[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 5 (Tuesday, January 8, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 1188-1193]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-00155]



47 CFR Part 95

[GN Docket No. 12-354; FCC 12-148]

Commercial Operations in the 3550-3650 MHz Band

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: In this document, the Commission proposes to create a new 
Citizens Broadband Radio Service under part 95 of its rules for shared 
small cell use in the 3550-3650 MHz band (3.5 GHz Band). The Commission 
seeks comment on other techniques that could be used to manage access 
within the 3.5 GHz band as well as protections for incumbent Department 
of Defense (DoD) and Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) users. The 
Commission also seeks comment on how the unique characteristics of 
small cells may help reduce the need for geographic protections and 
enable shared access of the 3.5 GHz Band across the widest possible 
geographic footprint. In addition, the Commission offers a supplemental 
proposal to integrate the 3650-3700 MHz band within the proposed 
Citizens Broadband Service, thereby encompassing an additional 50 
megahertz of contiguous spectrum. This approach would leverage the 
benefits of small cell technology to enable widespread broadband access 
to the 3.5 GHz Band while minimizing the possibility of harmful 
interference to incumbent DoD and FSS users.

DATES: Submit comments on or before February 20, 2013 and reply 
comments on or before March 22, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by GN Docket No. 12-354, 
by any of the following methods:
     Federal Communications Commission's Web Site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting 
     Mail: All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper 
filings for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC 
Headquarters at 445 12th St. SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. 
The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be 
held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes 
must be disposed of before entering the building. Commercial overnight 
mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) 
must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743. 
U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be 
addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington DC 20554.
     People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request 
reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language 
interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: FCC504@fcc.gov or phone: 202-418-
0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.
    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Powell, Attorney Advisor, 
Wireless Bureau's Mobility Division, at (202) 744-3597 or 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking and Order (NPRM), in GN Docket No. 12-354, FCC 
12-148, adopted and released December 12, 2012. The full text of this 
document is available for inspection and copying during normal business 
hours in the FCC Reference Center, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 
20554. The complete text may be purchased from the Commission's copy 
contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc., 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-
B402, Washington, DC 20554, (202)488-5300, facsimile (202) 488-5563, or 
via email at Fcc@bcpiweb.com. The full text may also be downloaded at: 
www.fcc.gov. Alternative formats are available to persons with 
disabilities by sending an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or by calling the 
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-
418-0432 (tty).

Synopsis of the NPRM

I. Introduction

    1. With this NPRM, the Federal Communications Commission 
(Commission) propose to create a new Citizens Broadband Service in the 
3550-3650 MHz band (3.5 GHz Band) currently utilized for military and 
satellite operations, which will promote two major advances that enable 
more efficient use of radio spectrum: small cells and spectrum sharing. 
The 3.5 GHz Band was identified by the National Telecommunications and 
Information Administration (NTIA) for shared federal and non-federal 
use in the 2010 Fast Track Report. See NTIA, An Assessment of the Near-
Term Viability of Accommodating Wireless Broadband Systems et al, at 
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/fasttrackevaluation_11152010.pdf. Our proposal builds on our experience with spectrum 
sharing in the television white spaces (TVWS), proposes ideas teed up 
in our recent Notice of Inquiry on Dynamic Spectrum Access 
technologies, and broadly reflects recommendations made in a recent 
report by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology 
(PCAST). See PCAST, Report to the President: Realizing the Full 
Potential of Government-Held Spectrum to Spur Economic Growth at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast_spectrum_report_final_july_20_2012.pdf. We also seek comment on 
whether to include under these proposed new, flexible rules the 
neighboring 3650-3700 MHz band,

[[Page 1189]]

which is already used for commercial broadband services. Together, 
these proposals would make up to 150 megahertz of contiguous spectrum 
available for innovative mobile and fixed wireless broadband services 
without displacing mission-critical incumbent systems.
    2. Demand for wireless broadband capacity is growing much faster 
than the availability of new spectrum. While the Commission and the 
President have outlined a path for nearly doubling the amount of 
available spectrum for fixed and wireless broadband uses, some experts 
forecast a need for a thousand-fold increase in wireless capacity by 
2020. To meet this demand, future generations of wireless technology 
and services must continue to increase their yield of bits per hertz 
per second. Future wireless traffic demands also require new wireless 
network architectures and new approaches to spectrum management.
    3. The PCAST Report identifies two technological advances as 
holding great promise for increasing our nation's wireless broadband 
capabilities. First, increased use of small cell network deployments 
can multiply wireless capacity within existing spectrum resources. See 
PCAST Report at vi, 17-20. Second, increased spectrum sharing can make 
large swaths of otherwise ``stovepiped'' spectrum--nationwide bands set 
aside for important, but localized, government and non-government 
uses--newly available for broadband use. The proposed Citizens 
Broadband Service would foster the widespread utilization of both of 
these technological advances and promote the efficient use of the 3.5 
GHz Band.
    4. Small cells are low-powered wireless base stations intended to 
cover targeted indoor or localized outdoor areas ranging in size from 
homes and offices to stadiums, shopping malls, hospitals, and 
metropolitan outdoor spaces. Typically, they provide wireless 
connectivity in areas that present capacity and coverage challenges to 
traditional wide-area macrocell networks. Small cells can be deployed 
relatively easily and inexpensively by consumers, enterprise users, and 
service providers. Networks that incorporate small cell technology can 
take advantage of greater ``reuse'' of scarce wireless frequencies, 
greatly increasing data capacity within the network footprint. For 
example, deploying ten small cells in a location in place of a single 
macro cell could result in a tenfold increase in capacity, using the 
same quantity of spectrum. Small cells can also be used to help fill in 
coverage gaps created by buildings, tower siting difficulties, and/or 
challenging terrain.
    5. Spectrum sharing in this context refers to the use of automated 
techniques to facilitate the coexistence of disparate unaffiliated 
spectrum dependent systems that would conventionally require separate 
bands to avoid interference. Such coexistence may happen, for example, 
by authorizing targeted use of new commercial systems in specific 
geographical areas where interference into incumbent systems is not a 
problem. The need to minimize interference risks has caused, over time, 
much spectrum to be reserved for ``high value'' systems that protect 
national security, safety of life, etc. For example, the military may 
need spectrum for advanced radar systems or hospitals may deploy 
networks to enable real-time monitoring of patient vital signs. 
However, many of these uses are highly localized in nature. Therefore, 
more agile technologies and sharing mechanisms could potentially allow 
large quantities of special-purpose federal and non-federal spectrum to 
be used for more general purposes, such as commercial broadband 
services, on a shared basis.
    6. The 3.5 GHz Band appears to be an ideal band in which to propose 
small cell deployments and shared spectrum use. The NTIA Fast Track 
Report identified the 3.5 GHz Band for potential shared federal and 
non-federal broadband use. Incumbent uses in the band include high 
powered Department of Defense (DoD) radars as well as non-federal Fixed 
Satellite Service (FSS) earth stations for receive-only, space-to-earth 
operations and feeder links. In the adjacent band below 3550 MHz there 
are high-powered ground and airborne military radars. The Fast Track 
Report recommended, based on the commercial wireless broadband 
technology that was assessed, that new commercial uses of the band 
occur outside of large ``exclusion zones.'' For this reason, and 
because of limited signal propagation at 3.5 GHz, the commercial 
wireless industry has expressed a viewpoint that the 3.5 GHz Band would 
not be particularly well-suited for macrocell deployment, with some 
suggesting that it might be more appropriate for fixed wireless or 
unlicensed use. We agree with the PCAST Report that the perceived 
disadvantages of the 3.5 GHz Band might be turned into advantages from 
the standpoint of promoting spectrum sharing and small cell innovation. 
Such a paradigm could vastly increase the usability of the band for 
wireless broadband.
    7. We propose to structure the Citizens Broadband Service according 
to a multi-tiered shared access model that reflects the PCAST 
recommendation. We propose that the Citizens Broadband Service be 
managed by a spectrum access system (SAS) incorporating a dynamic 
database and, potentially, other interference mitigation techniques. 
The SAS would ensure that Citizens Broadband Service users operate only 
in areas where they would not cause harmful interference to incumbent 
users and could also help manage interference protection among 
different tiers of Citizens Broadband Service users. The three tiers of 
service would be: (1) Incumbent Access; (2) Priority Access; and (3) 
General Authorized Access (GAA). We seek comment on this approach. In 
addition, consistent with the Fast Track Report, we propose to protect 
existing federal systems operating in the 3.5 GHz Band and seek comment 
on appropriate allocation models to accomplish the goals set forth in 
this Notice.
    8. We propose that the Incumbent Access tier would consist solely 
of authorized federal and grandfathered licensed FSS 3.5 GHz Band 
users. These Incumbent Access users would be protected from harmful 
interference from Citizens Broadband Service users through appropriate 
regulatory and technical means. Citizens Broadband Service users would 
not be permitted to operate within geographically designated Incumbent 
Use Zones, which would encompass the geographic area where low-powered 
small cells could cause harmful interference to incumbent operations. 
We seek comment on whether the use of small cell technology 
incorporating lower power levels and other distinguishing technical 
characteristics compared to higher power cellular architecture systems 
could significantly reduce the exclusion zones proposed in NTIA's Fast 
Track Report. Outside of these zones, the SAS would manage Citizens 
Broadband Service access and would ensure that lower tiered users would 
not operate in a manner that would cause harmful interference to 
federal and FSS users in the 3.5 GHz Band.
    9. The Priority Access tier would consist of a portion of the 3.5 
GHz Band designated for small cell use by certain critical, quality-of-
service dependent users at specific, targeted locations. We seek 
comment on who these eligible users should be and suggest that they 
could include hospitals, utilities, state and local governments, and/or 
other users with a distinct need for reliable, prioritized access to 
broadband spectrum at specific, localized facilities.

[[Page 1190]]

We expect that the availability of the Priority Access tier could bring 
the benefits of mass-market commercial scale to specialized uses and 
provide a new alternative to dedicated spectrum, which is in short 
supply. In order to prevent an expectation of quality of service in 
areas where such an expectation might not be warranted, Priority Access 
operations would only be permitted in geographic zones with no 
likelihood of harmful interference from Incumbent Access users and no 
expectation of harmful interference from Citizens Broadband Service 
users to Incumbent Access users. Priority Access users would be 
required to register in the SAS and accorded protection from 
interference from lower tier users and other Priority Access users 
within their local facilities.
    10. The General Authorized Access (GAA) tier would be assigned for 
use by the general public on an opportunistic, non-interfering basis 
within designated geographic areas. GAA users could include a wide 
range of residential, business, and others, including wireless 
telephone and Internet service providers. We propose to authorize GAA 
use in zones where small cell use would not interfere with incumbent 
operations. Unlike the Priority Access tier, we propose to allow GAA 
use in areas where some interference from incumbent operations might be 
expected. We also propose that GAA users be required to register in the 
SAS and comply with all applicable technical, regulatory, and 
enforcement rules to ensure that GAA users avoid causing harmful 
interference to Incumbent Access and Priority Access users and always 
accept harmful interference from such users. We also seek comment on 
whether federal entities could be authorized GAA users. We seek comment 
on what technologies could be used to enable effective GAA use of the 
3.5 GHz Band.
    11. Under our main proposal, users in the Priority Access and GAA 
tiers would be licensed by rule as Citizens Broadband Service users 
under part 95 of the Commission's rules. A license-by-rule approach 
would provide individuals, organizations, and service providers with 
``automatic'' authorization to deploy small cell systems, in much the 
same way that our Part 15 unlicensed rules have allowed widespread 
deployment of Wi-Fi access points. In the present context, we believe 
licensing by rule provides two advantages compared to unlicensed 
authorization. First, as a licensed service, 3.5 GHz Band operations 
would enjoy greater interference protection status in the Table of 
Frequency Allocations consistent with the proposed multi-tiered 
approach. Second, licensing by rule might allow for a more unified 
authorization framework for multiple tiers of users that otherwise 
might fall into different parts of the Commission's rules. We seek 
comment on whether the proposed framework could be implemented through 
other regulatory approaches, including through the part 15 unlicensed 
rules or through geographic area licensing. We also seek comment on the 
benefits that could accrue to federal users through use of the Citizens 
Broadband Service.
    12. We also offer a supplemental proposal to integrate the 3650-
3700 MHz band within the proposed Citizens Broadband Service, thereby 
encompassing an additional 50 megahertz of contiguous spectrum. The 
Commission currently licenses the 3650-3700 MHz band on a non-exclusive 
basis, with protections for incumbent FSS operations. The 3650-3700 MHz 
band is used extensively by wireless Internet service providers, among 
others, to provide commercial broadband service. Expanding the Citizens 
Broadband Service to include this band could bring benefits of greater 
spectrum availability and equipment scale economies to current 3650-
3700 MHz licensees. Under our proposal, the SAS would authorize 
existing licensees as GAA users in the larger, combined band, and would 
authorize higher power levels in less congested areas, provided there 
is no risk of harmful interference to Incumbent Access or Priority 
Access operations. This proposal contemplates conversion of the 
existing non-exclusive licensing framework to the license-by-rule 
framework proposed herein. We also note that the 3650-3700 MHz band is 
currently allocated on a primary basis to the federal radiolocation 
service in three locations. We seek comment on the potential impact of 
these proposed changes in the use of the 3650-3700 MHz band on these 
and other incumbent operations.
    13. If implemented, the new Citizens Broadband Service could help 
address the ongoing capacity shortage and promote new innovations in 
broadband technology, deployment, and spectrum management while 
protecting incumbent authorized federal and grandfathered FSS users. In 
order to develop a comprehensive record on this proposal, we seek 
comment on a wide range of technical, licensing, and other related 
issues. To that end, we seek comment on: (1) Appropriate licensing 
schemes; (2) specific flexible and resilient interference mitigation 
technologies and techniques that could be implemented by Citizens 
Broadband Service users; (3) appropriate deployment strategies for 
Citizens Broadband Service devices; and (4) the SAS dynamic database 
that is envisioned to manage access to and use of the 3.5 GHz Band. To 
ensure the development of a comprehensive record, we may release 
additional notices, analyses, or white papers for comment during the 
course of this proceeding. Moreover, because this proceeding raises 
significant novel technical issues with respect to sharing with federal 
users, we expect to work closely with NTIA and relevant federal 
agencies to perform necessary further analysis, and we encourage 
commenters to provide relevant technical input to inform this analysis, 
where appropriate.
    14. Freeze on New Earth Stations. To preserve the stability of the 
spectral environment in the 3.5 GHz Band and ensure that opportunities 
continue to exist for wireless broadband services as proposed in the 
foregoing Notice, we direct the International Bureau to stop accepting 
applications in the 3600-3650 MHz band for new earth stations in the 
fixed-satellite service that are more than 10 statute miles from a 
licensed earth station's coordinates for the duration of this 
proceeding. This application freeze is narrowly tailored to ensure a 
stable spectral ecosystem for the proposed Citizens Broadband Service, 
while providing reasonable opportunities to obtain suitable real estate 
for the placement of new FSS earth station facilities near 
grandfathered earth stations. In light of the limited number of such 
grandfathered stations, such a freeze is expected to meet the immediate 
needs of earth station operators without significantly reducing the 
availability of spectrum for wireless broadband services by prohibiting 
expansion of new FSS earth stations in the 3600-3650 MHz band segment.
    15. The decision to impose this freeze is procedural in nature, and 
therefore the freeze is not subject to the notice and comment 
requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act. Moreover, for the 
reasons set forth above, in these circumstances there is good cause to 
find that notice and comment are impractical, unnecessary, and contrary 
to the public interest because it would undercut the purposes of the 
freeze. For the same reasons, and in order to avoid undercutting the 
purposes of the freeze, we find that there is good cause for making the 
freeze effective as of the release date of this NPRM.

[[Page 1191]]

II. Procedural Matters

A. Ex Parte Rules

    16. The proceeding this NPRM initiates shall be treated as a 
``permit-but-disclose'' proceeding in accordance with the Commission's 
ex parte rules. Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy 
of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral 
presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a 
different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons 
making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda 
summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or 
otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte 
presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and 
arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted 
in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already 
reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda or other 
filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such 
data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other 
filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where 
such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the 
memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex 
parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must 
be filed consistent with Sec.  1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by 
Sec.  1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method 
of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda 
summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, 
must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available 
for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., 
.doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding 
should familiarize themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.
    17. We exempt from the disclosure requirement under our ex parte 
rules all ex parte presentations made by NTIA or Department of Defense 
representatives. This NPRM raises significant technical issues 
implicating federal and non-federal spectrum allocations and users. 
Staff from NTIA, DoD, and the FCC have engaged in technical discussions 
in the development of this Notice, and we anticipate these discussions 
will continue after this NPRM is released. We believe that these 
discussions will benefit from an open exchange of information between 
agencies, and may involve sensitive information regarding the strategic 
federal use of the 3.5 GHz Band. Recognizing the value of federal 
agency collaboration on the technical issues raised in this Notice, 
NTIA's shared jurisdiction over the 3.5 GHz Band, the importance of 
protecting federal users in the 3.5 GHz Band from interference, and the 
goal of enabling spectrum sharing to help address the ongoing spectrum 
capacity crunch, we find that this exemption serves the public 

B. Filing Requirements

    18. Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's 
rules, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or 
before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. Comments 
may be filed using: (1) The Commission's Electronic Comment Filing 
System (ECFS), (2) the Federal Government's eRulemaking Portal, or (3) 
by filing paper copies.
     Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/ 
or the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must 
file an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket 
or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers 
must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or 
rulemaking number.
    Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial 
overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service 
mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, 
Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
     All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings 
for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 
445 12th St. SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. All hand 
deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any 
envelopes must be disposed of before entering the building. The filing 
hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
     Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service 
Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton 
Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
     U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority 
mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.
    19. Comments, reply comments, and ex parte submissions will be 
available for public inspection during regular business hours in the 
FCC Reference Center, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th 
Street SW., CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. These documents will also be 
available via ECFS. Documents will be available electronically in 
ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe Acrobat.
    20. To request information in accessible formats (Braille, large 
print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov 
or call the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 
418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY). This document can also be 
downloaded in Word and Portable Document Format (PDF) at: http://www.fcc.gov.
    21. For additional information on this proceeding, please contact 
Paul Powell of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau at (202) 418-1613 
or Paul.Powell@fcc.gov.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    22. This document contains proposed information collection 
requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to 
reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) to comment on the information collection 
requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Public and agency comments 
are due March 11, 2013. Comments should address: (a) Whether the 
proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper 
performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the 
information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the 
Commission's burden estimates; (c) ways to enhance the quality, 
utility, and clarity of the information collected; (d) ways to minimize 
the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, 
including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of 
information technology; and (e) way to further reduce the information 
collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 
employees. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief 
Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we seek 
specific comment on how we might further reduce the information 
collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 
    23. In addition to filing comments with the Secretary, a copy of 
any comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act information collection 
requirements contained herein should be submitted to

[[Page 1192]]

the Federal Communications Commission via email to PRA@fcc.gov and to 
Nicholas A. Fraser, Office of Management and Budget, via email to 
Nicholas_A._Fraser@omb.eop.gov or via fax at 202-395-5167.

D. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    24. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 
the Commission has prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 
(IRFA) relating to the foregoing Notice. Written public comments are 
requested on the IRFA. These comments must be filed in accordance with 
the same filing deadlines as comments filed in response to this NPRM as 
set forth on the first page of this document and have a separate and 
distinct heading designating them as responses to the IRFA.
1. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which 
the Proposed Rules Will Apply
    25. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where 
feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be 
affected by the proposed rules, if adopted. See 5 U.S.C. 603(b)(3). The 
RFA generally defines the term ``small entity'' as having the same 
meaning as the terms ``small business,'' ``small organization,'' and 
``small governmental jurisdiction.'' See 5 U.S.C. 601(6). In addition, 
the term ``small business'' has the same meaning as the term ``small-
business concern'' under the Small Business Act. See 5 U.S.C. 601(3). A 
small-business concern'' is one which: (1) Is independently owned and 
operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) 
satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA. See 15 U.S.C. 
    26. In the following paragraphs, the Commission further describes 
and estimates the number and type of small entities that may be 
affected by the proposals set forth in the Notice. However, since the 
3.5 GHz Band is not currently used by small businesses for terrestrial 
broadband, the proposed new service is unlikely to impose significant 
new burdens on small businesses. However, if our proposals were 
adopted, small businesses that choose to use the Citizens Broadband 
Service on a Priority Access or GAA basis would most likely be required 
to comply with new registration and compliance requirements, including 
registration in the SAS. In addition, any device manufacturers that 
choose to manufacture devices for use in the 3.5 GHz Band will have to 
ensure that such devices comply with any rules adopted in this 
proceeding. Finally, if our supplemental proposal to incorporate the 
3650-3700 MHz band into the proposed Citizens Broadband Service is 
adopted, these new rules will apply to any small businesses currently 
licensed to operate in the 3650-3700 MHz band.
    27. Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental 
Jurisdictions. The proposals set forth in the Notice, may, over time, 
affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. We 
therefore describe here, at the outset, three comprehensive, statutory 
small entity size standards that encompass entities that could be 
directly affected by the proposals under consideration. As of 2009, 
small businesses represented 99.9% of the 27.5 million businesses in 
the United States, according to the SBA. Additionally, a ``small 
organization'' is generally ``any not-for-profit enterprise which is 
independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.'' 
Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1,621,315 small 
organizations. Finally, the term ``small governmental jurisdiction'' is 
defined generally as ``governments of cities, counties, towns, 
townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a 
population of less than fifty thousand.'' Census Bureau data for 2007 
indicate that there were 89,527 governmental jurisdictions in the 
United States. We estimate that, of this total, as many as 88,761 
entities may qualify as ``small governmental jurisdictions.'' Thus, we 
estimate that most governmental jurisdictions are small.
    28. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). This 
industry comprises establishments engaged in operating and maintaining 
switching and transmission facilities to provide communications via the 
airwaves. Establishments in this industry have spectrum licenses and 
provide services using that spectrum, such as cellular phone services, 
paging services, wireless Internet access, and wireless video services. 
The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category 
Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite). The size 
standard for that category is that a business is small if it has 1,500 
or fewer employees. For this category, census data for 2007 show that 
there were 1,383 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this 
total, 1,368 firms had 999 or fewer employees and 15 had 1000 employees 
or more. Thus, under this category and the associated small business 
size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless 
telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities that 
may be affected by our proposed action.
    29. Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications 
Equipment Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this category as 
follows: ``This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in 
manufacturing radio and television broadcast and wireless 
communications equipment. Examples of products made by these 
establishments are: transmitting and receiving antennas, cable 
television equipment, GPS equipment, pagers, cellular phones, mobile 
communications equipment, and radio and television studio and 
broadcasting equipment.'' The SBA has developed a small business size 
standard for firms in this category, which is: all such firms having 
750 or fewer employees. According to Census Bureau data for 2002, there 
were a total of 1,041 establishments in this category that operated for 
the entire year. Of this total, 1,010 had employment of under 500, and 
an additional 13 had employment of 500 to 999. Thus, under this size 
standard, the majority of firms can be considered small.
    30. 3650-3700 MHz Band Licensees. In March 2005, the Commission 
released an order providing for the nationwide, non-exclusive licensing 
of terrestrial operations, utilizing contention-based technologies, in 
the 3650 MHz band (i.e., 3650-3700 MHz). As of April 2010, more than 
1270 licenses have been granted and more than 7433 sites have been 
registered. The Commission has not developed a definition of small 
entities applicable to 3650-3700 MHz band nationwide, non-exclusive 
licensees. However, we estimate that the majority of these licensees 
are Internet Access Service Providers (ISPs) and that most of those 
licensees are small businesses.
2. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements for Small Entities
    31. Under the Commission's proposal, all Citizens Broadband Service 
devices must comply with technical and operational requirements aimed 
at preventing interference to Incumbent Access and Priority Access 
users, including: complying with technical parameters (e.g., power and 
unwanted emission limits) as well as RF exposure requirements for the 
type of device; and incorporation of geo-location capabilities. 
Citizens Broadband Service users would be required to register such 
devices in the SAS.
    32. In addition, if our supplemental proposal to incorporate the 

[[Page 1193]]

MHz band into the proposed Citizens Broadband Service is adopted, small 
businesses operating in this band will be required to transition from 
the current non-exclusive nationwide licensing approach to the Citizens 
Broadband Service license-by-rule approach. This will likely entail 
additional costs and administrative burdens. In the NPRM, we seek 
comment on the extent of any such potential burdens.
    33. While our proposals would require small businesses to register 
in the SAS and comply with the rules established for the Citizens 
Broadband Service, they would receive the ability to access spectrum 
that is currently unavailable to them. On balance, this would 
constitute a significant benefit for small business.
3. Steps Taken To Minimize the Significant Economic Impact on Small 
Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered
    34. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, 
specifically small business, alternatives that it has considered in 
reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four 
alternatives (among others): ``(1) The establishment of differing 
compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into 
account the resources available to small entities; (2) the 
clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance and 
reporting requirements under the rule for such small entities; (3) the 
use of performance, rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption 
from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.'' 
See 5 U.S.C. 603(c)(1)-(c)(4).
    35. In the NPRM, the Commission proposes that all Citizens 
Broadband Service users register in the SAS which will manage 
interference between different tiers of users. The NPRM specifically 
invites comments on a range of potential technical, legal, and policy 
aspects of its proposal, including equipment authorization requirements 
and the specific mechanics of the SAS. At this time, the Commission has 
not excluded any alternative proposal concerning the operation of the 
Citizens Broadband Service from its consideration, but it would do so 
in this proceeding if the record indicates that a particular proposal 
would have a significant and unjustifiable adverse economic impact on 
small entities. The Commission also solicits alternative licensing 
proposals, especially those that would not incur significant and 
unjustifiable adverse impacts on small entities.
    36. With regard to the supplemental proposal to include the 3650-
3700 MHz band, we seek comment on the costs and benefits of extending 
the Citizens Broadband Service to this band. We also specifically seek 
comment on the projected cost to existing 3650-3700 MHz licensees and 
the amount of time it would take such licensees to transition to the 
new proposed licensing regime.
4. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the 
Proposed Rules
    37. None.

E. Congressional Review Act

    38. The Commission will not send a copy of the foregoing Order 
pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A), 
because the application freeze implemented in such Order is a rule of 
agency organization, procedure, or practice that does not substantially 
affect the rights or obligations of non-agency parties. Id. at 

III. Ordering Clauses

    39. Pursuant to sections 1, 2, 4(i), 4(j), 7, 301, 302(a), 303, 
307(e), and 316 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 
U.S.C. 151, 152, 154(i), 154(j), 157, 301, 302(a), 303, 307(e), and 
316, this NPRM and Order in GN Docket No. 12-148 is adopted.
    40. License applications for new earth stations in the fixed 
satellite service, which would receive on frequencies in the 3600-3650 
MHz band on a primary basis, filed on or after December 12, 2012, shall 
not be accepted unless frequencies in this same band are currently 
licensed to an earth station within 10 miles of the requested 

Federal Communications Commission.
Marlene H. Dortch,
[FR Doc. 2013-00155 Filed 1-7-13; 8:45 am]