Telecom Business Alert - Vol VI Issue 26

Date: Jul 06, 2009

Vol VI Issue 26

FCC to Hold Workshops in National Broadband Plan Proceeding

At the FCC's July 2, 2009 Open Meeting, the first of newly appointed Chairman Julius Genachowski's term, Commission staff outlined the process by which the FCC will develop its National Broadband Plan, which must be presented to Congress by February 17, 2010. Included in the FCC's proposals are a series of staff workshops intended to promote an open dialogue between the FCC and the public. Workshop topics include "Energy, Environment, and Transportation", "Public Safety and Homeland Security", "Technology/Wireless" among many others. By August 5, 2009, the FCC will select service providers, equipment manufacturers, user groups and others to participate in the workshops.

Broadband Stimulus Application Process Set to Begin

On July 1, 2009, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) issued a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) and Solicitation of Applications describing the availability of funds and application requirements for the broadband initiatives contained in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Act). Under the Act, NTIA and RUS are charged with distributing a total of $7.2 billion in broadband program funding. The agencies will distribute approximately $4 billion to applicants of this first NOFA. Applications submissions will be available at http://www.broadbandusa.gov and will be accepted between July 14 and August 14, 2009. The agencies anticipate issuing two additional NOFAs -- one in late 2009 and again in the spring of 2010. Under the Act, the entire $7.2 billion must be distributed by October 1, 2010, and spent within two years of receipt.

FCC Announces Requirements to Participate in 2.5 GHz Band Auction

On June 26, 2009, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing the filing requirements, minimum bids, upfront payments and other procedures for participation in the upcoming 2.5 GHz Broadband Radio Service auction. The auction (Auction No. 86) will offer 78 licenses, each containing up to 76.5 MHz of spectrum, including three licenses in the Gulf of Mexico, which the FCC allocated last year at the request of the American Petroleum Institute. A list of included licenses as well as upfront payment and minimum opening bid amounts can be found online by clicking here. The application filing window for interested parties will open August 5, 2009 at 12:00 noon and close August 18, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. Upfront payments are due by September 24, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern and the auction is scheduled to begin October 27, 2009.

FCC Seeks Comment on Changes to Upper 6 GHz Band

On June 29, 2009, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order seeking comment on proposed changes to Part 101 of its rules to provide fixed wireless licensees with authority to operate channels with bandwidths of up to 30 MHz in the 6525-6875 MHz band (the upper 6 GHz Band). Currently, the rules provide for a maximum bandwidth of 10 MHz, although 30 MHz channels are permitted in the lower 6 GHz band (5925-6425 MHz). Deadlines for filing Comments and Reply Comments have not yet been announced.

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Vol VI Issue 26