FCC Announces Filing Guidelines for Certain Lower 700 MHz Licensees

The Commission released a Public Notice (“Notice”) announcing additional construction filing guidance for Lower 700 MHz A and B Block licensees who must file electronic maps demonstrating compliance with their December 13, 2016 construction deadline.   The Commission’s rules require Lower 700 MHz A, B, and E Block licensees to provide service sufficient to cover 35% of the geographic area of their licenses within four years, and 70 percent of the area within ten years (license term).  If a licensee fails to meet the interim benchmarks, the license term will be reduced by two years and the end-of-term benchmark must be met within eight years.  The interim construction deadline for certain A block licensees adjacent to Channel 51 operations was removed in 2013. The Notice offers guidance on the following issues:

  • Demonstrating Geographic Coverage:
    • Showings should include an attribute table that contains the geographic coverage area, total area, and the percentage of area covered.o Each filing must provide a coverage shapefile that shows where service is provided only within the licensed market.  This should include service from a licensee’s neighboring transmitters, but it can only include coverage that is the subject of the filing.o Covered government lands can be included to meet the benchmark requirement, but if they are included, they must be included in the total calculated percent covered
  • Government Lands:
    • Can be excluded from the total licensed area when demonstrating geographic benchmarks.  Includes land owned or administered by the Federal Government, including agencies and governmental entities, or managed by individual states.  If there is an overlap of federal and state lands, include all federal land and the non-overlapping state lands (or vice versa).o The Commission uses a government land shapefile downloaded from http://gapanalysis.usgs.gov/padus/data/download/.
  • Exhibits and Information:
    • PDF versions of shapefile maps, which will serve as the publicly-available, redacted version of the shapefile, must include transmitter sites.o Shapefiles uploaded to ULS can be combined into a single zip file labeled as “Shapefiles”.
    • Metrics used to show the received signal level obtained in the downlink by the user equipment should represent the required minimum signal from the serving base station at any given point to allow data communication at minimum target rate.

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