On March 18, 2021, the FCC released the Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Order of Proposed Modification (“R&O”) and the Public Notice for Competitive Bidding Procedures for Auction 110 in the 3.1-3.55 GHz Band Matter, both of which were adopted at the March Open Meeting.  The following notable changes were made from the Draft R&O:

 

  • ¶ 58 – The FCC adopted a plan to license the 3.45 GHz Band in 10 MHz block sizes, as opposed to 20 MHz blocks as suggested in the Draft R&O.  The FCC believes this smaller block size will encourage greater participation and competition in the 3.45 GHz Auction.  The bocks will be designated A-J, and will be licensed according to block, with the A block beginning at 3.45 GHz and the J block concluding at 3.55 GHz.
  • ¶ 84 – Providing additional explanation that a single -13 dBm/MHz OOBE limit would not be sufficient due to the nature of the 3GHz and the need to account for specialization of equipment that will be used to operate in the band.  Nevertheless, the FCC will continue to engage with NTIA and other Federal agencies to determine whether the two step approach may be relaxed while still protecting incumbent users.
  • ¶ 98 – Adding in an additional requirement, which has been imposed on all part 27 services since 2014, that client devices must be capable of operating across the entire 3.45 GHZ.  In addition, the FCC specifically adds the 3.45 GHZ band to section 27.75 of the FCC’s rules, which requires mobile and portable stations operating in the other flexible-use wireless bands to be capable of operating across the entire relevant band using the same air interfaces that the equipment uses on any frequency in the band.
  • ¶ 125 – dismissing DISH’s opposition arguments and reiterating that different timelines for the 3 GHz bands is appropriate to ensure that the goals of the R&O are met and that spectrum across the 3 GHz bands is shared efficiently and in a manner that allows for innovation.
  • ¶¶ 182 &184 – Addressing additional arguments by ARRL in a recent ex parte filing in support of their Petition for Reconsideration finding that ARRL’s requests would impose unnecessary burdens on the 3.45 GHZ band which are not justified merely to maintain amateur radio services and that there is no public interest benefit to basing the treatment of amateur radio services on their operation in the contiguous United States only.

 

The following notable changes were made from the Draft Auction 110 Bidding Procedures Public Notice:

 

  • Throughout – Update the bidding blocks from 20 MHz to 10 MHz and from A through E to A through J to reflect the FCC’s change in the R&O.
  • ¶ 34 – Seeking comment on whether the bidding procedures proposed are sufficient to ensure the reserve price is met or whether there are better processes to reduce the risk that the reserve price will not be met.
  • ¶ 75 – Proposing to cap the increment increase (the difference between the clock price and the start-of-round price) at $50 million and increase the cap as necessary as rounds continue.

 

Comments on the Auction 110 Bidding Procedures Public Notice are due on or before April 14, 2021.

Reply Comments are due on or before April 29, 2021.

 

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