economic opportunity and competition and ensuring that new
and innovative technologies are readily accessible to the American people by avoiding
excessive concentration of licenses and by disseminating licenses among a wide variety of
applicants, including small businesses, rural telephone companies, and businesses owned by
members of minority groups and women.” One of the principal means by which the
Commission fulfills this mandate is through the award of bidding credits to small businesses.
4. In the Competitive Bidding Second Memorandum Opinion and Order, the
Commission stated that it would define eligibility requirements for small businesses on a
service-specific basis, taking into account the capital requirements and other characteristics of
each particular service in establishing the appropriate threshold.
5. In the H Block R&O, the Commission defined a small business as an entity with
average gross revenues for the preceding three years not exceeding $40 million, and a very
small business as an entity with average gross revenues for the preceding three years not
exceeding $15 million. For the H Block auction, small businesses will be provided with a
bidding credit of 15 percent and very small businesses with a bidding credit of 25 percent,
consistent with the standardized schedule in Part 1 of the Commission’s rules.

IV.

PROCEDURES FOR COMPETITIVE BIDDING

A.

Application of Part 1 Competitive Bidding Rules

6. The Commission will conduct the auction for H Block licenses in conformity with
the general competitive bidding rules set forth in Part 1, Subpart Q, of the Commission’s rules.
Additionally, the Commission will employ the Part 1 rules governing competitive bidding
design, designated entity preferences, unjust enrichment, application and payment procedures,
reporting requirements, and the prohibition on certain communications between auction
applicants. Part 1 rules would be subject to any modifications that the Commission may adopt
for its Part 1 general competitive bidding rules in the future.

B.

National-security Certification

7. The Commission will implement the national security restriction of Section 6004 of
the Spectrum Act by adding a certification to the short-form application filed by auction
applicants. Section 6004 prohibits “a person who has been, for reasons of national security,
barred by any agency of the Federal Government from bidding on a contract, participating in an
auction, or receiving a grant” from participating in a system of competitive bidding that is
required to be conducted by Title VI of the Spectrum Act. The Commission will require that an
auction applicant certify, under penalty of perjury, that it and all of the related individuals and
entities required to be disclosed on the short-form application are not persons who have been so
barred. For purposes of this certification, a “person” is defined as an individual, partnership,
association, joint-stock company, trust, or corporation. “[R]easons of national security” means
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matters relating to the national defense and foreign relations of the United States. As with other
required certifications, an auction applicant’s failure to include the required certification by the
applicable filing deadline would render its short-form application unacceptable for filing, and its
application would be dismissed with prejudice.

C.

Revision to Part 1 Certification Procedures

8. The Commission has extended the national security requirement to applicants that
are obtaining H Block licenses through to secondary markets. In the H Block R&O, the
Commission determined that Section 6004 applies to transfers, assignments, or other secondary
market mechanisms transactions. The Commission concluded that it is reasonable to assume
that Congress did not intend to permit persons barred on national security grounds from
“participating in an auction” for certain licenses to acquire those same licenses in such an
indirect fashion. In any event, given the policies reflected in Section 6004, the Commission
concluded that it is appropriate to extend such a national security bar to the acquisition of
Commission licenses through the secondary market. Therefore, applicants requesting approval
for a secondary market transaction must certify that the applicants are not persons barred from
participating in an auction by Section 6004 of the Spectrum Act. For applicants that are not
individuals, the Commission will apply the same attribution standard that was adopted for short-
form applications.

V.

REGULATORY ISSUES; LICENSING AND OPERATING RULES

A.

Regulatory Framework

9. The Commission decided that the Commission’s flexible, market-oriented Part 27
rules should be applied to the H Block including, in particular, the Commission’s Part 27 rules
applicable to other AWS bands, and the Commission’s wireless rules that are generally
applicable across multiple commercial bands. The regulatory framework will establish the
license term, criteria for renewal, and other licensing and operating rules that will govern
operations in the H Block.

B.

Regulatory Status

10. The Commission decided to apply § 27.10 of its rules to the H Block because this
will achieve efficiencies in the licensing and administrative process, and provide licensees with
additional flexibility. Under this flexible regulatory approach, licensees in the H Block may
provide common carrier, non-common carrier, private internal communications or any
combination of these services, so long as the provision of service otherwise complies with
applicable service rules.
11. In order to fulfill the Commission’s enforcement obligations and ensure compliance
with Titles II and III of the Communications Act, the Commission required applicants and
licensees of H Block Spectrum to identify the regulatory status of the services they intend to
provide. Applicants and licensees will not be required to describe their particular services, but
only to designate the regulatory status of the service(s). The Commission reminded potential
applicants that an election to provide service on a common carrier basis requires that the
elements of common carriage be present; otherwise the applicant must choose non-common
carrier status. If a potential applicant is unsure of the nature of its services and its classification
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as common carrier services, it may submit a petition to the Commission with its applications, or
at any time, requesting clarification and including service descriptions for that purpose.
12. If a licensee elects to change the service or services it offers such that its regulatory
status would change, it must notify the Commission within 30 days of making the change. A
change in the licensee’s regulatory status will not require prior Commission authorization,
provided the licensee is in compliance with the foreign ownership requirements of Section
310(b) of the Communications Act that apply as a result of the change. The Commission noted
that a different time period (other than 30 days) may apply, as determined by the Commission,
where the change results in the discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of the existing service.

C.

Ownership Restrictions

13. Foreign Ownership. The Commission determined that all H-Block applicants and
licensees shall be subject to the provisions of § 27.12 of the Commission’s rules.1 All such
entities are subject to Section 310(a) of the Communications Act, which prohibits licenses from
being “granted to or held by any foreign government or the representative therefore.” In
addition, a licensee that would provide a common carrier, aeronautical en route, or aeronautical
fixed service in this band would also be subject to the foreign ownership and citizenship
requirements in Section 310(b) of the Communications Act.
14. All applicants must provide the same foreign ownership information, which covers
both Sections 310(a) and 310(b), regardless of which service they propose to provide in the
band. The Commission is unlikely to deny a license to an applicant requesting to provide
services exclusively that are not subject to Section 310(b), solely because its foreign ownership
would disqualify it from receiving a license if the applicant had applied for authority to provide
Section 310(b) services. However, if any such licensee later desires to provide any services that
are subject to the restrictions in Section 310(b), the Commission will require the licensee to
apply to the Commission for an amended license, and the Commission would consider issues
related to foreign ownership at that time.

D.

Eligibility

15. The Commission found that open eligibility is appropriate for the H Block band and
is consistent with the Commission’s statutory mandate to promote the development and rapid
deployment of new technologies, products, and services; economic opportunity and
competition; and the efficient and intensive use of the electromagnetic spectrum.
16. As noted above, the Commission further required that applicants requesting approval
for a secondary market transaction must certify that the applicants are not persons barred from
participating in an auction by Section 6004 of the Spectrum Act. Until the Commission revises
the appropriate applications forms to add a certification, applicants for spectrum subject to
Section 6004 will be required to include a certification as an attachment to the application.

E.

Mobile Spectrum Holding Policies

17. The Commission found that the record did not support addressing in the H Block
R&O whether the general mobile spectrum holdings for wireless services should apply to H
Block, particularly given the pendency of the Mobile Spectrum Holdings Policies proceeding.


1 See supra ¶ 7.
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F.

License Term

18. License Term. The Commission adopted a license term for H Block spectrum rights
of ten years and subsequent renewal terms of ten years. In addition, the Commission required
that, in the event that the terrestrial portion of a license is partitioned or disaggregated, any
partitionee or disaggregatee will be authorized to hold its license for the remainder of the
partitioner’s or disaggregator’s license term.

G.

Performance Requirements

19. EA-Based and Population-Based benchmarks will be used to measure the H Block’s
band performance requirements. The Commission adopted the following buildout
requirements:
·
H Block Interim Buildout Requirement: Within four (4) years, a licensee shall provide
reliable signal coverage and offer service to at least forty (40) percent of the population in
each of its license areas.
·
H Block Final Buildout Requirement: Within ten (10) years, a licensee shall provide
reliable signal coverage and offer service to at least seventy-five (75) percent of the
population in each of its license areas.
20. In addition, the Commission adopted the following penalties for failure to meet the
buildout benchmarks:
·
Failure to Meet H Block Interim Buildout Requirement: Where a licensee fails to meet
the H Block Interim Buildout Requirement in its license area, the H Block license term
and the Final Buildout Requirement shall be accelerated by two years (for both the
license term and final requirement, from ten to eight years).
·
Failure to Meet H Block Final Buildout Requirement: Where a licensee fails to meet the
H Block Final Buildout Requirement in any EA, its authorization for each EA in which it
fails to meet the requirement shall terminate automatically without Commission action.

H.

Compliance Procedures

21. Licensees must certify compliance by filing a construction notification that they
have met the benchmark within 15 days of the relevant milestone.2 Each construction
notification must include electronic coverage maps and supporting documentation, which must
be truthful and accurate and must not omit material information that is necessary for the
Commission to determine compliance with its performance requirements.
22. The Commission emphasized that electronic coverage maps must accurately depict
the boundaries of each license area in the licensee’s service territory. If a licensee does not
provide reliable signal coverage to an entire EA, its map must accurately depict the boundaries
of the area or areas within each EA not being served. Each licensee also must file supporting
documentation certifying the type of service it is providing for each EA within its service
territory and the type of technology used to provide such service. Supporting documentation
must include the assumptions used to create the coverage maps, including the propagation


2 See 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(k).
7

model and the signal strength necessary to provide reliable service with the licensee’s
technology.
23. Licensees must use the most recently available decennial U.S. Census Data at the
time of measurement to meet the population-based buildout requirements. Specifically, licensee
must base its claims of population served on areas no larger than the Census Tract level.

I.

Renewal Criteria

24. The Commission found that all H Block licensees seeking renewal of their
authorizations at the end of their license term must file a renewal application, demonstrating
that they have been and are continuing to provide service to the public over the license term (or,
if consistent with the licensee’s regulatory status, that it used the spectrum for private, internal
communication), and are otherwise complying with the Commission’s rules and policies
(including any applicable performance requirements) and with the Communications Act. The
Commission emphasized that the concept of a renewal showing is distinct from a performance
showing. A performance showing provides a snapshot in time of the level of a licensee’s
service, while a renewal showing provides information regarding the level and types of service
provided over the entire license term. The Commission explained that a licensee that meets the
applicable performance requirements might nevertheless fail to meet the renewal requirements.
25. The Commission adopted the following renewal criteria requirements. The
Commission required that the renewal showing include a detailed description of the renewal
applicant’s provision of service during the entire license period and discuss: (1) the level and
quality of service provided by the applicant (e.g., the population served, the area served, the
number of subscribers, the services offered); (2) the date service commenced, whether service
was ever interrupted, and the duration of any interruption or outage; (3) the extent to which
service is provided to rural areas; (4) the extent to which service is provided to qualifying Tribal
land as defined in § 1.2110(e)(3)(i) of the Commission’s rules; and (5) any other factors
associated with the level of service to the public. A licensee must also demonstrate at renewal
that it has substantially complied with all applicable Commission rules and policies, and the
Communications Act, including any applicable performance requirements.
26. In addition, the Commission determined that the filing of competing applications
against a licensee’s renewal application will not be permitted. If a license is not renewed, the
associated spectrum will be returned to the Commission and then made available for
assignment.

J.

Permanent Discontinuance of Operations

27. The Commission’s permanent discontinuance rule (47 C.F.R. § 1.955(a)(3)) applies
to H Block spectrum. Thus, an H Block operator’s authorization will automatically terminate,
without specific Commission action, if service is “permanently discontinued.” For providers
that identify their regulatory status as common carrier or non-common carrier, “permanently
discontinued” is defined as a period of 180 consecutive days during which the licensee does not
provide service to at least one subscriber that is not affiliated with, controlled by, or related to,
the provider in an EA (or smaller service area in the case of a partitioned EA license). For
licensees that use their licenses for private, internal communications, because such licensees
generally do not provide service to unaffiliated subscribers, “permanent discontinuance” shall
be defined as a period of 180 consecutive days during which the licensee does not operate.
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28. Furthermore, in accordance with Section 1.955(a)(3) of the Commission’s rules, if a
licensee permanently discontinues service, the licensee must notify the Commission of the
discontinuance within ten days by filing FCC Form 601 or 605 and requesting license
cancellation. However, even if the licensee fails to file the required form requesting license
cancellation, an authorization will automatically terminate without specific Commission action
if service is permanently discontinued.
29. In addition, the operation of so-called channel keepers, e.g., devices that transmit test
signals, tones, and/or color bars, do not constitute “operation” under Section 1.955(a)(3) or the
Commission’s other permanent discontinuance rules.
30. Once a license is terminated, the spectrum will become available under the
competitive bidding provisions of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act.

K.

Secondary Markets

31. Partitioning and Disaggregation. Geographic partitioning and spectrum
disaggregation are permitted in the H Block. The license term for H Block spectrum rights is
ten years. If an H Block license is partitioned or disaggregated, any partitionee or disaggregatee
would be authorized to hold its license for the remainder of the partitioner’s or disaggregator’s
original license term. A licensee, by partitioning or disaggregation, will not be able to confer
greater rights than it was awarded under the terms of its license grant; nor would any partitionee
or disaggregatee obtain rights in excess of those previously possessed by the underlying
Commission licensee. Each H Block licensee that is a party to a partitioning or disaggregation
arrangement (or combination of both) is required to independently meet the applicable
performance and renewal requirements.
32. Spectrum leasing. The Commission’s current spectrum leasing policies, rules, and
procedures contained in Part 1 of the Commission’s rules, will be applied to the H Block in the
same manner as those policies, rules, and procedures apply to other Part 27 services.

L.

Other Operating Requirements

33. The Commission adopted Part 27 rules for the H Block, and in order to maintain
general consistency among various wireless communication services, the Commission also
required any licensee of H Block operating authority to comply with other rule parts that pertain
generally to wireless communication services. For example, Section 27.3 of the Commission’s
rules lists some of the other rule parts applicable to wireless communications service licensees
generally; the Commission thus found it appropriate to apply this and similar rules to the H
Block. Some of these other rule parts will be applicable by virtue of the fact that they apply to
all licensees, and others will apply depending on the type of service that a licensee provides.
For example:
· Applicants and licensees will be subject to the application filing procedures for the
Universal Licensing System, set forth in Part 1 of the Commission’s rules.
· Licensees will be required to comply with the practices and procedures listed in Part 1 of
the Commission’s rules for license applications, adjudicatory proceedings, etc.
· Licensees will be required to comply with the Commission’s environmental provisions,
including Section 1.1307 of the Commission’s rules.
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·
Licensees will be required to comply with the antenna structure provisions in Part 17 of
the Commission’s rules.
·
To the extent a licensee provides a Commercial Mobile Radio Service, such service is
subject to the provisions in Part 20 of the Commission’s rules, including 911/E911 and
hearing-aid compatibility requirements, along with the provisions in the rule part under
which the license was issued.
·
To the extent a licensee provides interconnected VoIP services, the licensee will be
subject to the E9-1-1 service requirements set forth in Part 9 of the Commission’s rules.
·
The application of general provisions in Parts 22, 24, 27, or 101 of the Commission’s
rules will include rules related to equal employment opportunity, etc.
34. Tribal Lands. The application of any rules and policies for facilitating access to
spectrum and the provision of service to Tribal lands will be referred to the Tribal Lands
proceeding.

VI.

TECHNICAL ISSUES

A.

Upper H Block: 1995-2000 MHz

1.

Upper H Block Power Limits

35. The Commission adopted a power limit of 1640 watts EIRP for emissions with less
than 1 MHz channel bandwidth and 1640 watts/MHz for emissions greater than 1 MHz in non-
rural areas and of 3280 watts EIRP for emissions with less than a 1 MHz channel bandwidth
and 3280 watts/MHz EIRP for emissions greater than 1 MHz in rural areas. These power limits
were deemed sufficient to protect PCS licensees in the 1930-1995 MHz band from harmful
interference and to adequately protect AWS-4 uplink operations based on the record in this
proceeding and on the Commission’s prior experience with similar limits in the PCS and AWS
bands. For purposes of this rule, a rural area refers to a county with a population density of 100
persons or fewer per square mile. Further, the Commission required base stations operating at
an EIRP in excess of either the 1640 watts or 1640 watts/MHz limits to coordinate with all
adjacent block PCS G Block licensees within 120 km of the proposed H Block base station.
This requirement is similar to that imposed on operations in the AWS and PCS services.
2.

Upper H Block Out-of-Band Emission (OOBE) Limits

36. General protection levels. Except as otherwise specified, the Commission adopted a
rule requiring all out-of-band emissions (OOBE) be attenuated by at least 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB,
where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, for Upper H Block base station transmissions
outside of 1995-2000 MHz. In particular, this limit applies to the adjacent 1930-1995 MHz and
2000-2005 MHz bands.
37. Additional protection levels. The Commission also established a more stringent
OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, for
transmissions from the Upper H Block into the 2005-2020 portion of the AWS-4 band.
38. Measurement Procedure. Finally, to fully define an emissions limit, it is necessary
to specify the measurement procedure to determine the power of the emissions, such as the
10

measurement bandwidth. The Commission adopted the requirement that compliance with the
emissions limits established herein will be determined by using a 1 MHz measurement
bandwidth.
3.

Co-Channel Interference between Licensees Operating in Adjacent
Regions

39. The Commission found that a boundary limit approach is the best method to address
potential harmful co-channel interference between licensees operating in adjacent geographic
regions. Setting a default field strength limit at the boundary of a geographic license area can
enable licensees to deploy with fewer delays than if the alternative method of coordination with
other parties was required. The field strength at the license area boundary between two co-
channel operators must be limited to 47 dBµV/m. The Commission also decided adjacent
affected area licensees may voluntarily agree upon higher field strength boundary levels.

B.

Lower H Block: 1915-1920 MHz

40. The Commission determined that appropriate technical rules, as described below,
will ensure that mobile or low power fixed operations in the Lower H Block do not cause
harmful interference to PCS downlink operations.
1.

Lower H Block Power Limits

41. The Commission adopted transmitter power limits for the Lower H Block that will
maximize the full flexible use of the spectrum while protecting adjacent operations from
harmful interference due to receiver overload.
42. The Commission adopted a limit of 25 dBm EIRP, which is equivalent to 300
milliwatts EIRP, as the power limit for mobile and low power fixed operations in the entire
Lower H Block and found, consistent with the Spectrum Act harmful interference condition,
that operations subject to this power limit will not cause harmful interference to operations in
the PCS downlink band.
2.

Lower H Block Out-of-Band Emissions Limits

43. The Commission adopted a rule requiring out of band emissions be attenuated by at
least 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, for Lower H Block
transmissions outside of the 1915-1920 MHz band. Protections are required for the emissions
into the 1930-1995 MHz band to protect PCS mobile receivers. For emissions from the lower H
Block into the 1930-1995 MHz band, the Commission established an OOBE limit of 70 + 10
log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts.

C.

Other Technical Issues

1.

Broadband PCS Spectrum

44. The H Block spectrum is adjacent to Broadband PCS spectrum, which is
administered under Part 24. It is possible that a single entity could obtain licenses for both
bands in the same geographic area and seek to deploy a wider channel bandwidth in that area
across both bands. The Commission will permit operations across the PCS downlink band and
the Upper H Block in the event that an entity obtains licenses to operate in the same geographic
area in both bands. In particular, the Commission adopted an EA-based licensing scheme for H
Block, and the PCS G Block, 1990-1995 MHz, has also been licensed on an EA basis. The
11

Commission applied the more restrictive rule across the combined band in situations where the
Part 24 and Part 27 interference or other technical rules differ. For example, in the event a
single licensee operates in a unified manner in a geographic area across both the PCS G Block
at 1990-1995 MHz and the Upper H Block, that entity would be required to comply with the H
Block requirement for Out-of-Band Emission (OOBE) from the combined 1990-2000 MHz
band into frequencies above 2000 MHz.
2.

Canadian and Mexican Coordination

45. In the H Block R&O, the Commission applied the approach used by AWS-1
operations to coordinate with Canada and Mexico to H Block operations. Because of its shared
borders with Canada and Mexico, the Commission routinely works in conjunction with the
United States Department of State and Canadian and Mexican government officials to ensure
the efficient use of the spectrum, as well as interference-free operations in the border areas.
Until such time as any adjusted agreements, as needed, between the United States, Mexico
and/or Canada can be agreed to, operations must not cause harmful interference across the
border, consistent with the terms of the agreements currently in force. The Commission noted
that further modifications of the rules might be necessary in order to comply with any future
agreements with Canada and Mexico regarding the use of these bands.

D.

Cost Sharing

46. The 1915-1920 MHz Band (Lower H Block) and the 1995-2000 MHz Band (Upper
H Block) are subject to cost-sharing requirements related to the past clearing and relocation of
incumbent users from these bands. Consistent with its long-standing policy that cost-sharing
obligations for both the Lower H Block and the Upper H Block be apportioned on a pro rata
basis against the relocation costs attributable to the particular band, the Commission adopted
cost-sharing rules that require H Block licensees to pay a pro rata share of expenses previously
incurred by UTAM, Inc. (“UTAM”) and by Sprint Nextel, Inc. (“Sprint”) in clearing
incumbents from the Lower H Block and the Upper H Block, respectively.
47. The Commission noted that $12,629,857 is the amount UTAM has identified as the
amount collectively owed to UTAM by future Lower H Block licensees for UTAM’s clearing
of the 1910-1930 MHz band; that is, this amount represents one-fourth of UTAM’s total
reimbursable clearing costs for the entire 1910-1930 MHz band. The Commission similarly
noted that the pro rata share of the overall Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) relocation costs
attributable to Upper H Block Licensees amounts to $94,875,516.
48. The reimbursement amount owed (“RN”) to UTAM with respect to the 1915-1920
MHz band will be determined by dividing the gross winning bid (“GWB”) for an H Block
license by the sum of the gross winning bids for all H Block licenses won in the first auction of
the spectrum and then multiplying that result by $12,629,857—the total amount owed to UTAM
for clearing the Lower H Block. The cost-sharing formula for the Lower H Block is as follows:
12

EA GWB
RN = (
) x$12,629,857
Sum of GWBs
49. The Commission adopted the same cost-sharing formula for the Upper H Block
(1995-2000 MHz band) related to Sprint’s clearing costs of $94,875,516:
EA GWB
RN = (
) x$94,875,516
Sum of GWBs
50. Winning bidders are required to pay UTAM and Sprint, as applicable, the
reimbursement amounts owed within thirty days after the grant of the winning bidders’ long-
form license applications. Winning bidders in the first auction may not seek reimbursement
from other H Block licensees, including for licenses granted as a result of subsequent auctions.
51. In the event that licenses won in the first auction of the spectrum cover less than
forty percent of the U.S. population, winning bidders—in the first auction and in subsequent H
Block auctions—will be required to timely pay UTAM and Sprint, respectively, their pro rata
share calculated by dividing the population of the individual EA by the total U.S. population
and then multiplying this quotient by $12,629,857 for UTAM and by $94,875,516 for Sprint.
Under this contingency, the population would be measured using 2010 Census data, which is
the most recent decennial census data.
52. The cost-sharing rules and contingency plan are designed to ensure that UTAM and
Sprint receive full reimbursement after auction by apportioning the reimbursement costs
associated with any unsold H Block licenses among the winning bidders, except in cases where
the above-described contingency plan is triggered or a successful bidder’s long-form application
is not filed or granted. If any of the licenses won at auction are not awarded, the license at issue
will be deemed to have triggered a reimbursement obligation that will be paid by the licensee
acquiring the license in a subsequent auction.
53. The cost-sharing obligations for the Lower H Block and for the Upper H Block will
sunset ten years after the first Upper H Block license is issued in the respective band. The
failure to timely satisfy a payment obligation in full prior to the applicable sunset date will not
terminate the debt owed or a party’s right to collect the debt. Complaints regarding failure to
timely make required cost-sharing payments will be addressed on a case by case basis through
existing enforcement mechanisms.

VII.

INTERNET LINK AND CITATIONS

“Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services H Block—Implementing Section 6401 of the
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 Related to the 1915-1920 and 1995-2000
MHz Bands.”
Report and Order: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-13-88A1.docx
13

FCC Record and Federal Register – Final Rules: 28 FCC Rcd 9483 (2013); 78 Fed. Reg. 50214
(2013).
14

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