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WTB Clarifies 700 MHz Construction and Reporting Requirements

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Released: December 6, 2011

PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 11-1981

December 6, 2011

700 MHZ CONSTRUCTION AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
In this Public Notice, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (Bureau): (1) announces that
700 MHz interim performance status reports are due by January 13, 2012; (2) specifies the procedure for
public comment on 700 MHz construction notifications; and (3) reminds licensees of the enforcement
actions for failure to meet interim 700 MHz construction benchmarks.
700 MHz Interim Performance Status Reports due by January 13, 2012
On March 28, 2011, the Bureau announced that pursuant to section 27.14(l) of the
Commission’s rules, 700 MHz licensees were required to file their interim performance status reports by
June 13, 2011.1 On June 3, 2011, however, the Office of General Counsel informed licensees that they
were not required to file interim reports until the Commission announced the effective date of section
27.14(l).2 On October 28, 2011, the Office of Management and Budget approved the collection of
information required by section 27.14(l) and assigned it OMB Control Number 3060-1161. The
Commission announced the effective date of section 27.14(l) by Federal Register publication on
November 21, 2011.3
Accordingly, any 700 MHz licensee that has not already filed its interim performance status
report is required to file its interim report no later than January 13, 2012. If a 700 MHz licensee
previously filed its interim report, we hereby deem its report filed after the effective date of section
27.14(l), and no further action is required by the licensee. We note that because section 27.14(l)
required that interim reports be filed by June 13, 2011, licensees are only required to provide
performance information that would have been available had they filed by June 13, 2011. Licensees
should refer to the Bureau’s prior 700 MHz Performance Status Reports Public Notice for further filing
requirements.4 Finally, we hereby waive on our own motion and to the extent necessary the June 13,
2011 filing deadline specified in section 27.14(l).5


1 700 MHz Performance Status Reports due by June 13, 2011, Public Notice, DA 11-563, 26 FCC Rcd 4919 (WTB
rel. March 28, 2011) (700 MHz Performance Status Reports Public Notice).
2 Letter dated June 3, 2011, from Austin C. Schlick, General Counsel, Federal Communications Commission, to
Christopher Gutmann-McCabe, Vice President Regulatory Affairs, CTIA - The Wireless Association. The letter was
also sent to each affected 700 MHz licensee.
3 76 Fed. Reg. 71909 (Nov. 21, 2011).
4 See supra note 1.
5 47 C.F.R. § 0.131(a).

Procedure for Public Comment on 700 MHz Construction Notifications

In the 700 MHz Second Report and Order, the Commission stated that “the public will be given
an opportunity to review and comment” on construction notifications filed by certain 700 MHz
licensees.6 Accordingly, in this Public Notice, the Bureau specifies the procedure for public comment on
notifications filed by affected 700 MHz licensees.

Affected Licenses.

The public may use the procedure specified in this Public Notice to
comment on construction notifications filed by 700 MHz licensees holding the following authorizations:
1. Economic Area (EA) authorizations for Block A in the 698-704 MHz and 728-734 MHz bands;
2. Cellular Market Area (CMA) authorizations for Block B in the 704-710 MHz and 734-740 MHz
bands;
3. EA authorizations for Block E in the 722-728 MHz band; or
4. Regional Economic Area Grouping (REAG) authorizations for Block C in the 746-757 MHz and
776-787 MHz bands.7
Section 27.14(k) of the Commission’s rules requires affected licensees to file their initial (4-
year) construction notifications no later than June 28, 2013.8 However, if a license was granted after
June 13, 2009, the 4-year construction notification is due no later than four years and 15 days after the
license grant.9

Comment Period.

Consistent with the 700 MHz Second Report and Order, the Bureau will
examine each construction notification and any related comments prior to making a determination
regarding the notification.10 Specifically, the Bureau will place applicable 700 MHz construction
notifications on its weekly Market-Based Applications Accepted for Filing Public Notice. Interested
parties will then be permitted to file comments, which must be filed no later than 30 days after the public
notice release date.

Filing Procedure.

Parties must file comments electronically through the Bureau’s website at
http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls. After opening the Bureau’s Universal Licensing System webpage
(http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls), select “ULS Pleadings” (under “ULS Online Systems”) from the link
options located on the left side of the page. Upon reaching the Non-docketed Pleadings page, select the


6 Service Rules for the 698-746, 747-762 and 777-792 MHz Band, WT Docket No. 06-150, Second Report and
Order
, FCC 07-132, 22 FCC Rcd 15289, 15352 ¶ 169 (2007) (700 MHz Second Report and Order) (“The public will
be given an opportunity to review and comment on the construction notification, including the maps provided by the
licensee and the technical assumptions used to create the maps.”).
7 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.14(g), (h), (k).
8 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(k).
9 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15352 ¶ 169.
10 Id. (“After examining the notification and public comments, Commission staff will make a final determination as to
what areas within EAs and CMAs are, and are not, deemed ‘served.’”).
2

“700 MHz Construction Notification Comment” option from the Pleading Type drop-down menu, and
follow the subsequent instructions to submit a comment.

Ex Parte

Status.

The Bureau seeks to facilitate communications regarding 700 MHz
construction notifications between Commission staff and interested parties. We find that, consistent
with section 1.1200(a) of the Commission’s rules,11 the public interest will be served by designating staff
review of 700 MHz construction notifications and any related public comments as “exempt” under
section 1.1204 of the Commission’s rules.12

Failure to Meet Interim 700 MHz Construction Benchmarks

In the 700 MHz Second Report and Order,13 the Commission adopted performance requirements
that include geographic build-out benchmarks for Lower 700 MHz A, B, and E Block licenses (Blocks A
and E are licensed on an EA basis, Block B is licensed on a CMA basis) and population build-out
benchmarks for Upper 700 MHz C Block licenses (licensed on a REAG basis).14 The Commission
established both interim and end-of-license-term benchmarks and enforcement actions.15
As interim benchmarks, 700 MHz A, B, and E Block licensees are required to provide signal
coverage and offer service over at least 35 percent of the geographic area of their licenses within four
years of the end of the DTV transition (June 13, 2013) or within four years of initial license grant if the
initial authorization in a market is granted after June 13, 2009, and Upper 700 MHz C Block licensees
must provide signal coverage and offer service over at least 40 percent of the population in each EA of
REAG license areas by the applicable deadline.16
If a 700 MHz Lower A, B, E, or Upper C Block licensee fails to meet its four-year interim
benchmark, the term of its license authorization will be reduced by two years and such licensee may be
subject to enforcement action, including forfeitures.17 We remind licensees that the two-year reduction
in license term for failure to meet the interim benchmark is automatic for all licensees that fail to meet
their interim benchmarks.
The Commission adopted stringent performance requirements, including reserving the right to
impose a reduction in the size of the licensed area, to ensure that licensees “put this spectrum to use
throughout the course of their license terms and serve the majority of users in their license areas.”18 The
Bureau intends to use this discretion only where the Bureau staff determines that licensees failing to
meet their interim benchmarks have also failed to undertake meaningful efforts to put this spectrum to


11 47 C.F.R. § 1.1200(a).
12 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1204 (exempt ex parte presentations and proceedings).
13 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd 15289.
14 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.14(g), (h).
15 Id. For the end-of-term benchmarks and enforcement actions, see 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.14(g)(2), (h)(2).
16 47 C.F.R §§ 27.14(g)(1), (h)(1).
17 Id.
18 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15348 ¶ 154.
3

use, such as engaging in system planning, exploring sites and site leases, pursuing network engineering
planning, or engaging in efforts to procure equipment. Accordingly, licensees undertaking no
meaningful efforts to build out their networks may lose the authority to operate in part of the remaining
unserved areas of the license, at the Commission’s discretion.19 Licensees are currently required to
certify, as part of the four-year interim benchmark construction notification, whether or not they have
met the applicable performance requirements.20 As part of that certification, licensees failing to meet the
applicable benchmark may include information detailing meaningful efforts undertaken to put spectrum
to use.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

, please contact Keith Harper, Assistant Chief, Mobility
Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, at (202) 418-2759, Keith.Harper@fcc.gov.
Action taken by the Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau pursuant to
47 C.F.R. § 0.131.21
- FCC -


19 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.14(g)(1), (h)(1).
20 47 C.F.R. § 27.14(k).
21 See also 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15481 ¶ 557 (delegating authority to the Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau to implement the policies and rules adopted in the 700 MHz Second Report and Order).
4

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