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Telecom Alert: 3.45 GHz Band Auction Begins; RDOF Second Round Funding; 70/80/90 GHz Band Supplemental Information; EBB Program Scam Warning [Vol. XVIII, Issue 41]

3.45 GHz Band Auction Begins

On October 5 the FCC announced that bidding in the first phase of Auction 110 (Vol. XVIII, Issue 38) officially began.  As part of this auction, the FCC is offering 100 MHz of contiguous mid-band spectrum for commercial use to support next generation wireless services.  Auction proceeds must cover 110% of the expected sharing and relocation costs for federal users currently operating in the band, which is estimated at approximately $14.7 billion.  License winners will operate within a cooperative sharing framework that will enable commercial use by an array of service providers, while protecting federal incumbents users from harmful interference.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).  

RDOF Second Round Funding

The FCC issued a News Release last week announcing the authorization of more than $163 million to 42 providers in the second round of funding through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”) (Vol. XVIII, Issue 38).  85 winning bidders chose not to pursue buildout in 5,089 census blocks in response to letters the FCC sent asking applicants to review their bids in areas where there was evidence of existing service or questions of potential waste.  The winning providers will build out broadband deployments to approximately 65,000 locations in 21 states over the next 10 years.  Applicants must submit irrevocable stand-by letters of credit and Bankruptcy Code opinion letters from their legal counsel for each state where they have winning bids by 6:00 p.m. EST on October 22, 2021.  For more information, please contact Casey Lide (lide@khlaw.com; 202.434.4186).  

Record Update for 70/80/90 GHz Band NPRM

The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a Public Notice last week seeking to supplement the record in the 70/80/90 GHz bands proceeding (Vol. XVII, Issue 24).  The Bureau is soliciting additional comments to address the potential for use of the bands to provide broadband Internet access to consumers and communities that may otherwise lack connectivity.  Specifically, the Bureau seeks comment on whether High Altitude Platform Stations (“HAPS”) or other stratospheric-based platform services could be deployed for this purpose and on the potential use of the bands to provide broadband Internet access to customers on airplanes and aboard ships.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).  

EBB Program Scam Warning

The Federal Trade Commission published a blog post last week warning consumers of potential scams regarding the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (“EBB Program” or the “Program”) that have circulated on various social media platforms.  Ads are being run on social media offering to help consumers sign up for the Program in exchange for payment or personal information.  The FTC advises consumers to only apply for the Program through the FCC and its listed providers, not pay up front for any services, and to not give out financial or other personal information to anyone who calls, texts, or emails saying they are with the FCC.  For more information, please contact Casey Lide (lide@khlaw.com; 202.434.4186).