Telecom Alert—3.5 GHz Auction Deadline Extensions; Broadband DATA Act Enacted; 5.9 GHz Band Reply Comment Deadline Extended; WISPs Granted STA for 5.9 GHz Band; E-Rate Wi-Fi Permitted for Community Use–Vol. XVII, Issue 13
3.5 GHz Auction Deadline Extensions
The FCC issued a Public Notice last week announcing the postponement of several deadlines for participation in Auction 105, which will auction Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the 3.5 GHz band (Vol. XVII, Issue 9), in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The short-form application filing window now opens on April 23, 2020 and closes on May 7, 2020. Bidding, which was originally scheduled to begin on June 25, 2020, will now begin on July 23, 2020.
Broadband DATA Act Enacted
Last week, the President signed into law the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act (Broadband DATA Act), which requires the FCC to change the way broadband data is collected, verified, and reported. Specifically, the Commission must collect and disseminate granular broadband service availability data (broadband maps) from wired, fixed-wireless, satellite, and mobile broadband providers. To do so, the Commission will establish the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric as the vehicle for reporting broadband service availability data.
5.9 GHz Band Reply Comment Deadline Extended
The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) issued a Public Notice last week extending the reply comment deadline on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for repurposing the 5.9 GHz Band (Vol XVI, Issue 48). In response to requests for extensions filed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, the Commission approved a limited twenty-one-day extension. The deadline for filing reply comments is now April 27, 2020.
WISPs Granted STA for 5.9 GHz Band
The FCC granted temporary spectrum access (STA) in the 5.9 GHz band to thirty-three wireless Internet service providers last week to help them serve rural communities facing an increase in broadband needs during the current pandemic. The STA permits the providers, which serve 330 counties in twenty-nine states, to use the lower 45 megahertz of spectrum in the band for sixty days.
E-Rate Wi-Fi Permitted for Community Use
Last week, the Wireless Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice confirming that schools and libraries are permitted to allow the general public to use E-Rate-supported Wi-Fi networks while on the school’s campus or library property. Libraries are allowed to offer access to E-Rate funded services on their premises and to the public even when they are closed due to the COVID-16 pandemic. Closed schools may allow access to E-Rate funded services to community members who access the Internet while on a school’s campus so long as they do not charge for the use of their service.