FCC Releases Public Notice Encouraging 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window Applicants to Resolve Mutual Exclusivity Disputes

On September 22, 2021, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“Bureau”) released a Public Notice encouraging 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window applicants to resolve mutually exclusive applications.  As of September 22, 2021, the Bureau has granted 270 licenses to Tribes or Tribally-controlled entities through the Rural Tribal Priority Window.  A majority of the remaining pending applications are mutually exclusive (i.e. request some amount of common geographic area and spectrum) with other applicants who filed in the window.  Mutually exclusive applications cannot be processed under the FCC’s normal application review process unless the applicants voluntarily work together to eliminate the overlap.

In order to expedite processing of the remaining pending applications, the Bureau encourages applicants with pending applications to determine if there are unresolved mutual exclusivity concerns and, if so, to work together to resolve the mutual exclusivity issues.  Where applicants are unable to voluntarily resolve mutual exclusivity, the FCC is statutorily required to award licenses through competitive bidding, which likely will cause further delay and increased costs to applicants’ access to 2.5 GHz spectrum.

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