Telecom Alert - 6 GHz Band PN; T-Band Mandate Repealed; Verizon Citing Petition Dismissed; Joint Use Ruling; 2.5 GHz Auction Procedures; Pai Suggests C-Band Fund USF - Vol. XVIII, Issue 3
6 GHz Client-to-Client Devices
Last April, the Commission adopted an Order authorizing standard-power and low-power indoor device operations in the 6 GHz band (Vol. XVII, Issue 17). To ensure that client devices not associated with standard power access points transmit indoors, the FCC required that these devices operate under the control of an indoor access point and prohibited them from directly communicating with one another. Last week, the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology issued a Public Notice seeking additional information on whether the Commission should permit direct communications between client devices in the 6 GHz band, requesting comment on whether and under what circumstances client devices could be permitted to directly communicate with each other but ensure protection to incumbent 6 GHz licensed systems.
T-Band Mandate Repealed
Last week, the FCC released an Order terminating the T-Band auction proceeding aimed at reallocating and auctioning frequencies used by public safety entities in the 470-512 MHz band (Vol. XVII, Issue 21). President Trump signed into law the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 on December 27, 2020, repealing section 6103 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. Without the statutory mandate that was the predicate for the T-Band auction proceeding, the Commission has terminated the proceeding in its entirety.
Verizon Section 253 Wireless Siting Petition Dismissed
The FCC adopted an Order last week dismissing Verizon’s petition for declaratory ruling to preempt a Clark County, Nevada ordinance governing fees for the siting of small wireless facilities in public rights-of-way (ROW) (Vol. XVI, Issue 35). Verizon claimed that the County’s ROW fees were not a reasonable approximation of the government entity’s costs. In the Order, the FCC dismissed the Verizon petition as moot because the County has replaced the small cell ordinance at issue. The FCC further clarified that (1) the government has the burden of demonstrating why fees above the safe harbor levels should not be preempted; (2) fees for the use of public ROW can violate Section 253 even when the carrier is able to provide service if the fees impede the carrier’s ability to fill a coverage gap, densify their network, introduce new services, or improve existing services; and (3) a revenue-based fee that exceeds the safe harbor levels violate Section 253 unless it can be shown that the fee represents a reasonable approximation of costs.
FCC Enforcement Bureau Joint Use Ruling
Following guidance from the full Commission’s Verizon Maryland v. Potomac Edison decision in November, the Enforcement Bureau last week ruled AT&T was entitled to refunds from Florida Power and Light, calculated as before by applying the FCC’s “Old” Telecom rate for the state statute of limitations period for contract damages, which in Florida is five years.
2.5 GHz Auction Procedures
The FCC released a Public Notice last week seeking comment on competitive bidding procedures for Auction 108, the auction of approximately 8,300 geographic overlay licenses in the 2.5 GHz band (Vol. XVII, Issue 36). Auction 108 will offer up to three blocks of spectrum—49.5 megahertz, 50.5 megahertz, and 16.5 megahertz blocks—licensed on a county basis. The Public Notice seeks comment on whether to use a single-round pay-as-bid auction design or a simultaneous multiple-round auction design. It also seeks comment on other procedures such as including certification requirements, information procedures during the auction process, and upfront payment and minimum opening bid amounts.
Pai Suggests C-Band Revenues Fund USF
At the Multicultural Media, Telecom & Internet Council and National Grange virtual event on January 12, 2021, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made his final address on bridging the digital divide, Chairman Pai suggested that $50 billion in revenue from the C-Band auction be used to fund Universal Service Programs for the next five years. Although the Commission is required to deliver the C-Band proceeds to the Treasury, Chairman Pai called on Congress to enact a new law allocating these auction funds to fund USF-supported Programs. Chairman Pai acknowledged that the current contribution system is regressive and wasteful, and suggested Congress could take several other approaches, such as direct appropriation of Federal revenues or revising the current contribution system.