FCC Provides Guidance to 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window Licensees on Compliance with Interim Performance Requirements and Deadlines

On April 4, 2024, the Broadband Division of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“WTB”) released a Public Notice (“PN”) to provide guidance to 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window (“Tribal Window”) licensees on compliance with the interim performance requirements deadline. Licensees are subject to interim and final performance requirements within four and eight years of initial license grant, respectively. Licenses granted to more than 150 Tribal Window licensees have interim performance deadlines as soon as October 2024, while later-granted licenses will be due on the four year anniversary of its initial license grant.

  1. Interim Performance Requirements – If a Tribal Window licensee has met its performance requirements, it must make that showing by filing a construction notification with supporting appendices in the Universal Licensing System (“ULS”) at earliest convenience, but not later than 15 days after the four year anniversary of their license grants (the date of which can be verified by referring to their license records in the ULS). Tribal Window Licensees can show they’ve met the interim performance requirements in two ways:
    • If they are providing mobile or point-to-multipoint service, licensees must demonstrate reliable signal coverage of 50% of the population of the geographic service area within four years of initial license grant, or
    • If they are providing fixed point-to point service, licensees must demonstrate operation of one link for each 50,000 persons in the geographic service area within four years of initial license grant.
  1. Information to Make Interim Performance Requirements Showing – All licensees must provide a narrative description of the type of service they provide that is sufficient for staff to understand how and by whom the facilities are being used and where there is signal coverage. Licensees must indicate the source for the population information provided (e.g., Census Bureau, Bureau of Indian Affairs) and it must include appropriate technical information that shows staff that the interim performance benchmark has been met. The PN further details filing requirements specific to the service the licensee provides.
  2. Construction Notification Application Filing Instructions – Licensees meeting the interim performance requirements must file construction notifications through applications filed electronically using ULS.
    • Deadlines for filing: Interim performance requirements showings should be filed within 15 days after the day that is four years after the license was initially granted. A request for extension of time to demonstrate compliance with the performance requirements must be filed by the interim performance deadline.
    • Filing instructions: The PN lays out construction notification filings instructions that specifies how to select the purpose of filing, how to note a waiver request (if applicable), how to add attachments, and specific instructions based on whether the licensee is filing a notification for a single or multiple call signs.
  3. Processing of Construction Notification Applications – The interim performance requirements will be reviewed by the Broadband Division of WTB. The licensee will be informed through informal contact or a return of the application if additional information is required. Action on interim performance may be taken in ULS, through Public Notice, or by order.
  4. Relation to Final Performance Requirements and Deadline–  If a Tribal Window licensee has met both its interim and final performance requirements, it can file one showing demonstrating it has met its final performance requirements instead of making two separate showings. If a licensee fails to meet its interim construction benchmark, the deadline to meet its final performance requirements will be advanced by two years (the final performance requirements must be met in six years, instead of eight). For any licensee that fails to meet final performance requirements, its license will automatically terminate without specific Commission action.

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