In the October Open Meeting on October 23, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted a Report and Order (“Order”) in the Promoting Investment in the 3550-3700 MHz Band (“3.5 GHz”) (GN Docket No. 17-258). The Order revises certain rules governing the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (“CBRS”) in the 3.5 GHz band and adopts changes to the rules governing Priority Access Licenses (“PALs”). The Order increases the size of PAL license areas from census tracts to counties, ensures that seven PALs are available nationwide, establishes competitive bidding procedures for PALS which allow rural and Tribal entities to use bidding credits, permits partitioning and disaggregation of areas within PALs, and updates information security requirements to protect registration information while still ensuring aggregate data on spectrum use is publicly available to facilitate transmission over wider channels without power reductions.

On December 7, 2018, the Commission published the Report and Order in the Federal Register therefore establishing the following effective and compliance dates:

The rules are effective January 7, 2019. Compliance will not be required for §§ 96.23(a), 96.25(b), or 96.32(b) until after approval by OMB. Section 96.23 adds definitions of “Adjacent Channel Leakage Radio” and “Aggregated Channel Bandwidth”; removes the definition of “census tract”; adds the definitions of “county”; and revises the definition of “license area.” Section 96.23(a) requires applicants to file an application for an initial PAL. Section 96.25(b) adds the PAL requirements adopted in the item, and § 96.32(b) provides for the priority access assignments of authorization, transfer of control, and leasing arrangements.

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