[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 159 (Friday, August 16, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 50213-50258]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-19779]



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Vol. 78

Friday,

No. 159

August 16, 2013

Part III





Federal Communications Commission





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47 CFR Parts 1 and 27





 Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services H Block--Implementing 
Section 6401 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 
2012 Related to the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz Bands; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 159 / Friday, August 16, 2013 / Rules 
and Regulations

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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Parts 1 and 27

[WT Docket No. 12-357; FCC 13-88]


Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services H Block--
Implementing Section 6401 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job 
Creation Act of 2012 Related to the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz 
Bands

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Commission adopts rules to auction and 
license ten megahertz of paired spectrum at 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 
MHz--the H Block. This action implements the Congressional directive in 
the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Spectrum Act) 
that we grant new initial licenses for these spectrum bands through a 
system of competitive bidding. In so doing, we extend the widely 
deployed broadband Personal Communications Services (PCS) band, which 
is used by the four national wireless providers, as well as regional 
and rural providers, to offer mobile service across the United States. 
This additional spectrum for mobile use will help ensure that the 
speed, capacity, and ubiquity of the Nation's wireless networks keep 
pace with the skyrocketing demand for mobile services.

DATES: Effective September 16, 2013 except for 47 CFR 
1.2105(a)(2)(xii), 27.12, and 27.17, which contain information 
collection requirements that have not been approved by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB), Control Number 3060-1184. The Commission 
will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the 
effective date of those sections.
    We also note that several rules that are not being amended herein 
are subject to OMB review because they are imposing a new information 
collection upon a new group of respondents, i.e., the H Block 
licensees. The rules in question are 47 CFR 1.946 and 27.10. The 
Commission will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing 
the approval of information collection for those sections.

ADDRESSES: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., 
Washington, DC 20554. A copy of any comments on the Paperwork Reduction 
Act information collection requirements contained herein should be 
submitted to the Federal Communications Commission via email to 
PRA@fcc.gov and to Judith B. Herman, Federal Communications Commission, 
Room 1-B441, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554 or via the 
Internet at Judith B. Herman@fcc.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matthew Pearl of the Broadband 
Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, at (202) 418-BITS or 
Matthew.Pearl@fcc.gov. For additional information concerning the 
Paperwork Reduction Act information collection requirements contained 
in this document, contact Judith B. Herman at (202) 418-0214, or via 
email at PRA@fcc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's H 
Block Report and Order, FCC 13-88, adopted on June 27, 2013 and 
released on June 27, 2013. The full text of this document is available 
for inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC 
Reference Information Center, Room CY-A257, 445 12th Street SW., 
Washington, DC 20554. The complete text may be purchased from the 
Commission's duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc. 
(BCPI), Portals II, 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 complete text is also available on the 
Commission's Web site at http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2013/db0627/FCC-13-88A1.pdf. Alternative formats 
(computer diskette, large print, audio cassette, and Braille) are 
available by contacting Brian Millin at (202) 418-7426, TTY (202) 418-
7365, or via email to bmillin@fcc.gov.

Synopsis

I. Introduction

    1. Today we increase the Nation's supply of spectrum for flexible-
use services, including mobile broadband, by adopting rules to auction 
and license ten megahertz of paired spectrum at 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-
2000 MHz--the H Block. This action implements the Congressional 
directive in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 
(Spectrum Act) that we grant new initial licenses for these spectrum 
bands through a system of competitive bidding. In so doing, we extend 
the widely deployed broadband Personal Communications Services (PCS) 
band, which is used by the four national wireless providers, as well as 
regional and rural providers, to offer mobile service across the United 
States. This additional spectrum for mobile use will help ensure that 
the speed, capacity, and ubiquity of the Nation's wireless networks 
keep pace with the skyrocketing demand for mobile services.

II. Background

    2. In February 2012, Congress enacted Title VI of the Middle Class 
Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Spectrum Act). The Spectrum 
Act includes several provisions to make more spectrum available for 
commercial use, including through a system of competitive bidding, and 
to improve public safety communications. Among other things, the 
Spectrum Act states that the Commission, by February 23, 2015, shall 
allocate the H Block bands--1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz--for 
commercial use, and through a system of competitive bidding grant new 
initial licenses for the use of each band, subject to flexible use 
service rules. Congress provided, however, that if the Commission 
determines that either of the bands cannot be used without causing 
harmful interference to commercial licensees in 1930-1995 MHz (PCS 
downlink), then the Commission shall not allocate such band for 
commercial use or grant new licenses for the use of such band. 
Additionally, Sections 6401(c)(4) and 6413 of the Spectrum Act specify 
that the proceeds from an auction of licenses in the 1995-2000 MHz band 
and in the 1915-1920 MHz band shall be deposited in the Public Safety 
Trust Fund. Section 6413 of the Spectrum Act specifies how the funds 
deposited into the Public Safety Trust Fund shall be used, and these 
purposes include the funding of (or reimbursement to the U.S. Treasury 
for the funding of) the nationwide, interoperable public safety 
broadband network by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). 
The rules we adopt today will enable the H Block spectrum to be the 
first spectrum specified by the Spectrum Act to be licensed by auction, 
and thus likely will represent the first steps toward this statutory 
goal.
    3. In response to the Spectrum Act and to help meet the growing 
demand for wireless spectrum, in December 2012, the Commission adopted 
the H Block NPRM. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to 
increase the Nation's supply of spectrum for mobile broadband by 
applying Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) flexible use wireless service 
rules in 10 megahertz of spectrum adjoining the widely deployed 
Broadband PCS (PCS) band, at 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz.
    4. The H Block NPRM also represents a renewed Commission effort to 
bring this spectrum to market. The Commission first proposed licensing,

[[Page 50215]]

operating, and technical rules for this spectrum band in 2004. The 2004 
AWS-2 NPRM sought comment on strict power and out-of-band emission 
(OOBE) limits for mobile transmissions in the 1915-1920 MHz band, 
because of concerns about potential harmful interference to PCS mobile 
reception. Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1915-
1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz, 2020-2025 MHz and 2175-2180 MHz Bands, WT 
Docket No. 04-356, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 19263 
(2004). In response to those proposals, most commenters agreed with 
such concerns. In 2008, the Commission issued a Further Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking in which it sought to supplement the record. 
Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1915-1920 MHz, 
1995-2000 MHz, 2020-2025 MHz and 2175-2180 MHz Bands, WT Docket Nos. 
07-195, 04-356, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 23 FCC Rcd 9859 
(2008). Those 2008 proposals included strict OOBE limits for the Lower 
H Block of 90 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the 
transmitter power in watts, within the PCS band, and a power limit of 
23 dBm/MHz Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power (EIRP). The record 
again reflected the commenters' calls for strict interference limits, 
particularly the OOBE limit, in 1915-1920 MHz to avoid harmful 
interference to PCS mobile receivers. In the 2008 NPRM, the Commission 
also proposed prohibiting mobile transmissions in the 1995-2000 MHz 
band, and proposed the typical interference rule of an OOBE limit of 43 
+ 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in 
watts, for base and fixed stations for emissions outside of the 1995-
2000 MHz band, and a power limit of 1640 watts EIRP for emissions less 
than 1 MHz and 1640 watts/MHz for emissions greater than 1 MHz in non-
rural areas and double these power limits in rural areas.
    5. The spectral proximity of the AWS-4 Band (2000-2020 MHz and 
2180-2200 MHz) to the Upper H Block is relevant to the present 
discussion. The Commission's December 2012 AWS-4 Report and Order 
established licensing, operating, and technical rules for terrestrial 
AWS-4 operations in the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands. The 
technical rules for the AWS-4 uplink at 2000-2020 MHz balanced the 
public interest benefits associated with potential uses of the relevant 
bands. Specifically, the Commission placed limited restrictions on AWS-
4 uplink operations that allow for flexible use of the AWS-4 band while 
also potentially enabling full flexible downlink use of the 1995-2000 
MHz band. The Commission explained that it based its determination on, 
among other things, the asymmetrical nature of broadband traffic (with 
more downlink than uplink being used), the fact that any limitations on 
AWS-4 were more than offset by the considerable increase in flexibility 
that the Commission was providing AWS-4 licensees by granting them 
terrestrial use rights under the Commission's part 27 rules. In sum, 
the Commission stated that the AWS-4 technical rules would enable both 
the AWS-4 band and the 1995-2000 MHz band to be used for providing 
flexible use services in the most efficient manner possible.
    6. In December 2012, the Commission adopted the H Block NPRM. 
Comments on the H Block NPRM were due on February 6, 2013 and replies 
were due March 6, 2013. Fifteen comments and seven replies were filed 
in response to the H Block NPRM. In addition, as permitted under our 
rules, numerous ex parte presentations have been submitted into the 
record.
    7. As observed in the H Block NPRM, circumstances have changed in 
the years since the Commission previously sought comment on the H Block 
spectrum bands. Wireless broadband technologies and the wireless 
broadband industry have evolved considerably. Additionally, Congress 
enacted the Spectrum Act. Accordingly, we provided notice that our 
determinations here would be based solely on the record developed in 
response to the H Block NPRM, and we invited parties to re-file in this 
docket earlier comments with any necessary updates.

III. Discussion

    8. In this H Block Report and Order, we implement the Spectrum Act 
provisions pertaining to the H Block and build upon recent Commission 
actions to increase the availability of spectrum for wireless use by 
adopting rules to grant licenses for the H Block for terrestrial fixed 
and mobile use via a system of competitive bidding. As explained below, 
we adopt H Block terrestrial service, technical, and licensing rules 
that generally follow the Commission's part 27 flexible use rules, 
modified as necessary to account for issues unique to the H Block 
bands. Specifically, we take the following actions:
     We find that the Commission's prior action to allocate the 
H Block for Fixed and Mobile use satisfies the requirement of the 
Spectrum Act that we allocate this spectrum for commercial use.
     We find that we are required to adopt flexible use service 
rules for the H Block and that we are required to license this spectrum 
using a system of competitive bidding, unless we determine that either 
the 1915-1920 MHz band or the 1995-2000 MHz band cannot be used without 
causing harmful interference to the broadband PCS downlink band at 
1930-1995 MHz.
     We find that, consistent with the technical rules we 
adopt, the use of both the 1915-1920 MHz band and the 1995-2000 MHz 
band can occur without causing harmful interference to broadband PCS 
downlink operations at 1930-1995 MHz.
     We adopt as the H Block band plan the 1915-1920 MHz band 
paired with the 1995-2000 MHz band, configured as 5 + 5 megahertz 
blocks, and licensed on an Economic Area (EA) basis.
     We adopt technical rules for the H Block, including rules 
governing the relationship of the H Block bands to adjacent and nearby 
bands, with a particular focus on adopting rules for the 1915-1920 MHz 
band that protect operations in the broadband PCS band at 1930-1995, as 
required by the Spectrum Act.
     We adopt technical rules that authorize the 1915-1920 MHz 
band for mobile and low power fixed operations (uplink) and the 1995-
2000 MHz band for base and fixed operations (downlink).
     We adopt cost sharing rules that require H Block licensees 
to pay a pro rata share of expenses previously incurred by UTAM, Inc. 
and by Sprint in clearing incumbents from the 1915-1920 MHz band and 
the 1995-2000 MHz band, respectively.
     We adopt a variety of flexible use regulatory, licensing, 
and operating rules for H Block licensees.
     We adopt procedures to assign H Block licenses through a 
system of competitive bidding.

A. Spectrum Act Provisions for 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz

    9. The Spectrum Act, among other requirements, provides that the 
Commission shall allocate for commercial use and license using a system 
of competitive bidding the H Block no later than February 23, 2015.
    10. Section 6401(b) of the Spectrum Act provides that for certain 
spectrum bands, including H Block, the Commission must allocate the 
spectrum for commercial use and grant new initial licenses for that 
spectrum through a system of competitive bidding by February 23, 2015. 
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Section 6401(b), 
47 U.S.C. 1451(b).

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However, section 6401(b) also provides that the Commission may not 
allocate the H Block for commercial use nor grant H Block licenses 
should it determine that such spectrum cannot be used without causing 
harmful interference to commercial mobile service licensees operating 
in the frequencies between 1930 megahertz and 1995 megahertz.
    11. To implement these requirements, in the H Block NPRM, the 
Commission sought comment on the Spectrum Act's four main statutory 
elements relating to the H Block: (1) Allocation for commercial use; 
(2) flexible use; (3) assignment of licenses; and (4) a determination 
regarding interference. Below, we address the relevant comments and 
discuss our conclusions.
1. Allocation for Commercial Use
    12. The Spectrum Act requires the Commission to allocate the H 
Block spectrum bands, 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz, for commercial 
use. As the Commission observed in the H Block NPRM, the Spectrum Act 
does not define the phrase, ``allocate . . . for commercial use.'' The 
Commission posited that the Spectrum Act requires us to make any 
necessary changes to the Non-Federal Table of Allocations to reflect 
that the H Block bands could be used commercially by, and licensed to, 
non-Federal entities under flexible use service rules unless the band 
cannot be used without causing harmful interference to commercial 
mobile service licensees in the PCS downlink band. The Commission 
observed that the H Block spectrum's pre-existing allocation was for 
non-Federal, Fixed and Mobile use on a primary basis and designated for 
use in the commercial PCS/AWS bands, and that this prior allocation 
appeared to be fully consistent with section 6401 of the Spectrum Act. 
The Commission sought comment on this tentative conclusion. In 
response, commenters agreed with the Commission's tentative conclusion 
that the H Block's existing allocation met the requirements of the 
Spectrum Act.
    13. We find that the existing allocation of the H Block for non-
Federal Fixed and Mobile use on a primary basis meets the ``commercial 
use'' allocation requirement of section 6401(b)(1)(A) of the Spectrum 
Act. As the record indicates, the Commission has already allocated both 
blocks of the H Block spectrum for non-Federal Fixed and Mobile use on 
a primary basis. Specifically, in 2004, the Commission adopted the 
present spectrum pairing. Thus, no further action to allocate the H 
Block spectrum bands for commercial use pursuant to the Spectrum Act is 
necessary.
2. Flexible Use
    14. The Spectrum Act also requires the Commission to license the H 
Block under flexible use service rules. In the H Block NPRM, the 
Commission proposed that any service rules adopted for the H Block 
permit a licensee to employ the spectrum for any non-Federal use 
permitted by the United States Table of Frequency Allocations, subject 
to our part 27 flexible use and other applicable rules, including 
service rules to avoid harmful interference. Part 27 licensees must 
also comply with other Commission rules of general applicability. See 
47 CFR 27.3; see also infra section III.E.6. (Regulatory Issues, Other 
Operating Requirements). In addition, flexible use in international 
border areas is subject to any existing or future international 
agreements. See infra section III.C.3. (Canadian and Mexican 
Coordination). Thus, the Commission proposed the H Block may be used 
for any fixed or mobile service that is consistent with the allocations 
for the band. Commenters uniformly supported this proposal.
    15. We adopt the Commission's proposal to license the H Block under 
flexible use service rules. We find the Spectrum Act's direction on 
this matter clear and direct--we are required to grant licenses 
``subject to flexible-use service rules.'' Accordingly, adopting the 
flexible use service rules for the H Block, which we do in the sections 
below, will give effect to the legislative mandate. Adoption of 
flexible use service rules, moreover, is consistent with prior 
congressional and Commission actions that promote flexible spectrum 
allocations and the record before us. As CCA comments, flexible use 
allows licensees to innovate and ``rapidly respond to changing consumer 
demands for wireless services . . . [and] encourage[s] the similarly 
timely deployment of innovative commercial wireless services to the 
public.''
3. Assignment of Licenses
    16. The Spectrum Act mandates that the Commission grant new initial 
licenses for the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands through a system 
of competitive bidding pursuant section 309(j) of the Communications 
Act. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed applying competitive 
bidding rules to resolve any mutually exclusive applications accepted 
for H Block licenses. Parties uniformly supported the Commission's 
proposal to assign the H Block spectrum through a system of competitive 
bidding. For example, MetroPCS voiced its support that the Commission 
was correctly interpreting the Spectrum Act and that the H Block should 
be licensed through competitive bidding. We agree and find that the 
Spectrum Act's requirement that we grant H Block licenses ``through a 
system of competitive bidding'' clear and unambiguous. Thus, as 
detailed below, we adopt rules to govern the use of a competitive 
bidding process for licensing the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz 
bands.
4. Determination of No Harmful Interference to the 1930-1995 MHz Band
    17. The Spectrum Act states that the Commission may not allocate 
for commercial use or license the H Block if the Commission 
``determines that'' the H Block ``cannot be used without causing 
harmful interference to commercial mobile licensees'' in the 1930-1995 
MHz band (PCS downlink band). Neither the Spectrum Act nor the 
Communications Act defines the term ``harmful interference.'' In 
performing its statutory role to maximize the public interest in the 
spectrum, the Commission has adopted a definition for this term, as 
well as for the unmodified term ``interference.'' Commission rule 
2.1(c) defines ``interference'' to mean ``[t]he effect of unwanted 
energy due to one or a combination of emissions, radiations, or 
inductions upon reception in a radiocommunication system, manifested by 
any performance degradation, misinterpretation, or loss of information 
which could be extracted in the absence of such unwanted energy.'' That 
same rule defines ``harmful interference'' to mean ``[i]nterference 
which endangers the functioning of a radionavigation service or of 
other safety services or seriously degrades, obstructs, or repeatedly 
interrupts a radiocommunication service operating in accordance with 
[the International Telecommunications Union] Radio Regulations.'' In 
the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to use this definition of 
harmful interference in performing the analysis required by the 
Spectrum Act. No party opposed the use of this definition.
    18. We find it appropriate to use the Commission's existing 
definition of harmful interference. We presume that Congress was aware 
of this rule, defining both interference and harmful interference, when 
it crafted the Spectrum Act and used the term harmful interference. 
Because the Spectrum Act offers no alternative to the Commission's pre-
existing definition of

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harmful interference, we believe it reasonable to conclude that 
Congress intended for it to apply to the situation here. See Hall v. 
U.S., 132 S.Ct. 1882, 1889 (2012) (``We assume that Congress is aware 
of existing law when it passes legislation[.]'' (internal quotation 
marks omitted)). Applying the existing definition of harmful 
interference to the Spectrum Act provision at issue, we find that we 
may not allocate for commercial use or license the H Block if we 
determine that the H Block cannot be used without causing serious 
degradation, obstruction, or repeated interruption to commercial mobile 
licensees in the PCS downlink band. We further find that we need not 
set technical rules so restrictive as to prevent all instances of 
interference, as opposed to harmful interference. Determining ex ante 
when operations in one band will seriously degrade, obstruct, or 
repeatedly interrupt operations in another band necessarily involves 
the Commission examining the particular interference scenario that is 
likely to arise and exercising its predictive judgment, which is 
entitled to deference. See Northpoint Technology, Ltd. v. FCC, 414 F.3d 
61, 69 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (deferring to the Commission's interpretation 
of ``harmful interference'' as the phrase was applied under the Rural 
Local Broadcast Signal Act of 1999); see also American Radio Relay 
League, Inc. v. FCC, 524 F.3d 227, 233 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (``considerable 
deference'' on ``highly technical question'' involving harmful 
interference). For example, in 1999, Congress adopted a statute that 
directed the Commission to ``ensure that no facility [to be newly] 
licensed or authorized under the [newly enacted Rural Local Broadcast 
Signal Act of 1999] . . . cause [] harmful interference to the primary 
users of that spectrum.'' In determining technical rules to ensure that 
the incumbent primary operators were not subject to harmful 
interference, the Commission established interference parameters 
designed such that the presence of the new operators' signals ``would 
not be perceptible to the [incumbent operator's] customer in most 
cases.'' The DC Circuit found this ``qualitative requirement'' to 
represent a reasonable application of the Commission's harmful 
interference definition. Northpoint, 414 F.3d at 69-71. In this similar 
statutory circumstance, we now establish technical rules (below) for 
the H Block that will permit use of this block without causing harmful 
interference (although not necessarily eliminating all interference) to 
PCS downlink operations.
a. Upper H Block: 1995-2000 MHz
    19. The Commission allocated the 1995-2000 MHz band for fixed and 
mobile use in 2003. In 2004, this spectrum was designated for PCS/AWS 
base station operations and the Commission proposed service rules. 
Before the H Block NPRM in December 2012, no party had filed technical 
data or analysis indicating that base station operations in the Upper H 
Block would cause harmful interference to licensees in the PCS downlink 
band. Accordingly, in the H Block NPRM, the Commission tentatively 
concluded that base station operations in the Upper H Block posed no 
likelihood of harmful interference to PCS operations in the 1930-1995 
MHz band and that licensing of the Upper H Block could proceed.
    20. In light of the technical rules we impose on operations in the 
Upper H Block, described below, we conclude that operations in the 
1995-2000 MHz band will not cause harmful interference to PCS 
operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band. The rules we adopt herein 
determine the Upper H Block will be used for base station (i.e., 
downlink) transmissions. As the 1930-1995 MHz PCS band is used for 
downlink transmissions, the 1995-2000 MHz band, in many respects, will 
operate as an extension of the PCS band. As explained below, in 
contrast to an uplink band adjacent to a downlink band, similarly used 
bands (i.e., downlink next to downlink) generally do not raise 
difficult interference scenarios. More specifically, the technical 
rules we adopt include power limits and OOBE limits for operations in 
the Upper H Block that are comparable to limits already imposed upon 
PCS licensees governing the transmission of electromagnetic signals 
into adjacent PCS bands to prevent harmful interference. As the 
technical rules we impose for the Upper H Block reflect similar 
technical constraints as the existing PCS rules--and these rules have 
allowed robust service to develop in these bands--we find no basis to 
conclude that the 1995-2000 MHz band ``cannot be used without causing 
harmful interference'' to PCS downlink operators at 1930-1995 MHz. 
Additionally, in response to the H Block NPRM, no commenters raised 
concerns about the potential for harmful interference from the Upper H 
Block into the 1930-1995 MHz band. In sum, because the 1995-2000 MHz 
band is adjacent to another downlink band, the technical rules we adopt 
are comparable to the existing PCS rules for preventing harmful 
interference and the record demonstrates no concern for harmful 
interference from the 1995-2000 MHz band into PCS operations in 1930-
1995 MHz, we determine the Upper H Block can be allocated for 
commercial use, assigned via a system of competitive bidding, and 
licensed subject to flexible use service rules without causing harmful 
interference to PCS pursuant to the Spectrum Act.
b. Lower H Block: 1915-1920 MHz
    21. In designating the 1915-1920 MHz band for PCS/AWS mobile 
operations in 2004, the Commission concluded that any harmful 
interference from the Lower H Block to the PCS downlink band (i.e., 
1930-1995 MHz) could be addressed through service and technical rules. 
Subsequently, in the H Block NPRM, the Commission tentatively concluded 
that it would be possible to license the Lower H Block under flexible 
service rules without causing harmful interference to commercial mobile 
licensees in the 1930-1995 MHz band. Acknowledging the prior concerns 
with mobile operations in 1915-1920 MHz, the Commission sought comment 
on the proposed band plan and service rules, and it specifically sought 
technical analysis on the potential for harmful interference into the 
PCS downlink band. In response, parties submitted four technical 
studies and offered numerous comments discussing the potential for 
harmful interference from Lower H Block operations into operations in 
the 1930-1995 MHz band. As detailed below, commenters suggest that, 
with appropriate technical rules, deployment in the Lower H Block can 
occur without causing harmful interference to the 1930-1995 MHz PCS 
band.
    22. We adopt the Commission's tentative conclusion set forth in the 
H Block NPRM, and determine that operations in the 1915-1920 MHz band, 
subject to appropriate technical rules, will not cause harmful 
interference to PCS operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band. As we explain 
below, in designating the Lower H Block for uplink use, we must address 
the issue of uplink spectrum in close frequency proximity to the 
downlink spectrum in the 1930-1995 MHz PCS band. Our analysis is based 
on our prior findings with respect to similar services, our experience 
evaluating the probabilistic nature of mobile-to-mobile interference, 
and our evaluation of the technical studies submitted into the record 
that examine this specific scenario. Notably, the proponents of these 
studies acknowledge that the interference scenario at issue--namely, 
mobile-to-

[[Page 50218]]

mobile interference between mobile transmitters operating in the Lower 
H Block and mobile receivers operating in the PCS downlink band--is 
inherently a probabilistic one. That is, a number of low probability 
events all need to occur before an actual Lower H Block transmission 
would seriously degrade, obstruct, or repeatedly interrupt the ability 
of the PCS mobile device to receive the PCS signal. As such, the rules 
we establish below are designed to prevent harmful interference. These 
rules are not, nor could they reasonably be, designed to prevent all 
possible instances of interference generally. In sum, we find the 
technical rules we adopt below will enable commercial use of the Lower 
H Block without causing harmful interference to PCS operations in the 
1930-1995 MHz band. Accordingly, we find no basis to conclude that the 
1915-1920 MHz band ``cannot be used without causing harmful 
interference'' to PCS downlink operators at 1930-1995 MHz. We therefore 
determine, consistent with our findings above, that the Lower H Block 
can be allocated for commercial use, assigned via a system of 
competitive bidding, and licensed subject to flexible use service rules 
pursuant to the Spectrum Act. Consequently, we reject Savari's proposal 
that we make the 1915-1920 MHz band a combination unlicensed PCS (UPCS) 
and licensed low power band. See Savari Comments at 14; infra Section 
III.B.1. (Band Plan, Block Configuration).

B. Band Plan

    23. Band plans establish parameters and provide licensees with 
certainty as to the spectrum they are authorized to use. Here, Congress 
has identified the H Block bands--1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz--as 
the frequencies for the band plan. To establish the specific band plan 
for these frequencies, the Commission must determine the block 
configuration, whether to license the blocks on a geographic area basis 
and, if so, the appropriate service area. In the H Block NPRM, the 
Commission proposed licensing the H Block as paired 5 megahertz blocks, 
with the Upper H Block used for high power base stations and the Lower 
H Block used for mobile and low power fixed operations. The Commission 
also proposed licensing the H Block on a geographic licensing scheme 
based on Economic Areas (EAs). Finally, the Commission also sought 
comment on how best to license spectrum in the Gulf of Mexico. The 
Commission sought comment on these proposals, including on their 
associated costs and benefits.
    24. In the band plan, based on the record before us, we adopt the H 
Block band plan of 1915-1920 MHz paired with 1995-2000 MHz, configured 
as 5 + 5 megahertz blocks, and will license the H Block on an EA basis, 
including for the Gulf of Mexico. In so doing, we find that 1915-1920 
MHz shall be used for mobile and low power fixed (i.e., uplink) 
operations and 1995-2000 MHz shall be used for base station and fixed 
(i.e., downlink) operations.
1. Block Configuration
    25. In 2004, the Commission designated the H Block for licensed 
fixed and mobile services, including advanced wireless services. The 
Commission further decided to pair 1915-1920 MHz with 1995-2000 MHz 
because it found that doing so would promote efficient use of the 
spectrum and allow for the introduction of commercial wireless mobile 
and fixed services. The Commission also observed that it would be 
advantageous to use the Lower H Block for low power or mobile 
operations as the adjacent 1910-1915 MHz band is used by PCS mobile 
operations, and that high power base stations in the band could result 
in harmful interference to operations in the PCS band.
    26. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission observed there was no 
apparent reason to alter the proposed pairing or use of the 1915-1920 
MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands. To ensure the PCS bands were adequately 
protected from harmful interference due to operations in the Lower H 
Block, the Commission also proposed to prohibit high power base station 
operations in 1915-1920 MHz. In response to these proposals, commenters 
generally supported the Commission's goal of maintaining the pairing of 
the H Block spectrum and the designated uplink/downlink bands. 
Additionally, some commenters addressed the Commission's inquiry for 
alternative configurations of the H Block, which we discuss below. No 
party presented cost or benefit data in support of its position.
    27. We adopt the proposal to maintain the pairing of 1915-1920 MHz 
with 1995-2000 MHz. In doing so, we observe that Congress, in enacting 
the Spectrum Act and directing us to license these bands, did not 
express disagreement with the Commission's earlier determination to 
pair these bands. We find this approach in the public interest and find 
that the benefits of this approach likely outweigh any potential costs. 
As several commenters discuss, pairing the lower and upper portions of 
the H Block will promote the efficient use of this spectrum and allow 
for the proliferation of wireless services. In addition, consistent 
with the record, we expect that adopting the paired spectrum band plan 
will facilitate the deployment of wireless fixed and mobile services in 
rural areas. Further, by licensing the H Block as a paired band, we 
allay the concerns some commenters expressed about the risk of a 
stranded, standalone block of spectrum that may be unsuitable for 
mobile broadband use.
    28. Additionally, configuring the H Block as a 5 + 5 megahertz band 
will allow for flexibility and efficiency in the deployment of wireless 
services and technologies. Five megahertz blocks can support a variety 
of wireless broadband technologies. While we do not prescribe a 
specific technology for use in the H Block, we expect that most users 
of the band will deploy 4G or 3G Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) 
technologies. Various globally-standardized technologies, including 
Wideband-Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA), High Speed Packet 
Access (HSPA), and their variants, use 5 + 5 megahertz paired blocks 
when deployed as FDD. Long Term Evolution (LTE), which commenters 
indicate is the most likely technology to be deployed in the H Block in 
the near term, supports a variety of block sizes, including multiples 
of 5 megahertz. Thus, as C Spire comments, adopting a 5 + 5 megahertz 
band plan allows an operator using today's LTE technology to deploy in 
the band.
    29. In adopting this band plan, we also adopt the proposal to 
prohibit high powered fixed and base station operations in the Lower H 
band, i.e., 1915-1920 MHz. Limiting base station operations to the 
1995-2000 MHz band will reduce the potential for harmful interference 
to PCS operations. Because the PCS spectrum immediately proximate to 
the Lower H Block is used for mobile operations, a high powered signal 
emanating from 1915-1920 MHz, such as from a base station, may cause 
harmful interference due to receiver overload. As we discuss below and 
have concluded previously, the power limits necessary to avoid this 
potential problem preclude the use of base stations in this band. 
Therefore, based on the record before us, we determine the 1915-1920 
MHz band will be used for mobile operations (uplink) and the 1995-2000 
MHz band will be used for base station operations (downlink).
    30. Alternatives. Our decision today to pair 1915-1920 MHz band 
with the 1995-2000 MHz band moots concerns that some commenters have 
raised regarding the possibility of either band standing alone. 
Specifically, by pairing

[[Page 50219]]

these two spectrum bands together, neither the Lower H Block nor Upper 
H Block will become a standalone ``stranded'' five megahertz block. In 
addition, we find it unnecessary to address Savari's suggestion that, 
as part of its plan to have the Commission license the H Block as a low 
power guard manager band, the Commission permit the H Block licensee to 
partner the 1915-1920 MHz band with unlicensed PCS channels in the 
adjacent 1920-1930 MHz band. Because we decline to adopt Savari's 
predicate proposal that the H Block be licensed under a low power guard 
band manager approach, we need not reach the issue of ``partnership'' 
with adjacent UPCS channels.
    31. Interoperability. As discussed below, the H Block spectrum is 
adjacent to the PCS spectrum and the technical rules we adopt for the H 
Block would permit the H Block effectively to be operated as an 
extension of the PCS band. The Commission historically has been 
interested in promoting interoperability, beginning with the licensing 
of cellular spectrum. Although the Commission did not adopt a rule to 
require band-wide interoperability for PCS, it stressed the importance 
of interoperability by acknowledging industry efforts to establish 
voluntary interoperability standards. We continue to believe that 
interoperability is an important aspect of future deployment of mobile 
broadband services and generally serves the public interest. We note 
that no party has requested that we impose an interoperability 
requirement here to further the public interest. We strongly encourage 
all stakeholders in this ecosystem to develop new equipment in a manner 
that promotes, rather than hinders, interoperability. We intend to 
closely monitor the development of the equipment market in the H block 
and neighboring PCS band as well as other future developments in this 
band in order to assess whether additional action will need to be taken 
to promote interoperability.
2. Service Area
a. Geographic Area Licensing
    32. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to adopt a 
geographic area licensing approach for the H Block, reasoning that such 
an approach is well-suited for the types of fixed and mobile services 
that would likely be deployed in these bands.
    33. We adopt a geographic area licensing scheme for the H Block for 
the reasons that the Commission articulated in the H Block NPRM, namely 
that it is well-suited for the types of fixed and mobile services that 
we expect to be deployed in the H Block and will maintain consistency 
with numerous other bands. Given the record before us, we conclude that 
this approach is in the public interest and that the benefits of 
geographic area licensing likely outweigh any potential costs. We find 
it particularly significant that geographic area licensing in the H 
Block is consistent with the Commission's licensing approach for other 
similar commercial bands, including AWS-1, Broadband PCS, Commercial 
700 MHz, and AWS-4. As the Commission has observed in the past, 
geographic licensing also carries many additional benefits, including: 
(1) Providing licensees with substantial flexibility to respond to 
market demand, which results in significant improvements in spectrum 
utilization and allows new and innovative technologies to rapidly 
develop; (2) permitting economies of scale because licensees can 
coordinate usage across an entire geographic area to maximize spectrum 
use; and (3) reducing regulatory burdens and transaction costs because 
wide-area licensing does not require site-by-site approval, thus 
allowing a licensee to aggregate its service territories without 
incurring the administrative costs and delays associated with site-by-
site licensing. Further, geographic area licensing in the H Block will 
allow the Commission to assign initial licenses through a system of 
competitive bidding in accordance with the Spectrum Act. Finally, we 
observe that the record supports geographic area licensing for the H 
Block, which no commenter has opposed.
b. Service Area Size
    34. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to license the H 
Block on an Economic Area (EA) basis. The Commission sought comment on 
this approach and asked commenters to discuss and quantify the 
economic, technical, and other public interest considerations of any 
particular geographic licensing scheme for this band, as well as the 
impact that any such scheme would have on rural service and 
competition. Alternatively, the Commission sought comment on nationwide 
licensing for the H Block, including whether it would maximize or limit 
the opportunity for licensees to provide the widest array of services 
and would provide the necessary incentives to expand existing 
technologies and create new ones. The Commission requested that 
commenters compare the advantages and disadvantages of nationwide 
licensing to those of EA licensing. Further, the Commission sought 
comment on licensing areas smaller than EAs for the H Block, including 
whether it would facilitate use by smaller and rural operators and 
whether the benefits of such an approach would outweigh the potential 
diseconomies of scale. Finally, the Commission requested comment on 
whether there are any other geographic licensing methods for the H 
Block that would better meet the Commission's goals.
    35. Comments on the proposal were mixed. Some commenters, including 
both small and large carriers, supported EA-based licensing, while 
other commenters opposed EAs and advocated license areas smaller than 
EAs. While one commenter supported either nationwide or large regional 
(i.e., Major Economic Areas) licenses, several other commenters opposed 
such a licensing scheme. One party also supported ``roadway or highway 
license[s].'' No party, however, provided cost or benefit data to 
support its position.
    36. We will license the H Block on an EA basis. As explained below, 
licensing based on EAs has been used for similar bands and is a useful 
and appropriate geographic approach. We believe that licensing the H 
Block on an EA basis will help us to meet several statutory goals, 
including providing for the efficient use of spectrum; encouraging 
deployment of wireless broadband services to consumers; and promoting 
investment in and rapid deployment of new technologies and services. 
Given the record before us, we conclude that licensing the H Block on 
an EA basis is in the public interest and that the benefits of this 
approach likely outweigh any potential costs.
    37. We believe that licensing on an EA-basis strikes the 
appropriate balance in license size for this band. We find it 
particularly significant that the two bands adjacent to the H Block, 
PCS G Block and AWS-4, are licensed on an EA basis. As the record 
indicates, adopting the same size geographic area as is used in 
adjacent bands may encourage rapid deployment in and use of the 
spectrum. Thus, to the extent that licensees for either of those bands 
ultimately obtain licenses for the H Block, EAs may present 
opportunities for efficiencies that other geographic license sizes 
would not offer. For example, AT&T states that EA-based licensing here 
would be consistent with the Commission's adoption of EA-based 
licensing in other spectrum bands that will likely be used for mobile 
broadband. Sprint, moreover, states that the consistent use of EA-based 
licensing

[[Page 50220]]

in PCS, AWS-4, and now H Block will encourage quick deployment in the H 
Block spectrum.
    38. We also believe that licensing this band using EAs will 
facilitate access to spectrum for both small and large carriers. We 
believe that it will facilitate access by smaller carriers because EAs 
are small enough to provide spectrum access opportunities to such 
carriers. At the same time, EAs are large enough that large carriers 
can aggregate them up to larger license areas, including into Major 
Economic Areas (MEAs) and Regional Economic Area Groupings (REAGs), 
thus achieving economies of scale.
    39. Several commenters supported EA-based licensing. For example, 
as stated above, AT&T and Sprint support EA-based licensing because 
this band is adjacent to other bands that have been licensed on an EA-
basis. MetroPCS explains that EA-based licensing helps to ensure that 
the bidder that most highly values the spectrum in a particular area 
acquires that license. C Spire argues that EA-based licensing would 
``allow for efficient geographic aggregation of licenses. And CCA 
asserts there are numerous advantages to EA-based licensing, including 
that it provides ``rural and regional carriers [with] reasonable 
opportunities to bid.''
    40. Other commenters opposed EAs as either too large or too small. 
Commenters proposing smaller geographic license areas advocated for 
Cellular Market Areas (CMAs), including both Metropolitan Statistical 
Areas (MSAs) and Rural Service Areas (RSAs). They argued that small and 
rural carriers cannot afford EAs and that, because EAs include both 
urban and rural areas, large carriers that purchase EAs can focus their 
buildout efforts on urban centers to the detriment of rural customers. 
Another commenter argued that that the H Block should be licensed on a 
larger-than-EA basis either on a nationwide basis or on a Major 
Economic Area (MEA).
    41. On balance, we are not persuaded that we should adopt 
geographic license areas smaller or larger than EAs. Rather, we find 
that--for the H Block--licensing the spectrum on an EA basis best 
balances the Commission's public interest goals of encouraging 
widespread geographic buildout (including in rural areas) and providing 
licensees with sufficient flexibility to scale their networks. We find 
this particularly so because, as explained above, EA-based licensing 
will make H Block consistent with two adjacent bands. Moreover, we note 
that CMAs do not ``nest'' easily into EAs, which could make it more 
difficult for licensees to aggregate license areas to match the 
neighboring bands. Finally, to the extent that an entity desires to 
obtain access to H Block spectrum for less than an EA geographic area, 
secondary market transactions (e.g. partitioning) offer a possible way 
to obtain such access.
    42. Finally, we observe that Savari argues that, if the FCC adopts 
EA-based licensing, it should issue ``roadway licenses'' that cover 
highways and areas near highways; areas that, it implies, may lie 
between EAs. We disagree. To the extent that this commenter suggests 
that the FCC should issue roadway licenses between EAs, we are not 
aware of geographic areas that exist between EAs. More generally, we 
believe that EA, rather than roadway, licenses will lead to more 
widespread service to consumers in this band. Further, we believe the 
public interest lies in covering as much area as possible given the 
economics of the band. In many cases, even in very rural areas, this 
may extend beyond roadways.
3. Licensing the Gulf of Mexico
    43. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission sought comment on whether 
and, if so, how to license the Gulf of Mexico. The Commission sought 
comment on whether the Gulf should be included as part of larger 
service areas, or whether the Gulf should be licensed separately.
    44. We will license the H Block for the Gulf of Mexico. We find it 
appropriate to follow Commission precedent from the AWS-1 and AWS-4 
bands, both of which licensed the Gulf as a separate EA license. 
Moreover, the only party who commented on this issue supports the 
proposal to make available an EA license for the Gulf. Finally, we 
determine to apply the existing definition of the Gulf of Mexico EA 
contained in section 27.6 of the Commission rules when licensing the 
Gulf. Specifically, the Gulf of Mexico service area is comprised of the 
water area of the Gulf of Mexico starting 12 nautical miles from the 
U.S. Gulf coast and extending outward.

C. Technical Issues

    45. Pursuant to the statutory direction of the Communications Act 
of 1934, as amended, the Commission adopts rules for commercial 
spectrum in a manner that furthers and maximizes the public interest. 
Notably, when developing policies for a particular band, the Commission 
looks at other bands that might be affected, particularly the adjacent 
bands. Consequently, the Commission must often balance competing 
interests of adjacent bands, and potentially competing public interest 
considerations, when crafting rules. Because the rules for one band, 
particularly the interference protection rules, affect the use and 
value of other bands and thus the public interest benefits that can be 
realized through the use of those adjacent bands, we take a holistic 
view when establishing the technical rules for each spectrum band.
    46. In this section, we adopt the technical operating rules (e.g., 
interference rules) that will govern H Block operations and licensees. 
In general, our aim in establishing technical rules is to maximize the 
flexible use of spectrum while appropriately protecting operations in 
neighboring bands. Here, we also specifically consider our statutory 
obligations set forth in the Spectrum Act with respect to the 1930-1995 
MHz broadband PCS band, which specifically requires us to determine 
whether either of the H Block bands ``cannot be used without causing 
harmful interference to commercial mobile service licensees in the 
[1930-1995 MHz PCS band].''
    47. We base the technical rules we adopt below on the rules for the 
AWS and PCS spectrum bands, which have similar characteristics to the H 
Block and that we therefore expect would permit optimal use of the H 
Block by its licensees. In applying these rules to the H Block, we 
specifically adopt rules to adequately protect operations in adjacent 
bands, including the existing 1930-1995 MHz broadband PCS downlink band 
and the 2000-2020 MHz AWS-4 uplink band. Finally, given the record 
before us and the analyses provided below, we conclude that the 
benefits of the technical rules we adopt herein likely outweigh any 
potential costs.
1. Upper H Block: 1995-2000 MHz
    48. The Upper H Block is immediately above the 1930-1995 MHz PCS 
band, which is subject to the Spectrum Act's harmful interference 
provision. The PCS band currently is used for base station transmit/
mobile receive (i.e., downlink) purposes. In the H Block NPRM, the 
Commission tentatively concluded that operating base stations in 1995-
2000 MHz would be compatible with similar use of the spectrum in the 
1930-1995 MHz band, and that more restrictive technical standards than 
those established for other AWS stations in similar bands would be 
unnecessary to protect the PCS band from harmful interference. No 
technical concerns were raised in the record about interference between 
the Upper H Block and PCS base stations operating below 1995 MHz. As 
stated above, the 1995-2000 MHz Upper H band will serve as

[[Page 50221]]

downlink spectrum and is thus compatible with adjacent downlink 
operations below the band.
    49. The Upper H Block is also situated immediately below the 2000-
2020 MHz band, which is allocated on a co-primary basis for Fixed, 
Mobile, and Mobile Satellite (Earth-to-space, i.e., for mobile 
transmit/satellite or base station receive), and is licensed for both 
Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) and AWS-4 terrestrial wireless services. 
The Commission recently adopted service rules that permit use of the 
2000-2020 MHz band for terrestrial mobile-to-base (uplink) 
transmissions. In so doing, the Commission concluded that certain 
protections were needed to avoid harmful interference between the Upper 
H Block and 2000-2020 MHz band. Having weighed various public interest 
considerations, the Commission imposed certain limited power 
restrictions and out-of-band emission (OOBE) limits on AWS-4 uplinks to 
preserve the capability for full flexible use of the Upper H Block. 
Additionally, the Commission concluded that 2 GHz MSS operators and 
AWS-4 licensees must accept harmful interference from future, lawful 
operations in the Upper H Block due to either Upper H Block OOBEs into 
the 2000-2005 MHz portion of the AWS-4 uplink band or to Upper H Block 
in-band power (receiver overload) into the AWS-4 uplink band. DISH 
Network Corp.'s (DISH) AWS-4 and 2 GHz MSS subsidiaries accepted the 
Order of Proposed Modification, which accompanied the AWS-4 Report and 
Order and which, thus, included these requirements. Commission staff 
subsequently issued an Order of Modification and issued modified 
licenses. Nothing in our discussion below is intended to revisit these 
determinations.
a. Upper H Block Power Limits
    50. We adopt transmitter power limits for the Upper H Block that 
will maximize the full flexible use of the spectrum while ensuring 
against harmful interference to adjacent PCS operations and, in the 
case of the AWS-4 band, adequately protecting adjacent operations due 
to receiver overload. Receiver overload may result when signals outside 
of the receiver's nominal bandwidth cause the receiver to experience an 
increased noise level or produce non-linear responses. In setting power 
limits, we balance the power necessary to ensure successful 
communication in the band against the level of interference that 
adjacent services can tolerate based on their operational needs and the 
public interests served. In doing so here, we ensure against harmful 
interference to the adjacent PCS band and, in the case of the adjacent 
AWS-4 band, set a power limit necessary to ensure successful 
communication by H Block licensees based on the public interest 
balancing the Commission established in the AWS-4 Report and Order.
    51. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed and sought comment 
on adopting the standard base station power limits applicable to AWS 
and PCS stations. These power limits are 1640 watts equivalent 
isotropically radiated power (EIRP) for emissions with less than a 1 
MHz channel bandwidth and 1640 watts/MHz for emissions greater than 1 
MHz in non-rural areas. In rural areas, i.e., counties with population 
densities of 100 persons or fewer per square mile, the power limits are 
3280 watts EIRP for emissions with less than a 1 MHz channel bandwidth 
and 3280 watts/MHz EIRP for emissions greater than 1 MHz. The AWS and 
PCS rules also require providers operating in excess of the 1640 watts/
1640 watts/MHz EIRP to coordinate with adjacent block licensees within 
120 km. Except as detailed below, commenters generally supported these 
proposed power limits.
    52. For H Block operations in the 1995-2000 MHz band, we adopt a 
power limit for operations in non-rural areas of 1640 watts EIRP for 
emissions less than 1 MHz and 1640 watts/MHz for emissions greater than 
1 MHz. We adopt a power limit for operations in rural areas of 3280 
watts EIRP for emissions less than 1 MHz and 3280 watts/MHz for 
emissions greater than 1 MHz. For purposes of this rule, a rural area 
refers to a county with a population density of 100 persons or fewer 
per square mile. Further, we allow operations in excess of the EIRP of 
1640 watts and 1640 watts/MHz limits after coordination with adjacent 
PCS G Block licensees within 120 km, as is allowed for similar 
operations in the AWS and PCS services. We adopt these power limits 
because they are the same as those for base stations in other AWS 
services, including AWS-1 services and the recently adopted limits for 
AWS-4 base stations and substantially the same as for PCS base 
stations. Most parties that commented on this issue supported adopting 
these power limits. As both Sprint and U.S. Cellular observed, the 
Commission has consistently proposed and adopted these power limits for 
other services. Additionally, Sprint commented that such power levels 
will provide adequate protection for PCS licensees in neighboring 
spectrum bands. No party claimed otherwise. Based on the record and our 
prior experience with similar services, we conclude that these power 
limits are consistent with the Spectrum Act's requirement for avoiding 
harmful interference to the adjacent PCS band. Further, because these 
limits reflect established measures of efficient use of spectrum for 
similar services in other bands, we believe they are consistent with 
the goals of ensuring full, robust, commercial service for mobile 
broadband, as set forth in the AWS-4 Report and Order.
    53. In adopting these power limits for H Block base stations, we 
acknowledge that wording in the H Block NPRM may have led to confusion 
on the part of one commenter (DISH). In the H Block NPRM, the 
Commission specifically ``propose[d] to adopt the standard base station 
power limits that apply to AWS and PCS stations,'' but did not include 
the power density limit for emissions greater than 1 megahertz in 
summarizing the existing rules, despite the fact that the Commission's 
AWS and PCS rules explicitly include such limits. In supporting the 
proposed power limits, Sprint correctly referenced ``standard power 
limits of 1640 watts/MHz for non-rural areas and 3280 watts/MHz for 
non-rural areas.'' In its Reply, DISH claimed that the Commission 
intended for the Upper H Block power to be measured across the entire 5 
megahertz of the band, and that Sprint was improperly seeking to 
measure the power across one megahertz, thereby increasing the radiated 
power by 7 dB within the Upper H Block. We disagree. The Commission's 
intent was to propose Upper H Block power limits that would be measured 
across one megahertz (for emissions greater than one megahertz). In any 
event, we now determine to measure power limits in a manner consistent 
with the PCS and AWS bands. Accordingly, we now adopt the standard AWS 
base station power limits, as described above, based on the record 
presented in response to the H Block NPRM.
    54. Further, to the extent DISH may be arguing for lower power 
limits than those in other AWS bands and the PCS band, its argument is 
unsupported and misplaced. DISH's statement that some existing PCS 
equipment (we are not aware of equipment presently existing for the H 
Block band) may operate at lower maximum power levels is not in and of 
itself dispositive of the appropriate maximum permissible power levels. 
Rather, this argument appears simply to present an example of PCS 
equipment operating well within the applicable PCS rules.
    55. We also reject DISH's argument that symmetrical power 
reductions for

[[Page 50222]]

the H Block are necessary. DISH suggested that, should the Commission 
determine that (1) full-power operations of the Lower H Block would 
cause harmful interference into the PCS band and, (2) it is necessary 
to mediate this effect by reducing the power limits of the mobiles 
transmitting in the Lower H Block, then the Commission should adopt 
similarly reduced power limits for the Upper H Block (1995-2000 MHz). 
DISH explained that, ``[f]or instance, if the Commission decides to 
limit the H Block uplink transmit power across 1915-1920 MHz to 13 dBm, 
as opposed to the typical [3rd Generation Partnership Protect] 3GPP 
power level of 23 dBm, then the base station radiated power should 
accordingly be reduced by 10 dB to 164 Watts, as opposed to the 
Commission's proposal of 1640 watts.'' Because, as explained below, we 
do not reduce the permissible power levels for mobile devices in the 
Lower H Block below the 23 dBm level discussed by DISH, we dismiss as 
moot DISH's argument to apply symmetrical power restrictions both to 
the lower and upper bands.
    56. In sum, we adopt a power limit of 1640 watts EIRP for emissions 
with less than 1 MHz channel bandwidth and 1640 watts/MHz for emissions 
greater than 1 MHz in non-rural areas and of 3280 watts EIRP for 
emissions with less than a 1 MHz channel bandwidth and 3280 watts/MHz 
EIRP for emissions greater than 1 MHz in rural areas as sufficient to 
protect PCS licensees in the 1930-1995 MHz band from harmful 
interference and to adequately protect AWS uplink operations, while 
enabling H Block licensees to operate full power base stations. 
Further, we allow operations in excess of the EIRP of 1640 watts and 
1640 watts/MHz limits after coordination with adjacent PCS G Block 
licensees within 120 km, as is allowed for similar operations in the 
AWS and PCS services.
b. Upper H Block Out-of-Band Emissions Limits
    57. To minimize or eliminate harmful interference between adjacent 
spectrum blocks, the Commission's rules generally limit the amount of 
radio frequency (``RF'') power that may be emitted outside of, or in a 
range of frequencies outside of, the assigned block of an RF 
transmission. In both the PCS and AWS-1 bands, for example, the 
Commission established an OOBE limit that requires emissions outside a 
licensee's assigned spectrum block be attenuated by a level of at least 
43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where P is the transmit power in 
watts.
    58. To protect operations in adjacent and nearby bands above and 
below the Upper H Block, the Commission proposed, and sought comment on 
(including on the associated costs and benefits), a general OOBE limit 
for H Block base stations of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where P 
is the transmit power in watts, outside of the 1995-2000 MHz band. This 
is consistent with the OOBE limits of the adjacent PCS operations 
within the 1930-1995 MHz band. In addition to this general limit, the 
Commission proposed that H Block operations meet a more stringent OOBE 
limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter 
power in watts, between 2005 MHz and 2020 MHz to provide interference 
mitigation to AWS-4 terrestrial uplink operations. As the Commission 
observed, this additional proposed interference protection is meant to 
ensure that all of the Upper H Block spectrum can be used for downlink 
operations, while affording additional protections to most of the AWS-4 
uplink band. Commenters generally supported the proposed OOBE limits 
into the 1930-1995 MHz PCS band, but several commenters proposed 
alternative OOBE limits for emissions above 2000 MHz. Although a few 
commenters made general assertions regarding the costs of adopting 
certain OOBE limits, no party submitted any cost or benefit data.
    59. For the reasons discussed below, except as otherwise specified, 
we adopt the proposed OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, 
where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, for Upper H Block base 
station transmissions outside of 1995-2000 MHz, including into the 
1930-1995 MHz and 2000-2005 MHz bands. We also establish an OOBE limit 
of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power 
in watts, for transmissions from the Upper H Block into the 2005-2020 
MHz AWS-4 band. We find that this approach both protects the 1930-1995 
MHz band and the 2005-2020 MHz portion of the AWS-4 band from harmful 
interference, and provides adequate protection to the adjacent, lowest 
five megahertz of the AWS-4 band at 2000-2005 MHz. Thus, these OOBE 
limits allow us to meet the requirements set forth in the Spectrum Act 
with regard to the PCS downlink band, and to best manage the use of 
these spectrum bands in the public interest, consistent with the 
balancing we established in the AWS-4 proceeding. Further, as detailed 
below, our evaluation of the record and our consideration of how best 
to serve the public interest demonstrate that the various alternative 
proposals for OOBE limits put forth by commenters do not sufficiently 
balance the use of the H Block and use of the neighboring spectrum 
bands.
    60. General OOBE Limit. We adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 
log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, 
for Upper H Block transmissions outside of the 1995-2000 MHz band, 
except as described below. We anticipate that H Block systems will be 
similar in design to PCS and AWS-1, which have effectively relied on 
the 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB OOBE limit in the Commission's 
rules to prevent harmful interference to operations in adjacent and 
nearby bands. The record also contains support for this OOBE limit. We 
therefore adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where 
(P) is the transmitter power in watts, for transmitters operating in 
the Upper H Block, except as detailed below.
    61. Emissions into PCS. We adopt and apply the general OOBE limit 
of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power 
in watts, for Upper H Block transmissions into 1930-1995 MHz. The 
record demonstrates support for our decision as commenters support the 
proposed 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB for base station transmissions 
from the 1995-2000 MHz band into the PCS bands located in 1930-1995 
MHz. For example, U.S. Cellular and Sprint support an OOBE limit of 43 
+ 10 log10 (P) dB as the emissions restriction imposed on 
operations in the 1995-2000 MHz band. With respect to emissions into 
PCS, no party has opposed this limit. Moreover, inasmuch as the Upper H 
Block can be viewed from a technical perspective as an extension of the 
1930-1995 MHz PCS band because they are both adjacent downlink bands, 
the 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB OOBE limit that applies between 
adjacent PCS downlink blocks logically should also apply to Upper H 
Block emissions into the 1930-1995 MHz PCS bands. Thus, to protect PCS 
operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band from harmful interference, we 
adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB for Upper H 
Block base transmissions.
    62. Emissions into AWS-4. We adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 
log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, 
for Upper H Block transmissions into 2000-2005 MHz and an OOBE limit of 
70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in 
watts, for Upper H Block transmissions into 2005-2020 MHz. We find 
these limits appropriately balance the difficult technical challenges 
associated with the Upper H Block (i.e., downlink) being adjacent to 
the 2000-2020 MHz AWS-4 band (i.e., uplink), which the Commission

[[Page 50223]]

addressed in the AWS-4 Report and Order. As the Commission previously 
observed, uplink spectrum bands that are adjacent to downlink spectrum 
bands raise difficult interference issues that require balancing the 
needs of both bands. In striking this balance, the Commission must 
determine what technical limits are appropriate, because the rules for 
one band affect the use and value of other bands, and the Commission 
seeks to maximize the efficient use of all bands. In the AWS-4 
proceeding, for example, the Commission weighed the potential 
interference issues between the 2000-2020 MHz AWS-4 band and the 1995-
2000 MHz H Block band. The Commission's assessment concluded that, to 
protect the utility of the Upper H Block, (1) AWS-4 uplink operations 
must meet a relatively strict OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 
(P) dB into the 1995-2000 MHz band and into the 1930-1995 MHz PCS band, 
and (2) AWS-4 and 2 GHz MSS licensees would be required to accept 
harmful interference from lawful operations in the 1995-2000 MHz band 
if such interference is due to OOBE into the 2000-2005 MHz band or due 
to receiver overload into the 2000-2020 MHz band. In now establishing 
the technical rules for the Upper H Block, it is appropriate to 
likewise recognize the impact operations in this band may have on 
licensees above 2000 MHz.
    63. In assessing the needs of both Upper H Block and AWS-4 uplink 
band, we start from an understanding of the current interference 
environment. Under the Commission's rules, emissions from the PCS 
downlink band at 1930-1995 MHz, including the G Block (1990-1995 MHz), 
into the AWS-4 uplink band at 2000-2020 MHz are limited to 43 + 10 
log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts. 
Our rules, however, are not the only factors affecting the operation 
and performance of AWS-4 systems. Both Sprint and DISH cite the 3GPP 
standards to support their differing cases for the OOBE limit into the 
AWS-4 band. These standards allow for an OOBE limit of -30 dBm/MHz 
(equivalent to attenuation of 60 + 10 log10 (P) dB) into the 
2000-2010 MHz band, dropping to -49 dBm/MHz (equivalent to 79 + 10 
log10 (P) dB) in the 2010-2020 MHz band. Additionally, the 
3GPP standard noted that OOBE limits would only apply 5 MHz or farther 
from the edge of the PCS base station's operating band. This allows 5 
megahertz within which the transmitter's output can roll off to meet 
the tighter limits.
    64. Sprint (which holds all of the licenses for the PCS G Block, as 
well as some licenses for other PCS blocks) advocated for a limit of 60 
+ 10 log10 (P) dB across the 2005-2020 MHz band and DISH 
(which holds all of the AWS-4 licenses) advocated for a more stringent 
79 + 10 log10 (P) dB limit across the 2005-2020 MHz band. In 
other words, relatively speaking, DISH would prefer that we impose 
greater restrictions on the transmissions from the Upper H Block into 
the AWS-4 band, while Sprint would prefer lesser restrictions on those 
Upper H Block transmissions. Both Sprint and DISH cite 3GPP standards 
in arguing for their preferred OOBE limits. Historically, while the 
Commission may take into consideration the determinations of third 
party technical standards organizations, such as 3GPP, the Commission 
also considers other factors not relevant to standards organizations. 
For instance, the Commission necessarily takes into account its 
enabling, and any other relevant, statute, which would not be binding 
on a third party standards organization. We are required, for example, 
to manage spectrum in the public interest, and to ``generally encourage 
the larger and more effective use of radio in the public interest.'' 
Private standards bodies may have other bases for their determinations, 
which may reflect compromises among the participants that are not 
subject to the statutory mandates that must inform our actions. 
Accordingly, while the Commission may independently incorporate 
industry standards based on the particular record before it, it does 
not typically adopt such interference standards as Commission rules. We 
again decline to do so here. Further, inasmuch as the OOBE limit we 
establish herein represents a ceiling, not a floor, industry remains 
free to set a more restrictive value through technical standards 
bodies, such as 3GPP.
    65. In maximizing the usefulness of both bands, we seek to set 
appropriate limits on OOBE such that the overall interference imposed 
on AWS-4 uplink operations is no more than currently exists, to the 
greatest extent possible, without imposing a harsh and undue burden on 
Upper H Block downlink operations. We therefore adopt an OOBE limit of 
43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in 
watts, for all Upper H Block emissions above 2000 MHz, including the 
2000-2005 MHz portion of the AWS-4 band, except for transmissions into 
2005-2020 MHz. As discussed above, this emission limit (10 
log10) is the same level of protection that the Commission's 
rules currently provide AWS-4 operations from transmissions from 
existing PCS downlink operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band. For Upper H 
Block transmissions into 2005-2020 MHz, we adopt a more stringent OOBE 
limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter 
power in watts. This layered approach, encompassing one set of 
interference standards for emissions into the first five megahertz and 
a more stringent limit on emissions into the remaining fifteen 
megahertz, provides some flexibility for the H Block operator to design 
the emission characteristics of its system to meet the tougher OOBE 
limits into the 2005-2020 MHz band. This approach, moreover, was 
contemplated by the Commission in the AWS-4 Report and Order where the 
Commission, in requiring AWS-4 licensees to accept certain interference 
in the AWS-4 uplink band, stated that ``base station transmit filters 
need 1 to 5 megahertz to roll off to a low level of emissions.'' In 
addition, under the 3GPP standards, out-of-band emissions from PCS LTE 
operations must satisfy an OOBE limit of 60 + 10 log10 (P) 
dB at 2000-2010 MHz and then transition sharply to satisfy a much 
stricter limit of 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB at 2010-2020 MHz. As 
a practical matter, however, out-of-band emissions tend to roll off 
smoothly and do not mimic the step functions of the limits set by 
standards bodies, such as 3GPP. As a result, the emissions from LTE 
operations in the PCS band will naturally decrease smoothly from the 60 
+ 10 log10 (P) dB level at 2000 MHz to the 79 + 10 
log10 (P) dB from 2010-2020 MHz. The limit we set at 2005 
MHz--70 + 10 log10 (P) dB--approximates the emissions level 
that we expect would arise at 2005 MHz as emissions roll off between 
2000 MHz and 2010 MHz. Therefore, we expect that the overall harmful 
interference risk on the AWS-4 A Block operator from future H Block 
operators would be no more than exists today from existing PCS 
operators. That is, just as PCS operations are not expected to cause 
harmful OOBE interference at 2005-2020 MHz, nor are H Block operations 
expected to cause OOBE interference at the limit we set here.
    66. In response to the Commission's proposed OOBE limits into the 
AWS-4 uplink band, parties commented that the proposed limits were both 
too lenient and too strict. DISH argued that 43 + 10 log10 
(P) dB is insufficient to protect AWS-4 and 2 GHz MSS operations in 
2000-2005 MHz and that 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB is insufficient 
protection for operations in 2005-2010 MHz. Rather, DISH suggested a 
three-fold approach to protect AWS-4/2 GHz

[[Page 50224]]

MSS operations. DISH proposed an OOBE limit of 55 + 10 log10 
(P) dB for emissions in the 2000-2005 MHz band, an OOBE limit of 79 + 
10 log10 (P) dB for emissions above 2005 MHz, and an OOBE 
limit of 116 + 10 log10 (P) dB for co-located sites. 
Conversely, Sprint opposed the H Block NPRM's proposal of 70 + 10 
log10 (P) dB above 2005 MHz as imposing too stringent a 
restriction on Upper H Block transmissions and recommended an OOBE 
limit of 60 + 10 log10 (P) dB into and above 2005.
    67. We reject both proposals as improperly balanced, with the DISH 
proposal overly burdensome for a full powered, flexible use H Block and 
the Sprint proposal too burdensome on AWS-4 operations and unnecessary 
to allow the Upper H Block licensees full, flexible use of that 
spectrum.
    68. First, we reject DISH's proposal that Upper H Block operations 
be restricted to an OOBE limit of 55 + 10 log10 (P) dB 
between 2000 and 2005 MHz. As discussed above, we establish an OOBE 
limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB between 2000 and 2005 MHz and 
believe this represents an appropriate balance between ensuring the 
utility of the Upper H Block and the AWS-4 uplink band. A level of 55, 
rather than 43, plus 10 log10 (P) dB would be 32 times more 
stringent and would thus restrain the full use of the H Block. DISH 
argues that this OOBE level is necessary because aggregate power from 
all H Block base stations in the direction of the satellite would 
inadequately protect the satellite. We agree with Sprint and U.S. 
Cellular that DISH's argument is an inappropriate collateral attack on 
the AWS-4 Report and Order and our related order modifying the licenses 
of DISH's subsidiaries, which they have accepted. The Commission 
explicitly addressed the issue of how to balance Upper H Block 
interference into the 2000-2005 MHz band, for both terrestrial and MSS 
operations, in the AWS-4 Report and Order. There the Commission stated:

to the extent that future operations in the 1995-2000 MHz band, 
operating within the rules established for use of the 1995-2000 MHz 
band, cause harmful interference to AWS-4 operations or MSS 
operations due to . . . OOBE in the 2000-2005 MHz portion of the 
AWS-4 and 2 GHz MSS uplink band . . . AWS-4 and 2 GHz MSS licenses 
must accept this interference.

We therefore reject DISH's proposed OOBE limit of 55 + 10 
log10 (P) dB between 2000 and 2005 MHz because it conflicts 
with the full potential use of the H Block and would be inconsistent 
with the AWS-4 Report and Order.
    69. Second, we reject DISH's proposal for an OOBE limit of 79 + 10 
log10 (P) dB at and above 2005 MHz. DISH argued this limit 
is needed to protect AWS-4 terrestrial operations in 2005-2020 MHz. We 
disagree. We find that some of the assumptions underlying DISH's 
analysis are overly conservative, such as the use of a one kilometer 
spacing between base stations in both the interfering system and the 
victim system in determining the minimum coupling loss (MCL). As a 
result, we find an OOBE limit of 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB at 
2005 MHz to be too restrictive on Upper H Block operations. While DISH 
has asserted that meeting an OOBE limit more stringent than 43 + 10 
log10 (P) dB would not be difficult for the H Block operator 
to meet, the evidence it cites does not support the conclusion that an 
H Block operator could meet an OOBE limit of 79 + 10 log10 
(P) dB at 2005 MHz. In the three test reports cited by DISH, each LTE 
base station is shown to exceed the Commission's limit of 43 + 10 
log10 (P) dB by 10 dB or more. For instance, the Samsung 
test report shows that the base station may be able to meet 60 + 10 
log10 (P) dB within the AWS-4 band. However, none of the 
test results show whether the base stations would be able to meet 
DISH's proposed limit of 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB. In addition, 
we find that an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, as 
opposed to a limit of 79 + 10 log10 (P) dB, is more 
consistent with the balancing of interference concerns between the AWS-
4 and H Block bands discussed in the AWS-4 Report and Order, 
particularly in light of the Commission's determination in that order 
to require AWS-4 operations to protect future Upper H block operations 
using an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB. Thus, to avoid 
harmful OOBE interference to AWS-4 operations at 2005-2020 MHz, we find 
an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB into 2005-2020 MHz is 
necessary.
    70. DISH further argued that an OOBE limit of 79 + 10 
log10 (P) dB at 2005 MHz is consistent with 3GPP 
specifications. As an initial matter, as we stated above, while the 
Commission may take into consideration the determinations of third 
party technical standards organizations such as 3GPP, the Commission 
also considers other factors not relevant to standards organizations. 
Moreover, we observe that, while the DISH proposed OOBE limit is 
contained in the 3GPP specification for LTE base stations, the limit is 
for bands other than Bands 23, 2, and 25. Bands 23, 2, and 25 represent 
the AWS-4 operations, PCS operations in the 1930-1990 MHz band, and PCS 
+ G Block operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band, respectively. Thus, the 
3GPP specification, on its own terms, does not apply to the 
interference scenario at issue here. There is a separate set of OOBE 
limits that apply to these nearby bands. Notably, the relevant 3GPP 
specification for Band 25 only requires 60 + 10 log10 (P) dB 
between 2000 and 2010 MHz due to its proximity to the AWS-4 band. 3GPP 
does not require PCS operations to meet the more stringent 79 + 10 
log10 (P) dB limit until at least 15 MHz above the PCS band 
(i.e., above 2010 MHz). Thus, DISH's suggestion that 3GPP standards 
provide an example of more stringent OOBE limits is misplaced. We also 
observe that, as Sprint asserted, current Commission rules allow for 
much lower attenuation for existing PCS systems, including the G Block, 
over the entire AWS-4 band.
    71. Third, we reject DISH's proposed OOBE limit for co-located 
sites. Specifically, DISH sought an OOBE limit of at least 116 + 10 
log10 (P) dB for sites containing both an AWS-4 base station 
and an H Block base station. DISH argued, ``when two base stations are 
co-located, significantly less path loss is encountered, and a much 
higher interference level may be present at the victim receiver,'' 
which requires more stringent filters. DISH cited a 3GPP LTE standard 
recommendation for co-location that stated a limit of -96 dBm/100 kHz 
may be applied for the protection of other base station receivers. Co-
location with other communication systems is a common industry practice 
to resolve coexistence issues. Yet the Commission typically does not 
impose separate OOBE requirements on co-located sites in other systems 
operating under either part 24 or part 27. Instead, these interference 
concerns are routinely negotiated between the affected parties, taking 
advantage of the flexibility afforded by our rules for affected parties 
to resolve interference issues at spectral and geographic boundaries. 
Because co-location is a network design decision, network operators 
possess incentives to deploy in an efficient and productive manner that 
minimizes potential harmful interference. In some cases, interference 
scenarios can be improved through the use of co-location. Additionally, 
our rules contain a savings provision. In the case that harmful 
interference results from OOBE, the Commission may, at its discretion, 
require greater attenuation than the specified limits. Furthermore, 
while not dispositive of our regulatory determination, the 3GPP 
standards DISH references specifically exempt base station transmitters 
operating within 10 megahertz of the affected

[[Page 50225]]

receiver's operating band, which is the case here. Indeed, the standard 
itself states that ``the current state-of-the-art technology does not 
allow a single generic solution for co-location with other systems'' 
and points to site engineering solutions. In sum, we find that to 
impose a limit of 116 + 10 log10 (P) on the Upper H Block 
would be unduly burdensome on the licensee and that setting any OOBE 
for the specific case of co-location would be inconsistent with general 
Commission practice. Therefore, we decline to establish a rule 
pertaining to co-location interference issues.
    72. We also reject Sprint's proposal to adopt a 60 + 10 
log10 (P) dB attenuation requirement from 2005-2020 MHz. 
Sprint argued an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB would 
significantly increase the cost of deployment in the Upper H Block, but 
made no attempt to quantify this cost or provide any cost data. 
According to Sprint, such increases in costs both could stifle interest 
in an auction of the H Block and would not provide any substantive 
improvement in interference. This argument is inconsistent with 
Sprint's agreement in the 3GPP standards process to protect operations 
in the 2010-2020 MHz band at a level of 79 + 10 log10 (P) 
dB. In addition, DISH asserted that an OOBE limit of 60 + 10 
log10 (P) dB is insufficient to protect AWS-4 operations. We 
agree with DISH. In this instance, a stricter OOBE limit is warranted 
because the Upper H Block (downlink) is adjacent to the AWS-4/2 GHz MSS 
uplink band, which raises real interference concerns. An OOBE limit of 
70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, as opposed to a limit of 60 + 10 
log10 (P) dB, is more consistent with the balancing of 
interference concerns between the AWS-4 and H Block bands discussed in 
the AWS-4 Report and Order, particularly in light of the Commission's 
determination in that order to require AWS-4 operations to protect 
future Upper H block operations using an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 
log10 (P) dB. Thus, to avoid harmful OOBE interference to 
AWS-4 operations at 2005-2020 MHz, we find an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 
log10 (P) dB into 2005-2020 MHz is necessary.
    73. Measurement Procedure. Finally, to fully define an emissions 
limit, the Commission's rules generally specify details of the 
measurement procedure to determine the power of the emissions, such as 
the measurement bandwidth. For AWS-1, for example, the measurement 
bandwidth used to determine compliance with this limit for both mobile 
stations and base stations is generally 1 megahertz, with some 
modification within the first 1 MHz. The Commission also applied the 
same OOBE measurement procedure to AWS-4 and to PCS operations. To 
treat the Upper H Block in an equivalent manner to these similar bands, 
we therefore adopt the same requirement that compliance with the 
emissions limits established herein will be determined by using a 1 MHz 
measurement bandwidth.
c. Co-Channel Interference Between Licensees Operating in Adjacent 
Regions
    74. As discussed above, we determine to license the H Block on an 
EA geographic license area basis. The Commission observed in the H 
Block NPRM that should the H Block be licensed on a less than 
nationwide basis, it would be necessary to ensure that licensees do not 
cause harmful interference to co-channel systems operating along their 
common geographic boundaries. To resolve any such interference, the 
Commission proposed adopting a boundary limit approach, with a specific 
boundary field strength limit of 47 dB[micro]V/m. The Commission also 
sought comment on whether licensees operating in adjoining areas should 
be permitted to employ alternative, agreed-upon signal limits at their 
common borders. With one exception, commenters did not oppose the 
Commission's proposals to protect adjacent licensees from co-channel 
interference. Sprint, however, argued that the field strength limit be 
adjusted to accommodate for varying channel bandwidths.
    75. We adopt the proposed boundary limit approach for co-channel 
interference. As discussed above, the Commission will license the H 
Block on a geographic area basis that is less than nationwide, i.e., an 
EA basis. To prevent licensees that operate systems along common 
geographic borders from causing harmful interference to one another, 
the Commission must provide operating limits to ensure such licensees 
do not cause interference to co-channel systems. Adopting a boundary 
limit approach establishes a default standard, which will enable 
licensees to deploy facilities in boundary areas without the need for 
prior coordination. Licensees may use this operating limit as a 
starting point for negotiations to exceed the limits with agreement of 
adjacent area licensees. Moreover, in other bands where spectrum has 
been allocated for fixed and mobile services, similar to the H Block, 
the Commission has uniformly adopted the boundary limit method to 
minimize harmful co-channel interference. For instance, the PCS, AWS-1, 
and AWS-4 bands all use a boundary limit approach. In response to the 
Commission's proposal, commenters favored the boundary limit approach 
over a coordination requirement. For example, Sprint comments that 
``applying a boundary limit consistent with prior proceedings can 
enable future H Block licensees to deploy facilities in boundary areas 
without the delays associated with significant pre-coordination efforts 
while protecting adjacent licensees from co-channel interference at 
their borders.'' Additionally, no commenter proposed a coordination 
approach for limiting co-channel systems from interfering with one 
another. Consequently, we find that a boundary limit approach is the 
best method to address potential harmful co-channel interference 
between licensees operating in adjacent geographic regions.
    76. We set the field strength limit at the boundary at 47 
dB[micro]V/m. As the Commission observed in the H Block NPRM, in other 
bands where spectrum has been allocated for fixed and mobile services 
and licensed for flexible use, similar to the H Block, the Commission 
has generally adopted a boundary field strength limit of 47 dB[micro]V/
m. For example, in the PCS, AWS-1, and AWS-4 bands, the Commission 
adopted a field strength limit of 47 dB[micro]V/m at the boundary of 
licensed geographic areas. Because this limit has worked well in 
limiting co-channel interference in other bands, we find it appropriate 
to adopt it here for the similarly situated Upper H Block.
    77. In adopting this boundary limit, we decline to adopt the 
alternative limit proposed by Sprint in its Reply. While supporting the 
boundary limit approach used in other bands, Sprint asserted that we 
should modify the boundary limit to set a reference measurement 
bandwidth. In making this recommendation, Sprint claimed that because 
today's LTE transmissions operate on wider channels than earlier 
technologies such as CDMA or Digital AMPS, a 47 dB[micro]V/m limit will 
effectively result in a comparatively lower field strength limit. 
Specifically, Sprint proposed to adjust the field strength limit from 
47 dB[micro]V/m to 62 dB[micro]V/m per MHz. Sprint argued that the 
power spectral density for a 30 kHz Digital AMPS carrier at a 47 
dB[micro]V/m field strength is equivalent to a 62 dB[micro]V/m LTE 
carrier with a 1 MHz bandwidth, adjusting the field strength limit by 
the ratio of the bandwidths (10*log10(1 MHz/30 kHz) = 15 
dB). Sprint stated that its proposed boundary limit would better enable 
4G-LTE buildout of the H Block while also providing the appropriate 
interference

[[Page 50226]]

protections. Sprint further suggested that the boundary limits with 
Canada and Mexico should similarly be based on power density levels.
    78. Although we agree with Sprint on a conceptual level that a 
boundary limit that adjusts for large differences in channel bandwidths 
may be appropriate, we are not persuaded that Sprint's proposed limit 
represents the optimal solution. Sprint derived the value for the field 
strength based on a comparison against a 30 kHz Digital Amps signal. 
Other technologies may be a more appropriate reference upon which to 
base the value for the field strength. Also, there are other metrics 
that may be used to limit the signal at the boundary, such as power 
flux density. We observe that the Commission has already adopted a 
bandwidth-independent approach when setting boundary limits with Canada 
and Mexico. For example, certain international limits are expressed as 
a power flux density (i.e., dBW/m\2\/MHz), a measure of power, whereas 
field strength is a measurement of voltage. As Sprint noted, other 
parties have proposed to set boundary limits in a bandwidth neutral 
manner, but there is no established consensus on what the value of the 
limit should be. With no consensus regarding an alternative boundary 
limit approach, and not having received record input from any other 
party on Sprint's proposal, we are not prepared to adopt it at this 
time. We intend to explore the issue of whether to apply a measurement 
bandwidth to co-channel boundary limits in future service rules 
proceedings and we encourage all interested parties to explore this 
issue in such proceedings to develop a full record of the technical 
concerns and ramifications of such an approach.
    79. Finally, we adopt the Commission's proposal that adjacent 
affected area licensees may voluntarily agree upon higher field 
strength boundary levels that the 47 dB[micro]V/m we adopt above. This 
concept is already codified in the field strength rules for both PCS 
and AWS services, as Sprint acknowledged. No party opposed extending 
this approach to the H Block. Accordingly, to maintain consistency with 
the PCS and AWS bands, we permit adjacent area licensees to agree to a 
higher field strength limit.
2. Lower H Block: 1915-1920 MHz
    80. The Lower H Block is immediately above the 1850-1915 MHz PCS 
band, which is used for mobile transmit/base receive (i.e., uplink) 
purposes. As the Commission observed, use of the Lower H Block as 
proposed in the H Block NPRM is compatible with this adjacent PCS band. 
Accordingly, the Commission stated that technical standards more 
restrictive than those already established for AWS and PCS stations to 
protect PCS operations below 1915 MHz likely would not be necessary.
    81. The Lower H Block is also situated immediately below the 1920-
1930 MHz band, which is allocated for Unlicensed PCS purposes (UPCS) 
and the 1930-1995 MHz PCS base transmit/mobile receive (i.e., downlink) 
band. As explained below, UPCS operations are not entitled to 
interference protection from appropriately licensed operators in the 
Lower H Block. The 1930-1995 MHz band, however, presents technical 
challenges for use of the Lower H Block. As detailed below, when 
certain worst-case conditions are present, the potential exists for 
mobile transmitters in the 1915-1920 MHz band to cause harmful 
interference to mobile receivers in the 1930-1995 MHz band.
    82. As discussed above, the Spectrum Act requires the Commission to 
conduct an auction of the H Block spectrum unless we determine that the 
H Block frequencies cannot be used without causing harmful interference 
to commercial mobile service licensees operating between 1930-1995 MHz 
(PCS downlink). Against this backdrop, commenters generally argued that 
the Commission should carefully examine the issue of mobile power 
limits for the Lower H Block and that, if possible, these limits should 
be based on technical studies. Four parties submitted technical reports 
into the record that address the possibility of Lower H Block 
operations causing harmful interference to PCS operations in the 1930-
1995 MHz band. Sprint filed a test report accompanying its Reply 
filing. On April 18, 2013, Verizon Wireless submitted a technical 
study. On May 13, 2013, and May 14, 2013, T-Mobile and AT&T separately 
filed a joint test report.
    83. Sprint and Verizon Wireless Test Reports. Both Sprint and 
Verizon Wireless contracted with V-COMM Telecommunications Engineering 
(V-COMM) to conduct tests on the effects of mobile operations in the 
Lower H Block on several of each operator's existing CDMA handsets. The 
handset's receiver performance was tested against interference due to 
overload (i.e., blocking), intermodulation, and OOBE.
    84. AT&T and T-Mobile Study. AT&T and T-Mobile contracted with 
7Layers to perform tests on the effects of mobile operations in the 
Lower H block on several of each operator's existing GSM, UMTS and LTE 
handsets. The mobile receiver's performance was tested against 
interference due to overload, intermodulation and OOBE.
    85. We discuss these test reports and the interference scenarios 
they examined more fully below. At the outset, however, we observe that 
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless all stated that, subject 
to appropriate power limits and OOBE limits, mobile operations in the 
Lower H Block can occur without causing harmful interference to PCS 
operations in the PCS band at 1930-1995 MHz. Based on our analysis of 
the record, which we explain in detail in the sections immediately 
below, we agree that appropriate technical rules will ensure that 
mobile or low power fixed operations in the Lower H Block do not cause 
harmful interference to PCS downlink operations.
a. Lower H Block Power Limits
    86. We adopt transmitter power limits for the Lower H Block that 
will maximize the full flexible use of the spectrum while protecting 
adjacent operations from harmful interference due to receiver overload. 
As explained above, receiver overload may result when signals outside 
of the receiver's nominal bandwidth cause the receiver to experience an 
increased noise level or produce non-linear responses. Accordingly, we 
must examine the power limits necessary to avoid harmful interference 
to PCS downlink licensees under the Spectrum Act and, within this 
constraint, maximize full flexible use of the Lower H Block.
    87. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission observed that parties 
commenting in earlier dockets had expressed concern regarding power 
limits for the Lower H Block. These comments argued for the 
establishment of power limits for operation in the Lower H Block that 
would adequately protect PCS operations in the 1930-1995 MHz band. As 
discussed above, since these earlier comments, the mobile broadband 
industry has undergone rapid evolution and new technologies have been 
developed and adopted. These advances prompted the Commission to seek 
comment on how newer filtering techniques and duplex designs have 
improved to adjust for potential harmful interference. Specifically, 
the Commission sought comment on an appropriate power limit for 1915-
1920 MHz mobile devices in light of these advances.
    88. The Commission also observed that the 1915-1920 MHz band is 
allocated for fixed services, but that the possibility of interference 
from fixed station antennas to PCS mobiles will likely be less than 
anticipated

[[Page 50227]]

interference from Lower H Block mobiles to PCS mobiles because fixed 
devices are generally located at a fixed height above the ground and 
thus are vertically separated from PCS mobile devices. Accordingly, the 
Commission sought comment on what the power level should be for fixed 
stations operating in the Lower H Block.
    89. The record contains three technical studies that examined the 
potential for Lower H Block operations to cause harmful interference, 
including overload, intermodulation and interference from out-of-band 
emissions, to PCS downlink operations. All of these studies assumed 
that the Lower H Block device would be an LTE FDD mobile device. The 
Sprint Test Report and the Verizon Wireless Test Report both used 
existing CDMA devices for the PCS devices. The AT&T/T-Mobile Study used 
LTE, UMTS, and GSM PCS devices. The studies included testing of the 
receiver performance of existing PCS devices against overload 
interference, as well as intermodulation interference that would be 
caused, in part, by receiver overload. As stated above, receiver 
overload occurs when the power from a signal outside of the receiver's 
operating frequency range causes the receiver's performance to degrade. 
A strong radio frequency (RF) signal can cause the detector in the 
receiver to operate in a non-linear manner, thereby reducing its 
ability to decode the desired signal. Intermodulation interference may 
occur when two RF frequencies pass through a non-linear element in the 
receive path of the receiver. Two signals at different frequencies 
passing through a non-linearity will mix and create new frequencies 
that are related to the sum and the difference of the original signals. 
These are termed intermodulation products. Although the non-linearity 
may be caused by hardware flaws, the most common cause of 
intermodulation interference--and the historical concern for the bands 
at issue--is from non-linearity that results from receiver overload. 
Notably, in earlier tests, third order intermodulation products were 
found to occur within the PCS mobile receiver's B Block frequency range 
(1950-1965 MHz) due to the mixing the of the PCS mobile device's 
transmitter frequency (1870-1885 MHz) with the Lower H Block mobile 
device's transmitter frequency (1915-1920 MHz). Below, we describe the 
three tests, first presenting the test set-up for all of the tests, 
followed by the results for all of the tests.
    90. Sprint and Verizon Wireless Test Reports--Test Setup. In 
performing tests for Sprint and for Verizon Wireless, V-COMM tested the 
performance of a number of each operator's existing CDMA devices 
against overload and intermodulation interference using the same test 
procedure. Although both types of interference may be caused by strong 
power levels, the effects of the interference are seen at different 
receiver frequencies. The greatest potential for overload occurs where 
the edge of the receiver's passband is closest to the transmitter's 
operating frequency range. Therefore, tests for overload were conducted 
with the receiver tuned to the lowest channel in the PCS A Block, 
closest to the Lower H Block. The tests for intermodulation were 
conducted at three different receiver operating frequencies within the 
PCS B Block downlink band.
    91. In the testing, V-COMM subjected each of the PCS CDMA receivers 
to several different interfering signals, each with different center 
frequencies, channel bandwidths and types of modulation. The set of 
interfering signals were 5 MHz, 3 MHz or 1.4 MHz bandwidth LTE 
carriers, centered at 1917.5 MHz, 1916.5 MHz and 1919 MHz, 
respectively. The types of modulation used represented several worst 
case conditions, such as maximizing power at the control channels 
located near the edges of the band, a fully loaded device with all 
resource blocks allocated, or all power concentrated in a single 
resource block located on a frequency where it would be most likely to 
create intermodulation products.
    92. In total, twelve different types of interfering signals were 
tested for each device. First, the receiver sensitivity of each device 
was measured to determine the minimum received power level at which the 
device would perform properly in the absence of noise. Successful 
operation was defined as a 0.5% Frame Error Rate (FER). The level of 
the desired signal was set at either 1 dB or 3 dB above the measured 
sensitivity level. Then an interfering signal was introduced and its 
power level increased until the same 0.5% Frame Error Rate was 
achieved, marking the 1 dB or 3 dB receiver desensitization level. The 
1 dB or 3 dB desensitization level is the power of the interfering 
signal at which the receiver's sensitivity is degraded by 1 dB or 3 dB, 
respectively. For each test case, both the 1 dB receiver 
desensitization and 3 dB receiver desensitization levels were recorded.
    93. V-COMM then related the interference levels measured in each 
test case to their effect on the user's experience in two scenarios. In 
so doing, V-COMM determined the power level of the out-of-band 
emissions at the output of the H Block transmitter necessary to 
generate the measured interference levels at the PCS receiver's antenna 
terminals. The difference between these two signal levels is determined 
primarily by the distance between the transmitting and receiving 
devices and by the manner in which the user is handling the device, 
which affects the amount of head and/or body losses in the transmission 
path. The two user scenarios were: (1) Both the transmitting and 
receiving mobile devices were assumed to be held in the user's hand, as 
would be likely for data use; and (2) both the transmitting and 
receiving mobile devices were assumed to be held to the user's head, as 
would be likely for a voice call. The analysis then set forth 
assumptions of 3 dB for body loss, 8 dB for head loss, a 0 dBi receive 
antenna gain for both mobile devices, a separation of 1 meter, and free 
space path loss to the two user scenarios. Application of these 
assumptions determined the effective interfering signal level at the 
receiver input of -21 dBm and of -31 dBm, respectively, for the data 
and voice user scenarios. The device was deemed to operate normally if 
the power level of the interfering signal that caused receiver 
desensitization exceeded these values.
    94. AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report--Test Setup. AT&T and T-Mobile 
developed a joint test plan to test the performance of several of each 
operator's GSM, UMTS and LTE devices against interference due to 
receiver overload, intermodulation and out-of-band emissions from an H 
Block mobile transmitter. The tests were performed by 7Layers, a third 
party. Because much of the 7Layers testing took place after the filing 
of the Sprint Test Report, AT&T and T-Mobile included several test 
cases that subjected their devices to similar conditions to those used 
by Sprint. The test report, submitted jointly by AT&T and T-Mobile, did 
not provide details of the test setup used. However it did identify 
several differences between the 7Layers tests and those performed by V-
COMM for Sprint and Verizon Wireless. The most significant difference 
between the test plans is how the desired signal level was set. The 
7Layers tests initially set the level of the desired signal at 3 dB 
above the reference sensitivity level set by the 3GPP standard for the 
technology under test. To provide a more direct comparison to the 
Sprint and Verizon Wireless test reports, however, 7Layers then 
performed its tests using the sensitivity measured for each device 
individually, both at 1 dB

[[Page 50228]]

above measured sensitivity and again at 3 dB above measured 
sensitivity. Despite characterizing the set of test conditions using a 
1 dB desensitization level as representing worst case scenarios, the 
AT&T Test Report used this assumption in reaching its conclusions. The 
AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report did so, while at the same time it raised 
particular concern about the usefulness of testing to 1 dB of 
desensitization above each device's measured sensitivity, stating that 
``it is not typically used during conformance or performance testing, 
primarily because the measurement uncertainty associated with it is 
rather high. The measurement metric (throughput or BER/FER) displays 
highly non-linear behavior.''
    95. The AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report is different from the Sprint and 
Verizon Wireless test reports in other ways, as well. Notably, 7Layers 
subjected each PCS receiver to two different interfering signals to 
simulate an H Block mobile device. Both signals represented 5 megahertz 
LTE carriers operating at a center frequency of 1917.5 MHz, but used 
different resource block allocations. One signal spread the mobile's 
power over all 25 resource blocks representing a fully loaded mobile, 
while the other concentrated the mobile's power in 5 resource blocks, 
but did not define which five blocks were assigned. By comparison, the 
Sprint and Verizon Wireless test reports used a total of twelve 
different LTE signals. Another significant difference in the test plans 
is that the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report included for the UMTS PCS devices 
two desired signal conditions, reflecting both lightly loaded and 
heavily loaded cell conditions for these devices, whereas the Sprint 
and Verizon Wireless test reports used one signal condition. The AT&T/
T-Mobile used two conditions to simulate ``cell breathing'' on a CDMA 
network. In the heavily loaded scenario, the power allocated to each 
user in the downlink spectrum was reduced and the effective cell 
coverage was reduced.
    96. AT&T and T-Mobile reported results for two GSM devices, up to 
three UMTS devices (depending on the test scenario), and one LTE 
device. These results note the power of the interfering signal that 
would create the specified degradation of the receiver. AT&T and T-
Mobile also interpreted the results differently than Sprint and Verizon 
Wireless, using slightly different assumptions for the user scenario. 
AT&T and T-Mobile used 25 dBm EIRP as the actual operating power of the 
H Block mobile, rather than using the nominal 23 dBm EIRP assumed by 
Verizon Wireless and Sprint. The AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report also did not 
include any body loss for either the transmitting or receiving mobile. 
The report therefore used an interfering signal level of -13 dBm as a 
pass/fail criterion. For point of comparison, Sprint and Verizon 
Wireless set a -21 dBm criterion for the level of allowed interference 
for the data user scenario. The AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report also observed 
that the receive antenna gain used by Sprint and Verizon Wireless was 
likely optimistic, stating that most mobile receivers have a -1.5 to -3 
dBm antenna gain. However, the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report still adopted 
the 0 dBi value as it is typically used in link budget calculations.
    97. Sprint Interference Tests--Results. In the Sprint Test Report, 
in the tests for receiver overload from Lower H Block in the PCS A 
Block, all six Sprint devices tested met the 3 dB desensitization level 
at a separation of 1 meter for all 24 test cases (12 interfering 
signals, 2 user scenarios). Four of the six devices met the 1 dB 
desensitization level at a separation of 1 meter, with the exception of 
one device for three test cases (out of the twenty-four total cases 
tested for that device). That device in that single case experienced 
blocking at 2 dB below the target level of -21 dBm for data use, which 
is equivalent to a separation of 1.3 meters. The other two Sprint 
devices experienced a 1 dB desensitization of their receivers at 
distances significantly greater than 1 meter in a majority of cases. V-
COMM observed that the average interfering signal level that caused a 1 
dB desensitization of the receiver was -22 dBm for a majority of 
devices, equivalent to a 1.1 meter separation.
    98. In the Sprint Test Report, in tests for intermodulation and 
overload of the PCS B Block receiver, the results showed better 
performance than were observed for overload alone in the PCS A Block. 
Again, as with the overload tests, all devices met the 3 dB 
desensitization level for all test cases. Moreover, all devices 
experienced less than 1 dB of desensitization for the voice call in all 
instances. There were fewer failures in the data use scenario as well, 
with four of the six devices meeting the 1 dB desensitization level at 
less than 1 meter for data use. The other two devices experienced a 1 
dB desensitization of their noise floor at distances of greater than 1 
meter in half or more of the cases. These results for intermodulation 
were significantly better than were the results from testing in 2004.
    99. After observing the difference in the results for the 1 dB and 
3 dB desensitization levels, V-COMM conducted a test using the worst 
case interfering signal at a 2 dB desensitization level. At this level, 
all devices passed under the two user scenarios for both overload in 
the PCS A Block and overload plus intermodulation in the PCS B Block. 
In other words, no PCS device experienced a 2 dB or greater rise in the 
noise floor at a 1 meter separation from an H Block mobile device 
operating at 23 dBm, which is full power under the 3GPP LTE 
specification.
    100. Verizon Wireless Test Report--Results. In the Verizon Wireless 
Test Report, in the tests for receiver overload from Lower H Block in 
the PCS A Block, all eight Verizon Wireless devices met the 3 dB 
desensitization level for all test cases. Four of Verizon Wireless's 
eight devices met the 1 dB desensitization level at a separation of 1 
meter for both user scenarios. Of the other four devices, two 
experienced overload at the 1 dB desensitization level in approximately 
half of the test cases. V-COMM observed that the average interference 
levels for 1 dB desensitization for the six best devices was -21 dBm, 
which represents an H Block device transmitting at a 1 meter separation 
and at full power under the 3GPP LTE specification of 23 dBm EIRP.
    101. In the tests for intermodulation and overload of the PCS B 
Block receiver, Verizon Wireless observed better performance than it 
observed for overload alone in the PCS A Block. As with the overload 
tests, all devices met the 3 dB desensitization level for all test 
cases. Six of the eight devices met the 1 dB desensitization level at 1 
meter of separation for all of the voice call scenarios. There were ten 
instances out of a total of 144 (combination of six devices, two user 
scenarios and 12 interfering signals) in which the device experienced 
more than 1 dB of desensitization at a 1 meter separation. The two 
poorest performing devices experienced a 1 dB desensitization of the 
receiver at a distance of 1 meter in approximately half of the user 
scenarios. These results for intermodulation were significantly better 
than were the results from testing in 2004.
    102. Just as it did for Sprint, V-COMM also conducted a set of 
tests using the worst case interfering signal at a 2 dB desensitization 
level. At this level, all devices passed for the two user scenarios for 
both overload in the PCS A Block and overload plus intermodulation in 
the PCS B Block. In other words, no device experienced more than a 2 dB 
rise of the noise floor at a 1 meter separation from an H Block mobile 
device operating at 23 dBm,

[[Page 50229]]

which is full power under the 3GPP LTE specification.
    103. AT&T and T-Mobile Test Report--Results. The AT&T/T-Mobile Test 
Report stated that ``all three airlink technologies displayed 
reasonable immunity to blocking and/or overload from an emulated H 
Block device.'' In the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report, under typical design 
conditions for light traffic, seven of the ten test cases met their 
stated criteria. The two GSM devices did not meet their interference 
criteria of -13 dBm, and ``display[ed] noticeable performance 
impairment when the H Block device transmits at a power level within 
2dB from its nominal maximum output power.'' As explained above, AT&T 
and T-Mobile assessed the test results under different assumptions than 
did Sprint and Verizon Wireless. Based on examination of the test 
reports by Commission staff, under the data use scenario defined by 
Sprint and Verizon Wireless, all of AT&T and T-Mobile's devices would 
meet the criteria for receiver overload corresponding to 3 dB 
desensitization, for either worst case or typical design. Under 1 dB 
desensitization performance conditions, AT&T and T-Mobile's devices met 
their criteria in only one of six test cases.
    104. In the tests for intermodulation, the AT&T/T-Mobile Test 
Report stated that ``[n]o B Block performance impairment was noted . . 
. until the device was exposed to very high H Block signal levels.'' 
Using AT&T and T-Mobile's assumptions, we observe their devices met 
their criteria in 15 of 18 test cases, over all desensitization levels, 
when lightly loaded. Based on Commission staff examination, all of the 
devices would have passed under Sprint and Verizon Wireless's user 
scenarios.
    105. Looking separately at the results for the UMTS devices under 
high traffic conditions, the AT&T/T-Mobile Test report recorded more 
sensitivity to interference than under light traffic for the typical 
design case. Two of four receiver blocking test cases met their stated 
criteria, as did two of the four intermodulation test cases. We observe 
that all eight high traffic test cases would meet the criteria under 
the Sprint and Verizon Wireless data use scenario. Looking at a total 
of eight test cases for blocking (two devices, two interfering signal 
types, and two desensitization levels) and eight test cases for 
intermodulation, the UMTS devices were unable to meet the target BER 
under high traffic conditions before any interfering signal was applied 
in all but two of the sixteen cases. In other words, the devices were 
unable to perform acceptably in the complete absence of interference 
when the desire signal was set at only 1 dB or 3 dB above the device's 
sensitivity in high traffic.
    106. Power Limit Proposals Based on Interference Testing. As a 
result of these studies, the four largest wireless providers all 
proposed the Commission adopt mobile and fixed power limits of 25 dBm 
EIRP, which is equivalent to a power limit of 300 milliwatts EIRP. 
First, in submitting its initial test results, Sprint concluded that 
``intermodulation interference is no longer a significant threat to 
today's PCS devices.'' With regard to receiver overload, Sprint 
determined that the ``potential for receiver blocking in today's PCS 
devices has decreased significantly to a point where blocking 
interference is unlikely.'' Based on the evidence provided in the test 
data, Sprint proposed that a mobile power limit of 23 dB EIRP with a +/
- 2 dB tolerance would protect adjacent PCS devices in the 1930-1995 
MHz band. Second, Verizon Wireless recognized a similar improvement in 
the performance of its devices over time, stating that the newly tested 
devices ``showed less sensitivity to interference than they did in 
2004.'' Specifically, the Verizon Wireless Test Report concluded that 
``based on receiver blocking test results, an H-Block mobile power 
limit of +23 dBm EIRP will prevent interference to the majority of PCS 
CDMA devices tested at 1 meter device separation.'' Relying on the 
tests, Verizon Wireless stated that a power limit of 25 dBm EIRP ``is 
the minimum needed to protect existing PCS operations from substantial 
interference.'' Third, T-Mobile generally supported the 25 dBm EIRP 
proposed by Sprint and Verizon Wireless. T-Mobile was concerned, 
however, that H Block operations at a power level within 2 dB of the 
nominal maximum output power of 23 dBm could cause harmful interference 
for consumers with GSM devices and therefore requested that the 
Commission ``require future H Block licensees . . . provide 
notification to PCS A Block licensees when they turn on service in the 
H Block on a market-by-market basis.'' Fourth, AT&T stated that it 
``supports an H Block power limit of +23 dBm (+/- 2 dB) as ``sufficient 
to ensure reasonable coexistence between LTE devices operating in the 
FCC's proposed H Block and UMTS and LTE devices operating in the PCS A 
and B Blocks.'' AT&T further stated that ``by the time LTE is widely 
deployed in the Lower H Block, GSM usage in the PCS Downlink Band on 
AT&T's network will be much less common than today, as AT&T deploys 
advanced technologies.''
    107. Based on the record before us, we adopt a power limit for 
fixed and mobile devices operating in the Lower H Block of 300 
milliwatts EIRP, which is equivalent to 25 dBm EIRP. As stated above 
and in the H Block NPRM, earlier testing conducted in 2005 identified 
the primary concern with full power mobile operations in the Lower H 
Block as intermodulation interference to PCS B Block receivers, with 
some additional concern regarding overload interference to PCS A Block 
receivers. The primary remedy to address receiver overload and 
intermodulation is through limits on mobile transmit power. At that 
time, parties argued for a severe reduction in the permissible mobile 
transmit power limit, such as imposing very strict power limits (e.g., 
6 dBm EIRP) on the 1917-1920 MHz portion of the band, to address this 
problem. As detailed above, all of the studies showed that 
technological improvements over the past several years have resulted in 
mobile devices in the PCS band that can tolerate or mitigate against 
greater interference levels before overload or intermodulation 
interference rises to the level of causing harmful interference. In 
particular, while the testing performed in earlier years showed 
intermodulation interference to be a significant concern (and a much 
greater concern than overload interference), the new testing does not 
identify intermodulation as causing harmful interference. For example, 
in describing the results for both the Sprint Test Report and the 
Verizon Wireless Test Report, V-COMM stated that ``CDMA devices tested 
generally showed less sensitivity (better rejection) to intermodulation 
interference as compared to [r]eceiver [b]locking--this is different 
from the 2004 devices tested.''
    108. Consistent with the results of their studies, AT&T, Sprint, T-
Mobile, and Verizon Wireless all proposed a power limit of 25 dBm EIRP, 
which is equivalent to 300 milliwatts EIRP, for operations in the 
entire Lower H Block. For example, Sprint ``recommend[ed] that the 
Commission adopt a uniform H Block mobile device power limit of +23 dBm 
EIRP, with a +/- 2 dB implementation margin of tolerance . . . to 
protect adjacent PCS operations above 1930 MHz.'' Verizon Wireless 
similarly stated that a power limit of 25 dBm EIRP is ``the minimum 
needed to protect existing PCS operations from substantial 
interference.'' AT&T and T-Mobile, in their joint test report, stated 
that a full power H Block mobile will not create significant impairment 
to UMTS or LTE devices, but that GSM devices ``display noticeable 
performance impairment when the H Block device transmits at a power 
level

[[Page 50230]]

within 2 dB from its nominal maximum output power or 23 dBm.'' In 
proposing a power limit of 25 dBm EIRP based on tests that showed 
significant instances of observed interference, the parties implicitly 
stated that the overall probability of interference was sufficiently 
low that it was deemed acceptable and did not rise to the level of 
harmful interference. No party opposed 25 dBm EIRP as a power limit 
across the Lower H Block or suggested that this power limit would lead 
to harmful interference to operations outside of the Lower H Block.
    109. We adopt the proposed limit of 25 dBm EIRP, which is 
equivalent to 300 milliwatts EIRP, as the power limit for mobile and 
low power fixed operations in the entire Lower H Block and find, 
consistent with the Spectrum Act harmful interference condition, that 
operations subject to this power limit will not cause harmful 
interference to operations in the PCS downlink band. In adopting a 
power limit of 300 milliwatts EIRP, we observe that this limit is lower 
than the limits for other, comparable bands. For example, the power 
limit for mobile operations in the lower PCS Band (1850-1915 MHz) and 
in the AWS-4 Band is 2 watts EIRP, and in the AWS-1 Band is 1 watt 
EIRP. We nevertheless adopt the 300 milliwatts EIRP limit because it 
will protect against harmful interference to the PCS band, as required 
by statute, while enabling mobile devices deployed in the Lower H Block 
to operate at power levels sufficient to provide generally robust 
service quality, consistent with our goal of enabling efficient use of 
the band. Notably, in performing the testing and reaching the 
recommendations, the tests all were conducted assuming an LTE mobile 
device operating at the maximum power level indicated in the 3GPP LTE 
specifications--23 dBm. Consequently, adopting a power limit at 300 
milliwatts (23 dBm, plus a 2 dBm tolerance) will enable the most likely 
H Block devices to operate without suffering any actual power 
restriction. That is, this power limit will permit mobile devices using 
LTE technology to operate at full power based on their design 
specifications. Moreover, 300 milliwatts EIRP is the level uniformly 
supported by the interference tests in the record as protecting against 
harmful interference into the 1930-1995 MHz PCS band.
    110. Although we expect that setting the power limit at 300 
milliwatts EIRP will not negatively affect mobile operations in either 
the Lower H Block or the 1930-1995 MHz PCS band, we observe that the 
test reports may not have fully captured the probabilistic nature of 
the interference scenario and that some of the assumptions used in 
performing the calculations in the interference tests may be overly 
conservative. It is important to identify these concerns with the test 
report inputs now so that they can be accounted for in future 
interference studies submitted to the Commission and because they also 
affect our analysis of OOBE interference, below. For the purpose of 
establishing the appropriate power limits, including under the Spectrum 
Act, the Commission determines what transmitter power level will 
prevent harmful interference, not simply detectable interference. For 
mobile-to-mobile interference, this is a probabilistic assessment. As 
we discuss further below in the discussion of OOBE limits, we find that 
the studies do not sufficiently account for the low probability of 
mobile-to-mobile interference actually occurring.
    111. We are also concerned with some of the specific assumptions 
used in the test reports. In its analysis of the test data and stated 
conclusions for both the Sprint Test Report and the Verizon Wireless 
Test Report, V-COMM bases its conclusions on a number of assumptions, 
some of which may not be the most appropriate assumptions for 
calculating interference limits between nearby mobile systems. V-COMM 
bases its conclusions on the receiver's performance assuming a 1 meter 
separation between devices, a 1 dB desensitization level, and a data 
use case, which assumes 3 dB body loss and no head loss. Similarly, the 
AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report based its conclusions on a 1 meter device 
separation and a 1dB desensitization level. Further, unlike Verizon 
Wireless and Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile made no provision for head or 
body loss.
    112. First, one of several factors that will determine the 
likelihood of this probabilistic interference actually occurring is the 
separation distance between the mobile devices. As discussed below, a 2 
meter separation between devices is a more appropriate separation 
distance than the 1 meter separation distance used in the studies. The 
Commission has adopted a 2 meter separation in the evaluation of other 
mobile-to-mobile interference scenarios, most recently in the AWS-4 
proceeding. Further, AT&T and T-Mobile's concerns regarding the 
usefulness of testing under worst case conditions were demonstrated by 
the results for the high traffic test cases. The tested UMTS devices 
were unable to perform reliably under high traffic conditions, 
irrespective of the interference environment. Thus, the AT&T/T-Mobile 
test report lacks sufficient evidence to support any determination of 
harmful interference under high traffic conditions.
    113. Second, as explained further below in setting OOBE limits, a 3 
dB desensitization level is a more appropriate criterion than a 1 dB 
level upon which to judge harmful interference to mobile devices in 
cellular networks, which are designed to work in the presence of 
interference. For example, we observe that industry technical 
specifications for many types of devices that are currently used in the 
PCS band allow for a 3 dB degradation of the receiver sensitivity. The 
3GPP2 standard for CDMA mobile devices sets the receiver performance 
requirements for intermodulation spurious response and receiver 
blocking based on a desired signal level of 3 dB above the reference 
sensitivity level. Based on the 3GPP2 standard for intermodulation, a 
CDMA device operating at 1% FER with a desired signal 3 dB above the 
reference sensitivity level is defined in the standard to be operating 
normally, and thus may be judged as not experiencing harmful 
interference. Similarly, the 3GPP standards for UMTS and LTE 
technologies allow the receiver sensitivity to degrade by 3 dB in 
response to interference. The LTE standard for receiver blocking is, 
moreover, is based on a desired signal level 6 dB above the receiver's 
reference sensitivity, requiring the receiver to perform in the 
presence of a strong interferer.
    114. Third, as explained below, we believe it more appropriate to 
assume that the devices will be subject to both head and body loss, 
rather than just body loss. In both the Sprint Test Report and the 
Verizon Wireless Test Report, V-COMM tested for two different user 
scenarios. In one scenario, it assumed body loss only (that is, signal 
loss from proximity to the body, but not the head)--the data scenario. 
In the other scenario, it assumed signal loss from both the user's body 
and head--the voice scenario. For the data user scenario, V-COMM used a 
figure of 3 dB for body loss; for the voice scenario, it used 3 dB for 
body loss and another 5 dB for head loss. AT&T and T-Mobile did not 
apply any head or body loss in their analysis of the test results. As 
we describe further below, we believe it is more reasonable to use the 
voice user scenario, which includes both head and body loss 
assumptions, when determining interference rules.
    115. We discuss our concerns with the use of these assumptions more 
fully below in establishing the OOBE limit.

[[Page 50231]]

    116. Nevertheless, because, as explained above, the power limit 
that results from these tests will permit the deployment of full power 
H Block mobile devices in the 1915-1920 MHz band while also protecting 
commercial mobile service licensees in the 1930-1995 MHz band from 
harmful interference due to receiver overload, we find it unnecessary 
to adjust the studies for purposes of establishing power limits for 
operations in this band. Accordingly, we find it in the public 
interest, and consistent with the Spectrum Act's condition to protect 
the PCS downlink band from harmful interference, to set the power limit 
for mobile and fixed use in the 1915-1920 MHz band at 300 milliwatts 
EIRP.
b. Lower H Block Out-of-Band Emissions Limits
    117. To minimize harmful interference between adjacent spectrum 
blocks, the Commission's rules generally limit the amount of RF power 
that may be emitted outside of the assigned block of an RF 
transmission. As explained below, we establish an OOBE limit for 
transmissions outside of the 1915-1920 MHz band of 43 + 10 
log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, 
except that for emissions into the 1930-1995 MHz band we set an OOBE 
limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter 
power in watts.
    118. To minimize harmful electromagnetic interference between 
operators, the Commission has previously concluded that, in certain 
circumstances, attenuating transmitter OOBE by 43 + 10 log10 
(P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, is appropriate. 
This limit is generally applied in cases where adjacent services have 
similar characteristics, such as base-to-base or mobile-to-mobile and 
adhere to similar power limits. As such, this limit applies to most of 
the services authorized under parts 24 and 27, including transmitters 
operating in adjacent blocks in the 1850-1915 MHz PCS band, which is 
adjacent to the Lower H Block. The Commission proposed requiring the 
attenuation level of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the 
transmitter power in watts, to emissions from transmitters in the 1915-
1920 MHz band, generally. As explained above, the Spectrum Act requires 
additional analysis with regard to Lower H Block transmissions into the 
1930-1995 MHz band. As stated in the H Block NPRM and above, the 
proximity of mobile-to-mobile operations may require stricter OOBE 
limits than the Commission might impose in other interference 
scenarios. Specifically, the Commission proposed an OOBE limit of 70 + 
10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in 
watts, for emissions into the 1930-1995 MHz PCS Band. Finally, the 
Commission proposed to apply the measurement procedure used in the PCS 
band to these OOBE limits.
    119. As explained above, the record contains three studies that 
examined the appropriate technical parameters for H Block operations 
needed to avoid causing harmful interference, including OOBE 
interference, to existing PCS downlink operations at 1930-1995 MHz.
    120. Sprint and Verizon Wireless Test Reports--Test Setup. For the 
Sprint Test Report and the Verizon Wireless Test Report, V-COMM tested 
both Sprint and Verizon Wireless devices for their performance against 
out-of-band emissions. Two interference cases were tested. For both 
sets of tests, the CDMA device was tuned to the PCS A Block and 
subjected to a desired signal representing first a 1 dB desensitization 
level, and, second, a 3 dB desensitization level, from the device's 
measured sensitivity level. A co-channel additive white Gaussian noise 
(AWGN) signal representing the interfering H Block device was then 
injected into the device's RF antenna port. The power level of the 
interfering signal level was increased until the FER was no more than 
0.5%, and the results recorded.
    121. AT&T and T-Mobile Test Reports--Test Setup. As discussed 
above, AT&T and T-Mobile did not provide details of their test setup, 
but noted some differences with Sprint and Verizon Wireless's test 
plan. In performing that evaluation, a key difference from the V-COMM 
tests was that 7Layers set the desired signal level according to 
typical design at the device's reference sensitivity. Additional tests 
were conducted to determine the levels at which 1 dB and 3 dB 
degradation of the device's measured sensitivity occurs. The AT&T/T-
Mobile Test Report did not include GSM devices in the typical design 
conditions. We observe that the analysis within the AT&T/T-Mobile Test 
Report did not calculate the necessary OOBE limit directly from the 
results, but simply decided whether the limit calculated in the V-COMM 
tests would be sufficient.
    122. Sprint and Verizon Wireless Test Reports--Test Results. For 
the Sprint Test Report and the Verizon Wireless Test Report, V-COMM 
reported an average interference level of -107 dBm when the desired 
signal was at the 3 dB desensitization level, and an average 
interference level of -113 dBm when the desired signal was at the 1 dB 
desensitization level. Examining the same two user scenarios as for the 
blocking and intermodulation tests, V-COMM interpreted these results as 
equivalent to an OOBE limit -53 dBm/MHz for the voice user scenario at 
the 3 dB desensitization level and 1 meter of separation between 
devices, and -63 dBm/MHz for the data use scenario under the same 
conditions. For the 1 dB desensitization level, the results showed an 
equivalent OOBE level of -59 dBm/MHz for voice use and -69 dBm/MHz for 
data use. V-COMM stated that an OOBE limit of -69 dBm/MHz would prevent 
desensitization of more than 1 dB for devices at a 1 meter separation. 
It further stated that an additional implementation margin of 3 dB 
would be appropriate, resulting in a recommended OOBE limit of -66 dBm/
MHz based on the data use scenario. V-COMM asserted that this limit 
would be ``consistent with OOBE limits proposed in the FCC NPRM[s] in 
2004 and 2008'' and ``also consistent with 3GPP OOBE limits for UMTS 
and HSPA devices.''
    123. AT&T and T-Mobile Test Reports--Test Results. The AT&T/T-
Mobile Test Report stated that the OOBE tests ``showed the greatest 
difference between airlink technologies.'' The report noted that ``UMTS 
and LTE displayed good immunity to wideband noise emissions from a 
nearby H Block transmitter.'' The report also stated that ``GSM devices 
displayed relatively poor rejection of OOBE interference.'' In the 
AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report, the average interference level for typical 
design conditions that produced 3 dB of desensitization of the receiver 
was -93.8 dBm. Similarly, the average interference levels for worst 
case conditions were -109.64 dBm and -104.8 dBm for 1 dB and 3 dB 
desensitization levels, respectively. This compares to the average 
levels of -113 dBm and -107 dBm for 1 dB and 3 dB desensitization 
levels, respectively, reported by both Sprint and Verizon Wireless.
    124. OOBE Proposals Based on Interference Testing. Based on the 
testing, the parties generally proposed that the Commission adopt an 
OOBE limit of -66 dBm/MHz, which is equivalent to 96 + 10 
log10 (P) dB (where (P) is the transmitter power in watts) 
for Lower H Block emissions into the 1930-1995 MHz band. Sprint, 
however, recognized that this level may be overly stringent. Sprint 
suggested that, if the low probability of the occurrence of the factors 
needed for mobile-to-mobile interference were fully taken into account, 
the necessary OOBE attenuation could be lower. Sprint then observed 
that ``[t]he 3GPP OOBE

[[Page 50232]]

standards for similar mobile-to-mobile coexistence situations are more 
typically -50 dBm/MHz [i.e., 80 + 10 log10 (P) dB] (or -40 
dBm/MHz [i.e., 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB] when the two bands have 
little separation).'' Verizon Wireless disagreed with Sprint, arguing 
that, ``[a]lthough Sprint is correct as to the circumstances in which 
interference will occur, [Sprint] is wrong to imply that these 
circumstances occur only rarely.'' Instead, Verizon Wireless argues 
that ``mobile devices are most likely to be located very near each 
other at indoor locations where users are likely to receive a weaker 
signal . . . [which is] precisely what [OOBE] limits are designed to 
protect against.'' Neither AT&T nor T-Mobile addressed Sprint's 
suggestion that the OOBE could be set at a less stringent level than 96 
+ 10 log10 (P) dB. T-Mobile, while supporting the 96 + 10 
log10 (P) dB OOBE limit, expressed concern that the AT&T/T-
Mobile Test Report showed that GSM devices had ``a relatively poor 
rejection of OOBE interference at a separation distance of 1 meter.'' 
To address this concern, T-Mobile requested that the Commission require 
H Block licensees to notify PCS A Block licensees on a market-by-market 
basis when the H Block licensees turn on service. T-Mobile explained 
that this ``would enable full use of the H Block for LTE service while 
also assisting PCS licensees in network planning to reduce the 
probability of interference.''
    125. For the reasons discussed below, except as otherwise 
specified, we adopt the proposed OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 
(P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, for Lower H Block 
transmissions outside of 1915-1920 MHz. We adopt this limit below 1915 
MHz and above 1920 MHz, with additional protections required for the 
1930-1995 MHz band. For emissions into the 1930-1995 MHz band, we 
establish an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) 
is the transmitter power in watts.
    126. Emissions below 1915 MHz. We adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 
log10 (P) dB where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, 
for Lower H Block transmissions below 1915 MHz. Immediately below the 
Lower H Block is the 1850-1915 MHz PCS band, which is used for mobile 
transmit/base receive. As the Commission observed in the H Block NPRM, 
because it is anticipated that the Lower H Block systems will be 
similar in design to PCS and AWS-1, use of the 1915-1920 MHz band would 
be compatible with this adjacent PCS spectrum. That is, both bands will 
serve as mobile uplink bands. Thus, the OOBE level currently in the 
Commission's rules to protect adjacent PCS uplink blocks from harmful 
interference from each other should also be sufficient to protect PCS 
blocks in the 1850-1915 MHz band from Lower H Block emissions. 
Additionally, the OOBE limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB where 
(P) is the transmitter power in watts, has effectively served to 
prevent harmful interference to operations in bands adjacent and nearby 
to PCS and AWS-1 operations. The Commission thus tentatively concluded 
that a more restrictive OOBE limit than those established for PCS and 
AWS-1 transmissions was not necessary for Lower H Block transmissions 
below 1915 MHz; a conclusion now supported by the record. As Sprint 
comments, ``[n]o industry commenter disputes the Commission's 
conclusion that [Lower] H Block uplink operations would not cause 
harmful interference to PCS operations located immediately below the 
uplink at 1850-1915 MHz.'' We therefore adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 
log10 (P) dB where (P) is the transmitter power in watts, 
for Lower H Block operations below 1915 MHz.
    127. Emissions above 1920 MHz. Except as specified below for 
emissions into the 1930-1995 MHz band, we adopt an OOBE limit of 43 + 
10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power in 
watts, for Lower H Block transmissions above 1920 MHz. The OOBE limit 
of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter power 
in watts, applies to most of the services authorized under parts 24 and 
27, which have effectively relied on this limit in the Commission's 
rules to prevent harmful interference to operations in adjacent bands. 
We authorize H Block under part 27, and thus anticipate that H Block 
systems will be similar in design to PCS and AWS-1. Additionally, with 
respect to the immediately adjacent 1920-1930 MHz band, that band is 
designated for unlicensed use and operations in that band are required 
to accept interference from licensed operations, including those in the 
Lower H Block. Furthermore, except as discussed below regarding the 
1930-1995 MHz band, no commenter opposed an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 
log10 (P) dB above 1920 MHz. Therefore, we adopt an OOBE 
limit of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter 
power in watts, for Lower H Block transmissions above 1920 MHz, subject 
to the exceptions below.
    128. Emissions into 1930-1995 MHz. In order to prevent harmful 
interference into the PCS downlink band at 1930-1995 MHz, as required 
by statute, we adopt a requirement that out-of band emissions into the 
1930-1995 MHz band be attenuated below the transmitter power level by 
at least 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the transmitter 
power in watts, (equivalent to -40 dBm/MHz) for fixed and mobile 
devices operating in the Lower H Block. We conclude that as a result of 
our adoption of this OOBE limit, licensees in the 1930-1995 MHz band 
will not experience a level of interference that seriously degrades, 
obstructs, or repeatedly interrupts their services. We base our finding 
on Commission precedent, experience with the probabilistic nature of 
mobile-to-mobile interference, and analysis of the test data submitted 
into the record.
    129. Commission Precedent. We find an OOBE limit at 70 + 10 
log10 (P) dB, where (P) is the mobile transmitter power in 
watts, is consistent with Commission precedent. The interference 
scenario before us involves setting limits for Lower H Block mobile 
device out-of-band emissions that prevent harmful interference to PCS 
devices in the 1930-1995 MHz band. Last year, in the AWS-4 Report and 
Order, the Commission addressed the issue of mobile-to-mobile 
interference from AWS-4 mobile devices operating in the AWS-4 2000-2020 
MHz uplink band to operations in the PCS downlink band and to future 
Upper H Block operations in 1930-2000 MHz. In the AWS-4 proceeding, the 
Commission had proposed an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) 
dB, where P is the transmitter power in watts, from AWS-4 operations in 
the 2000-2020 MHz band into frequencies below 2000 MHz. The Commission 
proposed this attenuation level because it was previously set forth in 
the part 25 rules for Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) operations 
in the 2000-2020 MHz band into spectrum below 1995 MHz. Parties in the 
AWS-4 proceeding generally supported the proposed OOBE level, and no 
party to that proceeding proposed an alternative limit. After reviewing 
the record before it--a record compiled after enactment of the Spectrum 
Act--the Commission adopted a maximum attenuation level of 70 + 10 
log10 (P) dB for AWS-4 transmissions into both the Upper H 
Block below 2000 MHz and the PCS band below 1995 MHz.
    130. The scenario in the AWS-4 proceeding is on point with that 
facing us here. In both cases the interference scenario is mobile-to-
mobile interference. In both cases, the Commission was faced with 
establishing an OOBE limit for transmissions from nearby operations 
into the PCS downlink band at 1930-1995 MHz. In the AWS-4 proceeding, 
the Commission also examined the same interference scenario into the 
immediately adjacent

[[Page 50233]]

Upper H Block. Further, in one important respect, the interference 
scenario before us now represents a scenario less likely to result in 
harmful interference than the one we addressed in the AWS-4 proceeding. 
Specifically, the Lower H Block is 10 megahertz away from the PCS 
downlink band, whereas the AWS-4 uplink band is 5 megahertz away from 
the PCS band and directly adjacent to the Upper H Block. Lower H Block 
operators will thus have 10 megahertz of frequency separation from the 
PCS band for emissions from their devices to roll off, while AWS-4 
operators have no frequency separation for roll off between the AWS-4 
uplink band and the Upper H Block. Stated otherwise, the interference 
scenarios here and in the AWS-4 proceeding effectively bookend the 
1930-2000 MHz frequencies, with the emissions entering those from 
frequencies from below 1930 MHz and from above 2000 MHz needing to meet 
the same attenuation levels, but with Lower H Block operators having 10 
megahertz rather than 5 megahertz or zero megahertz of separation in 
which to roll off to achieve the limit. Accordingly, we find it 
consistent with AWS-4 precedent to set the OOBE limit for Lower H Block 
operations into 1930-1995 MHz at 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB, where 
(P) is the mobile transmitter power in watts.
    131. In adopting the 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB OOBE limit 
also set in the AWS-4 proceeding, we observe that this limit is the 
most stringent limit in the Commission's rules for operations in a 
commercial uplink band protecting another band. For example, for the 
800 MHz cellular band and the Lower and Upper 700 MHz bands 
(generally), the Commission adopted an OOBE limit of 43 + 10 
log10 (P) dB (with a measurement bandwidth of 100 kHz, which 
is equivalent to 33+ 10 log10 (P) dB with a measurement 
bandwidth of 1 MHz); and for the broadband PCS band, the AWS-1 band, 
and the AWS-4 band (except below 2000 MHz), the Commission adopted a 
mask of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB (with a measurement bandwidth 
of 1 MHz). Moreover, within these bands are examples of mobile-to-
mobile interference scenarios at frequency separation distances similar 
to those that exist between the Lower H Block and the PCS downlink 
band. For example, Lower 700 MHz C Block mobile devices are required to 
attenuate transmissions at 43+ 10 log10 (P) dB (with a 
measurement bandwidth of at least 100 kHz) above 716 MHz, including 
into the Lower 700 MHz A Block downlink band at 728 MHz. Similarly, in 
determining the OOBE limit for Upper 700 MHz C Block mobile devices 
into the nearby public safety downlink band, the Commission set the 
limit at the equivalent of 43 + 10 log10 (P) dB (with a 
measurement bandwidth of 1 MHz). In addition, when 3GPP decided that 
public safety mobile devices required greater protection than the 
Commission limit, it set a higher limit of 65 + 10 log10 (P) 
dB (with a measurement bandwidth of 1 MHz or greater). As part of the 
3GPP deliberations, Verizon Wireless, a licensee of significant Upper 
700 MHz C Block spectrum, agreed that this level provided sufficient 
protection to our Nation's first responders. Yet, here, in the H Block 
proceeding, wireless providers are advocating for a limit that is 31 dB 
(i.e., more than 1,000 times) more stringent than the protection 
afforded public safety. We would expect, to the contrary, that 
protection levels sufficient for public safety would normally be 
sufficient to protect commercial mobile service providers.
    132. Not only is the OOBE limit of 96 + 10 log10 (P) dB 
much more stringent than the limits the Commission has adopted in any 
other band, it may be very difficult to realize. Sprint submitted a 
presentation from Avago Technologies that showed one solution using an 
FBAR (Film Bulk Acoustic Resonator) filter to meet the OOBE limit. The 
proposed filter was designed to support a single ten megahertz passband 
covering only the PCS G Block and the proposed H Block. As Sprint is 
the sole licensee for the PCS G Block, the filter design is very 
specialized for Sprint's purposes and is unlikely to be useable by 
other operators that may need to use larger passbands or other more 
commonly used filter technologies. It is important that the limits we 
set for H Block operations maximize the utility of the band for all 
potential licensees and provide for the public good.
    133. Probabilistic Interference. In evaluating the interference 
scenario here, it is important to account for its probabilistic nature. 
In order for mobile-to-mobile harmful interference actually to occur, a 
number of worst case factors must all happen in conjunction with each 
other. These factors include that the two mobile devices (1) must be in 
operation at the same time, (2) must be located in very close proximity 
to each other, (3) must remain in close proximity for a significant 
period of time (i.e., proximity must not be transient), (4) must be 
operating in a weak signal environment with both (a) the interfering 
mobile transmitter operating at maximum power and (b) the PCS mobile 
receiver receiving a weak signal and using frequencies most likely to 
lead to interference (e.g., the interfering device must be capable of 
using the Lower H Block, actually transmitting on the Lower H Block, 
and transmitting on a resource block(s) near the upper edge of that 
band; the PCS device must similarly be operating on a receiver 
frequency near or at the lower edge of the PCS band), and (5) must be 
operating in a line of sight environment with respect to each other. 
Indeed, the Commission has described this issue for these bands 
previously, stating that ``[t]he worst case occurs when the mobile 
transmitter is operating at maximum power (near the edge of its service 
area) at the upper edge of the band (near 1920 MHz) and the mobile 
receiver is trying to receive a weak signal (near the edge of its 
service area) at the lower edge of the band (near 1930 MHz) and only 
free space loss is considered.''
    134. In addition, mobile devices do not transmit continuously; 
rather, they transmit data in bursts. For example, for LTE devices, 
mobile data is organized in resource blocks, which allocate a set of 
subcarrier frequencies for a 1 ms (millisecond) time interval. The 
frequency and duration of these bursts, or number of allocated resource 
blocks, depends upon traffic loads and signal conditions. For 
interference to PCS mobile devices to occur the H Block mobile must be 
transmitting in the same time interval that the PCS device is 
receiving. Thus, by transmitting in bursts, the likely use of LTE 
devices in the H Block would further dilute the probability of 
interference occurring. In addition, wireless networks constantly 
measure performance and seek to switch devices to alternative resources 
to improve call quality (e.g., handoff to another channel or another 
base station).
    135. The record supports this description of the factors that 
generally need to occur to give rise to mobile-to-mobile interference. 
For example, Sprint stated that ``many factors come into play for such 
mobile-to-mobile interference.'' It observed that interference would 
only occur if ``(1) the PCS device is attempting to receive a weak 
signal at the bottom end of the PCS band; (2) the two mobile devices 
are located very near to each other; and (3) the H block device is 
transmitting at the same instant, with high power and in the resource 
blocks at the upper end of the H block.'' Verizon Wireless concurred, 
expressly stating that ``Sprint is correct as to the circumstances in 
which interference will occur.'' Accordingly, we reiterate that mobile-
to-mobile interference will occur only in specific

[[Page 50234]]

situations, such as those described above.
    136. The risk of mobile-to-mobile interference occurring is 
influenced by the low probability of these worst-case circumstances 
occurring--they may occur, but do so infrequently--and by network 
management practices, such as hand off and power management, that are 
designed to mitigate against harmful interference. For example, Sprint 
states that LTE ``spreads across the bandwidth, dynamically controlling 
the power and number of subcarriers assigned to a particular device and 
reducing the need for constraining OOBE limits.'' Moreover, as Sprint 
observes, ``[p]robability certainly plays a large factor as to when 
[the above] conditions would occur in the real world.'' We believe that 
the probability of each of the described mobile-to-mobile interactions 
actually occurring is small individually, and quite small viewed in 
combination. Thus, we disagree with Verizon Wireless's assertion that 
the combination of circumstances resulting in interference does not 
``occur only rarely . . . [because] mobile devices are most likely to 
be located very near to each other at indoor locations where users are 
likely to receive a weaker signal.'' Although the confluence of worst 
case scenarios may occur more often indoors than outdoors, it does not 
necessarily follow that these situations occur indoors with any 
frequency; nor has Verizon Wireless provided any evidence showing that 
these factors occur frequently indoors. Further, in areas where 
wireless providers anticipate recurring high density use of mobile 
devices, providers typically engineer their networks to provide robust 
coverage, including for indoor locations.
    137. We apply our discussion of the probabilistic nature of mobile-
to-mobile interference to our evaluations of the test reports, 
immediately below.
    138. Test Reports. While we believe it appropriate to act 
consistently with the Commission's recent determination in the AWS-4 
proceeding that an attenuation limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) 
dB, where P is the transmitter power in watts, from the AWS-4 uplink 
band into the PCS downlink band at 1930-1995 MHz to set that same limit 
here for transmissions from the Lower H Block into the PCS downlink 
band, we believe it appropriate to test this conclusion against the 
test reports submitted into the record here. As explained above, 
parties submitted three test reports into the record. We assess these 
reports based on our engineering expertise and with the goal of 
auctioning the Lower H Block in a manner that maximizes its usefulness 
while protecting the PCS band from harmful interference, as required by 
the Spectrum Act.
    139. We have a number of concerns with the test reports. In 
particular, as we discuss above, although we do not question the 
science behind the reports, we find a number of assumptions used by the 
parties in their interference tests are overly conservative for use in 
setting reasonable OOBE limits. Specifically, we find the testing (1) 
failed to fully account for the low probability of mobile-to-mobile 
interference, (2) assumed an overly conservative required separation 
distance of 1 meter, (3) relied on limiting interference to an overly 
conservative 1 dB desensitization level, (4) relied on an overly 
restrictive user scenario that accounted for body loss only, as opposed 
to head and body loss, and (5) included an unnecessary manufacturer's 
tolerance. We address each of our concerns with the test reports, 
below, in turn.
    140. First, the test reports do not fully account for the highly 
probabilistic nature of OOBE interference from the Lower H Block into 
the PCS downlink band. As explained above, many low probability factors 
must occur in conjunction for interference to occur in a mobile-to-
mobile scenario. Because our charge is to prevent harmful interference, 
rather than all interference, accounting for the likelihood that an 
instance of interference will occur is important in assessing whether 
the interference scenario rises to the level of harmful interference. 
For example, as the Commission has said previously, whether the user 
would actually notice the interference may be an important element of 
determining if interference is harmful. Except for one factor--
separation between devices, which we discuss immediately below--no 
information provided in the test reports indicates that they accounted 
(or attempted to account) for the probabilistic nature of the 
interference. Because the test reports did not fully account for the 
probabilistic nature of the interference at issue, we believe they 
overstate the protection from OOBE interference needed by licensees 
operating in the 1930-1995 MHz band.
    141. Second, we examine the one probabilistic factor included in 
the test reports--separation distance. The selection of the separation 
distance between devices is a key factor in determining the probability 
of that interference could occur. As stated above, the Sprint Test 
Report, the Verizon Wireless Test Report, and the AT&T/T-Mobile Test 
Report all assumed a separation of 1 meter between devices. A 1 meter 
separation is often used as a minimum separation distance in industry 
analyses of mobile-to-mobile interference. Distances of less than 1 
meter risk the possibility that near field antenna coupling effects may 
distort the propagation between the two devices and undermine the 
assumption of free space path loss. Again, as discussed earlier, the 
simple presence of interference is not necessarily the same as harmful 
interference. To determine what interference is sufficient to be 
considered harmful, one should consider whether there is a reasonable 
probability that the conditions necessary to create that interference 
will occur. The Commission has previously supported a separation of 2 
meters as an appropriate assumption for the purposes of determining an 
acceptable level of interference. For example, in the AWS Sixth Report 
and Order, the Commission expressed support for a 2 meter separation 
distance, stating that ``this short distance coupled with the low 
probability of occurrence of the worst-case scenario (both mobiles at 
the edge of coverage, both operating at the edge of the band, both 
simultaneously active, and both in close proximity to each other), make 
interference of this nature highly unlikely.'' More recently, in the 
AWS-4 Report and Order, the Commission found it reasonable to rely on 
the 2 meter separation distance proposed by Motorola Mobility in 
calculating interference limits. Accordingly, we believe that a 1 meter 
separation distance represents an overly conservative value and that it 
is a more realistic scenario to assume that the devices at issue are 
likely to be at least 2 meters apart.
    142. Third, we turn to inputs used in the test reports that are not 
associated with the probabilistic nature of the interference scenario, 
and start with the desensitization level. While the reports use a 1 dB 
desensitization level, we believe a 3 dB level is more appropriate. The 
Sprint and Verizon Wireless test reports include results of the testing 
for both the 1 dB and 3 dB desensitization levels, but focused their 
analysis of the results on the 1 dB desensitization level. For purposes 
of the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report, AT&T and T-Mobile designed their test 
plan to use a 3 dB desensitization of the receiver's sensitivity. The 
desensitization was based on the device's reference sensitivity per the 
standard for the technology, rather than by the individual device's 
measured sensitivity (the approach used by Sprint and Verizon 
Wireless). AT&T and T-Mobile described this test strategy as a typical 
design test, observing that most link

[[Page 50235]]

budgets, which drive the design of the network, use the standard's 
reference sensitivity. Further, they stated that the reference 
sensitivity, as opposed to the individual device's measured sensitivity 
allows all devices ``to be tested in exactly the same environment'' for 
a better comparison of device performance.
    143. A 1 dB desensitization level is defined as the level of 
interference at which the effective noise floor of the system will rise 
by 1 dB, that is, the receiver sensitivity will be reduced by 1 dB. 
This occurs when the interfering signal level is 6 dB below the noise 
floor of the receiver. Similarly, 3 dB desensitization occurs when the 
level of interference is equal to the level of the receiver's system 
noise. 1 dB desensitization is most commonly used as an interference 
protection criterion for noise-limited receiver systems. However, 
mobile cellular systems are inherently interference-limited; that is, 
the prevailing interference is greater than noise sources. These 
systems are designed to perform in a strong interference environment, 
much of which is often self-generated, coming from other network 
elements (e.g., other nearby base stations in the same or adjacent 
bands).
    144. We believe that a noise-limited interference criterion (1 dB 
desensitization) is too restrictive for modern cellular systems. This 
is reflected in industry standards for receiver performance, such as 
the 3GPP2 standard for CDMA devices. As described above, the 3GPP2 
standard for cdma2000 mobile devices sets several receiver performance 
requirements, including response to receiver overload (blocking) and 
intermodulation. For example, 3GPP2 Requirement 3.5.2 for Single Tone 
Desensitization, similar to the intermodulation tests performed by V-
COMM, sets the level of the desired signal at either 3 dB or 10 dB 
above the reference sensitivity level. Similarly, under the 3GPP2 
standard, receiver blocking also permits sensitivity to degrade by 3 dB 
above its reference level in the presence of overload interference 
while maintaining a 10% FER. CDMA is not the only technology to require 
the receiver to operate properly in the presence of interference. The 
3GPP standard for UMTS and LTE devices specifies an in-band blocking 
requirement that sets the interfering signal level 6 dB or more above 
the reference sensitivity level. Further, for GSM, the desired signal 
is set at 3 dB above reference sensitivity for in-band and out-of-band 
blocking. These examples demonstrate that a desensitization of 3 dB in 
the presence of a specific interferer is acceptable in the above 
standards for determining receiver performance and may be considered 
normal operation. In other words, these standards bodies have 
considered a 3 dB desensitization level as an acceptable level of 
performance and have not viewed it as indicative of harmful 
interference. In addition, in other proceedings, other parties and the 
Commission have used a 3 dB desensitization of the receiver in 
analyzing similar mobile-to-mobile interference scenarios. For example, 
in addressing a similar mobile-to-mobile interference scenario in the 
AWS-4 proceeding, the Commission viewed as reasonable a 3 dB 
desensitization level recommended by Motorola Mobility. Finally, 
although the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report used a 1 dB desensitization 
level for its conclusions, the report states that a 1 dB 
desensitization level is not typical. The AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report 
characterized the desired signal conditions used in the Sprint and 
Verizon Wireless tests as representing worst case conditions. The 
report noted that ``the disadvantage to this approach is that we 
utilize an operating point that is probably well above the device's 
actual sensitivity. Thus, a stronger interfering signal is required to 
realize impairment in performance.'' Moreover, in specifically 
commenting on the appropriate desensitization level, the report states: 
``The 1 dB desense point was used by AT&T/T-Mobile only because this is 
one of two operating points utilized in the filings from Sprint and 
Verizon Wireless. It is not typically used during conformance or 
performance testing, primarily because the measurement uncertainty 
associated with it is rather high. The measurement metric (throughput 
or BER/FER) displays highly non-linear behavior.'' We observe that 
neither Sprint nor Verizon Wireless explain why they used a 1 dB 
desensitization level. We therefore find that the 3 dB desensitization 
level to be a more appropriate metric for determining the presence of 
harmful interference.
    145. Fourth, we assess the two user scenarios contained in the 
Sprint Test Report and the Verizon Wireless Test Report and the 
different assumptions contained in the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report. In 
the Sprint and Verizon Wireless reports, V-COMM made certain 
assumptions on how the device would be used and set up two user 
scenarios, one simulating data use and the other simulating a user 
making a voice call. V-COMM assumed that, during data use, the device 
would be in held in the user's hand and would experience 3 dB in body 
loss. If both the interfering and receiving devices were held in the 
hand, a total of 6 dB of body losses would occur. In the case of a user 
making a voice call, where the device was held to the user's head, 
there would be 8 dB of combined head and body losses. Thus, if both the 
transmitting and receiving users were engaged in a voice call, there 
would be a total of 16 dB of head and body losses. The analysis 
provided in the AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report made no provision for either 
head or body loss in setting the criteria for their analysis. The 
report stated, however, that ``additional losses, such as those 
attributable to the presence of the user's hand, holding the device to 
the head, etc., would reduce both the Lower H Block power level and 
OOBE further.'' This statement effectively acknowledges that head and 
body loss may be appropriate, yet the report does not apply any in the 
analysis.
    146. The specific values of head and body loss can be affected by a 
number of factors, particularly frequency, and do not have uniformly 
accepted values. For example, in the recently concluded AWS-4 
proceeding, Motorola assumed a 10 dB head and body loss. Both Sprint 
and Verizon Wireless have adopted an 8 dB head and body loss in their 
respective test reports. We accept these proposed values for body loss 
and head loss as within the range of reasonableness for our 
calculations here. V-COMM calculated the OOBE limit required under both 
user scenarios. The OOBE limit proposed by both Sprint and Verizon 
Wireless was based on the assumption that both devices are being used 
for data. In previous Commission analyses of mobile-to-mobile 
interference, however, the user scenario has been for voice use; that 
is, in prior Commission analysis, the total losses attributable to head 
and body losses have been in the range of as much as 6 to 10 dB for 
each device (both the transmitting and receiving device). Moreover, 
interference does not affect voice and data in the same manner. The 
user is much more likely to notice interference during a voice call 
than during data use. The provision of voice service requires low 
latency in the transmission link. Therefore, noise due to interference 
can be immediately perceptible to the voice user. Harmful interference 
potentially can cause the voice call to terminate. Data traffic, on the 
other hand, can be much more sporadic, even under good signal 
conditions, and can often tolerate some data losses. If interference 
prevents data from being received and properly

[[Page 50236]]

decoded, the information may be retransmitted until it is received 
correctly. This retransmission may cause delays in the data 
transmission, and effectively slow the data throughput rate, but the 
data session likely will continue through to completion. Significantly, 
these delays are likely imperceptible to the user in most data 
scenarios. As explained above, we consider that interference should be 
judged harmful when it is readily perceptible to the user in most 
cases. Consequently, because instances of interference are more likely 
to be perceptible to the voice user than to the data user, we find it 
more appropriate to use the voice user case when setting the 
appropriate attenuation level necessary to avoid OOBE interference.
    147. Fifth, we are concerned that the Sprint Test Report and the 
Verizon Wireless Test Report use a 3 dB ``implementation margin'' to 
adjust the proposed OOBE limit. The AT&T/T-Mobile Test Report did not 
include an implementation margin. It is not clear what issue an 
implementation margin is designed to address or why it is appropriate. 
In using a 3 dB implementation margin, the test reports adjust the 
proposed OOBE limit from -69 dBm/MHz to -66 dBm/MHz (i.e., from 99 + 10 
log10 (P) dB to 96 + 10 log10 (P) dB). Thus, 
unlike all of the test report inputs discussed above, inclusion of this 
input results in making the OOBE less strict. The Sprint and Verizon 
Wireless test reports state that the adjusted OOBE limit ``is 
consistent with OOBE limits proposed in the FCC NPRM in 2004 and 2008 . 
. . [and] with 3GPP OOBE limits for UMTS and HSPA devices . . . . OOBE 
of all devices tested in 2004 comply with -66 dBm/MHz . . . pursuant to 
CTIA's H-Block tests.'' No reason was provided to support a need for 
the OOBE limit we are now establishing to be consistent with earlier 
testing or earlier Commission proposals. Rather, as we explain above, 
technology has advanced considerably since earlier tests were performed 
and we would expect that the purpose of any new testing would be to 
provide temporally relevant data, not to match earlier data. Thus, we 
question the propriety of including this implementation margin.
    148. In light of all of these concerns with the test reports, we 
decline to use them as the basis to establish the OOBE limit for Lower 
H Block emissions into the 1930-1995 MHz band. Rather, as explained 
above, we find it more appropriate to rely on Commission precedent for 
the same mobile-to-mobile interference scenario we face here, but from 
the other end of the PCS band, to establish the OOBE limit. We find 
that relying on this precedent is preferable to making the numerous 
adjustments that would be necessary to rely on the studies, 
particularly given that it may not be possible to fully adjust the 
studies to account for all of the issues detailed above, including, in 
particular, the probabilistic nature of the interference. Finally, we 
observe that our rules contain a savings provision that permits the 
Commission, in the event that harmful interference occurs, to require 
greater attenuation than the level we set here.
    149. Measurement Procedure. The Commission proposed to apply the 
measurement procedure used in the immediately adjacent PCS uplink band 
(1850-1915 MHz) to the OOBE limit set for the Lower H Block. For this 
PCS band, the measurement bandwidth for mobile stations is one 
megahertz or greater, with some modification in the one-megahertz bands 
immediately outside and adjacent to the frequency block where a 
resolution bandwidth of at least one percent of the emission bandwidth 
of the fundamental emission of the transmitter may be employed. No 
party commented on this proposal. To treat mobile operations in the 
Lower H Block in an equivalent manner to mobile operation in the 
adjacent PCS band, we therefore adopt the Commission's measurement 
procedure proposal.
    150. Commenter Notification Proposal. We adopt a proposal set forth 
by T-Mobile to require Lower H Block licensees to notify operators in 
the A Block of the PCS downlink band (1930-1945 MHz) when the H Block 
licensee turns on service. T-Mobile proposed to require H Block 
licensees ``to provide notification to PCS A Block licensees when they 
turn on service in the H Block on a market-by-market basis.'' T-Mobile 
argues that this requirement is needed because ``GSM devices may not be 
adequately protected'' by our Lower H Block power limit and OOBE limit 
rules. T-Mobile asserts that this notification requirement would 
``assist[] PCS licensees in network planning to reduce the probability 
of interference.''
    151. For the reasons stated above, we cannot determine that PCS 
licensees will experience harmful interference from Lower H Block 
operations. Nevertheless, we adopt a notification requirement out of an 
abundance of caution and in light of the specific statutory condition 
requiring that H Block operations not cause harmful interference to PCS 
licensees. Although the Commission does not generally require part 27 
licensees to provide notification to operators in adjacent or nearby 
bands when they commence service, the Commission has done so in at 
least one instance. Specifically, the Commission has required providers 
of 2.3 GHz WCS, a part 27 service, to provide notification to certain 
providers operating in nearby spectrum with notice 30 days before 
commencing operations of a new transmitting site. Here, we have a 
statute that requires H Block operations not cause harmful interference 
to PCS downlink operations and a PCS licensee with considerable 
operations in the lower portion of the PCS A Block--the spectrum in 
closest proximity to the Lower H Block--stating that a notification 
requirement would ``assist PCS licensees in network planning to reduce 
the probability of interference.'' Thus, while we believe that the 
technical rules we adopt above are sufficient to prevent harmful 
interference from Lower H Block operations to PCS licensees operations 
in the 1930-1995 MHz band, we find adoption of a notification 
requirement appropriate as an additional safeguard against harmful 
interference. In the event, contrary to our predictive judgment, that 
we determine following such notification that H Block uplink operations 
do result in harmful interference to A Block PCS downlink operations in 
any particular location, we will take appropriate action to address 
such situations.
    152. In adopting this notification requirement, we provide basic 
parameters for how the notification shall be provided. We do so to 
avoid confusion, despite the lack of details contained in the T-Mobile 
proposal. T-Mobile requested H Block licensees provide PCS A Block 
licensees with notification when the H Block licensee ``turn[s] on 
service'' on a ``market-by-market basis.'' T-Mobile did not define 
these terms. Because the interference scenario between the Lower H 
Block and the PCS downlink band is one of mobile-to-mobile 
interference, we find it logical (for the sole purpose of the 
notification requirement we adopt here) to equate turning on service to 
when a consumer mobile device begins to operate in the band, i.e., when 
service is first provided to a consumer. In addition, we find it 
logical to relate the term market (for the sole purpose of the 
notification requirement we adopt here) to the geographic license area 
we adopt for the H Block--Economic Areas (EAs). Accordingly, we require 
each Lower H Block licensee to provide all PCS A Block (1930-1945 MHz) 
licensees within the geographic scope of the Lower H Block license with 
written notification that the H Block licensee

[[Page 50237]]

has begun providing service; such notice must be provided on the date 
when the Lower H Block licensee first begins to provide service to a 
consumer using the Lower H Block.
3. Canadian and Mexican Coordination
    153. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to apply the 
approach used by AWS-1 operations to coordinate with Canada and Mexico 
to H Block operations. We adopt this approach and observe that because 
of our shared borders with Canada and Mexico, the Commission routinely 
works in conjunction with the United States Department of State and 
Canadian and Mexican government officials to ensure the efficient use 
of the spectrum as well as interference-free operations in the border 
areas. Until such time as any adjusted agreements, as needed, between 
the United States, Mexico and/or Canada can be agreed to, operations 
must not cause harmful interference across the border, consistent with 
the terms of the agreements currently in force. We note that further 
modifications of the rules might be necessary in order to comply with 
any future agreements with Canada and Mexico regarding the use of these 
bands.
4. Other Technical Issues
    154. In addition to the specific technical issues addressed above, 
the Commission also proposed applying additional part 27 rules to the H 
Block band. Specifically, the Commission proposed applying the 
following rule sections: Sec.  27.51 (Equipment Authorization); Sec.  
27.52 (RF Safety); Sec.  27.54 (Frequency Stability); Sec.  27.56 
(Antenna structures; air navigation safety); and Sec.  27.63 
(Disturbance of AM broadcast station antenna patterns). The Commission 
reasoned that because H Block will be licensed as an Advanced Wireless 
Service under part 27, these rules should apply to all licensees of H 
Block spectrum, including licensees who acquire their H Block license 
through partitioning or disaggregation. No commenters opposed this 
proposal. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission directed commenters 
desiring to address a change in the Commission's RF exposure standards 
to file in both the H Block proceeding and in ET Docket No. 03-137. See 
H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16276 para. 53 n.95. Numerous parties 
submitted comments, replies, or ex parte filings into either the H 
Block proceeding or ET Docket No. 03-137, or in most instances into 
both dockets, advocating that the Commission re-examine its RF exposure 
standards. On March 27, 2013, the Commission adopted a First Report and 
Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Notice of Inquiry on 
RF exposure issues. See Reassessment of Federal Communications 
Commission Radiofrequency Exposure Limits and Policies, ET Docket No. 
13-84, Notice of Inquiry, and Proposed Changes in the Commission's 
rules Regarding Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic 
Fields, ET Docket No. 03-137, First Report and Order and Further Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking, 28 FCC Rcd 3498 (2013). ET Docket No. 03-137 is 
mainly procedural, and does not reach the issue of whether the 
Commission's limits on human exposure to RF energy are appropriate. ET 
Docket No. 13-84 is a new docket in which the Commission seeks 
information and comment as to whether it should undertake a rulemaking 
to revise its existing RF exposure standards. We hereby incorporate 
comments addressing the RF exposure standards filed in the H Block 
proceeding, as well as those in ET Docket No. 03-137, until the release 
date of this H Block Report and Order, into the open proceeding on RF 
exposure issues in ET Docket No. 13-84, as appropriate. Further, the 
Commission will periodically monitor the H Block proceeding for 30 days 
following publication of the H Block Report and Order in the Federal 
Register to ensure that any additional misfiled relevant comments 
addressing the RF exposure standards are appropriately considered in ET 
Docket No. 13-84. Accordingly, because these rules generally apply to 
all part 27 services, and because, as we explain above, we find it 
appropriate to license the H Block under our part 27 regulatory 
framework, we conclude that the potential benefits of our proposal 
would outweigh any potential costs and adopt the proposal to apply 
these additional part 27 rules to licensees of H Block.
    155. In the H Block NPRM the Commission observed that H Block 
spectrum is adjacent to Broadband PCS spectrum, which is administered 
under part 24, and that it is therefore possible that a single entity 
could obtain licenses for both bands in the same geographic area and 
seek to deploy a wider channel bandwidth in that area across both 
bands. If we permit operations under such a scenario, we need to 
determine which rule part should govern the combined operations across 
the band. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to allow such 
operations and, should there be a conflict in the rules applicable to 
both bands, to apply the more restrictive rule across the combined 
operations. No party commented on these proposals. We continue to 
believe it is in the public interest to permit operations across the 
PCS downlink band and the Upper H Block in the event that an entity 
obtains licenses to operate in the same geographic area in both bands. 
In particular, because we adopt an EA-based licensing scheme for H 
Block, and the PCS G Block, 1990-1995 MHz has been licensed on an EA 
basis, we believe that by allowing an operator to unify operations 
across adjacent blocks may benefit the public interest by providing 
consumers with better, more affordable services through increased 
service coverage and eliminate redundancy. To ensure that this decision 
does not negatively affect adjacent band licensees, we also adopt the 
Commission's proposal to apply the more restrictive rule across the 
combined band in situations where the part 24 and part 27 interference 
or other technical rules differ. For example, in the event a single 
licensee operates in a unified manner in a geographic area across both 
the PCS G Block at 1990-1995 MHz and the Upper H Block, that entity 
would be required to comply with the H Block requirement for OOBEs from 
the combined 1990-2000 MHz band into frequencies above 2000 MHz.

D. Cost-Sharing

    156. Background--1915-1920 MHz Band. The 1915-1920 MHz band has 
historically been a subset of a larger band at 1910-1930 MHz that is 
currently allocated for Fixed and Mobile services on a primary basis. 
Before 1993, the 1910-1930 MHz band was allocated for Fixed services 
and used for fixed point-to-point microwave links. In 1993, the 
Commission designated the 1910-1930 MHz band for use by Unlicensed 
Personal Communications Service (UPCS) devices. To facilitate the 
introduction of UPCS systems, the Commission designated the Unlicensed 
PCS Ad Hoc Committee for 2 GHz Microwave Transition and Management (now 
known as ``UTAM, Inc.'') as the sole entity to coordinate and manage 
the transition. In accordance with the Commission's policies 
established in the Emerging Technologies proceeding, UTAM subsequently 
relocated virtually all of the incumbent microwave links, thereby 
clearing the 1910-1930 MHz band for use by UPCS systems.
    157. In 2003, the Commission sought comment on re-designating all 
or a portion of the 1910-1920 MHz segment for AWS use. In 2004, the 
Commission re-designated the 1910-1915 MHz band from the UPCS to Fixed 
and Mobile services and assigned that spectrum to

[[Page 50238]]

Sprint Nextel, Inc. (``Sprint'') as replacement spectrum for Sprint's 
operations being relocated from the 800 MHz band. Sprint then 
reimbursed UTAM soon after it received its licenses for the 1910-1915 
MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands from the Commission. Shortly after re-
designating the 1910-1915 MHz band, the Commission also re-designated 
the 1915-1920 MHz band from UPCS to use by licensed AWS operations. In 
so doing, the Commission acknowledged that ``UTAM must be fully and 
fairly reimbursed for relocating incumbent microwave users in this 
band'' and determined ``that UTAM should be made whole for the 
investments it has made in clearing the UPCS bands.'' Relative to the 
Lower H Block, the Commission specifically concluded that ``UTAM is 
entitled to reimbursement of twenty-five percent--on a pro-rata basis--
of the total costs it has incurred . . . as of the date that a new 
entrant gains access to the 1915-1920 MHz spectrum band.'' The 
Commission also determined that AWS licensees would be required to pay 
their portion of the twenty-five percent of costs prior to commencement 
of their operations. In total, the relocation costs attributable to the 
Upper H Block licenses amounts to $12,629,857.
    158. 1995-2000 MHz Band. The 1995-2000 MHz band is part of the 
1990-2025 MHz band that the Commission reallocated from the Broadcast 
Auxiliary Service (BAS) to emerging technologies such as PCS, AWS, and 
Mobile Satellite Service (MSS). Consistent with the relocation and 
cost-sharing principles first established in the Commission's Emerging 
Technologies proceeding, each new entrant had an independent 
responsibility to relocate incumbent BAS licensees. Under these 
procedures, the first new entrant into the band that incurs relocation 
expenses for the relocation of incumbents from portions of the band 
that the new entrant will not occupy is, as a general matter, eligible 
to obtain reimbursement from subsequent entrants in the band. More 
specifically, the Commission determined that an AWS entrant's cost-
sharing obligation for the 1995-2000 MHz band will be triggered upon 
the final grant of the long form application for each of its licenses. 
Sprint, which is the PCS licensee at 1990-1995 MHz, completed the BAS 
transition for the entire 35 megahertz in 2010. In 2011, Sprint 
notified the Commission that it entered into a private settlement with 
DISH to resolve the dispute with MSS licensees with respect to MSS 
licensees' obligation to reimburse Sprint for the MSS licensees' shares 
of the BAS relocation costs related to the 2000-2020 MHz band. 
Accordingly, the only remaining cost-sharing obligations in the 1990-
2025 MHz band are attributable to the remaining, unassigned ten 
megahertz of spectrum in the 1990-2025 MHz band: 1995-2000 MHz and 
2020-2025 MHz. Because the 1995-2000 MHz band represents one-seventh of 
the relocated BAS spectrum, the relocation costs collectively 
attributable to the Upper H Block licenses amounts to a total of 
$94,875,516.
    159. H Block NPRM. In the 2012 H Block NPRM, the Commission again 
sought comment on how to apportion UTAM's reimbursement among Lower H 
Block licensees and Sprint's reimbursement among Upper H Block 
licensees. The Commission observed that it is important to provide 
auction bidders with reasonable certainty as to the range of the 
reimbursement obligation associated with each license under various 
auction outcomes. Further, with regard to the Lower H Block, the 
Commission also expressed concern that the rules enable UTAM to be 
fully reimbursed as soon as possible given that UTAM cleared the band 
over ten years ago. The Commission therefore proposed to require Lower 
H Block licensees to pay a pro rata amount of the twenty-five percent 
owed to UTAM based on the gross winning bids of the initial H Block 
auction. Specifically, the Commission proposed that the reimbursement 
amount owed (``RN'') be determined by dividing the gross winning bid 
(``GWB'') for an H Block license (i.e., an individual EA) by the sum of 
the gross winning bids for all H Block licenses won in the initial 
auction and then multiplying by $12,629,857, the total amount owed to 
UTAM for clearing the 1915-1920 MHz band. This amount--$12,629,857--is 
the amount UTAM has identified for years as the amount collectively 
owed by future Lower H Block licensees to UTAM for UTAM's clearing of 
the 1910-1930 MHz band; that is, this amount represents one-fourth of 
UTAM's total reimbursable clearing costs for the entire 1910-1930 MHz 
band. See UTAM Comments at 3; Letter from Michael Stima, Managing 
Director, UTAM, Inc. to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal 
Communications Commission, WT Docket No. 04-356, at Attach. 1 (filed 
May 21, 2007); H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16278 para. 58. No party has 
disputed this amount in the record before us. The Commission also 
observed that Sprint has already cleared the Upper H Block, thereby 
enabling licensees to benefit from the band clearing as soon as they 
obtain licenses. The Commission thus proposed the same cost-sharing 
formula for the upper band, as it did for the lower band, applying 
Sprint's (rather than UTAM's) clearing costs of $94,875,516 in the 
formula for the Upper H Block.
    160. The Commission proposed these formulas in an effort to ensure 
that UTAM and Sprint receive full reimbursement after the first auction 
by effectively apportioning the reimbursement costs associated with any 
unsold H Block licenses among the winning bidders of all of the 
licenses sold in the first auction--with an exception in the event a 
successful bidder's long-form application is not filed or granted, and 
subject to one contingency, discussed below. The Commission imposes 
payment obligations on bidders that withdraw provisionally winning bids 
during the course of an auction, on those that default on payments due 
after an auction closes, and on those that are disqualified. See 47 CFR 
1.2110(f)(2)(i). To the extent such were to occur and a winning bidder 
were not awarded a license, the Commission proposed that the EA license 
at issue be deemed to have triggered a reimbursement obligation that 
will be paid to UTAM by the licensee acquiring the license at a re-
auction. Further, the Commission proposed that winning bidders of H 
Block licenses in the first auction would not have a right to seek 
reimbursement from other H Block licensees including for licenses 
granted as a result of subsequent auctions. The Commission sought 
comment on these proposals, including on their associated costs and 
benefits.
    161. In addition, the Commission sought comment on the relative 
costs and benefits of adopting its alternative population based cost-
sharing formula as the general rule for the H Block. The Commission 
acknowledged that using a population based approach in all events would 
offer bidders greater certainty as to the obligation attached to each 
license, but would decrease the likelihood that UTAM would be fully 
compensated for clearing the band after the initial auction.
    162. Regardless of which basis the Commission adopts for its cost-
sharing formula, the Commission proposed a contingency that would be 
triggered in the unlikely event that licenses cover less than forty 
percent of the population of the United States won in the first 
auction. In such a scenario the population would be measured using 2010 
Census data, which is the most recent decennial census data. The

[[Page 50239]]

Commission proposed that, in such an event, winning bidders--in the 
first auction, as well as in subsequent auctions--would be required to 
timely pay UTAM and Sprint, respectively, their pro rata share 
calculated by dividing the population of the individual EA granted as a 
result of auction by the total U.S. population and then multiplying 
this quotient by $12,629,857 for UTAM and by $94,875,516 for Sprint. 
This contingency would ensure that UTAM and Sprint are reimbursed as 
soon as possible while also protecting H Block winning bidders from 
bearing an undue burden of the reimbursement obligations due to UTAM 
and to Sprint.
    163. The Commission also sought comment, including on the costs and 
benefits, on the appropriate sunset date for the reimbursement 
obligation for the Upper H Block. Specifically, the Commission proposed 
a sunset date for cost-sharing obligations of Upper H Block licensees 
to Sprint of ``ten years after the first [AWS Upper] H Block license is 
issued in the band.'' The Commission reasoned, in part, that because 
bidders can internalize their reimbursement costs into their bids for H 
Block licenses, and because winning bidders are the ultimate 
beneficiaries of the band clearing, this sunset date does not impose 
undue burdens on the H Block winning bidders.
    164. Finally, the Commission proposed that winning bidders must pay 
UTAM and Sprint, respectively, the amount owed, as calculated pursuant 
to the formula ultimately adopted by the Commission, within thirty days 
of grant of their long-form license applications. The Commission sought 
comment on this proposal, including on its associated costs and 
benefits.
    165. The Record. Commenters generally supported the adoption of 
reimbursement formulas that apportion the relocation costs attributable 
to the Lower H Block and attributable to the Upper H Block, 
respectively, on a pro rata basis among H Block licensees. Commenters 
were mixed on whether we should adopt a cost-sharing formula that is 
based on gross winning bids or population. For example, C Spire and 
MetroPCS argued that a population based formula provide bidders with 
greater certainty as to their reimbursement obligations. CCA and Sprint 
opposed a population based formula, arguing that it could delay final 
reimbursement for UTAM and Sprint in the event that all geographic 
areas are not licensed in the initial auction. Commenters supported the 
Commission's proposal to require prompt payment of cost-sharing 
reimbursement obligations. Sprint, moreover, proposed that the 
Commission take the additional step of not issuing the actual licenses 
until reimbursement payments are made. Finally, Sprint is the only 
party that commented on the proposed sunset date for the Upper H Block 
cost-sharing requirements, arguing in support of the Commission's 
proposal.
    166. We adopt the cost-sharing proposals and formulas made by the 
Commission in the H Block NPRM both for the Lower H Block and for the 
Upper H Block. We conclude, given the record before us and Commission 
precedent, that this approach is in the public interest and that the 
benefits of this approach likely outweigh any potential costs. First, 
as detailed above, the Commission has long established that cost-
sharing obligations for both the Lower H Block and the Upper H Block 
should be apportioned on a pro rata basis against the relocation costs 
attributable to the particular band. Consistent with the record before 
us, we follow that precedent here.
    167. Second, we adopt cost-sharing formulas based on gross winning 
bids, rather than on license area populations. Such an approach will 
enable both UTAM and Sprint, who cleared the respective bands years 
ago, to receive full reimbursement after the first auction, as it 
results in apportioning the reimbursement associated with any unsold H 
Block licenses among the winning bidders in the first auction. We also 
adopt the Commission's proposal in the H Block NPRM, which was 
supported by the only commenter that addressed it, Sprint, that winning 
bidders in the first auction may not seek reimbursement from other H 
Block licensees, including for licenses granted as a result of 
subsequent auctions. As we explained in the H Block NPRM and Sprint 
echoed in its comments, this approach is fair and will minimize record 
keeping burdens and the likelihood of disputes between parties. A gross 
winning bids approach is also superior to a population approach because 
it better reflects the market value associated with each license at the 
time of the auction. For example, some license areas, such as the Gulf 
of Mexico, may have a relative value that is not directly tied to 
population. In such a case, a population-based formula may not fairly 
apportion relocation costs among the winning bidders. In response to 
concerns that a gross winning bids approach can lead to greater 
uncertainty if fewer licenses are sold, however, we adopt the 
contingency proposed in the H Block NPRM--if licenses won in the first 
auction cover less than forty percent of the population of the United 
States, then the cost-sharing formula will be based on population in 
the first auction, as well as in subsequent actions. In such a scenario 
the population would be measured using 2010 Census data, which is the 
most recent decennial census data.
    168. Third, to avoid confusion, we reiterate the Commission's 
earlier findings that Sprint may not receive reimbursement for the same 
costs both from AWS entrants into the Upper H Block and from the 800 
MHz true-up. For example, in the 2010 BAS Order, the Commission:

adopt[ed] a policy affirming . . . that Sprint [ ] may not both 
receive credits in the 800 MHz true-up and receive reimbursement 
from the . . . AWS entrants for the same costs. This has been the 
rule since the cost sharing requirements were adopted in the 800 MHz 
R&O, and is necessary; to prevent Sprint [ ] from receiving an 
unjustified windfall, and no party has objected to this conclusion.

    169. Fourth, we adopt the Commission's proposal to require winning 
bidders to pay UTAM and Sprint, respectively, the amounts owed within 
thirty days of the grant of the winning bidders' long-form license 
applications. For PCS, AWS-1, and AWS-4 licensees, cost-sharing 
obligations are triggered when a licensee proposes to operate a base 
station in an area cleared of incumbents by another licensee. In this 
case, however, for the Lower H Block, UTAM's members received no 
benefit for clearing the spectrum nationwide over ten years ago, and 
the Commission determined in 2003 that the new PCS/AWS licensees 
entering the band would reap the benefits of UTAM's efforts and that 
UTAM should be fully reimbursed. Similarly, for the Upper H Block, 
rather than Sprint itself benefiting from its clearing efforts (except 
if Sprint is the winning bidder), other entrants in the band will reap 
the benefits of Sprint's clearing efforts. Consequently, we find it 
appropriate to set the deadline for H Block winning bidders to 
reimburse UTAM and Sprint, respectively, at thirty days after the grant 
of long-form license applications.
    170. This prompt payment requirement protects the integrity of the 
Commission's Emerging Technologies band clearing and cost-sharing 
policies, including demonstrating fairness to UTAM and Sprint, both of 
whom will receive reimbursement years after clearing the band to the 
benefit of others. We believe that the benefit of process integrity 
along with the benefit of prompt payment to UTAM and to Sprint 
significantly outweighs any potential costs to winning bidders

[[Page 50240]]

resulting from their pay their reimbursements promptly (i.e., within 
thirty days of the grant of their long-form applications). All parties 
who commented on this issue supported the proposed prompt payment 
requirement. Further, we believe that our requirement that AWS winning 
bidders must pay their cost-sharing obligation within thirty days is 
consistent with the general approach to payment timing for cost-sharing 
that the Commission has applied to AWS spectrum, and is consistent with 
the 2010 BAS Order's approach to payment timing in the Upper H Block in 
particular. There, at a time when the total costs for clearing the 
Upper H Block were not yet known, the Commission required AWS entrants 
in that spectrum band to make payment within thirty days of receiving 
documentation of Sprint's ultimate clearing costs. Now, these costs are 
known for both the Lower H Block and the Upper H Block, and have been 
for some time. Thus, we find it appropriate to start the thirty-day 
reimbursement clock from the date on which the AWS entrants cost-
sharing obligations inure--i.e., upon final grant of the long-form 
application for each of their licenses.
    171. Fifth, we decline to adopt Sprint's proposal that, in addition 
to the thirty-day prompt payment requirement, the Commission should not 
issue Upper H Block licenses until payment has been made. We decline to 
adopt this proposal because it is inconsistent with the Commission's 
findings on this issue in the 2010 BAS Order. There, the Commission 
expressly declined to adopt policies or procedures in the event that a 
party fails to pay its cost-sharing reimbursements. Instead, the 
Commission determined to ``address complaints regarding failure to make 
requirement payments . . . through our existing enforcement 
mechanisms.'' Sprint has provided no rationale for why we should 
reverse this determination now, and we decline to do so.
    172. Because we are requiring winning bidders to pay Sprint within 
thirty days of grant of their long form applications, we expect that 
Upper H Block licensees will reimburse Sprint well before any sunset 
date. However, if licenses covering less than forty percent of the 
population of the United States are granted as a result of the first 
auction, licensees in subsequent auctions will incur an obligation to 
reimburse Sprint at a later date, which could make the sunset date 
relevant. Therefore, we will adopt the Commission's proposal to set a 
sunset date for the cost-sharing obligations of Upper H Block licensees 
to Sprint of ten (10) years after the first Upper H Block licenses is 
issued. This approach is consistent with the record. It is also 
consistent with the Commission's general Emerging Technologies 
precedent, where relocation and cost-sharing obligations generally 
sunset ten years after the first emerging technologies licenses is 
issued in the relevant band. In addition, setting ten-year sunset date 
should not impose a significant burden on H Block winning bidders 
because the H Block licenses have not yet been assigned and because 
interested applicants will be able to factor their reimbursement 
obligations to Sprint into their bids.

E. Regulatory Issues; Licensing and Operating Rules

    173. The regulatory framework we adopt below establishes the 
license term, criteria for renewal, and other licensing and operating 
rules that will govern operations in the H Block. In the H Block NPRM, 
the Commission proposed generally to apply to the H Block the 
Commission's market-oriented part 27 rules, including, in particular, 
the Commission's part 27 rules applicable to other AWS bands, and the 
Commission's wireless rules that are generally applicable across 
multiple commercial bands. As detailed below, we adopt the proposals 
contained in the H Block NPRM on these matters except where otherwise 
indicated.
1. Regulatory Status
    174. Background. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to 
apply the regulatory status provisions of section 27.10 of the 
Commission's rules to H Block licensees. The Commission's current 
service license application requires applicants for and licensees of 
fixed or mobile services to identify the regulatory status of the 
services they intend to provide because service offerings may bear on 
other statutory and regulatory requirements. Specifically, Section 
27.10 permits applicants and licensees to request common carrier 
status, non-common carrier status, private internal communications 
status, or a combination of these options, for authorization in a 
single license (or to switch between them). Part 27 applicants 
therefore may, but are not required to, choose between providing common 
carrier and non-common carrier services. Thus, licensees would be able 
to provide all allowable services anywhere within their licensed areas, 
consistent with their regulatory status. Apart from this designation of 
regulatory status, the Commission did not propose to require applicants 
to describe the services they seek to provide. Finally, the Commission 
proposed that, if a licensee changes the service or services it offers 
such that its regulatory status would change, the licensee would be 
required to notify the Commission. A change in a licensee's regulatory 
status would not require prior Commission authorization, provided the 
licensee was in compliance with the foreign ownership requirements of 
section 310(b) of the Communications Act that would apply as a result 
of the change consistent with the Commission's rules for AWS-1 
spectrum. The Commission sought comment on this regulatory status 
proposal, including the associated costs and benefits. Only one 
commenter, CCA, directly addressed the Commission's proposal, 
requesting that licensees be permitted to ``to provide all allowable 
services throughout their licensed area,'' while not being required to 
specify their regulatory status.
    175. We adopt the Commission's proposal to apply section 27.10 of 
our rules to the H Block. Under this flexible regulatory approach, H 
Block licensees may provide common carrier, non-common carrier, private 
internal communications or any combination of these services, so long 
as the provision of service otherwise complies with applicable service 
rules. We find that this broad licensing framework is likely to achieve 
efficiencies in the licensing and administrative process and will 
provide flexibility to the marketplace, thus encouraging licensees to 
develop new and innovative services. Thus, based on the record before 
us, we conclude that this approach is in the public interest and that 
its benefits likely outweigh any potential costs.
    176. We therefore require H Block applicants and licensees to 
identify the regulatory status of the services or services they intend 
to provide. Applicants and licensees are not required to describe their 
particular services in detail, but only to designate the regulatory 
status of the services. We remind potential applicants that an election 
to provide service on a common carrier basis typically requires that 
the elements of common carriage be present; otherwise, applicants must 
choose non-common carrier status. If potential applicants are unsure of 
the nature of their services and their classification as common carrier 
services, they may submit a petition with their applications, or at any 
time, requesting clarification and including service descriptions for 
that purpose.
    177. The only commenter that directly addressed the Commission's 
proposal, CCA, stated that ``H Block licensees

[[Page 50241]]

should not be required to choose between providing common carrier and 
non-common carrier services'' and that they should not ``be required to 
describe the services they intend to provide prior to obtaining a 
license.'' According to CCA, the FCC should adopt a rule that permits H 
Block licensees ``to provide all allowable services throughout their 
licensed area at any time, consistent with their regulatory status.'' 
To the extent that CCA is asking that H Block licensees be able to 
provide all allowable services and be permitted to request common 
carrier status as well as non-common carrier status, these propositions 
are already embodied in the rule that we adopt. And to the extent that 
CCA is asking that H Block licensees not be required to describe the 
services they seek to provide beyond designating their regulatory 
status, that proposition is also already embodied in the rule that we 
adopt. To the extent, however, that CCA is arguing that H Block 
licensees should not be required to designate their regulatory status, 
we must disagree. This requirement applies to all part 27 services and 
licensees. By requiring part 27 licensees to designate their regulatory 
status, the Commission is able to determine whether licensees are 
subject to Title II and governed by common carrier requirements. 
Applying this requirement to H Block licensees results in the same 
regulatory treatment for such licensees as exists for other part 27 
licensees, as this rule generally applies to all part 27 licensees.
    178. Finally, consistent with the application of this rule for 
other bands and with the Commission's proposal in the H Block NPRM, we 
determine that, if a licensee elects to change the service or services 
it offers such that its regulatory status would change, it must notify 
the Commission within thirty days of making the change. A change in the 
licensee's regulatory status will not require prior Commission 
authorization, provided the licensee is in compliance with the foreign 
ownership requirements of section 310(b) of the Communications Act that 
apply as a result of the change. We note, however, that a different 
time period (other than thirty days) may apply, as determined by the 
Commission, where the change results in the discontinuance, reduction, 
or impairment of the existing service.
2. Ownership Restrictions
a. Foreign Ownership Restrictions
    179. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission observed that sections 
310(a) and 310(b) of the Communications Act impose foreign ownership 
and citizenship requirements that restrict the issuance of licenses to 
certain applicants. The Commission proposed to apply Section 27.12 of 
the Commission's rules, which implements section 310, to applicants for 
licenses in the H Block. With respect to filing applications, the 
Commission proposed that all applicants provide the same foreign 
ownership information, which covers both sections 310(a) and 310(b), 
regardless of whether they propose to provide common carrier or non-
common carrier service in the band. The Commission sought comment on 
this proposal, including the associated costs and benefits.
    180. In order to fulfill our statutory obligations under section 
310 of the Communications Act, we determine that all H Block applicants 
and licensees shall be subject to the provisions of section 27.12 of 
the Commission's rules. All such entities are subject to section 
310(a), which prohibits licenses from being ``granted to or held by any 
foreign government or the representative thereof.'' In addition, any 
applicant or licensee that would provide a common carrier, aeronautical 
en route, or aeronautical fixed service would also be subject to the 
foreign ownership and citizenship requirements of section 310(b).
    181. No commenters opposed (or commented on) the Commission's 
proposal to require all H Block applicants and licensees to provide the 
same foreign ownership information in their filings, regardless of the 
type of service the licensee would provide using its authorization. We 
believe that applicants for this band should not be subject to 
different obligations in reporting their foreign ownership based on the 
type of service authorization requested in the application and that the 
benefits of a uniform approach outweigh any potential costs. Therefore, 
we will require all H Block applicants and licensees to provide the 
same foreign ownership information, which covers both sections 310(a) 
and 310(b), regardless of which service they propose to provide in the 
band. We expect, however, that we would be unlikely to deny a license 
to an applicant requesting to provide services exclusively that are not 
subject to section 310(b), solely because its foreign ownership would 
disqualify it from receiving a license if the applicant had applied for 
authority to provide section 310(b) services. However, if any such 
licensee later desires to provide any services that are subject to the 
restrictions in section 310(b), we would require that licensee to apply 
to the Commission for an amended license, and we would consider issues 
related to foreign ownership at that time.
b. Eligibility
    182. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to adopt an open 
eligibility standard for the H Block. The Commission explained that 
opening the H Block to as wide a range of licensees as possible would 
encourage efforts to develop new technologies, products, and services, 
while helping to ensure efficient use of this spectrum.
    183. Additionally, the Commission explained that Section 6004 of 
the Spectrum Act does not address eligibility to acquire licenses 
through transfers, assignments, or other secondary market mechanisms 
from the initial or subsequence licensee. Section 6004 prohibits a 
person from participating in an auction if they ``ha[ve] been, for 
reasons of national security, barred by any agency of the Federal 
Government from bidding on a contract, participating in an auction, or 
receiving a grant.'' The Commission sought comment on whether this 
provision permits or requires the Commission to restrict eligibility of 
persons acquiring licenses on the secondary market, whether and to what 
extent such a restriction is consistent with other provisions of the 
Communications Act, and what procedures and rules, if any, should apply 
to persons acquiring licenses on the secondary market. We also asked 
how to attribute ownership under this provision for applicants that are 
not individuals.
    184. No commenters addressed whether and how Section 6004 applies 
to secondary market transactions. However, one commenter, AT&T, 
addressed the larger issue of the open eligibility proposal by 
commenting that it supports such an approach.
    185. We find that nothing in the record demonstrates that we should 
adopt restrictions on open eligibility. Therefore, we find that open 
eligibility for the H Block is consistent with our statutory mandate to 
promote the development and rapid deployment of new technologies, 
products, and services; economic opportunity and competition; and the 
efficient and intensive use of the electromagnetic spectrum. We 
conclude, based on the record before us, that the potential benefits of 
open eligibility for the H Block outweigh any potential costs.
    186. On the issue of whether Section 6004 of the Spectrum Act 
applies to transfers, assignments, or other secondary market 
mechanisms, which no commenter addressed, we determine that this 
section does indeed apply to

[[Page 50242]]

such transactions. The Commission generally does not allow parties to 
avoid statutory or regulatory requirements through use of secondary 
markets. We conclude that it is reasonable to assume that Congress did 
not intend to permit persons barred on national security grounds from 
``participating in an auction'' for certain licenses to acquire those 
same licenses in such an indirect fashion. In any event, given the 
policies reflected in section 6004, we conclude that it is appropriate 
to exercise our independent authority under section 308(b) of the 
Communications Act to extend such a national security bar to the 
acquisition of Commission licenses through the secondary market. 
Further, we determine that applicants requesting approval for a 
secondary market transaction must certify that the applicants are not 
persons barred from participating in an auction by section 6004 of the 
Spectrum Act. Until we have revised appropriate applications forms to 
add a certification, we will require applicants for spectrum subject to 
section 6004 to include a certification as an attachment to the 
application. For applicants that are not individuals, we will apply the 
same attribution standard that we are adopting for short-form 
applications.
3. Mobile Spectrum Holding Policies
    187. Access to spectrum is a critical and necessary input for the 
provision of mobile wireless services, and ensuring the availability of 
sufficient spectrum is crucial to promoting the competition that drives 
innovation and investment. Section 309(j)(3)(B) of the Communications 
Act provides that, in designing systems of competitive bidding, the 
Commission shall ``promot[e] economic opportunity and competition and 
ensur[e] that new and innovative technologies are readily accessible to 
the American people by avoiding excessive concentration of licenses.'' 
Section 6404 of the Spectrum Act recognizes the Commission's authority 
``to adopt and enforce rules of general applicability, including rules 
concerning spectrum aggregation that promote competition.'' In 
September 2012, the Commission initiated a proceeding to review the 
mobile spectrum holdings policies that currently apply to both 
transactions and competitive bidding. The Commission indicated that, 
during the pendency of this proceeding, the Commission will continue to 
apply its current case-by-case approach to evaluate mobile spectrum 
holdings during its consideration of secondary market transactions and 
initial spectrum licensing after auctions.
    188. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission sought comment on whether 
and how to address any mobile spectrum holdings issues in the H Block, 
consistent with any statutory requirements and our goals for this 
spectrum. The Commission also sought comment on whether the acquisition 
of H Block spectrum should be subject to the same general mobile 
spectrum holding policies that apply to frequency bands that are 
available and suitable for wireless services. Conversely, the 
Commission sought comment on whether to distinguish H Block spectrum 
from other bands for purposes of evaluating mobile spectrum holdings. 
The Commission asked that commenters discuss and quantify any costs and 
benefits associated with the proposals that they put forth.
    189. We received a limited number of comments on these issues. A 
few commenters argued that the Commission should take concrete steps to 
prevent large carriers from acquiring H Block spectrum, including 
adopting a bright line spectrum aggregation limit before any H Block 
auction, while one commenter argued that such an approach would not 
serve the public interest. With respect to appropriate timing of such 
determinations, a few commenters argued that the Commission should 
complete the Mobile Spectrum Holdings Policies proceeding before 
applying any revised spectrum holdings policies to H Block licensing.
    190. We find that the limited record on mobile spectrum holdings 
policies in this proceeding does not support addressing here the issue 
of whether the acquisition of H Block spectrum should be subject to the 
mobile spectrum holding policies that apply to frequency bands that are 
available and suitable for wireless services, particularly given the 
pendency of the Mobile Spectrum Holdings Policies proceeding. We 
observe that parties commenting on spectrum holdings issues in the H 
Block rulemaking generally raise issues with broader applicability to 
the Mobile Spectrum Holdings rulemaking, rather than issues related to 
the characteristics of the H Block.
4. License Term, Performance Requirements, Renewal Criteria, Permanent 
Discontinuance of Operations
a. License Term
    191. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed a license term 
for H Block spectrum rights of ten years. The Communications Act does 
not require a specific term for spectrum licenses, and the Commission 
has adopted ten-year terms for many wireless radio services. In 
addition, the Commission proposed that, if an H Block license is 
partitioned or disaggregated, any partitionee or disaggregatee would be 
authorized to hold its license for the remainder of the partitioner's 
or disaggregator's original license term. The Commission sought comment 
on these proposals, including the associated costs and benefits, and 
several commenters responded that they approved of the proposed license 
terms.
    192. We adopt a license term for H Block spectrum rights of ten 
years and subsequent renewal terms of ten years and we modify section 
27.13 of the Commission's rules to reflect these determinations. Given 
the record before us, we find that this approach is in the public 
interest and find that its benefits outweigh any potential costs. C 
Spire, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular expressed support for ten-year 
license terms, and no commenter opposed license terms of that length. C 
Spire stated that a ten-year license term would be ``appropriate 
because it would provide consistency with other spectrum blocks and 
afford each licensee more than enough time to design, acquire the 
necessary equipment and devices, and deploy facilities across nearly 
all of the licensed area.'' U.S. Cellular and T-Mobile also pointed out 
that by imposing a ten-year license term, the Commission would be 
treating H Block the same way it treats many wireless services. We 
agree that our decision to license H Block in ten-year terms is 
consistent with most other part 27 services and with services using 
similar spectrum, such as the PCS spectrum that is adjacent to the H 
Block.
    193. In addition, we adopt the Commission's proposal that, if an H 
Block license is partitioned or disaggregated, any partitionee or 
disaggregatee would be authorized to hold its license for the remainder 
of the partitioner's or disaggregator's original license term. No 
commenter addressed this proposal. We note, however, that this proposal 
is similar to the partitioning and disaggregation provisions that the 
Commission adopted for BRS, broadband PCS, 700 MHz, AWS-1, and AWS-4. 
We emphasize that nothing in this action is intended to enable a 
licensee, by partitioning or disaggregation, to be able to confer 
greater rights than it was awarded under the terms of its license 
grant; nor would any partitionee or disaggregatee obtain rights in 
excess of those previously possessed by the underlying Commission 
licensee.

[[Page 50243]]

b. Performance Requirements
    194. The Commission establishes performance requirements to 
maximize the productive use of spectrum, to encourage licensees to 
rapidly provide service to customers, and to promote the provision of 
innovative services in all license areas, including rural areas. We 
continue to believe that performance requirements play a critical role 
in ensuring that licensed spectrum does not lie fallow. We therefore 
adopt performance requirements that will ensure the rapid deployment of 
wireless service in the H Block, while giving licensees sufficient 
flexibility to deploy services according to their business plans. 
Specifically, we adopt the following buildout requirements:
     H Block Interim Buildout Requirement: Within four (4) 
years, a licensee shall provide reliable signal coverage and offer 
service to at least forty (40) percent of the population in each of its 
license areas.
     H Block Final Buildout Requirement: Within ten (10) years, 
a licensee shall provide reliable signal coverage and offer service to 
at least seventy-five (75) percent of the population in each of its 
license areas.

In addition, we adopt the following penalties for failure to meet the 
buildout benchmarks:

     Failure to Meet H Block Interim Buildout Requirement: 
Where a licensee fails to meet the H Block Interim Buildout Requirement 
in its license area, the H Block license term and the Final Buildout 
Requirement shall be accelerated by two years (for both the license 
term and final requirement, from ten to eight years).
     Failure to Meet H Block Final Buildout Requirement: Where 
a licensee fails to meet the H Block Final Buildout Requirement in any 
EA, its authorization for each EA in which it fails to meet the 
requirement shall terminate automatically without Commission action.
    195. We find, based on the record before us, that these performance 
requirements are in the public interest and that the benefits of these 
requirements outweigh any potential costs. We explain the rationale for 
these performance requirements below.
    196. Background. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed that, 
as an interim buildout requirement, a licensee must, within four years, 
provide signal coverage and service to at least forty percent of its 
total license-area population. The Commission proposed that, as a final 
buildout requirement, a licensee must, within ten years, provide signal 
coverage and offer service to at least seventy percent of the 
population in each license area it holds. For both the interim and 
final milestones, the Commission proposed EA-based requirements. The 
Commission explained that a four-year interim benchmark would ensure 
that licensees deploy facilities quickly, while a relatively low 
population threshold of forty percent acknowledges that large-scale 
network deployment may ramp up as equipment becomes available and a 
customer base is established. The Commission also explained that a ten-
year final benchmark allows a reasonable amount of time for any H Block 
licensee to attain nationwide scale. The Commission sought comment on 
these proposed buildout requirements, including on whether the 
proposals struck the appropriate balance between being so low as to not 
result in meaningful buildout and being so high as to be unattainable. 
The Commission also sought comment on whether other benchmarks 
represent more appropriate requirements, asking that commenters discuss 
and quantify any costs and benefits associated with different 
proposals.
    197. The Commission proposed specific consequences, or penalties, 
in the event a licensee fails to satisfy its buildout requirements. The 
Commission proposed that, if a licensee fails to meet the interim 
benchmark in its license area, the term of the license would be reduced 
by two years. And the Commission proposed that, if a licensee fails to 
meet the final benchmark, the H Block license for each license area in 
which it fails to meet the buildout requirement would automatically 
terminate without Commission action.
    198. Commenters generally supported the Commission's proposals, but 
some had specific recommendations for modifying them. Several 
commenters supported the proposed forty percent interim buildout 
requirement, while others proposed a slightly less stringent benchmark 
or opposed any interim benchmark at all. Commenters generally supported 
the proposed seventy percent final buildout requirement, with 
individual commenters proposing a slightly more or less stringent 
benchmark. However, commenters generally opposed the proposed penalties 
for failure to satisfy the interim and final buildout requirements.
(i) Benchmarks
    199. Consistent with the Commission's approach to performance 
benchmarks in other bands--including the AWS-4 band, the 2.3 GHz WCS 
band, and the Upper 700 MHz C-Block--we adopt objective interim and 
final buildout benchmarks. Requiring H Block licensees to meet our 
performance requirements--providing reliable coverage and service to at 
least forty percent of the population in each license area in four 
years and at least seventy-five percent of the population in each 
license area in ten years--will further the public interest by ensuring 
that spectrum will be put to use and by promoting the rapid deployment 
of new broadband services to the American public. It will also provide 
licensees with certainty regarding their construction obligations. 
These performance requirements are reasonable, both temporally and 
quantitatively, and will enable the Commission to take appropriate 
corrective action should the required deployment fail to occur. 
Further, we observe that commenters generally agreed with the proposed 
performance requirements, albeit with some of those commenters seeking 
slight modifications.
    200. EA-Based and Population-Based Benchmarks. As discussed above, 
we are adopting an EA-based H Block band plan requirement and not a 
nationwide band plan. Setting buildout benchmarks on an EA basis is 
consistent with our general approach of assigning H Block spectrum 
rights under the Commission's part 27 rules, which includes permitting 
any licensee to avail itself of the Commission's secondary market 
mechanisms. Additionally, we will measure interim and final buildout 
benchmarks using percentages of license area population because using a 
population-based measure is more consistent with the Commission's 
practice in other similar bands.
    201. We reject the arguments of some commenters that the benchmarks 
should instead be measured geographically. While we agree that it is 
important to ensure service is provided in rural areas, we believe that 
population-based benchmarks are necessary to ensure that H Block 
licensees have flexibility to scale their networks in a cost efficient 
manner while they are attempting to meet performance requirements. 
Specifically, because of the substantial capital investment and 
logistical challenges associated with a licensee building out a 
network, we believe that measuring benchmarks within an EA according to 
population is more appropriate. We also agree with MetroPCS that 
population served is a more accurate measure of useful coverage for 
this band. Finally, while we are adopting population-based benchmarks 
for the H Block, nothing in this decision forecloses the

[[Page 50244]]

consideration of geographic-based benchmarks in other bands, 
particularly if such bands have different technical characteristics or 
service rules based on factors specific to those bands.
    202. Interim Benchmark. We find, consistent with the record, that a 
four-year construction milestone provides a reasonable time frame for a 
licensee to deploy its network and offer widespread service. Indeed, no 
party suggested that a longer time frame would be necessary. We also 
find that requiring forty percent buildout at this interim milestone 
would serve the public interest. Commenters were generally supportive 
of this requirement, and it is consistent with the interim benchmark 
for all licensees in the AWS-4 band and for licensees in the 700 MHz 
band that are subject to a population-based benchmark. It is also 
similar to the Commission's interim benchmark in the 2.3 GHz band, 
where mobile and point-to-multipoint licensees had 3.5 years to provide 
reliable coverage to forty percent of the population of each license 
area. Thus, based on our review of the record and Commission precedent, 
we adopt an interim performance benchmark of forty percent buildout at 
the four-year milestone.
    203. We are not persuaded by MetroPCS's argument that interim 
benchmarks are unrealistic and counterproductive, and that licensees 
have sufficient financial incentives to build out quickly without these 
benchmarks. We find that the performance requirements we adopt in the H 
Block will provide licensees with an ability to scale networks in a 
cost efficient manner while also ensuring that the vast majority of the 
population will have access to wireless broadband services by the final 
benchmark. And while we recognize that licensees in many cases have 
economic incentives to build out, we believe that objective performance 
requirements are an important means of ensuring that there is 
meaningful deployment of broadband services in the H Block in the near 
future, consistent with our obligations to adopt rules and license 
spectrum in the public interest.
    204. We disagree with U.S. Cellular and C Spire that thirty-five 
percent of total population is a more appropriate benchmark, and we 
disagree with Sprint that in cases where a licensee acquires multiple 
EA licenses, the benchmark should be thirty-five percent of the total 
population covered by all EA licenses. While we believe that forty 
percent and thirty-five percent are both realistic interim buildout 
requirements, we find that a forty percent benchmark will better ensure 
that underutilized spectrum is quickly utilized for the benefit of 
consumers in the public interest. U.S. Cellular claims that a thirty-
five percent benchmark is more consistent with the Commission's 
treatment of the 700 MHz band; however, the thirty-five percent interim 
benchmark in the 700 MHz band only applied geographic-based, not 
population-based, benchmarks for the 700 MHz A and B blocks. In 
contrast, 700 MHz C Block, which is subject to population-based 
benchmarks, had an interim benchmark of 40 percent. Because all H Block 
licensees will be subject to a population-based benchmark, not a 
geographic-based benchmark, the example of the 700 MHz band actually 
suggests that we should adopt a forty-percent interim buildout 
requirement. Finally, we decline to adopt Sprint's proposal, which 
would allow a licensee with multiple EA licenses to meet the interim 
benchmark while underutilizing some of those EAs for no other reason 
than the fact that it acquired more than one EA. Where, as here, we are 
assigning initial licenses for spectrum, we expect applicants will file 
for spectrum licenses only in areas in which they intend to put the 
spectrum to use.
    205. Final Benchmark. We find, consistent with the record, that a 
final ten-year construction milestone provides a reasonable time frame 
for a licensee to deploy its network and offer widespread service. We 
note that none of the commenters suggested that a different time frame 
would be necessary for the final benchmark. However, in response to the 
record, we modify the proposed final buildout requirement in terms of 
the percentage of population that must be served. While several 
commenters supported the proposed seventy percent final buildout 
requirement, AT&T proposed that the buildout requirement be seventy-
five percent of total population of each EA by the end of the license 
term. It stated that the Upper 700 MHz C Block buildout requirements 
should be the default buildout standard, arguing that a default 
standard would ``reduce uncertainty for potential licensees and 
streamline its own regulatory process, expediting deployment and 
service to the public.'' It also pointed out that a seventy-five 
percent benchmark would ``ensure a rapid deployment of mobile broadband 
services while affording licensees adequate flexibility to deploy 
service.''
    206. While we decline to adopt a standard buildout requirement for 
all bands in this proceeding, we agree that the final benchmark should 
be set at seventy-five percent, rather than seventy percent. In our 
view, a final benchmark of seventy-five percent is more closely aligned 
with final benchmarks in other similar bands, including 700 MHz and 
AWS-4. Specifically, for the 700 MHz C Block, the Commission adopted a 
ten year performance benchmark and a seventy-five percent buildout 
requirement. Applying a seventy-five percent buildout requirement here, 
where we similarly have a ten-year time period, treats H Block 
licensees in a similar manner as 700 MHz licensees. Our decision is 
also consistent with last year's AWS-4 Report and Order, in which the 
Commission adopted a lower benchmark level of seventy percent, along 
with a shorter time frame of seven years.
(ii) Agreements Between H Block and AWS-4 Licensees
    207. The Commission also sought comment on whether performance 
requirements should be relaxed if an AWS-4 licensee reaches private 
operator-to-operator agreements with all 1995-2000 MHz licensees so 
that AWS-4 operations above 2000 MHz may operate with a more relaxed 
OOBE limit than 70 + 10 log10 (P) dB into the 1995-2000 MHz 
band. The Commission received no comments on this issue, and 
accordingly, we decline to adopt an alternative performance requirement 
that would apply if an AWS-4 operator entered into such agreements. 
Should that situation arise, parties may petition the Commission for 
any necessary relief at that time.
(iii) Penalties for Failure To Meet Construction Requirements
    208. We adopt the H Block NPRM proposed penalties for failure to 
meet the interim and final benchmarks. These penalties will provide 
meaningful and enforceable consequences and are necessary to ensure 
that licensees utilize the spectrum in the public interest. Further, we 
find these penalties appropriate to ensure that the buildout 
requirements fulfill their purpose of bringing about timely deployment 
without being unnecessarily strict.
    209. Penalties for Failure to Meet the Interim Benchmark. We adopt 
the proposal in the H Block NPRM that, if a licensee fails to meet the 
H Block Interim Buildout Requirement in any EA, the term of the license 
shall be reduced by two years. If this interim penalty is triggered, 
the license term will be eight years instead of ten years, and 
therefore the licensee will be required to meet the end-of-term 
benchmark on an accelerated eight-year schedule, as well. We 
acknowledge that in the H Block NPRM that the main text

[[Page 50245]]

of the NPRM did not match the text of the proposed rule. H Block NPRM, 
27 FCC Rcd at 16289 para. 81, 16303 App. A, Sec.  27.14(q)(2). The main 
text of the NPRM stated that the final buildout requirement would need 
to be met ``[b]y the end of the license term,'' which would be ten 
years if the interim requirement was satisfied but only eight years if 
the interim requirement was not satisfied. H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 
16289 para. 81. The text of the proposed rules, however, stated that 
the final buildout requirement needed to be met within ten years of the 
grant of the license, thus suggesting that the interim penalty would 
result in a two-year reduction in the license term but not in the final 
performance benchmark. H Block NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 16303 App. A, Sec.  
27.14(q)(2). We therefore clarify that, in the event that a licensee 
fails to meet the interim benchmark, that both the term of the license 
and the term of the final performance benchmark will be reduced from 
ten years to eight years. U.S. Cellular, which was the only commenter 
to directly address the proposed interim buildout penalty, expressed 
support for a two-year license term reduction. Additionally, we believe 
that this penalty is sufficiently serious to promote rapid deployment 
of service to the H Block, while still giving licensees that fail to 
meet it an opportunity to meet the final benchmark and put their 
spectrum to use.
    210. Penalties for Failure to Meet the Final Benchmark. We adopt 
the proposal in the H Block NPRM that, if a licensee fails to meet the 
H Block Final Buildout Requirement in any EA, the licensee's authority 
for each such area shall terminate automatically without Commission 
action. By only terminating specific licenses where a licensee fails to 
meet the final benchmark in a particular license area, a licensee's 
customers in other license areas would not be adversely affected. In 
doing so, we are adopting the final buildout penalty that the 
Commission proposed in the H Block NPRM, even though we are slightly 
modifying the final buildout requirement that the Commission had 
proposed. We see no persuasive reason that increasing the final 
buildout requirement from seventy percent to seventy-five percent of 
the population of a licensed area provides a basis for changing the 
penalty for failure to meet the final buildout benchmark.
    211. AT&T and U.S. Cellular both opposed the proposed penalties. 
They argued that automatic termination is too punitive, would 
negatively affect investment and auction participation and revenues, 
and would harm the public. We disagree with these assertions. First, as 
a general matter, we expect that the probability is small of licensees 
not meeting the performance requirements because of the costs of 
meeting them. Further, we expect licensees will generally deploy in 
excess of the levels set in the buildout benchmarks and that these 
requirements generally represent a floor, not a ceiling, in a 
licensee's buildout. As for the assertion that automatic termination is 
too punitive, the Commission has explained in the past that we do not 
consider automatic termination to be overly punitive or unfair, 
particularly given that the Commission has applied this approach to 
nearly all geographically licensed wireless services. Further, the 
Commission has rejected the argument, and we do so again here, that an 
automatic termination penalty would deter capital investment, observing 
that the wireless industry has invested billions of dollars and has 
flourished under this paradigm in other spectrum bands. For the same 
reason, we believe that an automatic termination penalty will have 
little effect on auction participation. Finally, we do not agree that 
automatic termination would harm the public because, even if a customer 
loses service when a licensee loses its spectrum rights, we expect that 
a future licensee for that EA would ultimately serve more customers.
    212. We are not persuaded by the AT&T and U.S. Cellular argument 
that the Commission should adopt a keep-what-you-use approach instead 
of an automatic termination penalty. AT&T maintained that keep-what-
you-use rather than automatic termination is consistent with the 
requirements applicable to other comparable services; to support this 
assertion, it cited the rules that apply to the commercial licenses in 
700 MHz. We observe, however, that the keep-what-you-use approach in 
700 MHz is the exception rather than the rule and that the Commission 
adopted that approach for 700 MHz band spectrum, in part, in light of 
other specific service rule determinations for that band, including the 
specific geographic license areas used for parts of that band (e.g., 
CMAs for the 700 MHz B Block). The Commission generally applies 
automatic termination as the remedy for failure to build out part 27 
licenses. Indeed, the Commission has characterized automatic license 
termination as ``a common remedy for failure to build part 27 flexible 
use licenses.'' We believe that an automatic termination approach for 
the H Block will promote prompt buildout and will appropriately 
penalize a licensee for not meeting its performance obligations in a 
particular EA. We therefore decline to adopt a keep-what-you-use 
approach.
    213. We further adopt the H Block NPRM's proposal that, if a 
license terminates, the spectrum would become available for assignment 
under the competitive bidding provisions of section 309(j) of our 
rules. We also adopt the Commission's proposal that any H Block 
licensee that forfeits its H Block operating authority for failure to 
meet the H Block Final Buildout Requirement shall be precluded from 
regaining that license. These rules are consistent with the 
Commission's rules for other spectrum bands, such as AWS-1, AWS-4, and 
the Broadband Radio Service.
(iv) Compliance Procedures
    214. We adopt the proposal in the H Block NPRM to apply to the H 
Block rule section 1.946(d) of our rules, which requires that licensees 
demonstrate compliance with the new performance requirements by filing 
a construction notification within fifteen days of the relevant 
milestone certifying that they have met the applicable performance 
benchmark. Additionally, we adopt the proposal in the H Block NPRM to 
require that each construction notification include electronic coverage 
maps and supporting documentation, which must be truthful and accurate 
and must not omit material information that is necessary for the 
Commission to determine compliance with its performance requirements.
    215. We emphasize that electronic coverage maps must accurately 
depict the boundaries of each license area in the licensee's service 
territory. If a licensee does not provide reliable signal coverage to 
an entire EA, its map must accurately depict the boundaries of the area 
or areas within each EA not being served. Each licensee also must file 
supporting documentation certifying the type of service it is providing 
for each EA within its service territory and the type of technology 
used to provide such service. Supporting documentation must include the 
assumptions used to create the coverage maps, including the propagation 
model and the signal strength necessary to provide reliable service 
with the licensee's technology.
    216. The licensee must use the most recently available decennial 
U.S. Census Data at the time of measurement to meet the population-
based buildout requirements. Specifically, the licensee must base its 
claims of population served on areas no larger than the Census Tract 
level.

[[Page 50246]]

c. Renewal Criteria
    217. As the Commission explained in the H Block NPRM, section 
308(b) of the Communications Act recognizes the Commission's authority 
to require renewal applicants to ``set forth such facts as the 
Commission by regulation may prescribe as to the citizenship, 
character, and financial, technical, and other qualifications of the 
applicant to operate the station'' as well as ``such other information 
as it may require.'' The Commission proposed to adopt H Block license 
renewal requirements that are consistent with those adopted in the 700 
MHz First Report and Order and the AWS-4 Report and Order.
    218. The Commission proposed that applicants for renewal of H Block 
licenses file a ``renewal showing,'' in which they demonstrate that 
they have been and are continuing to provide service to the public, and 
are compliant with the Communications Act and with the Commission's 
rules and policies. The Commission proposed that the same factors that 
were applied in the AWS-4 Report and Order and the 700 MHz First Report 
and Order, be used when the Commission evaluates renewal showings for 
the H Block. Specifically, the Commission proposed that a renewal 
showing for the H Block include: the level and quality of service, 
whether service was ever interrupted or discontinued, whether service 
has been provided to rural areas, the extent to which service is 
provided to qualifying Tribal lands, and any other factors associated 
with a licensee's level of service to the public.
    219. The Commission also sought comment on whether the public 
interest would be served by awarding H Block licensees renewal 
expectancies if they maintained the level of service demonstrated at 
the ten-year performance benchmark through the end of their license 
term, provided that they have otherwise complied with the 
Communications Act and the Commission's rules and policies during their 
license term. The Commission sought comment on whether H Block 
licensees should obtain renewal expectancies for subsequent license 
terms, if they continue to provide at least the level of service 
demonstrated at the ten-year performance benchmark through the end of 
any subsequent license terms.
    220. Finally, the Commission proposed that, consistent with the 
AWS-4 Report and Order and the 700 MHz First Report and Order, we would 
not allow the filing of any competing applications to requests for 
license renewal, and that if a license is not renewed, the associated 
spectrum would be returned to the Commission for assignment.
    221. The Commission sought comment on these proposals, including 
the associated costs and benefits. Comments were mixed regarding the 
primary proposal to impose renewal requirements consistent with those 
adopted in the 700 MHz First Report and Order and the AWS-4 Report and 
Order with one commenter offering qualified support for the proposed 
renewal standard, and other commenters opposed to it.
    222. Pursuant to section 308(b) of the Communications Act and 
consistent with the Commission's rules as they apply to other similar 
bands, we find that all H Block licensees seeking renewal of their 
authorizations at the end of their license term must file a renewal 
application, demonstrating that they have been and are continuing to 
provide service to the public over the license term (or, if consistent 
with the licensee's regulatory status, it used the spectrum for 
private, internal communication), and are otherwise complying with the 
Commission's rules and policies (including any applicable performance 
requirements) and with the Communications Act. In so finding, we 
emphasize, as the Commission has done repeatedly in recent years, that 
the concept of a renewal showing is distinct from a performance 
showing. A performance showing provides a snapshot in time of the level 
of a licensee's service, while a renewal showing provides information 
regarding the level and types of service provided over the entire 
license term. As the Commission has explained in setting rules for 
other bands, a licensee that meets the applicable performance 
requirements might nevertheless fail to meet the renewal requirements. 
Specifically, we adopt the following renewal criteria requirements. We 
require the renewal showing to include a detailed description of the 
renewal applicant's provision of service during the entire license 
period and discuss: (1) The level and quality of service provided by 
the applicant (e.g., the population served, the area served, the number 
of subscribers, the services offered); (2) the date service commenced, 
whether service was ever interrupted, and the duration of any 
interruption or outage; (3) the extent to which service is provided to 
rural areas; (4) the extent to which service is provided to qualifying 
Tribal land as defined in section 1.2110(e)(3)(i) of the Commission's 
rules; and (5) any other factors associated with the level of service 
to the public. A licensee must also demonstrate at renewal that it has 
substantially complied with all applicable Commission rules and 
policies, and the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, including any 
applicable performance requirements. Based on the record before us and 
the analysis provided below, we find these requirements to be in the 
public interest and that their benefits outweigh any likely costs.
    223. In addition, as the Commission did in the 700 MHz First Report 
and Order and the AWS-4 Report and Order, we will not permit the filing 
of competing applications against a licensee's renewal application. If 
a license is not renewed, the associated spectrum will be returned to 
the Commission and then made available for assignment. We agree with 
Sprint--which offered support for the proposed renewal standard--that 
the proposed standard is consistent with Commission precedent.
    224. We are not persuaded by commenters who opposed the proposed 
renewal standard. For example, MetroPCS and T-Mobile argued that the 
FCC should refrain from imposing the proposed renewal standard on H 
Block licensees, claiming that the proposed standard is vague. 
Additionally, MetroPCS argued that the proposed standard will undermine 
the renewal expectancy that allows licensees to secure long-term 
financing. We disagree. Instead, we believe that the renewal standard 
provides sufficient certainty. For example, the renewal standard we 
adopt today is based on that used for 700 MHz commercial licensees. We 
are unaware of any significant effect on the ability of 700 MHz 
applicants or licensees to obtain financing resulting from the use of 
this renewal standard in the 700 MHz proceeding.
    225. T-Mobile also pointed out that the same renewal standard is 
under consideration in the pending WRS Renewals proceeding, and 
therefore argued that the Commission should more broadly address it 
there. We agree with T-Mobile that the WRS Renewals proceeding offers 
the Commission an opportunity to comprehensively consider whether it 
should adopt a renewal standard that generally applies to all bands, 
and if so, what that standard should be. However, contrary to T-
Mobile's suggestion that we are departing from a generic renewal 
standard by ``uniquely'' applying the proposed renewal standard to the 
H Block, the Commission has thus far declined to adopt generic criteria 
for renewal showings. Moreover, at least two spectrum bands, 700 MHz 
and AWS-4, have renewal criteria identical

[[Page 50247]]

or almost identical to those we adopt for the H Block. Unless we make a 
determination in this proceeding about the renewal standard for H 
Block, our service rules for this band would include no clear, codified 
criteria for license renewal and new licensees would be faced with this 
uncertainty. We also decline to delay adoption of the H Block Report 
and Order until the WRS Renewals proceeding is resolved, because we 
find that the benefits of adopting the H Block rules now far outweigh 
the costs of not doing so. As we explained above, completing the H 
Block proceeding in the near term has several benefits, including 
unleashing more spectrum to address the surging demand for mobile 
broadband services and implementing an important directive that 
Congress entrusted to the Commission. While our determination here 
should not be construed to prejudge the issues and arguments presented 
by the parties to the WRS Renewals proceeding, we observe that our 
action here is consistent with our proposal in that docket.
    226. Finally, we decline to adopt U.S. Cellular's proposal that the 
Commission categorically provide licensees that satisfy the performance 
requirements with renewal expectancies. In the ordinary course, we 
expect that licensees that meet their interim benchmark and maintain 
that level of service while increasing service levels towards 
compliance with the end-of-term benchmark will likely be able to 
demonstrate that they satisfy the renewal criteria delineated above. 
However, we decline to adopt the rule U.S. Cellular proposes that 
equates mere compliance with the performance benchmarks with a renewal 
justification because, as the Commission has explained and as we 
reiterated above, performance requirements and renewal showings are two 
distinct requirements that involve different showings, serve different 
purposes, and have different remedies. We decline to state 
categorically that a licensee that simply meets the interim and final 
performance requirements will automatically obtain a renewal 
expectancy. For example, a licensee would be unlikely to obtain renewal 
at the end of the license term where it met the applicable ``snap 
shot'' interim benchmark by providing signal coverage and offering 
service for a single day just prior to the interim benchmark, but then 
merely offers service once every 180 days to avoid permanent 
discontinuance of operation until reaching the end-of-term benchmark. 
We agree with U.S. Cellular that a licensee that obtains a license 
renewal at the end of the initial license term under the standard set 
forth above, and then maintains or exceeds the end-of-term seventy-five 
percent population coverage and offering of service level through 
subsequent license terms, reasonably could expect, absent extraordinary 
circumstances, that it would receive subsequent license renewal.
d. Permanent Discontinuance of Operations
    227. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission requested comment on the 
application of the rules governing the permanent discontinuance of 
operations to H Block operators. Under section 1.955(a)(3) of the 
Commission's rules, an authorization will automatically terminate, 
without specific Commission action, if service is ``permanently 
discontinued.'' The Commission proposed to define ``permanently 
discontinued'' for the H Block spectrum as a period of 180 consecutive 
days during which a licensee does not operate and does not serve at 
least one subscriber that is not affiliated with, controlled by, or 
related to, the provider. The Commission also proposed that licensees 
would not be subject to this requirement until the date of the first 
performance requirement benchmark, which was proposed as four years 
from the license grant.
    228. In addition, the Commission proposed that, consistent with 
section 1.955(a)(3) of the Commission's rules, if a licensee 
permanently discontinues service, the licensee must notify the 
Commission of the discontinuance within ten days by filing FCC Form 601 
or 605 and requesting license cancellation. However, the Commission 
explained that even if a licensee fails to file the required form, an 
authorization will automatically terminate without specific Commission 
action if service is permanently discontinued. The Commission sought 
comment on these proposals, including the associated costs and 
benefits.
    229. We determine that section 1.955(a)(3) of the Commission's 
rules will apply to any H Block licensee and find that the benefits of 
applying this rule outweigh any potential costs of doing so. Thus, an H 
Block operator's authorization will automatically terminate, without 
specific Commission action, if service is ``permanently discontinued.'' 
For providers that identify their regulatory status as common carrier 
or non-common carrier, we define ``permanently discontinued'' as a 
period of 180 consecutive days during which the licensee does not 
provide service to at least one subscriber that is not affiliated with, 
controlled by, or related to, the provider in an EA (or smaller service 
area in the case of a partitioned EA license). We adopt a different 
approach, however, for licensees that use their licenses for private, 
internal communications, because such licensees generally do not 
provide service to unaffiliated subscribers. For such private, internal 
communications, ``permanent discontinuance'' shall be defined as a 
period of 180 consecutive days during which the licensee does not 
operate. This approach is consistent with the discontinuance rule that 
the Commission has adopted for the adjacent AWS-4 band, and the only 
party to comment on this rule, T-Mobile, expressed support for this 
approach.
    230. We believe that using this approach in H Block strikes the 
appropriate balance between affording licensees operational flexibility 
and ensuring that licensed spectrum is efficiently utilized. In 
addition, our determination will ensure that spectrum does not lie 
fallow and will facilitate business and network planning by providing 
certainty to licensees and their investors. A licensee will not be 
subject to the discontinuance rules until the date it must meet its 
first performance requirement benchmark (four years from the license 
grant), which provides the licensee with adequate time to construct its 
network.
    231. Furthermore, in accordance with section 1.955(a)(3) of the 
Commission's rules, if a licensee permanently discontinues service, the 
licensee must notify the Commission of the discontinuance within ten 
days by filing FCC Form 601 or 605 and requesting license cancellation. 
However, even if the licensee fails to file the required form 
requesting license cancellation, an authorization will automatically 
terminate without specific Commission action if service is permanently 
discontinued.
    232. Finally, as the Commission has previously explained, the 
operation of so-called channel keepers, e.g., devices that transmit 
test signals, tones, and/or color bars, do not constitute ``operation'' 
under section 1.955(a)(3) or the Commission's other permanent 
discontinuance rules.
5. Secondary Markets
a. Partitioning and Disaggregation
    233. Part 27 of the Commission's rules generally allows licensees 
to partition and disaggregate their spectrum. ``Partitioning'' is the 
assignment of

[[Page 50248]]

geographic portions of a license to another licensee along geopolitical 
or other boundaries. ``Disaggregation'' is the assignment of a discrete 
amount of spectrum under the license to a geographic licensee or 
qualifying entity. Disaggregation allows for multiple transmitters in 
the same geographic area operated by different companies on adjacent 
frequencies in the same band.
    234. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed to permit 
partitioning and disaggregation and sought comment on this proposal. 
The Commission's part 27 rules for terrestrial wireless service provide 
that licensees may apply to partition their licensed geographic service 
areas or disaggregate their licensed spectrum at any time following the 
grant of their licenses. The Commission's rules also set forth the 
general requirements that apply with regard to approving applications 
for partitioning or disaggregation, as well as other specific 
requirements (e.g., performance requirements) that would apply to 
licensees that hold licenses created through partitioning or 
disaggregation. The Commission also proposed requiring each licensee of 
H Block authority who is a party to a partitioning, disaggregation, or 
combination of both to independently meet the applicable performance 
and renewal requirements. The Commission sought comment on these 
proposals and asked that commenters discuss and quantify the costs and 
benefits of these proposals on competition, innovation, and investment. 
Finally, the Commission sought comment on whether it should adopt 
additional or different mechanisms to encourage partitioning and/or 
disaggregation of H Block spectrum and whether such policies would 
promote service, especially to rural areas; and asked that commenters 
quantify the costs and benefits of any such proposals. We received 
several comments on this issue, and all were supportive of the 
Commission's proposal to permit partitioning and disaggregation of the 
H Block.
    235. We adopt the proposal in the H Block NPRM to allow any H Block 
licensee to partition its service areas or disaggregate its spectrum. 
We conclude, based on the record before us, that permitting 
partitioning and disaggregation is in the public interest and that the 
benefits of permitting these actions outweigh any potential costs. We 
agree with the comments, which were universally supportive of allowing 
partitioning and disaggregation under part 27. CCA stated that allowing 
H Block licensees to partition and disaggregate would empower licensees 
to respond to market demand following the auction, thus spurring 
competition for spectrum-based services and fostering wireless 
innovation. MetroPCS argued that in order to promote efficient use of 
the H Block spectrum, the Commission should permit partitioning and 
disaggregation pursuant to the part 27 rules, which promote more 
efficient use of the band by providing licensees with additional 
flexibility and creating consistency among the secondary market rules 
for spectrum in different bands.
    236. As the Commission has explained many times in the past, 
partitioning and disaggregation promote the efficient use of spectrum 
and help to expedite the provision of service to rural and other 
underserved areas of America as well as to niche markets. Further, by 
allowing H Block licensees to partition and disaggregate to the same 
degree as other wireless licensees providing like services, the 
Commission promotes competition among wireless service providers.
    237. We further conclude that the public interest would be served 
by requiring, as we proposed in the H Block NPRM, each H Block licensee 
that is a party to a partitioning or disaggregation arrangement (or 
combination of both) to independently meet the applicable performance 
and renewal requirements. As the Commission observed in the AWS-4 
Report and Order and the WRS NPRM, this approach should facilitate 
efficient spectrum usage and prevent the avoidance of timely 
construction through secondary market fiat, while still providing 
operators with the flexibility to design their networks according to 
their operation and business needs. No commenters opposed (or commented 
on) this approach.
b. Spectrum Leasing
    238. In 2003, in an effort to promote more efficient use of 
terrestrial wireless spectrum through secondary market transactions and 
to eliminate regulatory uncertainty, the Commission adopted a 
comprehensive set of policies and rules governing spectrum leasing 
arrangements between terrestrial licensees and spectrum lessees. These 
policies and rules permitted terrestrially-based Wireless Radio Service 
``licensees holding exclusive use [spectrum] rights'' to lease some or 
all of the spectrum usage rights associated with their licenses to 
third party spectrum lessees, which then would be permitted to provide 
wireless services consistent with the underlying license authorization. 
The Commission adopted these policies and rules in order to promote 
more efficient, innovative, and dynamic use of the terrestrial 
spectrum, to expand the scope of available wireless services and 
devices, to enhance economic opportunities for accessing spectrum, and 
to promote competition among terrestrial wireless service providers. In 
2004, the Commission expanded on this spectrum leasing framework by 
establishing immediate approval procedures for certain categories of 
terrestrial spectrum leasing arrangements and extending the spectrum 
leasing policies to additional Wireless Radio Services. Since then, the 
Commission has extended these policies to still more Wireless Radio 
Services.
    239. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission proposed that the spectrum 
leasing policies and rules established in the above-mentioned 
proceedings be applied to the H Block in the same manner that those 
policies apply to other part 27 services. The Commission sought comment 
on this proposal, including its effects on competition, innovation, and 
investment. The comments that the Commission received were supportive 
of this proposal.
    240. We adopt the proposal in the H Block NPRM to apply to the H 
Block the Commission's current spectrum leasing policies, rules, and 
procedures contained in part 1 of the Commission's rules, in the same 
manner as those policies, rules, and procedures apply to other part 27 
services. We find it in the public interest to apply the same 
comprehensive set of rules, policies, and procedures governing spectrum 
leasing arrangements between terrestrial licensees and spectrum lessees 
that the Commission has adopted for other wireless spectrum bands to 
the H Block. We believe that this decision will encourage innovative 
arrangements and investment in the H Block. We also observe that 
``[f]or a particular spectrum band, spectrum leasing policies generally 
follow the same approach as the partitioning and disaggregation 
policies for the band.'' Thus, our decision to permit spectrum leasing 
of H Block spectrum is consistent with our determination above to 
permit partitioning and disaggregation of H Block spectrum.
    241. The record unanimously supports our decision. For example, we 
agree with CCA that applying our current spectrum leasing rules to H 
Block will increase the use and utility of the H Block by allowing a 
diverse group of parties to efficiently and dynamically use the 
spectrum. We also agree with MetroPCS that applying our current 
spectrum leasing rules will

[[Page 50249]]

promote the efficient use of H Block spectrum and treat spectrum in 
different bands consistently in applying secondary market rules.
6. Other Operating Requirements
    242. In the H Block NPRM, the Commission explained that even though 
licenses in the H Block may be issued pursuant to one rule part, 
licensees in this band might be required to comply with rules contained 
in other parts of the Commission's rules by virtue of the particular 
services they provide. The Commission sought comment on whether there 
are any provisions in existing, service-specific rules that need to be 
modified to ensure that H Block licensees are covered under the 
necessary Commission rules. In addition, the Commission sought comment 
on any rules that would be affected by the proposal to apply elements 
of the framework of these rule parts, whether separately or in 
conjunction with other requirements. Finally, the Commission sought 
comment on the costs and benefits associated with the adoption of any 
potential requirements. The Commission received two comments in 
response to this request, both of which addressed the application of 
the hearing-aid compatibility rules.
    243. While we are generally adopting part 27 rules for the H Block, 
in order to maintain general consistency among various wireless 
communication services, we also require any licensee of H Block 
operating authority to comply with other rule parts that pertain 
generally to wireless communication services. For example, section 27.3 
of the Commission's rules lists some of the other rule parts applicable 
to wireless communications service licensees generally; we thus find it 
appropriate to apply this and similar rules to the H Block. Some of 
these other rule parts will be applicable by virtue of the fact that 
they apply to all licensees, and others will apply depending on the 
type of service that a licensee provides. For example:
     Applicants and licensees will be subject to the 
application filing procedures for the Universal Licensing System, set 
forth in part 1 of our rules.
     Licensees will be required to comply with the practices 
and procedures listed in part 1 of our rules for license applications, 
adjudicatory proceedings, etc.
     Licensees will be required to comply with the Commission's 
environmental provisions, including section 1.1307.
     Licensees will be required to comply with the antenna 
structure provisions in part 17 of our rules.
     To the extent a licensee provides a Commercial Mobile 
Radio Service, such service is subject to the provisions in part 20 of 
the Commission's rules, including 911/E911 requirements, along with the 
provisions in the rule part under which the license was issued.
     To the extent a licensee provides interconnected VoIP 
services, the licensee will be subject to the E911 service requirements 
set forth in part 9 of our rules.
     The application of general provisions in parts 22, 24, 27, 
or 101 will include rules related to equal employment opportunity, etc.

No commenter opposed this approach. We conclude that maintaining 
consistency among various wireless communications services--including 
the H Block--is in the public interest and that the benefits of this 
approach outweigh any potential costs.

    244. On one issue in particular, we specifically received comment 
seeking the application of broader rules to H Block licensees. On the 
issue of hearing-aid compatibility, we conclude that our Part 20 
hearing-aid compatibility (HAC) requirements will apply to H Block 
services in the same manner and to the same extent as those 
requirements apply to any wireless services under the part 20 HAC 
rules. Thus, to the extent a licensee provides a Commercial Mobile 
Radio Service, such service is subject to the hearing-aid compatibility 
requirements in part 20 of the Commission's rules.
    245. The Hearing Industries Association commented that the 
Commission should ``ensure the full applicability of the hearing aid 
compatibility rule as it unleashes new spectrum--in this instance the H 
Block.'' It pointed out that ``Congress has clearly directed the 
Commission to ensure that as devices continue to advance into 
multifaceted devices capable of more than traditional voice 
capabilities that the HAC rules continue to apply.'' HIA also argued 
that as technology advances and new spectrum is unleashed, ``the FCC 
must consider function to ensure that hearing-aid users are not locked 
out of fully participating in the larger economy and society.'' Thus, 
it argued that the HAC rules must ``focus on whether a device is used 
for two-way talk and how it couples with the human ear more than the 
name of the device or its advertised `primary' purpose.'' Another 
commenter submitted arguments that addressed the Commission's HAC rules 
and Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) emissions rules. Mr. Johnson's 
comments contained general arguments that were not specifically related 
to H Block.
    246. We agree that the Commission's HAC rules should apply to 
services provided in the H Block in the same manner that they apply to 
services provided in other bands. To the extent that comments could be 
read as asking for a broader review of the Commission's hearing-aid 
compatibility rules (or the Commission's RF safety rules), however, we 
decline to conduct such a review in this band-specific proceeding 
because we do not believe this proceeding is the appropriate proceeding 
for us to conduct a general review and revision of those rules.
7. Facilitating Access to Spectrum and the Provision of Service to 
Tribal Lands
    247. The H Block NPRM explained that the Commission is currently 
considering various provisions and policies intended to promote greater 
use of spectrum over Tribal lands. The Commission proposed to extend 
any rules and policies adopted in that proceeding to any licenses that 
may be issued through competitive bidding in this proceeding. The 
Commission sought comment on this proposal and any costs and benefits 
associated with it.
    248. We adopt the proposal in the H Block NPRM, deferring the 
application of any rules and policies for facilitating access to 
spectrum and the provision of service to Tribal lands to the Tribal 
Lands proceeding. Because that proceeding is specifically focused on 
promoting greater use of spectrum over Tribal lands, we find that it is 
better suited than the instant proceeding to reach conclusions on that 
issue.

F. Procedures for Any H Block Licenses Subject to Assignment by 
Competitive Bidding

    249. We will conduct any auction for H Block licenses pursuant to 
our standard competitive bidding rules found in part 1, subpart Q of 
the Commission's rules and will provide bidding credits for qualifying 
small businesses, as proposed in the H Block NPRM. Below we discuss our 
reasons for adopting the relevant proposals.
1. Application of Part 1 Competitive Bidding Rules
    250. The Commission proposed to conduct any auction for H Block 
licenses in conformity with the general competitive bidding rules set 
forth in part 1, subpart Q, of the Commission's rules, and 
substantially consistent with the competitive bidding procedures that

[[Page 50250]]

have been employed in previous auctions. Additionally, the Commission 
proposed to employ the part 1 rules governing competitive bidding 
design, designated entity preferences, unjust enrichment, application 
and payment procedures, reporting requirements, and the prohibition on 
certain communications between auction applicants. Under this proposal, 
such rules would be subject to any modifications that the Commission 
may adopt for its part 1 general competitive bidding rules in the 
future. The H Block NPRM also sought comment on whether any part 1 
rules would be inappropriate or should be modified for an auction of 
licenses in the H Block bands.
    251. Commenters generally support our proposed use of standard 
competitive bidding rules for an auction of H Block licenses. One of 
those commenters, MetroPCS, asserts that the Commission should avoid 
the use of procedures that may ``unduly complicate auctions'' or 
otherwise ``limit the ability of smaller bidders to acquire spectrum.'' 
Another argues that the Commission should not depart from its standard 
simultaneous multiple-round format for an H Block auction. Based on our 
review of the record and our prior experience with conducting auctions, 
we determine that the Commission's Part 1 bidding rules should govern 
the conduct of any H Block auction.
2. Revision to Part 1 Certification Procedures
    252. The H Block NPRM proposed to implement the national security 
restriction of section 6004 of the Spectrum Act by adding a 
certification to the short-form application filed by auction 
applicants. Section 6004 prohibits ``a person who has been, for reasons 
of national security, barred by any agency of the Federal Government 
from bidding on a contract, participating in an auction, or receiving a 
grant'' from participating in a system of competitive bidding that is 
required to be conducted by Title VI of the Spectrum Act. Accordingly, 
the Commission proposed to require that an auction applicant certify, 
under penalty of perjury, that it and all of the related individuals 
and entities required to be disclosed on the short-form application are 
not persons who have ``been, for reasons of national security, barred 
by any agency of the Federal Government from bidding on a contract, 
participating in an auction, or receiving a grant.'' For purposes of 
this certification, the H Block NPRM proposed to define ``person'' as 
an individual, partnership, association, joint-stock company, trust, or 
corporation. It also proposed to define ``reasons of national 
security'' to mean matters relating to the national defense and foreign 
relations of the United States. We received no comments on our proposal 
to revise the part 1 certification procedures to add a national 
security certification requirement.
    253. We will implement this Spectrum Act mandate by adding a 
national security certification to the various other certifications 
that a party must make in any application to participate in competitive 
bidding as required under our existing rules. As with other required 
certifications, an auction applicant's failure to include the required 
certification by the applicable filing deadline would render its short-
form application unacceptable for filing, and its application would be 
dismissed with prejudice.
3. Small Business Provisions for Geographic Area Licenses
    254. As discussed in the H Block NPRM, in authorizing the 
Commission to use competitive bidding, Congress mandated that the 
Commission ``ensure that small businesses, rural telephone companies, 
and businesses owned by members of minority groups and women are given 
the opportunity to participate in the provision of spectrum-based 
services.'' In addition, section 309(j)(3)(B) of the Communications Act 
provides that, in establishing eligibility criteria and bidding 
methodologies, the Commission shall seek to promote a number of 
objectives, including ``economic opportunity and competition . . . by 
avoiding excessive concentration of licenses and by disseminating 
licenses among a wide variety of applicants, including small 
businesses, rural telephone companies, and businesses owned by members 
of minority groups and women.'' One of the principal means by which the 
Commission fulfills this mandate is through the award of bidding 
credits to small businesses.
    255. In the Competitive Bidding Second Memorandum Opinion and 
Order, the Commission stated that it would define eligibility 
requirements for small businesses on a service-specific basis, taking 
into account the capital requirements and other characteristics of each 
particular service in establishing the appropriate threshold. Further, 
in the Part 1 Third Report and Order, the Commission, while 
standardizing many auction rules, determined that it would continue a 
service-by-service approach to defining the eligibility requirements 
for small businesses.
    256. The Commission proposed in the H Block NPRM to define a small 
business as an entity with average gross revenues for the preceding 
three years not exceeding $40 million, and a very small business as an 
entity with average gross revenues for the preceding three years not 
exceeding $15 million. Under this proposal, small businesses would be 
provided with a bidding credit of 15 percent and very small businesses 
with a bidding credit of 25 percent, consistent with the standardized 
schedule in part 1 of our rules.
    257. This proposal was modeled on the small business size standards 
and associated bidding credits that the Commission adopted for the AWS-
1 band. The Commission believed that the H Block would be employed for 
purposes similar to those for which the AWS-1 Band is used. The H Block 
NPRM noted that these small business size standards and associated 
bidding credits were proposed for the AWS-1 band because of the 
similarities between the AWS-1 service and the broadband PCS service 
and that the Commission had followed this approach when proposing small 
business size standards and associated bidding credits in the AWS-2 
NPRM.
    258. The Commission sought comment on these proposals, including 
the costs or benefits of these standards and associated bidding 
credits, especially as they relate to the proposed EA-defined 
geographic area licensing approach. The Commission specifically sought 
comment on whether the small business provisions we proposed are 
sufficient to promote participation by businesses owned by minorities 
and women. Those addressing small business credits generally support 
the Commission's proposals.
    259. RTG supports the Commission's proposed bidding credits, and 
argues for creation of an additional size standard under which auction 
applicants with average gross revenues not exceeding $75 million for 
the preceding three years would receive a 10 percent bidding credit. 
RTG asserts that this additional bidding credit tier would help 
``slightly larger small and rural telephone companies to compete for 
spectrum with nationwide carriers on a more level playing field.'' 
Similarly, Broadband Properties seeks adoption of a 35 percent bidding 
discount for ``smaller operators,'' though it does not state what size 
firm might be considered to be a ``smaller operator.'' The Commission 
has previously considered and rejected RTG's efforts to create an 
additional rural telephone company bidding credit. In so doing, the 
Commission observed that RTG and

[[Page 50251]]

other proponents had been unable ``to demonstrate a historical lack of 
access to capital that was the basis for according bidding credits to 
small businesses, minorities and women,'' and that ``[i]n subsequent 
decisions, large rural telcos have failed to demonstrate any barriers 
to capital formation similar to those faced by other designated 
entities.'' Moreover, RTG supplies no additional information from which 
we might conclude that entities with average annual gross revenues of 
between $40 and $75 million have faced particular difficulties in 
attracting capital. While we have not intended to apply the part 1 
bidding credit schedule uniformly to all auctions without any 
opportunity for the consideration of alternative bidding credits, we 
continue to believe that the schedule of size standards and bidding 
credits described in part 1 provide small businesses with consistency 
and predictability. As discussed above, we took the characteristics of 
this service into consideration when proposing the two size standards 
and associated bidding credits in the H Block NPRM. Accordingly, we 
decline to adopt an additional size standard and bidding credit for the 
H block.
    260. MetroPCS argues that we should adopt a scale of bidding 
credits based on an entity's spectrum holdings in a particular 
geographic area in lieu of credits based on small business size. 
MetroPCS would also bar an auction applicant from acquiring any license 
that would cause it to exceed the spectrum screen in effect prior to 
the allocation of the spectrum to be offered at auction. AT&T and 
Sprint call on the Commission to reject MetroPCS's alternative bidding 
credit plan. AT&T argues that ``[t]his proposal is little more than an 
attempt to achieve . . . restrictions on auction participation based on 
spectrum holdings'' which it contends would be ``anticompetitive and 
unlawful.'' We find that MetroPCS's proposal fundamentally involves 
issues of spectrum aggregation policy, and that those issues would be 
more properly addressed in the separate Mobile Spectrum Holdings 
Policies proceeding. Thus we decline to replace our small business 
bidding credit program with MetroPCS's alternative approach.
    261. Based on our prior experience with the use of bidding credits 
in spectrum auctions, we believe that the use of bidding credits is an 
effective tool in achieving the statutory objective of promoting 
participation by designated entities in the provision of spectrum-based 
services. In the absence of small business size standards and bidding 
credits, designated entities might have less opportunity to obtain 
spectrum in this band. The Commission believes that continuing to 
extend such benefits to the H Block would be consistent with our 
statutory mandate. In light of the similarities with the AWS-1 service, 
we adopt these size standards and associated bidding credits for small 
businesses. We have requested SBA approval of these size standards. 
Moreover, we continue to believe that use of the small business size 
standards and credits set forth in the part 1 schedule provides 
consistency and predictability for small businesses. Specifically, we 
will define a small business as an entity with average gross revenues 
for the preceding three years not exceeding $40 million, and a very 
small business as an entity with average gross revenues for the 
preceding three years not exceeding $15 million. For the H block, small 
businesses would be provided with a bidding credit of 15 percent and 
very small businesses with a bidding credit of 25 percent, consistent 
with the standardized schedule in part 1 of our rules. Given the record 
before us and the benefits discussed above, we conclude that the 
potential benefits of our proposals would likely outweigh any potential 
costs.

IV. Procedural Matters

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    262. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires that an agency 
prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis for notice and comment 
rulemakings, unless the agency certifies that ``the rule will not, if 
promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities.'' Accordingly, we have prepared a Final Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) concerning the possible impact of the rule 
changes contained in the Report and Order on small entities. As 
required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), 
the Commission incorporated an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 
(IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities by the policies and rules proposed in the 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). No comments were filed addressing 
the IRFA. Because we amend the rules in this Report and Order, we have 
included this Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) which 
conforms to the RFA.
A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Report and Order
    263. Demand for wireless broadband services and the network 
capacity associated with those services is surging, resulting in a 
growing demand for spectrum to support these services. Adoption of 
smartphones increased at a 50 percent annual growth rate in 2011, from 
27 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers in December 2010 to nearly 42 
percent in December 2011. Further, consumers have rapidly adopted the 
use of tablets, which were first introduced in January of 2010. By the 
end of 2012, it was estimated that one in five Americans--almost 70 
million people--would use a tablet. Between 2011 and 2017, mobile data 
traffic generated by tablets is expected to grow at a compound annual 
growth rate of 100 percent. New mobile applications and services, such 
as high resolution video communications, are also using more bandwidth. 
For example, a single smartphone can generate as much traffic as 
thirty-five basic-feature mobile phones, while tablets connected to 3G 
and 4G networks use three times more data than smartphones over the 
cellular network. All of these trends, in combination, are creating an 
urgent need for more network capacity and, in turn, for suitable 
spectrum.
    264. The 2010 National Broadband Plan recommended the Commission 
undertake to make 500 megahertz of spectrum available for broadband use 
within ten years, including 300 megahertz within five years. The 
Commission has taken numerous steps to achieve these goals, including 
recently adopting a notice of proposed rulemaking on conducting the 
world's first incentive auction to repurpose broadcast spectrum for 
wireless broadband use, updating the Commission's rules for the 2.3 GHz 
Wireless Communications Service (WCS) band to permit the use of the 
most advanced wireless technologies in that band, and establishing 
service rules to allow terrestrial mobile broadband in the 2 GHz MSS 
bands.
    265. In February 2012, Congress enacted Title VI of the Middle 
Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (the ``Spectrum Act''). 
The Spectrum Act includes several provisions to make more spectrum 
available for commercial use, including through auctions, and to 
improve public safety communications. Among other things, the Spectrum 
Act requires the Commission, by February 23, 2015, to allocate the 
1915-1920 MHz band and the 1995-2000 MHz band (collectively, the H 
Block) for commercial use, and to auction and grant new initial 
licenses for the use of each spectrum band, subject to flexible-use 
service rules. Congress provided, however, that if the Commission 
determined that either of the bands

[[Page 50252]]

could not be used without causing harmful interference to commercial 
licensees in 1930-1995 MHz (PCS downlink), then the Commission was 
prohibited from allocating that specific band for commercial use or 
licensing it. Additionally, Sections 6401(f) and 6413 of the Spectrum 
Act specify that the proceeds from an auction of licenses in the 1995-
2000 MHz band and in the 1915-1920 MHz band shall be deposited in the 
Public Safety Trust Fund and used to fund the Nationwide Public Safety 
Broadband Network (``FirstNet''). The H Block spectrum could be the 
first spectrum specified by the Spectrum Act to be licensed by auction, 
and thus could represent the first inflow of auction revenues toward 
this statutory goal.
    266. In this Report and Order, we increase the Nation's supply of 
spectrum for mobile broadband by adopting rules for fixed and mobile 
services, including advanced wireless services in the H Block, 1915-
1920 MHz paired with 1995-2000 MHz. These service rules will make 
available 10 megahertz of spectrum for flexible use in accordance with 
the Spectrum Act, without causing harmful interference to Personal 
Communications Service (PCS) licensees. In so doing, we also carry out 
a recommendation in the National Broadband Plan that the Commission 
make available the provision of Advanced Wireless Services in the 1915-
1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz spectrum bands, thus increasing the value of 
this spectrum to the public. Specifically, we adopt service, technical, 
and licensing rules that will encourage innovation and investment in 
mobile broadband and provide certainty and a stable regulatory regime 
in which broadband deployment can rapidly occur. For example, we find 
the spectrum is properly allocated for commercial use as the Spectrum 
Act requires, and authorize mobile and lower power fixed operations in 
the 1915-1920 MHz band and base and fixed operations in the 1995-2000 
MHz band. We also adopt service, technical, assignment, and licensing 
rules for this spectrum that generally follow the Commission's part 27 
rules that govern flexible use terrestrial wireless service--except 
that in order to protect PCS licenses, our rules are more stringent in 
certain respects. The market-oriented licensing framework for these 
bands will ensure efficient spectrum utilization and will foster the 
development of new and innovative technologies and services, as well as 
encourage the growth and development of broadband services, ultimately 
leading to greater benefits to consumers.
B. Legal Basis
    267. The action is authorized pursuant to sections 1, 2, 4(i), 201, 
301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 324, 332, 333, 1404, and 
1451 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 
154(i), 201, 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 324, 332, 
333, 1404, and 1451.
C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which 
the Rules Will Apply
    268. 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 and policies, if adopted. The RFA 
generally defines the term ``small entity'' as having the same meaning 
as the terms ``small business,'' ``small organization,'' and ``small 
governmental jurisdiction.'' In addition, the term ``small business'' 
has the same meaning as the term ``small business concern'' under the 
Small Business Act. 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.
    269. Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental 
Jurisdictions. Our action 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 2010, there were 27.9 million 
small 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.
    270. 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. 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 
11,163 establishments that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 
10,791 establishments had employment of 999 or fewer employees and 372 
had employment of 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. Similarly, according to Commission data, 413 carriers reported 
that they were engaged in the provision of wireless telephony, 
including cellular service, PCS, and Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) 
Telephony services. Of these, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer 
employees and 152 have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the 
Commission estimates that approximately half or more of these firms can 
be considered small. Thus, using available data, we estimate that the 
majority of wireless firms can be considered small.
D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements
    271. The projected reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance 
requirements resulting from the Report and Order will apply to all 
entities in the same manner. The Commission believes that applying the 
same rules equally to all entities in this context promotes fairness. 
The Commission does not believe that the costs and/or administrative 
burdens associated with the rules will unduly burden small entities. 
The revisions the Commission adopts should benefit small entities by 
giving them more information, more flexibility, and more options for 
gaining access to valuable wireless spectrum.
    272. Any applicants for licenses of H Block will be required to 
file license applications using the Commission's automated Universal 
Licensing System

[[Page 50253]]

(ULS). ULS is an online electronic filing system that also serves as a 
powerful information tool, one that enables potential licensees to 
research applications, licenses, and antennae structures. It also keeps 
the public informed with weekly public notices, FCC rulemakings, 
processing utilities, and a telecommunications glossary. Licensees of H 
Block that must submit long-form license applications must do so 
through ULS using Form 601, FCC Ownership Disclosure Information for 
the Wireless Telecommunications Services using FCC Form 602, and other 
appropriate forms.
E. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small 
Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered
    273. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant 
alternatives that it has considered in reaching its 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 or reporting requirements under the rule for 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.
    274. As set forth in this Report and Order, we will license the H 
Block bands under Economic Areas (EA) geographic size licenses. 
Utilizing EAs in the H Block will provide regulatory parity with other 
AWS bands that are licensed on an EA basis, such as AWS-1 B and C block 
licenses. Additionally, assigning H Block in EA geographic service 
areas will allow H Block licensees to make adjustments to suit their 
individual needs. Although some commenters advocated for smaller or 
larger sized licensed areas, such as Cellular Market Areas or 
Metropolitan Statistical Areas, we believe that EA license areas are 
small enough to provide spectrum access opportunities for smaller 
carriers. EA license areas also nest within and may be aggregated up to 
larger license areas that have been used by the Commission for other 
services, such as Major Economic Areas (MEAs) and Regional Economic 
Area Groupings (REAGs) for those seeking to create larger service 
areas. Licensees may also adjust their geographic coverage through 
secondary markets. These rules should enable licensees of H Block 
spectrum, or any entities, whether large or small, providing service in 
other AWS bands to more easily adjust their spectrum holdings to build 
their networks pursuant to individual business plans. As a result, we 
believe the ability of licensees to adjust spectrum holdings will 
provide an economic benefit by making it easier for small entities to 
acquire spectrum or access spectrum in these bands.
    275. This Report and Order adopts rules to protect licensees 
operating in nearby spectrum bands from harmful interference, which may 
include small entities. The technical rules adopted in the Report and 
Order are based on the rules for AWS-1 spectrum, with specific 
additions or modifications designed, among other things, to protect 
broadband PCS services operating in the 1930-1995 MHz band from harmful 
interference, as well as future services operating in the 2000-2020 MHz 
band. We adopt specific Out-of-Band-Emissions (OOBE) limits for the 
1915-1920 MHz band and the 1995-2000 MHz band. We base our decision on 
the record, the probabilistic nature of mobile-to-mobile interference, 
and the statutory requirements of the Spectrum Act. The record in this 
proceeding contains three interference studies that supported a 
specific OOBE limit of 96 + 10 log10 (P) dB and a power 
limit of 300 milliwatts EIRP for the 1915-1920 MHz band. We adopt the 
power limit, but conclude an OOBE limit of 70 + 10 log10 (P) 
dB is appropriate for the 1915-1920 MHz band, which ensures full 
flexible use of the band while also protecting the 1930-1995 MHz PCS 
band from harmful interference. Although one party commented that OOBE 
limits for the 1995-2000 MHz band should be stricter than what the 
Commission proposed or adopted in this Report and Order, we concluded 
those suggested limits were overly burdensome. The technical rules in 
the Report and Order will therefore allow licensees of the H Block 
spectrum to operate while also protecting licensees in nearby spectrum 
from harmful interference, some of whom may be small entities, and meet 
the statutory requirements of the Spectrum Act.
    276. The Report and Order provides licensees of H Block with the 
flexibility to provide any fixed or mobile service that is consistent 
with the allocations for this spectrum, which is consistent with other 
spectrum allocated or designated for licensed fixed and mobile 
services, e.g., AWS-1. The Report and Order further provides for 
licensing of this spectrum under the Commission's market-oriented part 
27 rules. This includes applying the Commission's secondary market 
policies and rules to all transactions involving the use of H Block 
bands, which will provide greater predictability and regulatory parity 
with bands licensed for mobile broadband service. These rules should 
make it easier for H Block providers to enter secondary market 
arrangements involving use of their spectrum. The secondary market 
rules apply equally to all entities, whether small or large. As a 
result, we believe that this will provide an economic benefit to small 
entities by making it easier for entities, whether large or small, to 
enter into secondary market arrangements for H Block spectrum.
    277. The Report and Order adopts rules pertaining to how the H 
Block licenses will be assigned, including rules to assist small 
entities in competitive bidding. Specifically, small entities will 
benefit from the proposal to provide small businesses with a bidding 
credit of 15 percent and very small businesses with a bidding credit of 
25 percent. Providing small businesses and very small businesses with 
bidding credits will provide an economic benefit to small entities by 
making it easier for small entities to acquire spectrum or access to 
spectrum in these bands.
F. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the 
Rules
    278. None.
    279. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis: This document contains new 
or modified information collection requirements subject to the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13. It will be 
submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review under 
section 3507(d) of the PRA. Prior to submission to OMB, the Commission 
will publish a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comment on 
the new or modified information collection requirement for OMB 3060-
1184. In addition, we note that pursuant to the Small Business 
Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 
3506(c)(4), we previously sought specific comment on how the Commission 
might further reduce the information collection burden for small 
business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.
    280. In this present document, we have assessed the effects of the 
policies adopted in this Report and Order with regard to information 
collection burdens on small business concerns, and find that these 
policies will benefit many companies with fewer than 25 employees 
because the revisions we adopt should provide small entities with more 
information, more flexibility, and more options for gaining access to 
valuable wireless spectrum. In addition, we have described impacts that 
might affect small businesses, which includes

[[Page 50254]]

most businesses with fewer than 25 employees, in the FRFA in Appendix B 
of the Report and Order, infra.

V. Ordering Clauses

    281. Accordingly, it is ordered, pursuant to sections 1, 2, 4(i), 
201, 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 324, 332, and 333 of 
the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and sections 6003, 6004, 
and 6401 of the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2012, Public Law 112-96, 
126 Stat. 156, 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 154(i), 201, 301, 302(a), 303, 307, 
308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 324, 332, 333, 1403, 1404, and 1451, that this 
Report and Order is hereby ordered.
    282. Effective September 16, 2013 except for 47 CFR 
1.2105(a)(2)(xii), 27.12, and 27.17, which contain information 
collection requirements that have not been approved by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB), Control Number 3060-1184. The Commission 
will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the 
effective date of those sections.
    283. It is further ordered that the amendments, adopted above and 
specified in Sec. Sec.  1.2105, 27.12, 27.14, and 27.17 of the 
Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.2105, 27.12, 27.14, and 27.17, which 
contain new or modified information collection requirements that 
require approval by the Office of Management and Budget under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act, will become effective after the Commission 
publishes a notice in the Federal Register announcing such approval and 
the relevant effective date.
    284. It is further ordered that the Final Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis hereto is adopted.
    285. It is further ordered that, pursuant to section 801(a)(1)(A) 
of the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A), the Commission 
shall send a copy of this Report and Order to Congress and to the 
Government Accountability Office.
    286. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a 
copy of this Report and Order, including the Final Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small 
Business Administration.

List of Subjects

47 CFR Part 1

    Radio, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

47 CFR Part 27

    Communications common carriers, Radio.

Federal Communications Commission.
Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal 
Communications Commission amends 47 CFR parts 1 and 27 as follows:

PART 1--PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE

0
1. The authority citation for part 1 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority:  15 U.S.C. 79 et seq.; 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 154(j), 
155, 157, 225, 227, 303(r), 309, 1403, 1404, and 1451.


0
2. Section 1.2105 is amended by adding paragraph (a)(2)(xii) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  1.2105  Bidding application and certification procedures; 
prohibition of certain communications.

    (a) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (xii) For auctions required to be conducted under Title VI of the 
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-96), 
certification under penalty of perjury that the applicant and all of 
the person(s) disclosed under paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section are 
not person(s) who have been, for reasons of national security, barred 
by any agency of the Federal Government from bidding on a contract, 
participating in an auction, or receiving a grant. For the purposes of 
this certification, the term ``person'' means an individual, 
partnership, association, joint-stock company, trust, or corporation, 
and the term ``reasons of national security'' means matters relating to 
the national defense and foreign relations of the United States.
* * * * *

PART 27--MISCELLANEOUS WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

0
3. The authority citation for part 27 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority:  47 U.S.C. 154, 301, 302(a), 303, 307, 309, 332, 336, 
337, 1403, 1404, and 1451 unless otherwise noted.

0
4. Section 27.1 is amended by adding paragraph (b)(7) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  27.1  Basis and purpose.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (7) 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz.
* * * * *

0
5. Section 27.4 is amended by revising the definition of ``Advanced 
Wireless Service (AWS)'' to read as follows:


Sec.  27.4  Terms and definitions.

    Advanced Wireless Service (AWS). A radiocommunication service 
licensed pursuant to this part for the frequency bands specified in 
Sec.  27.5(h), 27.5(j), or 27.5(k).
* * * * *

0
6. Section 27.5 is amended by adding paragraph (k) to read as follows:


Sec.  27.5  Frequencies.

* * * * *
    (k) 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands. The paired 1915-1920 MHz 
and 1995-2000 MHz bands are available for assignment on an Economic 
Area (EA) basis.

0
7. Section 27.6 is amended by adding paragraph (j) to read as follows:


Sec.  27.6  Service areas.

* * * * *
    (j) 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands. AWS service areas for 
the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands are based on Economic Areas 
(EAs) as defined in paragraph (a) of this section.

0
8. Section 27.12 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  27.12  Eligibility.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) and in Sec. Sec.  27.604, 
27.1201, and 27.1202, any entity other than those precluded by section 
310 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 310, is 
eligible to hold a license under this part.
    (b) A person described in 47 U.S.C. 1404(c) is ineligible to hold a 
license that is required by 47 U.S.C. Chapter 13 (Middle Class Tax 
Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-96, 125 Stat. 156 
(2012)) to be assigned by a system of competitive bidding under Sec.  
309(j) of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 309(j).

0
9. Section 27.13 is amended by adding paragraph (j) to read as follows:


Sec.  27.13  License period.

* * * * *
    (j) 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands. Authorizations for 1915-
1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands will have a term not to exceed ten 
years from the date of issuance or renewal.

0
10. Section 27. 14 is amended by revising the first sentence of 
paragraphs (a), (f), and (k), and adding paragraph (r) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  27.14  Construction requirements; Criteria for renewal.

    (a) AWS and WCS licensees, with the exception of WCS licensees 
holding authorizations for Block A in the 698-

[[Page 50255]]

704 MHz and 728-734 MHz bands, Block B in the 704-710 MHz and 734-740 
MHz bands, Block E in the 722-728 MHz band, Block C, C1, or C2 in the 
746-757 MHz and 776-787 MHz bands, Block D in the 758-763 MHz and 788-
793 MHz bands, Block A in the 2305-2310 MHz and 2350-2355 MHz bands, 
Block B in the 2310-2315 MHz and 2355-2360 MHz bands, Block C in the 
2315-2320 MHz band, and Block D in the 2345-2350 MHz band, and with the 
exception of licensees holding AWS authorizations in the 1915-1920 MHz 
and 1995-2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands, 
must, as a performance requirement, make a showing of ``substantial 
service'' in their license area within the prescribed license term set 
forth in Sec.  27.13. * * *
* * * * *
    (f) Comparative renewal proceedings do not apply to WCS licensees 
holding authorizations for the 698-746 MHz, 747-762 MHz, and 777-792 
MHz bands or licensees holding AWS authorizations for the 1915-1920 MHz 
and 1995-2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands. * 
* *
* * * * *
    (k) Licensees holding WCS or AWS authorizations in the spectrum 
blocks enumerated in paragraphs (g), (h), (i), (q), or (r) of this 
section, including any licensee that obtained its license pursuant to 
the procedures set forth in paragraph (j) of this section, shall 
demonstrate compliance with performance requirements by filing a 
construction notification with the Commission, within 15 days of the 
expiration of the applicable benchmark, in accordance with the 
provisions set forth in Sec.  1.946(d) of this chapter. * * *
* * * * *
    (r) The following provisions apply to any licensee holding an AWS 
authorization in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands:
    (1) A licensee shall provide signal coverage and offer service 
within four (4) years from the date of the initial license to at least 
forty (40) percent of the total population in each of its licensed 
areas (``Interim Buildout Requirement'').
    (2) A licensee shall provide signal coverage and offer service 
within ten (10) years from the date of the initial license to at least 
seventy-five (75) percent of the population in each of its licensed 
areas (``Final Buildout Requirement'').
    (3) If a licensee fails to establish that it meets the Interim 
Buildout Requirement for a particular licensed area, then the Final 
Buildout Requirement (in this paragraph (r)) and the license term (as 
set forth in Sec.  27.13(j)) for each license area in which it fails to 
meet the Interim Buildout Requirement shall be accelerated by two years 
(from ten to eight years).
    (4) If a licensee fails to establish that it meets the Final 
Buildout Requirement for a particular licensed areas, its authorization 
for each license area in which it fails to meet the Final Buildout 
Requirement shall terminate automatically without Commission action and 
the licensee will be ineligible to regain it if the Commission makes 
the license available at a later date.
    (5) To demonstrate compliance with these performance requirements, 
licensees shall use the most recently available U.S. Census Data at the 
time of measurement and shall base their measurements of population 
served on areas no larger than the Census Tract level. The population 
within a specific Census Tract (or other acceptable identifier) will 
only be deemed served by the licensee if it provides signal coverage to 
and offers service within the specific Census Tract (or other 
acceptable identifier). To the extent the Census Tract (or other 
acceptable identifier) extends beyond the boundaries of a license area, 
a licensee with authorizations for such areas may only include the 
population within the Census Tract (or other acceptable identifier) 
towards meeting the performance requirement of a single, individual 
license.
    (6) An applicant for renewal of a license covered by this paragraph 
(r) must make a renewal showing, independent of its performance 
requirements, as a condition of renewal. The showing must include a 
detailed description of the applicant's provision of service during the 
entire license period and address:
    (i) The level and quality of service provided by the applicant 
(e.g., the population served, the area served, the number of 
subscribers, the services offered);
    (ii) The date service commenced, whether service was ever 
interrupted, and the duration of any interruption or outage;
    (iii) The extent to which service is provided to rural areas;
    (iv) The extent to which service is provided to qualifying tribal 
land as defined in Sec.  1.2110(f)(3)(i) of this chapter; and
    (v) Any other factors associated with the level of service to the 
public.

0
11. Section 27.15 is amended by revising paragraphs (d)(1)(i), 
(d)(1)(iii), (d)(2)(i), and (d)(2)(iii) to read as follows:


Sec.  27.15  Geographic partitioning and spectrum disaggregation.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (i) Except for WCS licensees holding authorizations for Block A in 
the 698-704 MHz and 728-734 MHz bands, Block B in the 704-710 MHz and 
734-740 MHz bands, Block E in the 722-728 MHz band, Blocks C, C1, or C2 
in the 746-757 MHz and 776-787 MHz bands, or Block D in the 758-763 MHz 
and 788-793 MHz bands; and for licensees holding AWS authorizations in 
the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020 MHz and 
2180-2200 MHz bands; the following rules apply to WCS and AWS licensees 
holding authorizations for purposes of implementing the construction 
requirements set forth in Sec.  27.14. Parties to partitioning 
agreements have two options for satisfying the construction 
requirements set forth in Sec.  27.14. Under the first option, the 
partitioner and partitionee each certifies that it will independently 
satisfy the substantial service requirement for its respective 
partitioned area. If a licensee subsequently fails to meet its 
substantial service requirement, its license will be subject to 
automatic cancellation without further Commission action. Under the 
second option, the partitioner certifies that it has met or will meet 
the substantial service requirement for the entire, pre-partitioned 
geographic service area. If the partitioner subsequently fails to meet 
its substantial service requirement, only its license will be subject 
to automatic cancellation without further Commission action.
* * * * *
    (iii) For licensees holding AWS authorizations in the 1915-1920 MHz 
and 1995-2000 MHz bands, or the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands, 
the following rules apply for purposes of implementing the construction 
requirements set forth in Sec.  27.14. Each party to a geographic 
partitioning must individually meet any service-specific performance 
requirements (i.e., construction and operation requirements). If a 
partitioner or partitionee fails to meet any service-specific 
performance requirements on or before the required date, then the 
consequences for this failure shall be those enumerated in Sec.  
27.14(q) for 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz licenses and those 
enumerated in Sec.  27.14(r) for 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz 
licensees.
    (2) * * *

[[Page 50256]]

    (i) Except for WCS licensees holding authorizations for Block A in 
the 698-704 MHz and 728-734 MHz bands, Block B in the 704-710 MHz and 
734-740 MHz bands, Block E in the 722-728 MHz band, Blocks C, C1, or C2 
in the 746-757 MHz and 776-787 MHz bands, or Block D in the 758-763 MHz 
and 788-793 MHz bands; and for licensees holding AWS authorizations in 
the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020 MHz and 
2180-2200 MHz bands; the following rules apply to WCS and AWS licensees 
holding authorizations for purposes of implementing the construction 
requirements set forth in Sec.  27.14. Parties to disaggregation 
agreements have two options for satisfying the construction 
requirements set forth in Sec.  27.14. Under the first option, the 
disaggregator and disaggregatee each certifies that it will share 
responsibility for meeting the substantial service requirement for the 
geographic service area. If the parties choose this option and either 
party subsequently fails to satisfy its substantial service 
responsibility, both parties' licenses will be subject to forfeiture 
without further Commission action. Under the second option, both 
parties certify either that the disaggregator or the disaggregatee will 
meet the substantial service requirement for the geographic service 
area. If the parties choose this option, and the party responsible 
subsequently fails to meet the substantial service requirement, only 
that party's license will be subject to forfeiture without further 
Commission action.
* * * * *
    (iii) For licensees holding AWS authorizations in the 1915-1920 MHz 
and 1995-2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands, 
the following rules apply for purposes of implementing the construction 
requirements set forth in Sec.  27.14. Each party to a spectrum 
disaggregation must individually meet any service-specific performance 
requirements (i.e., construction and operation requirements). If a 
disaggregator or a disaggregatee fails to meet any service-specific 
performance requirements on or before the required date, then the 
consequences for this failure shall be those enumerated in Sec.  
27.14(q) for 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz licenses and those 
enumerated in Sec.  27.14(r) for 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz 
licensees.

0
12. Section 27.17 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  27.17  Discontinuance of service in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-
2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands.

    (a) Termination of authorization. A licensee's AWS authorization in 
the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020 MHz and 
2180-2200 MHz bands will automatically terminate, without specific 
Commission action, if it permanently discontinues service after meeting 
the respective Interim Buildout Requirement as specified in Sec.  
27.14(r) or AWS-4 Final Buildout Requirement as specified in Sec.  
27.14(q).
    (b) For licensees with common carrier or non-common carrier 
regulatory status that hold AWS authorizations in the 1915-1920 MHz and 
1995-2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands, 
permanent discontinuance of service is defined as 180 consecutive days 
during which a licensee does not provide service to at least one 
subscriber that is not affiliated with, controlled by, or related to 
the licensee. For licensees with private, internal regulatory status 
that hold AWS authorizations in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz 
bands or the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands, permanent 
discontinuance of service is defined as 180 consecutive days during 
which a licensee does not operate.
    (c) Filing Requirements. A licensee of the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-
2000 MHz bands or the 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz bands that 
permanently discontinues service as defined in this section must notify 
the Commission of the discontinuance within 10 days by filing FCC Form 
601 or 605 requesting license cancellation. An authorization will 
automatically terminate, without specific Commission action, if service 
is permanently discontinued as defined in this section, even if a 
licensee fails to file the required form requesting license 
cancellation.

0
13. Section 27.50 is amended by revising paragraph (d) introductory 
text, paragraphs (d)(1) introductory text and (d)(2) introductory text, 
and adding paragraphs (d)(9) and (10), to read as follows:


Sec.  27.50  Power limits and duty cycle.

* * * * *
    (d) The following power and antenna height requirements apply to 
stations transmitting in the 1710-1755 MHz, 2110-2155 MHz, 2000-2020 
MHz, 2180-2200 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, and 1995-2000 MHz bands:
    (1) The power of each fixed or base station transmitting in the 
1995-2000 MHz, 2110-2155 MHz, or 2180-2200 MHz band and located in any 
county with population density of 100 or fewer persons per square mile, 
based upon the most recently available population statistics from the 
Bureau of the Census, is limited to:
    * * *
    (2) The power of each fixed or base station transmitting in the 
1995-2000 MHz, the 2110-2155 MHz, or 2180-2200 MHz band and situated in 
any geographic location other than that described in paragraph (d)(1) 
of this section is limited to:
* * * * *
    (9) Fixed, mobile and portable (hand-held) stations operating in 
the 1915-1920 MHz band are limited to 300 milliwatts EIRP.
    (10) A licensee operating a base or fixed station in the 1995-2000 
MHz band utilizing a power greater than 1640 watts EIRP and greater 
than 1640 watts/MHz EIRP must be coordinated in advance with all PCS G 
Block licensees authorized to operate on adjacent frequency blocks in 
the 1990-1995 MHz band within 120 kilometers of the base or fixed 
station operating in this band.
* * * * *

0
14. Section 27.53 is amended by revising paragraph (h)(1) and adding 
paragraphs (h)(2)(iii) and (iv) to read as follows:


Sec.  27.53  Emission limits.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (1) General protection levels. Except as otherwise specified below, 
for operations in the 1710-1755 MHz, 2110-2155 MHz, 2000-2020 MHz, 
2180-2200 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, and 1995-2000 MHz bands, the power of any 
emission outside a licensee's frequency block shall be attenuated below 
the transmitter power (P) by at least 43 + 10 log10(P) dB.
    (2) * * *
    (iii) For operations in the 1915-1920 MHz band, the power of any 
emission between 1930-1995 MHz shall be attenuated below the 
transmitter power (P) in watts by at least 70 + 10 log10(P) 
dB.
    (iv) For operations in the 1995-2000 MHz band, the power of any 
emission between 2005-2020 MHz shall be attenuated below the 
transmitter power (P) in watts by at least 70 + 10 log10(P) 
dB.
* * * * *

0
15. Section 27.55 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(1) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  27.55  Power strength limits.

    (a)* * *

[[Page 50257]]

    (1) 1995-2000, 2110-2155, 2180-2200 MHz, 2305-2320, and 2345-2360 
MHz bands: 47 dB[mu]V/m.
* * * * *

0
16. Section 27.57 is amended by revising paragraph (c) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  27.57  International coordination.

    (c) Operation in the 1710-1755 MHz, 2110-2155 MHz, 1915-1920 MHz, 
1995-2000 MHz, 2000-2020 MHz, and 2180-2200 MHz bands is subject to 
international agreements with Mexico and Canada.

0
17. Add subpart K to part 27 to read as follows:

Subpart K--1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz

Sec.

Licensing and Competitive Bidding Provisions

27.1001 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands subject to competitive 
bidding.
27.1002 Designated entities in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz 
bands

Reimbursement Obligation of Licensees at 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 
MHz

27.1021 Reimbursement obligation of licensees at 1915-1920 MHz.
27.1031 Reimbursement obligation of licensees at 1995-2000 MHz.
27.1041 Termination of cost-sharing obligations.

Subpart K--1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz

Licensing and Competitive Bidding Provisions


Sec.  27.1001  1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands subject to 
competitive bidding.

    Mutually exclusive initial applications for 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-
2000 MHz band licenses are subject to competitive bidding. The general 
competitive bidding procedures set forth in 47 CFR part 1, subpart Q 
will apply unless otherwise provided in this subpart.


Sec.  27.1002  Designated entities in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 
MHz bands.

    Eligibility for small business provisions:
    (a)(1) A small business is an entity that, together with its 
affiliates, its controlling interests, the affiliates of its 
controlling interests, and the entities with which it has an 
attributable material relationship, has average gross revenues not 
exceeding $40 million for the preceding three years.
    (2) A very small business is an entity that, together with its 
affiliates, its controlling interests, the affiliates of its 
controlling interests, and the entities with which it has an 
attributable material relationship, has average gross revenues not 
exceeding $15 million for the preceding three years.
    (b) Bidding credits. A winning bidder that qualifies as a small 
business as defined in this section or a consortium of small businesses 
may use the bidding credit specified in Sec.  1.2110(f)(2)(iii) of this 
chapter. A winning bidder that qualifies as a very small business as 
defined in this section or a consortium of very small businesses may 
use the bidding credit specified in Sec.  1.2110(f)(2)(ii) of this 
chapter.

Reimbursement Obligation of Licensees at 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 
MHz


Sec.  27.1021  Reimbursement obligation of licensees at 1915-1920 MHz.

    A licensee in the 1915-1920 MHz band (Lower H Block) shall, within 
30 days of grant of its long-form application, reimburse 25 percent of 
the total relocation costs incurred by UTAM, Inc. for relocating and 
clearing incumbent Fixed Microwave Service (FS) licensees from the 
1910-1930 MHz band on a pro rata shared basis with other Lower H Block 
licensees as set forth in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section.
    (a)(1) If Lower H Block licenses granted as a result of the first 
auction for this spectrum cover, collectively, at least forty (40) 
percent of the nation's population, the amount owed to UTAM, Inc. by 
each individual Lower H Block licensee (reimbursement amount owed or 
RN) will be determined by dividing the gross winning bid (GWB) for each 
individual Lower H Block license (i.e., an Economic Area (EA)) by the 
sum of the gross winning bids for all Lower H Block licenses for which 
there is a winning bid in the first auction, and then multiplying by 
$12,629,857.

RN = (EA GWB / Sum of GWBs) x $12,629,857.00

    (2) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, a 
licensee that obtains a license for a market in which no license is 
granted as a result of the first Lower H Block auction will not have a 
reimbursement obligation to UTAM, Inc.
    (b) If Lower H Block licenses granted as a result of the first 
auction for this spectrum cover, collectively, less than forty (40) 
percent of the nation's population, then the pro rata amount that the 
licensee of an individual Lower H Block license must reimburse UTAM, 
Inc. shall be calculated by dividing the population of the individual 
EA by the total U.S. population, and then multiplying by $12,629,857. 
In this event, the same population data, e.g., 2010, used to calculate 
the RNs for Lower H Block licenses granted as a result of the first 
auction will apply to subsequent auctions of Lower H Block licenses 
that were not granted as a result of an earlier auction of Lower H 
Block licenses.

RN = (EA POP / U.S. POP) x $12,629,857.00

    (c) A winning bidder of a Lower H Block license that is not granted 
a license for any reason will be deemed to have triggered a 
reimbursement obligation to UTAM, Inc. This obligation will be owed to 
UTAM, Inc. by the licensee acquiring the Lower H Block license through 
a subsequent auction. The amount owed by the licensee acquiring the 
Lower H Block license at such auction will be the RN calculated for the 
EA license based on the first auction (calculated under paragraphs (a) 
or (b), as applicable, of this section).
    (d) For purposes of compliance with this section, licensees should 
determine population based on 2010 U.S. Census Data or such other data 
or measurements that the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau proposes 
and adopts under the notice and comment process for the auction 
procedures.
    (e) A payment obligation owed by a Lower H Block licensees under 
this section shall be made within thirty (30) days of the grant of the 
license (i.e., grant of the long form application).


Sec.  27.1031  Reimbursement obligation of licensees at 1995-2000 MHz.

    A licensee in the 1995-2000 MHz band (Upper H Block) shall, within 
30 days of grant of its long-form application, reimburse one-seventh of 
the eligible expenses incurred by Sprint Nextel, Inc. (Sprint) for 
relocating and clearing Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS), Cable 
Television Relay Service (CARS), and Local Television Transmission 
Service (LTTS) incumbents from the 1990-2025 MHz band, on a pro rata 
shared basis with other Upper H Block licensees as set forth in 
paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section.
    (a)(1) If Upper H Block licenses granted as a result of the first 
auction for this spectrum cover, collectively, at least forty (40) 
percent of the nation's population, the amount owed to Sprint by the 
winning bidder of each individual Upper H Block license granted as a 
result of the first auction will be determined by dividing the gross 
winning bid (GWB) for each individual Upper H Block license (i.e., an 
Economic Area (EA)) by the sum of the gross winning bids for all Upper 
H

[[Page 50258]]

Block licenses for which there is a winning bid in the first auction, 
and then multiplying by $94,875,516.

RN = (EA GWB / Sum of GWBs) x $94,875,516

    (2) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, a 
licensee that obtains a license for a market in which no license was 
granted as a result of the first Upper H Block auction will not have a 
reimbursement obligation to Sprint.
    (b) If Upper H Block licenses granted as a result of the first 
auction for this spectrum cover, collectively, less than forty (40) 
percent of the nation's population, then the amount that the licensee 
of an individual Upper H Block license must reimburse Sprint shall be 
calculated by dividing the population of the individual EA by the total 
U.S. population, and then multiplying by $94,875,516. In this event, 
the same population data, e.g., 2010, used to calculate the RNs for 
Upper H Block licenses granted as a result of the first auction will 
apply to subsequent auctions of Upper H Block licenses that were not 
granted as a result of an earlier auction of Upper H Block licenses.

RN = (EA POP / U.S. POP) x $94,875,516

    (c) A winning bidder of an Upper H Block license that is not 
granted a license for any reason will be deemed to have triggered a 
reimbursement obligation to Sprint. This obligation will be owed to 
Sprint by the licensee acquiring the Upper H Block license through a 
subsequent auction. The amount owed by the licensee acquiring the EA 
license at such auction will be based on the RN calculated for the EA 
license based on the first auction (calculated under paragraphs (a) or 
(b), as applicable, of this section).
    (d) For purposes of compliance with this section, licensees should 
determine population based on 2010 U.S. Census Data or such other data 
or measurements that the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau proposes 
and adopts under the notice and comment process for the auction 
procedures.
    (e) A payment obligation owed by a Upper H Block licensees under 
this section shall be made within thirty (30) days of the grant of the 
license (i.e., grant of the long form application).


Sec.  27.1041  Termination of cost-sharing obligations.

    (a) The cost-sharing obligation adopted in this subpart for the 
Lower H Block and for the Upper H Block will sunset ten years after the 
first license is issued in the respective band.
    (b) A Lower H Block licensee and an Upper H Block licensee must 
satisfy in full its payment obligations under this subpart K within 
thirty days of the grant of its long-form application. The failure to 
timely satisfy a payment obligation in full prior to the applicable 
sunset date will not terminate the debt owed or a party's right to 
collect the debt.

[FR Doc. 2013-19779 Filed 8-15-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P