[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 214 (Tuesday, November 5, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 66298-66316]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-26484]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 27

[WT Docket Nos. 12-69, 12-332; FCC 13-136]


Promoting Interoperability in the 700 MHz Commercial Spectrum; 
Requests for Waiver and Extension of Lower 700 MHz Band Interim 
Construction Benchmark Deadlines

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission 
(Commission) takes certain steps to implement an industry solution to 
provide interoperable Long Term Evolution (LTE) in the Lower 700 MHz 
band to improve choice and quality for consumers of mobile services. 
The Commission revises its Part 27 rules to modify the technical 
requirements for the Lower 700 MHz D and E blocks to eliminate 
potential harmful interference while continuing to allow high value use 
of D and E blocks. Additionally, the Commission proposes to modify 
AT&T's B and C Block licenses. Finally, the Commission waives the 
construction requirements for A, B, and E Block licensees and extends 
the deadlines.

DATES: Effective December 5, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Salhus, Wireless 
Telecommunications Bureau, (202) 418-1310, email 
Jennifer.Salhus@fcc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Report 
and Order and Order of Proposed Modification (R&O and Order), WT Docket 
Nos. 12-69, 12-332; FCC 13-136, adopted October 25, 2013 and released 
October 29, 2013. The full text of this document is available for 
inspection and copying during business hours in the FCC Reference 
Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, 
Washington, DC 20554. Also, it may be purchased from the Commission's 
duplicating contractor at Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-
B402, Washington, DC 20554; the contractor's Web site, http://www.bcpiweb.com; or by calling (800) 378-3160, facsimile (202) 488-
5563, or email FCC@BCPIWEB.com. Copies of the R&O and Order also may be 
obtained via the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) 
by entering the docket number WT Docket 12-69. Additionally, the 
complete item is available on the Federal Communications Commission's 
Web site at http://www.fcc.gov.

[[Page 66299]]

I. Introduction

    1. In the R&O and Order, the Commission takes certain steps to 
implement an industry solution to provide interoperable LTE service in 
the Lower 700 MHz band in an efficient and effective manner to improve 
choice and quality for consumers of mobile services. A number of the 
principal wireless providers licensed in this band, along with the 
Competitive Carriers Association, have developed a voluntary industry 
solution that would resolve the lack of interoperability in this band 
while allowing flexibility in responding to evolving consumer needs and 
dynamic and fast-paced technological developments. The amendments to 
its rules and modifications to licenses proposed herein will serve the 
public interest by enabling consumers, especially in rural areas, to 
enjoy the benefits of greater competition and more choices, and by 
encouraging efficient use of spectrum, investment, job creation, and 
the development of innovative mobile broadband services and equipment.
    2. The steps the Commission takes here will assist consumers and 
the economies in rural areas, as well as small and regional businesses 
that operate there. Additional competition in rural areas is likely to 
result in lower-priced services, or plan options that are tailored to 
local communities. Small or regional providers serving rural areas 
drive economic growth in these rural areas, directly, by investing in 
their networks and creating jobs, and indirectly, by enabling the 
growth of other small businesses. But in order to promote competition--
and enable small business customers of 700 MHz band licensees to 
operate successfully in the 21st century--these licensees need to be 
able to offer service choices. Interoperability of LTE service in the 
Lower 700 MHz band will remove an unnecessary barrier to the successful 
operation of businesses that can drive economic growth, promote 
competitive service, and create jobs in rural America, where 1.3 
million people (and approximately 13% of rural road miles) still lack 
any mobile wireless broadband coverage and over one-third of the 
population still lacks coverage by more than two mobile broadband 
providers.
    3. As described in more detail below, the Commission launched this 
proceeding last year to promote interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz 
band. It sought comment on the core issue of whether providing 
interoperable LTE service with the use of a unified band class (to 
achieve interoperability) would result in harmful interference to 
customers using service on the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks and 
whether, if harmful interference were likely to exist, it reasonably 
could be mitigated. The Commission expressed its preference for an 
industry solution for interoperability, but also recognized that, if 
the industry failed to move in a timely manner toward interoperability, 
additional regulatory steps might be appropriate to further the public 
interest. On September 10, 2013, key parties in this proceeding filed 
letters with the Commission indicating their support for a voluntary 
industry consensus agreement to resolve the lack of interoperability in 
the Lower 700 MHz band. In the R&O and Order, the Commission takes the 
following steps:
     The Commission revises its Part 27 rules to modify the 
technical requirements for the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks to 
eliminate potential harmful interference while continuing to allow high 
value uses of the D and E Blocks. The Commission establishes a process 
for higher power uses primarily in rural areas if the D/E Block 
licensee has the consent of affected 700 MHz licensees, or can show no 
harmful interference.
     The Commission need take no action to address claims of 
reverse intermodulation interference from adjacent Channel 51 
operations to B and C Block operations, because the Commission 
concludes based on the record that harmful interference from such 
reverse intermodulation products is unlikely and therefore is not an 
impediment to implementation of the voluntary industry solution for 
achieving interoperability.
     Pursuant to section 316 of the Communications Act, the 
Commission proposes to modify AT&T's B and C Block licenses as outlined 
herein and in AT&T's commitment letter to effectuate the voluntary 
industry solution that will resolve the lack of interoperability in the 
Lower 700 MHz band in an effective and efficient manner.
     The Commission waives the construction requirements for E 
Block licensees, extending the interim and final deadlines and 
permitting a showing of population coverage, rather than geographic 
coverage.
     The Commission waives the construction requirements for A 
and B Block licensees, extending the interim deadline to December 13, 
2016, and removing the interim deadline for certain A Block licensees 
adjacent to Channel 51 operations.

II. Background

    4. The 700 MHz Band. As shown in the diagram below, the 700 MHz 
band (698-806 MHz) is comprised primarily of 70 megahertz of commercial 
spectrum and 34 megahertz of public safety spectrum. The Commission 
divided the band into the Lower and Upper 700 MHz bands pursuant to the 
Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which provided for a transition of this 
spectrum from broadcast to commercial and public safety wireless use 
and established a deadline for the auction of the Upper 700 MHz band 
but not for the auction of the Lower 700 MHz band. That Act also 
established specific criteria for the mandatory transition to DTV that 
freed up spectrum for commercial and public safety use.
    5. The Lower 700 MHz band spectrum (698-746 MHz), which is the 
subject of this Report and Order, consists of 48 megahertz of 
commercial spectrum--three blocks of 12 megahertz each of paired 
spectrum (Lower A, B, and C Blocks), and two blocks of 6 megahertz each 
of unpaired spectrum (Lower D and E Blocks). The Lower 700 MHz A Block 
spectrum is adjacent to Channel 51 (692-698 MHz), which has been 
allocated for TV broadcast operations at power levels of up to 1000 kW. 
The Lower 700 MHz A Block is also adjacent to the unpaired Lower 700 
MHz E Block, where licensees may operate at power levels up to 50 kW. 
The Commission first assigned licenses for the Lower 700 MHz band when 
it auctioned all the licenses in the Lower 700 MHz C and D Blocks in 
Auction 44 in 2002. Licenses unsold in Auction 44 were subsequently 
sold in 2003 and 2005 in Auctions 49 and 60.

[[Page 66300]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR05NO13.038

    6. In 2005, the Digital Transition and Public Safety Act (DTV Act) 
established a nationwide deadline for the DTV transition that would 
make 700 MHz spectrum available for commercial and public safety use 
and mandated that the Commission commence an auction for all the 
remaining recovered spectrum. Following the enactment of the DTV Act, 
the Commission auctioned licenses in the Lower 700 MHz A, B, and E 
Blocks in 2008 as part of Auction 73, which garnered over $19 billion 
in revenues. The relatively few unsold Lower A and B Block licenses 
were later sold in Auction 92 in 2011.
    7. Although U.S. service providers have, in the past, deployed 
different mobile wireless network technologies, today the evolution of 
these technologies is converging on LTE. LTE increases the capacity and 
speed of wireless networks by redesigning and simplifying the network 
architecture to transition from the existing combination of circuit and 
packet switching to an all-IP architecture system. All of the major 
mobile wireless providers (including those with both GSM and CDMA 
legacy networks) now offer or plan to deploy LTE. By September 2012, 
for example, AT&T announced that it had LTE coverage in 63 markets, and 
had plans to deploy LTE to 80 percent of the U.S. population by the end 
of 2013.
    8. Industry standards for LTE are developed by 3GPP, an 
international partnership of industry-based telecommunications 
standards bodies that, among other things, establishes standards for 
different LTE band classes. A specific band class standard allows LTE 
operations only in its specified range of frequencies, along with other 
technical specifications and signaling protocol. In November 2007, 
prior to Auction 73, the Band Class 12 LTE standard was introduced, 
consistent with its precedent of establishing a unified band class for 
each spectrum band.
    9. After the conclusion in March 2008 of Auction 73, Motorola 
initiated steps to have 3GPP establish a new industry standard (later 
designated as Band Class 17) that would be limited to the Lower 700 MHz 
B and C Blocks. In proposing Band Class 17, Motorola cited the need to 
address concerns about high power broadcast transmissions in Channel 51 
and the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks. As envisioned and ultimately 
adopted, the Band Class 17 standard allows LTE operations in only the 
Lower 700 MHz B and C blocks using a specific signaling protocol that 
would filter out all other frequencies. Although Band Class 17 operates 
on two of the three blocks common to Band Class 12, Band Class 17 
devices use more narrow filters, which have the effect of permitting a 
smaller range of frequencies to pass through the filter. Such filters 
provide more attenuation of signals from Lower 700 MHz E Block 
frequencies, and from Channel 51 television stations, whose frequency 
band (as depicted above) lies immediately below the Lower 700 MHz A 
Block. This attenuation is accomplished by using the two paired A Block 
frequencies as de facto guard bands. By contrast, Band Class 12 devices 
use A Block frequencies for transmissions as well as the B and C Block 
frequencies. In addition, Band Class 12 and Band Class 17 signaling 
protocols are not compatible. Therefore, services provided by stations 
using these two band classes are not interoperable in the Lower 700 MHz 
band. 3GPP finalized the initial standards and specifications for Band 
Class 17 five months after its introduction in September 2008.
    10. The creation of two non-interoperable band classes has had 
numerous effects. For example, customers are unable to switch between a 
licensee deploying its service using Band Class 17 and a licensee that 
provides its service using Band Class 12 without purchasing a new 
device (even when the two operators use the same 2G and 3G technologies 
and bands), and Band Class 12 devices and Band Class 17 devices cannot 
roam on each other's networks. In September 2009, four Lower 700 MHz A 
Block licensees filed a petition for rulemaking asking the Commission 
to impose for this spectrum block an interoperability mandate similar 
to that imposed in 1981 for the cellular band. In the Interoperability 
NPRM, 77 FR 19575, April 2, 2012, the Commission discussed the 
importance of interoperability in furthering the public interest, and 
sought comment on whether taking action to ensure reintegration of the 
three paired Lower 700 MHz blocks into a single band class would cause 
harmful interference to LTE operations on the Lower 700 MHz B and C 
Block licensees if Band Class 12 devices were used. The Commission 
noted that entities involved in the creation of Band Class 17 during 
3GPP proceedings had claimed that it was necessary to create a separate 
band class for Lower 700 MHz B and C Block licenses to avoid reverse 
intermodulation interference issues from DTV stations operating on 
Channel 51 and blocking from high power operations in the E Block, and 
sought comment, as described above, on whether reintegration of the 
band pursuant to an interoperability mandate would result in harmful 
interference. Interoperability NPRM. The Commission defines harmful 
interference in accordance with established Commission rules. See 47 
CFR 15.3(m). As we discuss below in Sec.III.B.1. with respect to DTV 
transmissions from Channel 51, an issue concerning reverse 
intermodulation interference can arise where there is a mix or 
interaction of Channel 51 transmissions and transmissions from a

[[Page 66301]]

wireless device in Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks. The issue is whether, 
and the degree to which, the resulting third transmission, or 
intermodulation product, can occur on frequencies used by the wireless 
device to receive transmissions. The risk of reverse intermodulation 
interference to Lower 700 MHz B and C Block licensees because of the 
existence of Channel 51 operations is separate and distinct from the 
limitations placed on Lower 700 MHz A Block licensees to protect 
Channel 51 operations from adjacent channel interference from Lower 700 
MHz A Block operations. See 47 CFR 27.60(a)(2).
    11. On September 10, 2013, key stakeholders involved in this 
proceeding filed letters with the Commission indicating their support 
for a voluntary industry consensus agreement to resolve the lack of 
interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band. In its letter, AT&T 
outlines its commitments to help achieve Lower 700 MHz 
interoperability, including its commitment to begin rolling out 
interoperable devices within 24 months. DISH similarly outlines its 
commitments to address interference concerns regarding high powered 
operations in the E Block spectrum. A coalition of Lower 700 MHz A 
Block licensees also filed a letter indicating their support for the 
commitments contained in AT&T's letter as a means to ensure restoration 
of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band.
    12. Channel 51 Broadcast Operations. As set out earlier in the 700 
MHz band plan, Channel 51 broadcast stations are adjacent to the lower 
portion of the Lower 700 MHz band. Channel 51 stations give rise to one 
of the two alleged interference issues potentially affecting 
interoperability--the possibility of reverse intermodulation 
interference resulting from the interplay of Channel 51 and Lower 700 
MHz B and C Block signals. Separate from this issue, and not relevant 
to the interoperability of service within the Lower 700 MHz band, are 
questions of adjacent channel interference between Channel 51 and Lower 
700 MHz A Block signals. Because of the potential for such adjacent 
channel interference, Commission rules establish exclusion zones in 
which Lower A Block operations are prohibited, which are designed to 
protect Channel 51 stations from possible interference. There are 
currently 27 full-power Channel 51 broadcast stations, and 6 Class A 
low-power television operations on Channel 51 in the U.S., including 
Puerto Rico. Nearly 190 million American consumers live outside these 
exclusion zones, including almost 50 million of the 60 million American 
consumers living in rural areas. More than 3.2 million square miles, or 
more than 90 percent of the land area in the U.S. is located outside 
the exclusion zones, including 2.8 million square miles in rural areas.

III. Discussion

    13. As noted above, on September 10, 2013, parties in this 
proceeding filed letters with the Commission indicating that they have 
reached agreement on a voluntary industry solution to resolve the lack 
of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band. Here the Commission 
takes steps to implement this voluntary industry solution, the 
substantive terms of which the Commission finds to be consistent with 
the public interest, convenience, and necessity as well as the record 
in this proceeding for the reasons set forth below. First, and in 
accordance with the industry consensus, the Commission addresses 
interference concerns that have been raised as obstacles to the 
voluntary adoption of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band. The 
Commission finds that the current technical rules governing the D and E 
Blocks would likely lead to harmful interference to Lower 700 MHz B and 
C Block licensees and therefore do constitute a barrier to 
interoperability. The Commission therefore modifies those rules to 
eliminate that barrier in a manner consistent with the industry 
solution. In addition, after review of the extensive record in this 
proceeding, and based on its technical expertise and predictive 
judgment, the Commission finds that any harmful interference to Lower 
700 MHz mobile devices operating on the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks as 
a result of Channel 51 broadcast operations is unlikely. Having 
addressed the potential interference issues, the Commission proposes to 
modify AT&T's B and C Block licenses as outlined herein and in AT&T's 
commitment letter to effectuate the voluntary industry solution and 
resolve the lack of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band in an 
effective and efficient manner. Implementing the substantive terms of 
the industry solution to establish a clear path to interoperability in 
the Lower 700 MHz spectrum is consistent with the Commission's 
longstanding interest in promoting the interoperability of wireless 
mobile services (an objective that has been realized for cellular, PCS, 
AWS, and public safety broadband, and other services) and furthers 
important public interests, including promoting the widest possible 
deployment of mobile broadband services, ensuring the most efficient 
use of spectrum, promoting competition and enhancing consumer choice of 
wireless services.
    14. Finally, in light of its foregoing actions, the Commission 
modifies the construction requirements for E Block licensees, extending 
the interim and final deadlines and license terms and permitting 
licensees to meet a population-based coverage requirement as an 
alternative to a geographic-based requirement. The Commission also 
modifies the construction requirements for A and B Block licensees, 
extending the interim construction benchmark deadline to December 13, 
2016 and removing the interim deadline for certain A Block licensees 
adjacent to Channel 51 operations.

A. Technical Rules for D and E Blocks

    15. Background. Under Sec.  27.50(c)(7) of the Commission's rules, 
a licensee authorized to operate in the 710-716, 716-722, or 740-746 
MHz bands, or in any unpaired spectrum blocks within the 698-746 MHz 
band may operate a fixed or base station at an Effective Radiated Power 
(ERP) of up to 50 kW within its authorized bandwidth. Further, the 
antenna height for such stations is limited only to the extent required 
to satisfy the power flux density requirements of Sec.  27.55(b) of the 
rules, which provide that the power transmitted from a fixed or base 
station may not exceed 3000 microwatts per square meter on the ground 
at any distance within 1 km of the stations. By contrast, other fixed 
or base stations in the Lower 700 MHz band transmitting a signal with 
an emission bandwidth greater than 1 megahertz, including stations 
authorized in the Lower 700 MHz A and B Block, are restricted to an ERP 
of 1,000 to 2,000 watts/MHz and an antenna height of 305 m height above 
average terrain (HAAT).
    16. In 2011, the Commission recognized that high-powered operations 
in the D and E Blocks could be a source of harmful interference, and 
conditioned the approval of AT&T's acquisition of Qualcomm's Lower 700 
MHz D and E Block spectrum on certain technical requirements designed 
to ensure that AT&T's operations on the Lower 700 MHz spectrum would 
not limit the potential of third parties to fully utilize other Lower 
700 MHz spectrum. The AT&T-Qualcomm Order also prohibited AT&T from 
using the Qualcomm spectrum for uplink transmissions and imposed a 
coordination and mitigation condition with respect to possible 
interference caused by AT&T's use of the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks 
for supplemental downlink to the uplink operations of

[[Page 66302]]

other licensees operating in the Lower 700 MHz A, B, and C Blocks.
    17. The 3GPP has adopted certain technical specifications for user 
equipment operating in different 700 MHz bands. 3GPP's specifications 
for output power and the out-of-band emission (OOBE) specifications for 
LTE equipment are the same for all commercial paired frequencies in the 
Lower 700 MHz band. The 3GPP specifications differ, however, with 
respect to receiver blocking, which is the required ability of a 
receiver to tolerate a much stronger (Lower 700 MHz E Block) signal 
spectrally located near the desired signal. The 3GPP-specified 
requirements for receiver blocking are the same for Band Class 13 and 
Band Class 14 equipment, but Band Class 12 and Band Class 17 have 
distinct blocking requirements, due to differences in each band's 
relative proximity to neighboring high-powered operations in the Lower 
700 MHz D and E Blocks.
    18. In the Interoperability NPRM, the Commission sought comment on 
whether potential interference from the 700 MHz Lower E Block might be 
preventing the voluntary adoption of Band Class 12 by Lower B and C 
block licensees. The Interoperability NPRM sought comment on whether 
there are any measures the Commission could take to address such 
interference concerns, including whether they could be adequately 
addressed by adopting technical conditions set forth in the AT&T-
Qualcomm Order. The Commission sought comment on whether there were 
changes the Commission could adopt to its rules that would address 
concerns that Lower 700 MHz B and C Block licensees might experience 
harmful interference from Lower 700 MHz D and E Block operations and 
encourage these licensees to voluntarily adopt interoperable devices. 
The Commission also sought comment on how such modifications would 
affect the operations and plans of Lower E Block licensees, other than 
AT&T.
    19. On September 10, 2013, AT&T and DISH made ex parte filings as 
part of the voluntary industry solution in which they set out certain 
steps to address potential interference concerns from the Lower 700 MHz 
E Block to the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks. DISH states that it shares 
the Commission's goals of promoting efficient spectrum use of the Lower 
700 MHz band and, as part of an industry consensus on interoperability, 
it is willing to consent to a reduction in power. Specifically, DISH 
states that, to support the Commission's efforts and objectives, it 
will consent to a reduction of the ERP of base stations for its Lower 
700 MHz E Block licenses to 1,000 watts/MHz in urban areas and 2,000 
watts/MHz in rural areas. DISH further states that it currently plans 
to deploy an LTE network similar to what Lower 700 MHz A, B, C, and D 
Block operators have deployed today, and to similarly enhance the 
network as the LTE technology evolves, which would make the above power 
levels consistent within the band. Finally, DISH asserts that it should 
retain a limited right to operate at existing ERP limits pursuant to 
operator-to-operator agreements with other affected licensees or upon a 
demonstration to the Commission of no harmful interference to other 
relevant Lower 700 MHz licensees. According to DISH [t]he need to 
reserve a limited opportunity for high-power operations is particularly 
important for rural America and the deployment of high-power services 
to underserved communities. DISH notes that [t]his rural-focused 
flexibility--dependent upon actual licensee agreement or further FCC 
action--will provide DISH with the opportunity to better serve 
underserved communities without adversely affecting the Commission's 
objective to better utilize the Lower 700 MHz band. In its filing, AT&T 
states that its commitments to Lower 700 MHz interoperability are 
premised on requirements that all Lower 700 MHz E Block licensees 
transmitting a signal with an emission bandwidth greater than 1 
megahertz are restricted to an ERP of 1,000 watts to 2,000 watts per 
megahertz and an antenna height of 305 m HAAT.
    20. Discussion. Based on the record, the Commission finds that, 
under the current rules, there is a significant threat of harmful 
interference from high power transmissions in the Lower 700 MHz D and E 
Blocks to Band Class 12 devices operating on the Lower 700 MHz B and C 
Blocks that could jeopardize the viability of interoperability in the 
band. Consistent with the record in this proceeding and the AT&T-
Qualcomm Order, the Commission revises the technical rules applicable 
to the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks by reducing the maximum permissible 
power levels and antenna heights on these blocks. The Commission also 
modifies its rules to limit all operations in the Lower 700 MHz D and E 
Blocks to downlink only. The Commission provides that Lower 700 MHz D 
and E Block licensees may operate particular sites at power levels 
higher than permitted under the revised rules under certain specified 
conditions. The Commission finds these changes to be in the public 
interest because they eliminate likely harmful interference, thereby 
promoting interoperable LTE operations in the Lower 700 MHz band. 
Indeed, without these measures, the public would not be able to realize 
the substantial benefits of mobile broadband deployment and 
interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band. The technical changes the 
Commission adopts today will continue to enable the six megahertz of 
unpaired Lower 700 MHz E Block spectrum to be put to commercial use 
while facilitating effective and efficient use of 36 megahertz of the 
Lower 700 MHz A, B, and C Blocks for mobile broadband services. Dish's 
current deployment plans and its agreement to these technical rule 
changes provide further support for such changes.
    21. Specifically, the Commission revises its rules to provide that 
the Lower 700 MHz D and E Block base station transmitting a signal with 
an emission bandwidth of 1 MHz or less must not exceed 1 kW ERP in non-
rural areas or 2 kW ERP in rural areas. In addition, Lower 700 MHz D 
and E Block base station transmitting a signal with an emission 
bandwidth greater than 1 MHz must not exceed 1 kW ERP per megahertz in 
non-rural areas or 2 kW ERP per megahertz in rural areas. Lower 700 MHz 
D and E Block licensees operating at these maximum permissible ERP are 
limited to an antenna height of 305 m HAAT. Except pursuant to consent 
or waiver as described below, the specific revisions to the 
Commission's rules adopted in this Report and Order that modify the 
applicable power limits and the antenna height restrictions applicable 
to Lower 700 MHz D and E Block licenses are consistent with the current 
rules applicable to the Lower 700 MHz A and B Block licenses and with 
conditions adopted in the AT&T-Qualcomm Order that were placed on all 
the Lower 700 MHz D Block licenses and those E Block licenses that are 
held by AT&T. See also 47 CFR 27.50 (Tables 1, 2, 3, and 4). For the 
reasons set forth in this Report and Order, the Commission's revised 
rules will apply to all D and E Block licensees, including AT&T, and 
operate to supersede the conditions adopted in the AT&T Qualcomm Order 
applicable to AT&T's D and E Block operations. The revised rules will 
supersede the conditions adopted in the AT&T Qualcomm Order only after 
they become final and unappealable. The Commission also limits 
operations in the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks to downlink only. 
Finally, the Commission finds that it would serve the public

[[Page 66303]]

interest to permit a Lower 700 MHz D or E Block licensee to operate 
particular sites at a higher ERP level up to 50 kW in conjunction with 
the current power flux density (PFD) limit if the Lower 700 MHz D or E 
Block licensee enters into operator-to-operator agreements with other 
affected licensees or, absent agreements with all affected licensees, 
pursuant to a waiver upon a demonstration to the Commission of no 
harmful interference to other relevant Lower 700 MHz licensees.
    22. As discussed in detail below, the Commission finds that the 
current technical rules, which permit a 50 kW ERP level in conjunction 
with a PFD limit, are likely not sufficient to prevent harmful blocking 
interference into neighboring operations in the Lower 700 MHz bands 
providing interoperable service. More specifically, based on the record 
in this proceeding, the Commission concludes first that low-powered 
two-way mobile broadband LTE service provided on the Lower 700 MHz B 
and C Blocks using Band Class 12 devices would likely be subject to 
harmful blocking interference from high-powered Lower 700 MHz D and E 
Block operations. In evaluating whether a Band Class 12 device is being 
subjected to harmful interference based on the test data submitted in 
the record, the Commission assumes 3 dB desense (Receiver desense or 
desensitization is the amount of receiver sensitivity degradation due 
to interference relative to the unencumbered receiver sensitivity (the 
lowest received signal power that a noise limited receiver needs to be 
functional), measured in dB. For example, a 3 dB desense occurs when 
the interference power is equal to the receiver's system noise power) 
as the appropriate threshold, along with considerations of the 
probability and potential locations of such interference events. In 
other words, a Band Class 12 device should only be required to receive 
successfully in the presence of blocking interference, a desired signal 
3 dB above the receiver's reference sensitivity (receiver blocking 
requirements address a receiver's ability to receive at least 95% of 
the reference throughput at the reference sensitivity, at its assigned 
channel in the presence of an unwanted interfering signal falling into 
the device receive band or into the first adjacent 15 megahertz. See 
Table 7.6.1.1-2, Section 7.6.1 of 3GPP TS 36.104 V9.9.0 (2011-09)). The 
Commission notes that this approach is consistent with the Commission's 
analysis in the H Block proceeding. Using 3 dB desense, and based on 
the test data in the record, the Commission finds that there are likely 
to be significant areas where a Band Class 12 device would be subjected 
to harmful blocking interference without a change to its current 
technical rules. In particular, the Commission finds that the V-COMM 
Study shows the 3 dB desense of Band Class 12 devices using the Lower 
700 MHz B and C Block spectrum occurs when the Lower 700 MHz E Block 
received signal strength is about -26 dBm. Therefore the Commission 
concludes that interference to Band Class 12 devices is likely to occur 
when the interfering signal strengths reach those levels. Moreover, the 
V-COMM and Hyslop-Kolodzy test data show that received signals of -26 
dBm and higher from E Block transmissions are not uncommon. Indeed, the 
Hyslop-Kolodzy Report shows areas on drive tests where signals were 
stronger than -16 dBm, which is significantly worse than the -26 dBm 
threshold. Based on these data and on its technical expertise and 
predictive judgment, the Commission finds that the current technical 
rules are not sufficient to protect against harmful interference, 
because harmful blocking interference is likely to occur in a 
significant number of instances.
    23. The Commission next finds that mitigation techniques for 
blocking interference from high-powered Lower 700 MHz E Block 
transmitters are not practical to overcome potentially many instances 
of harmful interference from the Lower 700 MHz E Block transmitters, 
would be costly and difficult and could address only some instances of 
potential harmful interference. If Lower 700 MHz E Block stations were 
to commence high-powered operations, Lower 700 MHz B and C Block 
licensees using Band Class 12 devices may need to make many RF network 
design and optimization modifications to mitigate the high-power E 
Block interference due to a potentially large number of high-power 700 
MHz E Block transmitters, including the possible deployment of sites 
that otherwise would not be needed. In addition, mitigating 
interference from high-powered Lower 700 MHz E Block transmitters by 
co-locating with lower-powered LTE transmitters does not appear to be 
an effective option in many cases, given that Lower 700 MHz licensees 
have already either planned or deployed their LTE networks in many 
cases and that DISH Network has not deployed the vast majority of its 
Lower 700 MHz E Block transmitters yet. As a practical matter, co-
location could be cost effective only with respect to Lower 700 MHz E 
Block transmitters that exist at the time the LTE network is being 
designed and built. While co-location on subsequently deployed Lower 
700 MHz E Block transmitters is possible, newly co-located LTE 
transmitters could require costly re-engineering for the rest of the 
LTE network. As a result, the Commission concludes that modification of 
the maximum permissible ERP level for the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks 
is needed to lower the probability and decrease the potential instances 
and locations in which the receive signal strengths of Lower 700 MHz D 
and E Block licensees could exceed -26 dBm.
    24. Similar to other Lower 700 MHz licensees, the Commission 
further revises its rules to provide that the Lower 700 MHz D and E 
Block licensees operating at the maximum permissible ERP are limited to 
an antenna height of 305 m HAAT. The Commission notes that power levels 
and antenna heights are closely linked: operating less than the maximum 
permissible ERP would allow a licensee to have a higher HAAT. Fixed or 
base stations transmitting a signal with an emission bandwidth of 1 MHz 
or less may operate at antenna heights greater than 305 m HAAT if ERP 
levels are reduced below 1kW for non-rural areas in accordance with 
Table 1, or below 2kW ERP for rural areas in accordance with Table 2 of 
the Commission's rules, Sec.  27.50. Fixed or base stations 
transmitting a signal with an emission bandwidth greater than 1 MHz may 
operate at antenna heights greater than 305 m HAAT if ERP levels are 
reduced below 1kW per megahertz for non-rural areas in accordance with 
Table 3, or below 2kW per megahertz ERP for rural areas in accordance 
with Table 4 of the Commission's rules, Sec.  27.50.
    25. Finally, consistent with DISH's current plans to deploy an LTE 
network similar to that deployed by Lower 700 MHz A, B, C, and D Block 
operators, the Commission finds it in the public interest to modify its 
rules to impose certain restrictions on all D and E Block operations 
that are similar to conditions imposed upon AT&T in the AT&T-Qualcomm 
Order in connection with AT&T's use of its Lower 700 MHz D and E Block 
licenses. In particular, the Commission revises its rules to provide 
that Lower 700 MHz D and E Block licensees may not use their licenses 
for uplink transmission and must instead use this spectrum only for 
downlink transmissions. This change serves the public interest by 
preventing harmful interference and facilitating interoperability. 
Because the surrounding blocks are used for

[[Page 66304]]

downlink operations, uplink or TDD operations in the E Block will cause 
harmful interference to mobile receivers in the adjacent bands unless 
very strict power limits, stringent out of band emission limits, and 
guard bands are employed on all three blocks.
    26. These rule changes reflect the significant developments in the 
Lower 700 MHz band since the original adoption of the technical rules 
in 2002. In 2002, the Commission recognized that high power 
transmissions could cause interference to adjacent channels, especially 
those that operate at low power levels, but found that the risk of 
harmful interference from power levels up to 50 kW could be mitigated 
by limiting permissible power flux density levels for base stations 
operating in excess of 1kW ERP. At that time, however, the Commission's 
expectation was that operations at lower power would not be prevalent, 
and the Commission permitted power levels up to 50 kW in all of the 
Lower 700 MHz Blocks. Operation at similar power levels would result in 
signal desired to undesired ratios that would minimize the likelihood 
of harmful interference. The Lower 700 MHz band was then the home to 
broadcasters in the midst of a technically complex transition to 
digital television. In particular, when the Commission adopted these 
rules in the Lower 700 MHz Report and Order, 67 FR 5491, Feb. 6, 2002, 
it observed that the Lower 700 MHz band will remain principally a 
television band until the end of the digital transition pursuant to the 
requirements of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. In light of the 
uncertainty regarding the availability and future use of this band, and 
the expectation that much of the band would be occupied by full-power 
broadcast stations for an indefinite period of time, the Commission 
adopted a flexible use approach to allow for fixed and mobile services, 
along with broadcast and other broadband applications that could 
include two-way interactive, cellular, and mobile television 
broadcasting services.
    27. Since 2002, significant developments in the Lower 700 MHz band 
include the active deployment of mobile broadband services in the Lower 
700 MHz Band and the fact that it is no longer a TV band. After the 
Commission adopted the Lower 700 MHz Report and Order, Congress passed 
the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 (DTV 
Act), which accelerated the DTV transition by providing a date certain, 
February 17, 2009, for the end of the transition. The Commission 
subsequently revised its rules in 2007 pursuant to the DTV Act prior to 
Auction 73, which included the Lower A, B, and E Blocks. There also 
have been significant developments since 2007, when, as DISH notes, the 
Commission declined to adjust the 50 kW power limit applicable to the 
Lower D and E Blocks. Now six years later, by contrast, the demand for 
and use of mobile broadband services have grown significantly and 
continue to increase, and Lower 700 MHz licensees are deploying LTE 
networks to respond to this demand in spectrum adjacent to the Lower E 
Block, and there is no longer any high-power broadcast service being 
provided to consumers on this spectrum. Moreover, the record of this 
proceeding includes detailed studies of interference effects on the 
mobile devices now in use in connection with the lower power services 
that have displaced higher power broadcast operations in the band, 
which lower power services are more vulnerable to blocking interference 
from high power E Block transmissions. The Commission has thus changed 
its position on this matter in light of these intervening developments 
and the updated information in this record.
    28. As indicated above, the Commission also finds that these rule 
changes are fully consistent with the current plans by the two major 
licensees of these Blocks and with the voluntary industry solution 
proposed by stakeholders. Indeed, the Commission finds that these 
changes to its technical rules also will facilitate the anticipated 
uses of the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks. As stated in its recent ex 
parte filing, DISH Network plans to use its unpaired 700 MHz E Block 
licenses to deploy an LTE network similar to what Lower 700 MHz A, B, 
C, and D Block operators have deployed today, and to similarly enhance 
the networks as the LTE technology evolves. AT&T has indicated that its 
current plans are to use the unpaired 700 MHz Lower D and E Block 
licenses it acquired from Qualcomm in December 2011 for LTE video 
services while also looking at pairing this spectrum with other bands, 
as a supplemental downlink for mobile LTE. These facts strongly support 
its conclusion that these modifications will further the public 
interest.
    29. In sum, modifying the power limits and the antenna height 
restrictions for the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks, along with limiting 
these licenses to downlink transmissions, is necessary to enable Lower 
700 MHz interoperability by resolving concerns about interference from 
high-powered transmissions and enable provisioning of mobile broadband 
LTE services in the adjacent bands. These changes also will facilitate 
the plans of the Lower D and E Block licensees to utilize this spectrum 
to provide commercial services to American consumers.
    30. The Commission also finds that, in addition to ensuring 
interoperability and facilitating use of the D and E Blocks, these rule 
changes also will facilitate Lower 700 MHz A Block operations because 
LTE service provided on the A Block would otherwise likely be subject 
to harmful interference from high-power operations in the Lower 700 MHz 
E Block. In particular, mobile devices operating near a Lower E Block 
transmitter but far from their serving LTE base stations face a 
substantial risk of receiving harmful interference from E Block 
transmitters. The potential for this interference would exist because 
of vastly different radio propagation characteristics between the high-
powered Lower 700 MHz E Block and lower powered A Block LTE systems, 
and such interference would result in significant degradation of 
service to A Block operations in areas close to high-powered E Block 
transmitters. Accordingly, the harmonized technical rules will 
facilitate provisioning of mobile broadband LTE services to consumers 
in all of the paired Lower 700 MHz bands without significant service 
degradation.
    31. The Commission agrees as well with DISH's proposal in its 
recent ex parte filing that it also would serve the public interest to 
permit particular Lower 700 MHz D or E Block stations to operate under 
the existing ERP level of up to 50 kW, in conjunction with the existing 
power flux density (PFD) limit, so long as the licensee obtains consent 
of all affected licensees. In taking this action, the Commission finds 
that this flexibility will provide D and E Block licensees with the 
opportunity to better serve rural and underserved communities without 
adversely affecting the Commission's objective to more effectively 
utilize the Lower 700 MHz band. Specifically, the Commission amends 
Sec.  27.50 to provide that lower 700 MHz D and E Block licensees may 
operate stations at existing power limits if they are able to obtain 
the written concurrence of all potentially affected licensees. For 
purposes of this rule, the Commission finds that potentially affected 
licensees are all A, B, C, D and E Block licensees licensed within 120 
km of the proposed higher powered site. This provision is consistent 
with the Commission's rule requiring coordination when licensees 
operate at higher power levels in rural areas. 47 CFR 27.50(c)(5). 
Prior to operation, Lower 700 MHz D and E

[[Page 66305]]

Block licensees must obtain written concurrence from each potentially 
affected licensee and file a copy of each agreement with the Wireless 
Telecommunications Bureau via FCC Form 601. The Commission notes that 
there are fewer than 10 licensees that will file a copy of the 
agreement via FCC Form 601, and thus its action here does not trigger 
the Paperwork Reduction Act, 5 CFR 1320.3(c)(4). If a licensee is 
unable to obtain written concurrence from one or more affected 
licensees, it may seek a waiver of this rule with respect to a 
particular transmitter. The waiver request must meet the waiver 
standard articulated in Sec.  1.925 of the Commission's rules. In 
assessing whether a waiver grant is warranted, the Commission will 
determine whether the licensee has made reasonable efforts to obtain 
the written concurrence of all affected licensees and has shown that 
operation at higher power from the particular transmitter facility will 
not cause harmful interference to affected licensees' existing 
operations. The Commission's determination will take into account a 
number of factors, including the following: the location of the 
transmitter, the technology, and the relevant technical parameters of 
the transmitter facility; the location(s) and technical characteristics 
of the potentially affected licensees' stations; and any engineering 
studies demonstrating no harmful interference. The nature of the 
potential harmful interference suggests that it likely will be more 
difficult to demonstrate no harmful interference to affected licensees 
in urban areas than in rural areas. Finally, in order to protect future 
operations of potentially affected licensees, any waiver granted will 
be conditioned on causing no harmful interference to future deployments 
by affected licensees (or obtaining their written concurrence).
    32. Consistent with the AT&T Qualcomm Order, the Commission also 
requires that the Lower 700 MHz D and E Block licensees take steps to 
mitigate the potential for harmful interference from their downlink 
operations to uplink operations in the A, B, and C Blocks. In 
particular, the Commission requires D and E Block licensees to take the 
following measures: (1) Coordinate with A, B, or C Block licensees to 
mitigate the potential for harmful interference; (2) mitigate 
interference to A, B, or C Block operations within 30 days after 
receiving written notice from the affected A, B, or C Block licensees; 
and (3) ensure that D or E Block transmissions are filtered at least to 
the extent that the D or E Block transmissions are filtered in markets 
where the D or E Block licensee holds an A, B, or C Block license, as 
applicable. Coordination and mitigation steps should include, but are 
not limited to, the following measures: If a Lower A, B, or C Block 
licensee deploys a network after the D or E Block deploys a network on 
its Lower 700 MHz D or E Block spectrum in the same geographic market, 
the D or E Block licensee will work with the A, B, or C Block licensee 
to identify sites that will require additional filtering, and will help 
the A, B, or C Block licensee to identify proper filters. The D or E 
Block licensee is also required to permit these licensees to collocate 
on the towers it owns at prevailing market rates. On the other hand, if 
a Lower A, B, or C Block licensee deploys a network before a D or E 
Block licensee deploys a network in the same geographic market, the D 
or E Block licensee will work with the A, B, or C Block licensee to 
identify sites that will need additional filtering and will purchase 
and pay for installation of required filters on such sites. For 
purposes of this condition, deployment of a network shall be the date 
upon which the network is able to support a commercial mobile voice or 
data service.
    33. The Commission finds that the Commission has authority to 
adjust the technical requirements for the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks 
as outlined above. Title III of the Act provides the Commission with 
broad authority to manage spectrum, including allocating and assigning 
radio spectrum for spectrum based services and modifying spectrum usage 
conditions in the public interest. The Commission is charged with 
maintaining control over all the channels of radio transmission in the 
United States. Section 301 states that [i]t is the purpose of this Act, 
among other things, to maintain the control of the United States over 
all the channels of radio transmission; and to provide for the use of 
such channels, but not the ownership thereof, by persons for limited 
periods of time, under licenses granted by Federal authority, and no 
such license shall be construed to create any right, beyond the terms, 
conditions, and periods of the license. The issuance of a Commission 
license does not convey any ownership or property interests in the 
spectrum and does not provide the licensee with any rights that can 
override the Commission's proper exercise of its regulatory power over 
the spectrum. As the D.C. Circuit held well before the E Block auction 
here, Congress specifically applied to licenses acquired by auction 
this long tradition of Commission authority to change rules governing 
already-issued licenses.
    34. The Commission therefore takes its actions here to revise the 
technical service rules applicable to the D and E Blocks pursuant to 
Sec.  303(b) and 303(f) of the Act. Section 316 of the Act grants the 
Commission broad authority to modify existing licenses if it determines 
that such action will promote the public interest, convenience, and 
necessity. The Commission does not disregard the importance of 
stability in its rules, but the substantial record evidence now 
compiled in this proceeding concerning both the likely harmful 
interference from higher power D and E Block operations to the services 
actually now deployed in the B and C Blocks and the public interest 
benefits of securing interoperability outweighs this concern. As the 
demand for mobile broadband continues to grow, it is critical that 
there is nationwide mobile broadband coverage, including service in 
rural and underserved areas, competition within the mobile wireless 
broadband industry that provides consumers (particularly in these 
isolated areas) with greater selection from among different service 
offerings and pricing plans, and choice for consumers so that they can 
more readily change providers in order to avail themselves of 
competitive alternatives. Revising the technical requirements for Lower 
700 MHz D and E Block licenses is a critical part of allowing 
interoperability and necessary to eliminate the potential for harmful 
interference to other 700 MHz bands. These changes are thus strongly in 
the public interest and authorized by Title III.

B. Channel 51

1. Assessment of Likelihood of Reverse Intermodulation Interference
    35. Background. Channel 51 (692-698 MHz), which has been allocated 
for TV broadcast operations at power levels up to 1000 kW, lies just 
below the Lower 700 MHz Band. One of the interference issues raised by 
some as a possible technical obstacle to interoperability in the Lower 
700 MHz band is reverse intermodulation interference from DTV Channel 
51 broadcast transmissions to the operations of wireless providers in 
the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks. The issue of reverse intermodulation 
interference could arise when the Channel 51 signals interact, or mix, 
with transmissions from a wireless device to create a third 
transmission, or intermodulation product, that falls on a frequency 
used by the wireless device for receiving operation.

[[Page 66306]]

    36. In the Interoperability NPRM, the Commission requested that 
interested parties submit measurements and quantitative analyses 
regarding the interference risk from adjacent Channel 51 transmissions 
for Band Class 12 devices operating in the Lower B and C Blocks, asked 
how the Commission could encourage voluntary industry efforts to find 
interference solutions, and requested that commenters quantify the 
costs of implementing any proposed solutions to interference issues.
    37. The record includes studies on reverse intermodulation 
interference to Band Class 12 devices on Lower 700 MHz Blocks B and C 
from Channel 51 operations. Studies were submitted by a number of Lower 
700 MHz A Block licensees (consisting of the V-COMM Study and the 
Hyslop-Kolodzy Report), to demonstrate that any such interference is 
unlikely, and if it does occur there are reasonable steps an operator 
can take to mitigate it. AT&T and Qualcomm filed studies that argue to 
the contrary (consisting of AT&T submitted studies from Reed and 
Tripathi, PCTEST, and 7Layers, and Qualcomm's own study. In its recent 
commitment letter, AT&T states that high power broadcasts currently 
permitted in Channel 51 and in the Lower 700 MHz E Block create the 
potential for significant interference problems for LTE deployments.
    38. Discussion. Based on the extensive record in this proceeding 
and on its technical and predictive judgment, the Commission concludes 
that harmful interference to Lower 700 MHz mobile devices operating on 
the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks as a result of Channel 51 broadcast 
operations is unlikely for a number of reasons. Moreover, the 
Commission finds that providers can undertake reasonable steps to 
mitigate the impacts of any interference that might occur from Channel 
51 transmissions to LTE Band Class 12 devices. In addition, any issue 
is likely to be time-limited, as the number of full-power Channel 51 
stations decreases over time. The Commission notes as well that, even 
though AT&T identifies this issue in its September 10 letter, the 
proposed conditions in its letter and attachment, upon which its 
commitment of interoperability is based, address only potential E Block 
interference, and do not include any provisions relating to potential 
reverse intermodulation interference from Channel 51 broadcast 
operations.
    39. The Commission finds first that reverse intermodulation 
interference will occur only in the unlikely event of a coincidence of 
a number of different factors. For Channel 51 broadcast transmission to 
cause reverse intermodulation interference, all of the following would 
have to occur at the same time: the Channel 51 broadcast transmission 
reaches a very strong signal strength threshold received at the LTE 
mobile device, the LTE device is transmitting and receiving in certain 
specific frequencies within that carrier, and the mobile device is 
transmitting at maximum power. The Commission also notes there is a 
stable set of no more than 27 full-power, licensed broadcast facilities 
in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, and over time the number of full-
power Channel 51 stations will likely decrease principally as a result 
of the incentive auction proceeding.
    40. The Commission's conclusions rely as well on its evaluation of 
the evidence in the record. The Commission finds that the tests and 
analyses of the proponents of an interoperability rule are more 
convincing than the tests and analyses submitted by opponents because, 
inter alia, the proponents used more reasonable testing parameters such 
as the placement of the LTE carrier frequency and the number of 
resource blocks. The proponents also tested more devices under more 
possible interference scenarios which give a more comprehensive picture 
of the overall device performance, in both lab and field tests. 
Qualcomm used a commercially-available power amplifier that transmitted 
at 1930 MHz, which is not as representative of operating in the 700 MHz 
band as the 700 MHz devices that were used in the other tests.
    41. The evidence in the record also shows that the high Channel 51 
signal levels that raise the risk of interference occur rarely. For 
instance, V-COMM's testing shows that the level of a Channel 51 signal 
strength threshold that would likely cause interference is -13 dBm with 
1 dB desense. According to the record, only 8 of 26 Channel 51 full-
power, licensed broadcast facilities in the continental U.S. could, 
using the conservative line-of-sight (LOS) propagation model, 
theoretically exceed the signal strength threshold of -13 dBm, and 
these areas are limited to 450 meters or less from the Channel 51 
broadcast tower. In addition, V-COMM's drive testing results near 
actual Channel 51 DTV transmitters show that very high Channel 51 
signal strengths, e.g. above -13 dBm, are mostly confined to locations 
near Channel 51 transmitters. However, to be consistent with the 
Commission's analysis in the H Block proceeding, the Commission finds 
that using a 3dB desensitization level is more appropriate in this 
case. According to lab tests in the record, this requires a Channel 51 
signal strength of -9 dBm, or 4 dB stronger than the level used by V-
COMM. The drive tests in the record demonstrate that a signal level of 
-9 dBm is very rare in the field.
    42. Accordingly, the Commission concludes that interference 
allegations based on reverse intermodulation products arising from 
Channel 51 broadcast operations are not an impediment to implementation 
of the voluntary industry solution for achieving interoperability.
2. Clearing Channel 51
    43. While the Commission finds that the presence of Channel 51 
broadcast stations is not an impediment to 700 MHz interoperability, 
the clearing of Channel 51 broadcast stations can lead to other 
important public interest benefits by removing certain limitations 
placed on operations in the adjacent Lower A Block. The Commission has 
taken a number of steps to limit the potential impact of Channel 51 
broadcast operations on the use of Lower 700 MHz band spectrum. In 
August 2011, the Media Bureau adopted a freeze on both the filing of 
new applications and the processing of pending applications with 
respect to operations on Channel 51, in order to permit the Commission 
to evaluate claims of interference for Lower 700 MHz A Block licensees 
in planning their network deployments. In addition, the Media Bureau 
lifted the previous freeze on the filing of petitions for rulemaking by 
full power television stations seeking to relocate from Channel 51 
pursuant to voluntary relocation agreements with Lower 700 MHz A Block 
licensees. Media Bureau staff has approved, or has under review, 
agreements to relocate Channel 51 operations or otherwise modify those 
operations that reduce the possibility of interference.
    44. Moreover, in September 2012, the Commission launched, pursuant 
to the Spectrum Act, the incentive auction process with the aim of 
repurposing broadcast television spectrum for mobile broadband use. In 
the Incentive Auctions NPRM, 77 FR 69933, Nov. 21, 2012, the Commission 
sought comment on facilitating requests for channel relocation prior to 
the auction associated with voluntary agreements between the affected 
parties. In addition, the Commission clarified that any Channel 51 
station that relocates pursuant to a private arrangement, and is 
subsequently required to relocate a second time because its channel 
assignment is changed during the auction's repacking process, will be 
eligible for payment of costs and will

[[Page 66307]]

not be disadvantaged in its ability to claim reimbursement.
    45. In April 2012, the Commission adopted rules for the sharing of 
broadcast channels in connection with the incentive auction. The 
Commission is interested in possibly authorizing one or more channel 
sharing pilots in order to demonstrate the technical and legal 
arrangements necessary to implement a successful channel sharing 
operation. The Commission encourages Channel 51 broadcasters to 
consider participating in such a pilot and to bring proposals for 
channel sharing pilots to the Media Bureau for consideration. Although 
it is likely that Channel 51 clearing issues in connection with the 
Incentive Auctions proceeding will not be resolved and fully 
implemented for several years, the Commission notes that all of the 
band plans in the Incentive Auctions NPRM and record propose to clear 
Channel 51, and that the Incentive Auctions NPRM seeks comment on the 
appropriate length of time for television stations to move channels or 
cease broadcasting after the completion of the incentive auction.

C. Transition to Interoperability

    46. Background. In the Interoperability NPRM, the Commission 
expressed its preference for an industry solution to the lack of 
interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band. The Commission stated that 
an industry solution would be preferable because it would allow the 
market greater flexibility in responding to evolving consumer needs and 
dynamic and fast-paced technological developments. At the same time, 
the Commission recognized that, if the industry failed to move toward 
interoperability in a timely manner, additional regulatory steps might 
be justified.
    47. Discussion. As noted above, an industry solution that will 
resolve the lack of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band has now 
been developed. In a letter filed on September 10, 2013, AT&T committed 
to adopting interoperability upon resolution of interference issues 
associated with high power broadcast transmissions from the Lower 700 
MHz E Block. A coalition of Lower 700 MHz A Block licensees, joined by 
the Competitive Carriers Association, filed a letter supporting AT&T's 
commitments as a means to ensure restoration of interoperability. 
Having resolved the potential interference issues as discussed above, 
the Commission now takes steps to implement AT&T's voluntary 
commitments and establish a path to interoperability in the Lower 700 
MHz band.
    48. Specifically, pursuant to Section 316, the Commission proposes 
in the Order of Proposed Modification below to modify AT&T's B and C 
Block licenses to implement its interoperability commitments. AT&T's 
commitments are premised on final resolution of the E Block 
interference issues, in accordance with the power and height 
limitations adopted above. AT&T Sept. 10, 2013 Ex Parte at 6. These 
commitments relate both to AT&T's deployment of a Multi-Frequency Band 
Indicator (MFBI) software feature (a network technology that enables 
interoperability by permitting simultaneous support of both Band Class 
12 and Band Class17 devices) and to AT&T's transition to Band Class 12 
capable devices. As set out in AT&T's letter:
Deployment of MFBI
    (1) AT&T commits to moving forward expeditiously with testing the 
3GPP Multi-Frequency Band Indicator software feature as soon as it is 
made available to AT&T by its RAN vendors. AT&T further agrees to fully 
deploy the new MFBI software feature in its 700 MHz network within 24 
months of September 30, 2013. The end of the 24-month period will also 
commence the beginning of the device roll-out period.
    (2) If AT&T concludes that, despite its best efforts, 
implementation of the MFBI feature within 24 months as committed to 
herein will result in significant negative customer impact, AT&T will 
file a certification, consistent with Commission rules (including but 
not limited to Sec. Sec.  1.16, 1.17 and 1.65), so asserting and 
outlining in specific detail the commercially reasonable steps taken to 
meet the deadline and the reason for the delay. Any such filing must be 
made on or before August 31, 2015. With the filing of such a 
certification, the 24-month deadline for MFBI implementation and the 
start of the Band 12 capable device roll-out period shall be extended 
by the period requested in the certification, up to an additional 6 
months.
    (3) Once MFBI has been fully implemented by AT&T consistent with 
paragraph 2, AT&T shall provide LTE roaming to carriers with compatible 
Band 12 devices, consistent with the Commission's rules on roaming.
The Transition
    (4) Band 12 capable device shall mean any device that is capable of 
supporting 3GPP Band Class 12. At this time, AT&T is exploring various 
Band 12 implementation approaches with its chipset and OEM partners and 
AT&T reserves the right to pursue the most efficient solutions 
available based on evolving network and device capabilities on a 
technology neutral basis.
    (5) During the first year of the device roll-out period, 50% of all 
new unique devices that operate on the paired Lower 700 MHz bands, as 
identified by unique SKU numbers, introduced by AT&T into its device 
portfolio will be Band 12 capable devices. Memory or color finish 
variations on a single device shall not be considered separate unique 
SKUs. Machine-to-Machine (M-to-M) devices shall not be counted as new 
unique devices for purposes of this commitment.
    (6) During the second year of the device roll-out period, 75% of 
new unique devices that operate on the paired Lower 700 MHz bands, as 
identified by unique SKU numbers, introduced by AT&T into its device 
portfolio will be Band 12 capable devices. Memory or color finish 
variations on a single device shall not be considered separate unique 
SKUs. M-to-M devices shall not be counted as new unique devices for 
purposes of this commitment.
    (7) Commencing at the conclusion of the second year of the device 
roll-out period, all new unique devices that operate on the paired 
Lower 700 MHz bands introduced by AT&T into its device portfolio will 
be Band 12 capable devices. In addition, from that time forward, AT&T 
will agree that its specifications for all new devices that are 
designed to operate in the paired Lower 700 MHz frequencies, including 
M-to-M devices, will call for Band 12 capability. However, M-to-M 
devices shall not be counted as new unique devices for purposes of this 
commitment.
    (8) The commitments outlined above apply to all new unique data-
capable devices that connect to or provide connectivity on AT&T's 
paired Lower 700 MHz FDD network. AT&T's commitment shall not extend to 
any devices that are uniquely designed to operate on spectrum bands 
owned and operated by AT&T that are not in the paired Lower 700 MHz 
bands. AT&T reserves the express right to support devices that do not 
operate in the paired Lower 700 MHz bands.
    (9) To demonstrate progress on its commitments, AT&T shall submit 
comprehensive written reports and meet with the Commission staff at 
each of 12 months, 18 months and 24 months from the date of its 
September 10, 2013 commitment letter that will provide information on 
AT&T's progress toward meeting these commitments. Additionally, AT&T 
shall provide

[[Page 66308]]

comprehensive written reports at 28 months, 40 months and 46 months to 
report on progress during the device roll-out period, and it shall file 
a certification to the Commission at the end of the device roll-out 
period to certify final completion of these commitments within 30 days.
    (10) Fulfillment of these commitments will require the 
implementation of new functionality in AT&T's paired Lower 700 MHz 
network as well as collaboration with AT&T's chipset and OEM partners 
and vendors. AT&T will use its best efforts to proceed diligently to 
complete the activities necessary to fulfill its commitments. However, 
if at any time, AT&T encounters obstacles beyond its control that 
threaten its ability to meet these commitments, or undermine the 
quality of the service it is providing on its network, AT&T reserves 
the right to so inform the Commission and seek an extension of time or 
a waiver as appropriate.
    (11) Consistent with these commitments, AT&T anticipates that its 
focus and advocacy within the 3GPP standards setting process will shift 
to Band 12 related projects and work streams. More specifically, upon 
adoption of this commitment, AT&T commits to placing priority within 
the 3GPP RAN committee on the development of various Band 12 carrier 
aggregation scenarios. Upon completing implementation of the MFBI 
feature, AT&T anticipates that its focus on new standards related to 
the paired Lower 700 MHz spectrum will be almost exclusively on Band 12 
configurations, features and capabilities. AT&T reserves the right to 
seek revisions and updates to Band 17 standards to the extent necessary 
to support legacy Band 17 devices and continuing Band 17 functionality 
on its network.
    (12) AT&T's commitments to Lower 700 MHz interoperability outlined 
in its letter are premised on final resolution of the E Block 
interference issues, which requires the Commission to adopt an Order 
requiring that all E Block licensees transmitting a signal with an 
emission bandwidth greater than 1 megahertz are restricted to an ERP of 
1,000 to 2,000 watts/MHz and an antenna height of 305 m above average 
terrain. AT&T anticipates that the Commission will adopt such an Order 
no later than December 31, 2013. If such an Order is not adopted by the 
Commission, or if it is adopted but subject to appellate review, AT&T 
reserves the right to declare these commitments null and void.
    49. The Commission finds that implementing the voluntary industry 
solution for interoperability by adopting AT&T's commitments as 
modifications would promote the public interest, convenience and 
necessity. These modifications would establish a clear path toward 
interoperability for the Lower 700 MHz band. In doing so, they would 
promote the efficient use of spectrum, the availability of higher 
quality and lower priced offerings and enhanced choices for customers 
of all wireless broadband providers, overall timely deployment of 
nationwide wireless broadband coverage, and the delivery of such 
service to rural and underserved areas. Its actions in proposing these 
modifications here are consistent with the Commission's longstanding 
interest in promoting the interoperability of mobile services (an 
objective that has been realized for cellular, PCS, AWS, and public 
safety broadband service), and allow the market greater flexibility in 
responding to evolving consumer needs and dynamic and fast-paced 
technological developments. By ensuring that AT&T, the largest license 
holder of spectrum in the B and C Blocks, transitions to 
interoperability, the Commission concludes that the steps it takes 
today will be enough to ensure that the public interest benefits of 
interoperability are realized while avoiding unnecessary regulatory 
burdens.
    50. The record demonstrates that the existence of two incompatible 
band classes is a substantial obstacle to the ability of subscribers to 
switch their service provider to take advantage of higher quality or 
lower cost service. Conversely, as the Commission has recognized, 
interoperability directly promotes the ability of consumers to switch * 
* * at low cost. Accordingly, by establishing a clear path to 
interoperability, the Commission promotes consumers' ability to choose 
the higher quality service at affordable prices and thus increased 
competition.
    51. In addition, adopting the industry plan for achieving 
interoperability will help promote deployment of mobile broadband 
services and the full and efficient use of Lower 700 MHz spectrum. The 
record shows that the absence of interoperability has delayed 
deployment of networks in Lower 700 MHz band spectrum. U.S. Cellular, 
for example, asserts that, except for its own deployment, ``there has 
been no comparable deployment of advanced 4G LTE services by Band 12 
licensees, including Cavalier Wireless, LLC, Continuum 700 LLC, C Spire 
Wireless, Vulcan Wireless LLC and others, despite significant efforts 
to overcome the lack of a Band 12 device ecosystem. Cox TMI Wireless 
LLC even was forced to abandon its original plans to launch 4G LTE 
services. Likewise, Cellular South, Inc. d/b/a C Spire Wireless 
(Cellular South) asserts that the lack of available Band Class 12 
devices and the inability of such devices to roam nationwide render the 
current environment inadequate ``to support commercial deployment of a 
LTE network on Band 12.'' Cavalier Wireless argues that the lack of 
interoperability has delayed new wireless broadband deployments, 
services, and competition in Mississippi, Arkansas, and in rural states 
across the country.
    52. The record indicates that interoperability will promote further 
build out and deployment of Lower 700 MHz spectrum, with the resulting 
benefits of competitive mobile broadband service available to 
consumers. Cellular South, for example, asserts that, upon adoption of 
an interoperability requirement, it would begin network design, site 
acquisition, and engaging equipment and device vendors to support the 
deployment of 4G LTE services. Other parties likewise assert that 
resolving interoperability would facilitate their deployment of 
advanced wireless services. The Commission finds that the lack of 
interoperability and of the development of a Band Class 12 ecosystem 
has seriously limited development of the Lower 700 MHz band and that 
700 MHz interoperability will encourage and enable Lower 700 MHz A 
Block licensees to further invest in and build out advanced broadband 
networks. The difficulties of obtaining prompt delivery from vendors of 
the choices of 4G devices at affordable prices necessary to attract and 
retain subscribers have discouraged LTE network deployments for smaller 
new market entrants. The Commission concludes that, by promoting 
deployment of advanced mobile broadband networks, AT&T's 
interoperability commitments would serve the public interest by 
encouraging licensees to deploy networks in the Lower 700 MHz band 
using the most efficient wireless technology available today.
    53. The Commission's actions today also further its statutory 
mandate to promote nationwide service. Most A Block licensees are small 
or regional businesses, many of which provide or would be able to 
provide wireless broadband service to nearly 50 million people in rural 
areas, where 1.3 million people (and approximately 13% of rural road 
miles) still lack any such service at all. More than one-third of the 
population in rural areas still lacks coverage from more than two 
mobile broadband service providers. Rural low density areas are often 
low income areas

[[Page 66309]]

(per capita income less than $30,000 per year.) Evidence in the record 
shows that the absence of interoperability has affected these 
licensees' ability to deploy broadband services in the Lower 700 MHz 
bands. By eliminating barriers to deployment by small and rural 
providers, the Commission takes another important step toward 
fulfilling its mandate to bring these advanced services, so far as 
possible, to all the people of the United States.
    54. In addition, the AT&T license modifications the Commission 
proposes today in the Order of Proposed Modification below also will 
help promote reasonable roaming arrangements among 700 MHz providers. 
As noted above, AT&T commits to providing LTE roaming to carriers with 
compatible Band 12 devices once AT&T has implemented the MFBI software 
feature in its network. As a result, the number of technically 
compatible providers for nationwide LTE roaming partnerships would 
increase.

D. Performance Requirements and Construction Benchmarks

1. Construction Benchmarks Applicable to Lower 700 MHz E Block
    55. Background. Section 27.14(g) of the Commission's rules requires 
EA licensees holding authorizations for Block E in the 722-728 MHz 
bands to provide signal coverage and offer service over at least 35 
percent of the geographic area of their license no later than June 13, 
2013, or within four years of initial license grant, if the initial 
authorization is granted after June 13, 2009. Certain E Block licensees 
in the band, including DISH, have requested a waiver of Sec.  27.14(g) 
seeking an extension of the interim construction benchmark deadline to 
at least two years from the current deadline, stating they have faced 
challenges related to equipment availability and uncertainty created by 
the Interoperability NPRM, including the possibility that the 
Commission may ``dramatically reduce maximum operation power in the 
Lower 700 MHz E Block. As discussed above, DISH outlined its proposal 
to address interference concerns regarding high-powered operations in 
the E Block spectrum, contingent on certain Commission actions, 
including extending relief regarding its Lower 700 MHz E Block buildout 
requirements.
    56. Discussion. Today the Commission adopts technical rule changes 
affecting all Lower 700 MHz E Block licensees to reduce potential 
interference and facilitate interoperability in the 700 MHz band, and 
in order to more fully implement the voluntary industry solution, 
including DISH's commitment, the Commission finds it is in the public 
interest to provide the same regulatory flexibility to all E Block 
licensees to promote rapid deployment of mobile broadband services. 
Accordingly, the Commission takes various actions discussed below. The 
Commission grants the requests for extension of time or waiver 
regarding 700 MHz E Block licenses filed by DISH and Kurian only to the 
extent discussed herein and extend relief to all active Lower 700 MHz 
band E Block licensees regarding certain buildout requirements. The 
Commission also provides additional relief on its own motion to all 
active Lower E Block licensees as discussed below to facilitate 
implementation of the industry solution. Specifically, for all active 
Lower 700 MHz E Block licensees, the Commission extends the interim 
construction benchmark deadline in Sec.  27.14(g) until March 7, 2017 
and the end-of-term construction benchmark deadline in Sec.  27.14(g) 
until March 7, 2021. This additional time will afford licensees a 
sufficient opportunity to adjust their business plans in light of the 
technical changes to the band and also provide valuable services to the 
public in the near term. The Commission also waives the ten-year 
license period set forth in Sec.  27.13(b) and extends the license term 
for all active Lower 700 MHz E Block licensees until March 7, 2021.
    57. The Commission waives Sec.  27.14(g) for all active Lower E 
Block licensees in order to permit them to meet a population-based 
coverage requirement as an alternative to the geographic-based 
requirement in Sec.  27.14(g). Specifically, the Commission waives the 
requirement that Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees must provide 
signal coverage and offer service over at least 35 percent of the 
geographic area to meet the interim construction benchmark deadline and 
provide signal coverage and provide service over at least 70 percent of 
the geographic area to meet the end-of-term construction benchmark 
deadline. Under this waiver, all active Lower 700 MHz band E Block 
licensees may meet their interim construction benchmark deadline by 
providing signal coverage and offering service to at least 40 percent 
of its total E Block population, and a licensee's total E Block 
population shall be calculated by summing the population of each of its 
license areas in the E Block. Under this waiver, all active Lower 700 
MHz band E Block licensees may meet their end-of-the term construction 
benchmark deadline by providing signal coverage to at least 70 percent 
of the population in each of its license areas. When filing a 
notification of construction pursuant to Sec.  1.946(d), licensees must 
state whether they are using the population-based performance benchmark 
or the geographic-based performance benchmark to meet the respective 
interim and end-of-term requirements.
    58. The Commission also waives Sec.  27.14(g)(1) to the extent 
necessary and, accordingly provides that in the event a Lower 700 MHz E 
Block licensee fails to either provide signal coverage and offer 
service to either 40 percent of its total E Block population or provide 
signal coverage or offer service over at least 35 percent of the 
geographic area by March 7, 2017, the term of that license 
authorization will be reduced by one year.
    59. Finally, the Commission grants a limited waiver of Sec.  
27.14(l) to extend the deadline until March 7, 2019, for the filing of 
the required second status report regarding the licensees' efforts to 
meet the performance requirements applicable to their authorizations in 
their respective spectrum bands and the manner in which that spectrum 
is being utilized.
2. Interim Construction Deadlines for A and B Block Licenses
    60. Background. As noted above, the Commission adopted performance 
requirements for the 700 MHz band to promote commercial access to the 
spectrum that require licensees to provide specified levels of service 
and certain consequences for failing to meet those requirements within 
prescribed timeframes. For licensees that fail to meet the applicable 
interim benchmark, the license term is reduced by two years, which 
would require that the end-of-term benchmark be met within eight years, 
and the Commission may take other enforcement action. At the end of the 
license term, licensees that fail to meet the end-of-term benchmark are 
subject to a keep what you use rule, which will make unused spectrum 
available to other potential users.
    61. The Commission takes the opportunity in the R&O and Order to 
address the requests for waiver and extension of the interim 
construction benchmark deadline filed individually by Lower 700 MHz 
band A and B Block licensees, which the Wireless Telecommunications 
Bureau placed on public notice in a separate docket. The Commission 
also recognizes that the issues raised in this proceeding may 
substantially affect Lower 700 MHz band licensees that have not 
specifically sought an extension of the interim

[[Page 66310]]

construction benchmark deadline. In light of today's action reducing 
permissible ERP levels for D and E Blocks and voluntary industry 
commitments on the record to promote interoperability, the Commission 
extends the interim construction benchmark deadline for all active 700 
MHz band Lower A and B Block licensees until December 13, 2016, and 
issue a waiver of the interim construction benchmark deadline for 
certain Lower 700 MHz A Block licensees as described below.
    62. Specifically, as their interim construction benchmark deadlines 
approached, a number of Lower 700 MHz band A and B Block licensees 
requested a waiver of Sec.  27.14(g) of the rules to provide for an 
extension of at least two years from the applicable interim 
construction deadlines. These licensees generally claimed that an 
extension or a waiver is warranted for reasons including a lack of 
interoperability in the 700 MHz band. Some of the licensees claimed an 
extension was warranted because of issues regarding protection of TV 
Channel 51 stations, and some licensees claimed that high power Lower 
700 MHz band E Block operations have affected their ability to meet the 
deadline.
    63. As discussed above, on September 10, 2013, DISH filed a letter 
stating that it will consent to an ERP reduction of its base stations 
for its Lower 700 MHz band E Block licenses. AT&T also filed a letter 
on September 10, 2013, stating that it is committed to supporting 
interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band, conditioned on final 
resolution of the E Block interference issue. As outlined above, AT&T 
provided a number of commitments to achieve this goal including a 
staggered rollout period during which AT&T will introduce Band Class 12 
capable devices into its device portfolio.
    64. Discussion. In the extension requests, licensees claim that, 
due to a lack of available devices, they are unable to offer compelling 
or competitive advanced mobile services to potential customers and 
therefore building out such a network by the current interim deadline 
is not economically viable. Further, licensees state that the 
fragmentation of the Lower 700 MHz band was unforeseen, making the 
situation unique and unusual. The Commission finds that today's 
decision, in conjunction with the voluntary industry commitments on the 
record, addresses these concerns and will facilitate interoperability 
and promote rapid deployment of advanced mobile services for consumers. 
The vast majority of licensees seek an extension of the interim 
construction benchmark deadline until two years after the Commission 
concludes the interoperability rulemaking proceeding. Taking into 
account today's action and the timeline specified by AT&T for roll-out 
of Band Class 12 capable devices, the Commission finds that an 
extension until December 13, 2016 will allow licensees to make 
appropriate business decisions regarding build-out and to meet the 
interim construction benchmark deadline. The Commission therefore 
extends the interim construction benchmark deadline in Sec.  27.14(g) 
until December 13, 2016 for all active Lower 700 MHz band A and B Block 
licensees, with certain exceptions described below.
    65. The Commission finds it in the public interest to waive the 
interim construction benchmark deadline for certain Lower 700 MHz A 
Block licensees that must limit their deployments in order to protect 
incumbent Channel 51 operations. Pursuant to Sec.  27.60, Lower 700 MHz 
band A Block licensees must provide interference protection to existing 
U.S. full power DTV and Class A stations operating in the adjacent 
Channel 51 by maintaining a minimum distance separation (from base 
station to TV transmitter) of as much as 108 km. Further, Sec.  27.60 
specifies a minimum distance separation of 96.5 km between mobile units 
operating on the A Block adjacent to Channel 51 broadcast stations. A 
substantial number of Lower 700 MHz A Block licensees argue in requests 
for extension of the interim construction benchmark deadline that 
Channel 51 broadcasters have been unwilling to negotiate consent or 
relocation agreements in advance of the impending incentive auction, 
leaving affected licensees with no reasonable alternative for providing 
service to certain areas of their markets before the interim deadline. 
Based on the record, the Commission finds that, although 
interoperability is likely to facilitate the provision of service by 
many licensees with Channel 51 broadcast stations in their license 
areas, relief from the particular interim construction benchmark 
deadline is warranted in certain circumstances. The Commission 
therefore waives, on its own motion, the interim construction benchmark 
deadline of Sec.  27.14(g) for each Lower 700 MHz band A Block licensee 
where a 108 km radius around a Channel 51 transmitter overlaps at least 
a portion of the license's market area (overlap) and either: (1) 30 
percent or more of the geographic license area is within that overlap; 
or (2) less than 30 percent of the geographic license area is within 
that overlap but more than two-thirds of the population is within that 
overlap. The Commission finds that such relief is necessary because 
these licensees either face siting restrictions in a substantial 
portion of their license areas, or a majority of the market's 
population is in an area of overlap. Accordingly, these licensees will 
only be subject to the end-of-term construction benchmark requirement 
and other status reporting requirements. The Commission expects that 
many Lower 700 MHz band A Block licensees will provide service in areas 
unaffected by the existence of Channel 51 and that others will take 
meaningful steps toward constructing their systems even while 
broadcasters remain on Channel 51--such as procuring equipment, 
designing their networks, and securing transmitter sites--so that 
installation, testing, and deployment can occur rapidly upon relocation 
of the broadcasters. The Commission notes that 700 MHz band licensees 
are free to negotiate early relocation agreements with Channel 51 
broadcasters to further speed deployment.
    66. Finally, for all active Lower 700 MHz band A and B Block 
licensees, other than licensees subject to a waiver of the interim 
construction benchmark deadline due to Channel 51 interference 
protection requirements, as described above, the Commission waive the 
requirements in Sec.  27.14(l) of the Commission's rules that these 
licensees file a second status report regarding the licensees' efforts 
to meet the performance requirements applicable to their authorizations 
in their respective spectrum bands and the manner in which that 
spectrum is being utilized. The Commission adopted reporting 
requirements ``to monitor whether further assessment of the rules or 
other actions are necessary in the event spectrum is being stockpiled 
or warehoused, or if it is otherwise not being made available despite 
existing demand.'' Due to the extended interim construction benchmark 
deadline, licensees will now file similar information in their 
notifications of construction in December 2016, shortly after the 
existing deadlines for the second status report. Therefore, the 
Commission finds it is in the public interest to reduce filing burdens 
on the industry and waive the requirement that Lower 700 MHz band A and 
B Block licensees file a second status report. However, because A Block 
licensees sufficiently affected by Channel 51 interference protection 
requirements to

[[Page 66311]]

warrant a waiver of the interim construction benchmark deadline will 
not file interim notifications of construction, the Commission does not 
waive the Sec.  27.14(l) requirement and these licensees are still 
required to file a second status report on June 13, 2016, so that the 
Commission can monitor their buildout progress.

IV. Order of Proposed Modification

    67. For the reasons discussed above, the Commission proposes to 
modify AT&T's B and C Block licenses pursuant to Sec.  316 to implement 
the commitments contained in AT&T's letter of September 10, 2013 and 
effectuate the voluntary industry solution that will resolve the lack 
of interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band in an effective and 
efficient manner. Specifically, pursuant to Section 316, the Commission 
proposes to modify AT&T's B and C Block licenses to implement the 
following interoperability commitments. These commitments relate both 
to AT&T's deployment of a Multi-Frequency Band Indicator (MFBI) 
software feature and to AT&T's transition to Band Class 12 capable 
devices. For the reasons discussed throughout the R&O and Order, the 
Commission concludes that it is in the public interest, convenience, 
and necessity to propose to modify AT&T's B and C Block licenses as 
follows:
     AT&T must move forward expeditiously with testing the 3GPP 
Multi-Frequency Band Indicator software feature as soon as it is made 
available to AT&T by its RAN vendors. AT&T must fully deploy the new 
MFBI software feature in its 700 MHz network within 24 months of 
September 30, 2013. The end of the 24-month period will also commence 
the beginning of the Band 12 capable device roll-out period.
     If AT&T concludes that, despite its best efforts, 
implementation of the MFBI feature within 24 months will result in 
significant negative customer impact, AT&T will file a certification, 
consistent with Commission rules (including but not limited to 
Sec. Sec.  1.16, 1.17 and 1.65), so asserting and outlining in specific 
detail the commercially reasonable steps taken to meet the deadline and 
the reason for the delay. Any such filing must be made on or before 
August 31, 2015. With the filing of such a certification, the 24-month 
deadline for MFBI implementation and the start of the Band 12 capable 
device roll-out period shall be extended by the period requested in the 
certification, up to an additional 6 months.
     Once MFBI has been fully implemented by AT&T, AT&T shall 
provide LTE roaming to carriers with compatible Band 12 devices, 
consistent with the Commission's rules on roaming.
     Band 12 capable device shall mean any device that is 
capable of supporting 3GPP Band Class 12. At this time, AT&T is 
exploring various Band 12 implementation approaches with its chipset 
and OEM partners and AT&T may pursue the most efficient solutions 
available based on evolving network and device capabilities on a 
technology neutral basis.
     During the first year of the device roll-out period, 50% 
of all new unique devices that operate on the paired Lower 700 MHz 
bands, as identified by unique SKU numbers, introduced by AT&T into its 
device portfolio will be Band 12 capable devices. Memory or color 
finish variations on a single device shall not be considered separate 
unique SKUs. Machine-to-Machine (M-to-M) devices shall not be counted 
as ``new unique devices'' for purposes of this commitment.
     During the second year of the device roll-out period, 75% 
of new unique devices that operate on the paired Lower 700 MHz bands, 
as identified by unique SKU numbers, introduced by AT&T into its device 
portfolio will be Band 12 capable devices. Memory or color finish 
variations on a single device shall not be considered separate unique 
SKUs. M-to-M devices shall not be counted as new unique devices for 
purposes of this commitment.
     Commencing at the conclusion of the second year of the 
device roll-out period, all new unique devices that operate on the 
paired Lower 700 MHz bands introduced by AT&T into its device portfolio 
will be Band 12 capable devices. In addition, from that time forward, 
AT&T must ensure that its specifications for all new devices that are 
designed to operate in the paired Lower 700 MHz frequencies, including 
M-to-M devices, will call for Band 12 capability. However, M-to-M 
devices shall not be counted as new unique devices for purposes of this 
commitment.
     The commitments outlined above apply to all new unique 
data-capable devices that connect to or provide connectivity on AT&T's 
paired Lower 700 MHz FDD network. AT&T's commitment shall not extend to 
any devices that are uniquely designed to operate on spectrum bands 
licensed for use by AT&T that are not in the paired Lower 700 MHz 
bands. AT&T reserves the express right to support devices that do not 
operate in the paired Lower 700 MHz bands.
     To demonstrate progress on its commitments, AT&T shall 
submit comprehensive written reports and meet with the Commission staff 
at each of 12 months, 18 months and 24 months from the date of its 
September 10, 2013 commitment letter that will provide information on 
AT&T's progress toward meeting these commitments. Additionally, AT&T 
shall provide comprehensive written reports at 28 months, 40 months and 
46 months to report on progress during the device roll-out period, and 
it shall file a certification to the Commission at the end of the 
device roll-out period to certify final completion of these commitments 
within 30 days.
     Fulfillment of these commitments will require the 
implementation of new functionality in AT&T's paired Lower 700 MHz 
network as well as collaboration with AT&T's chipset and OEM partners 
and vendors. AT&T will use its best efforts to proceed diligently to 
complete the activities necessary to fulfill its commitments. However, 
if at any time, AT&T encounters obstacles beyond its control that 
threaten its ability to meet these commitments, or undermine the 
quality of the service it is providing on its network, AT&T may so 
inform the Commission and seek an extension of time or a waiver as 
appropriate.
     Consistent with these commitments, AT&T anticipates that 
its focus and advocacy within the 3GPP standards setting process will 
shift to Band 12 related projects and work streams. AT&T must place 
priority within the 3GPP RAN committee on the development of various 
Band 12 carrier aggregation scenarios. Upon completing implementation 
of the MFBI feature, AT&T anticipates that its focus on new standards 
related to the paired Lower 700 MHz spectrum will be almost exclusively 
on Band 12 configurations, features and capabilities. AT&T may seek 
revisions and updates to Band 17 standards to the extent necessary to 
support legacy Band 17 devices and continuing Band 17 functionality on 
its network. As discussed above, AT&T's commitments were premised on 
final resolution of the E Block interference issues. By this Order, the 
Commission modifies the E Block technical rules to address the E Block 
interference issues. AT&T has reserved the right to declare its 
commitments null and void if those modifications are not adopted by 
December 31, 2013, or if adopted but subject to appellate review. 
Because resolution of the E Block interference issue has always been 
essential to a resolution of the interoperability issue, any order of 
modification of AT&T's

[[Page 66312]]

licenses pursuant to the terms of the foregoing proposal shall become 
effective only at such time as the changes adopted today to the 
technical rules applicable to E Block operations become final and 
unappealable. In the event that AT&T elects to declare its commitments 
null and void, the Commission continues to retain all its authority 
under the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, to adopt any rules or 
further orders in this proceeding necessary or appropriate to promote 
interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band.
    68. The Commission finds that the proposed license modifications 
will serve the public interest by establishing a clear path toward 
interoperability for the Lower 700 MHz band. Resolving the lack of 
interoperability is an important objective for the Commission and the 
Commission intends to remain vigilant to ensure that AT&T follows 
through with its commitments and transitions to interoperability in an 
efficient manner.
    69. The Commission finds that it has the legal authority to adopt 
these proposed modifications to AT&T's licenses. Section 316 of the Act 
authorizes the Commission to ``modif[y]'' existing licenses when taking 
such action will ``promote the public interest, convenience, and 
necessity.'' Title III provides the Commission with broad authority to 
manage spectrum and endows the Commission with ``expansive powers'' and 
a ``comprehensive mandate to `encourage the larger and more effective 
use of radio in the public interest.' '' Section 303 of the Act, 
authorizes the Commission to exercise its authority as ``the public 
interest, convenience, and necessity requires'' to ``[p]rescribe the 
nature of the service to be rendered by each class of licensed stations 
and each station within any class.''
    70. The Commission finds that these provisions give it ample 
authority to adopt the proposed modifications to AT&T's B and C Block 
licenses, which track AT&T's commitments and which the Commission finds 
to be in the public interest. Specifically, the Commission finds that, 
pursuant to its authority under Title III, the proposed modifications 
described above will ``promote the public interest, convenience, and 
necessity'' by promoting competition and consumer choice among mobile 
broadband service providers for innovative services (both initially and 
in switching to higher quality or lower cost offerings), promoting the 
widespread deployment of 4G networks (particularly in rural and 
unserved areas), and strengthening the ability of providers to offer 
consumers nationwide coverage. Establishing interoperability will 
remove barriers to infrastructure investment for mobile broadband 
services and increase spectrum utilization among Lower 700 MHz A Block 
licensees.
    71. In accordance with section 316(a) of the Communications Act, as 
amended, and Sec.  1.87(a) of the Commission's rules, the Commission 
will not issue a modification order(s) until AT&T has received notice 
of the Commission's proposed action and has had an opportunity to 
protest. The Commission directs the staff to send the R&O and Order by 
certified mail, return receipt requested to AT&T. Pursuant to section 
316(a)(1) of the Act and Sec.  1.87(a) of the Commission's rules, 
receipt of the R&O and Order by certified mail, return receipt 
requested, shall constitute notification in writing of its Order of 
Proposed Modification proposing to modify AT&T's B and C Block licenses 
and of the grounds and reasons therefor. AT&T shall have until January 
15, 2014 to protest such Order of Proposed Modification. For the 
reasons discussed throughout the R&O and Order, the Commission finds 
that it will serve the public interest to adopt the voluntary industry 
solution that will provide interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band. 
To effectuate the terms of the industry agreement, the Commission 
concludes that it is reasonable to allow AT&T until January 15, 2014 to 
protest the proposed license modifications. To protest the proposed 
modifications, AT&T must, by January 15, 2014 submit a written 
statement with sufficient evidence to show that the modification would 
not be in the public interest. The protest must be filed in the 
Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) under WT Docket No. 12-69 or 
with the Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 
445 Twelfth Street SW., Room TW-A235, Washington, DC 20554; and the 
protesting party must send a copy of the protest via electronic mail to 
Jennifer Salhus of the Spectrum Competition and Policy Division of the 
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau at Jennifer.Salhus@fcc.gov. Once the 
protest period has lapsed, AT&T's right to file a protest expires, and 
the Commission may modify the licenses as noticed.
    72. The Commission delegates to the Wireless Telecommunications 
Bureau the authority to issue a license modification order for AT&T's B 
and C Block licenses, but the Bureau's delegation of authority does not 
extend to any modification of AT&T's B and C Block licenses that is 
materially different from the provisions in paragraphs 67 through 70 
above.
    73. Ex Parte Status. Unless otherwise provided by the Commission or 
its staff pursuant to Sec.  1.1200(a), a license modification 
proceeding under Title III of the Communications Act is treated as a 
restricted proceeding for ex parte purposes under Sec.  1.1208 of the 
Commission's rules. In this case, the license modification proceedings 
are related to the above-captioned rulemaking proceeding, WT Docket No. 
12-69, which is designated as a permit but disclose proceeding under 
the ex parte rules. Due to the interrelated nature of these 
proceedings, the Commission finds that it is in the public interest to 
treat the license modification proceedings as permit but disclose 
proceedings under Sec.  1.1206 of the Commission's rules. Therefore, 
any ex parte presentations that are made with respect to the issues 
involved in the subject license modification proceedings subsequent to 
the release of this Order of Proposed Modification will be permissible 
but must be disclosed in accordance with the requirements of Sec.  
1.1206(b) of the Commission's rules. Persons making ex parte 
presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a 
memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days 
after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the 
Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations 
are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) list 
all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at 
which the ex parte presentation the Commission, was made, and (2) 
summarize all data presented and arguments made during the 
presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the 
presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the presenter's 
written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the 
presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her 
prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant 
page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be 
found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown 
or given to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be 
written ex parte presentations and must be filed consistent with rule 
Sec.  1.1206(b). For administrative convenience only, any filings 
related to this Order of Proposed Modification must be filed in WT 
Docket No. 12-69 and may be filed using the Electronic

[[Page 66313]]

Comment Filing System (ECFS), http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/2d. In 
proceedings governed by rule Sec.  1.49(f) or for which the Commission 
has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte 
presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, 
and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic 
comment filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed 
in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). 
Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the 
Commission's ex parte rules.

V. Procedural Matters

A. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    74. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as 
amended (RFA), an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was 
incorporated in the Interoperability NPRM. The Wireless 
Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) sought written public comment on the 
proposals in the NPRM, including comment on the IRFA. This present 
Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) conforms to the RFA.
    75. The Commission finds that it would serve the public interest to 
analyze the possible significant economic impact of the policy and rule 
changes in the 700 MHz band on small entities. Accordingly, this FRFA 
contains an analysis of this impact in connection with the technical 
rule changes that fall within the scope of the Report and Order.

B. Need for, and Objectives of, the Report and Order

    76. The R&O and Order takes steps to implement an industry solution 
to provide interoperable long term evolution (LTE) service in the Lower 
700 MHz band in an efficient and effective manner to improve choice and 
quality for consumers of mobile services. The public interest benefits 
of the steps taken in the Report and Order will assist consumers and 
the economies in rural areas, as well as for small and regional 
businesses that operate there. Small or regional providers serving 
rural areas drive economic growth in these rural areas, directly, by 
investing in their networks and creating jobs, and indirectly, by 
enabling the growth of other small businesses. But in order to promote 
competition--and enable small business customers of 700 MHz band 
licensees to operate successfully in the 21st century--these licensees 
need to be able to offer service choices, including the potential for 
nationwide coverage through roaming, comparable to those offered by the 
national providers. Interoperability of LTE service in the Lower 700 
MHz band will remove an unnecessary barrier to the successful operation 
of businesses that can drive economic growth, promote competitive 
service, and create jobs in rural America.
    77. To effectuate the industry solution, the Report and Order 
addresses interference concerns that have been raised as possible 
obstacles to interoperability. It finds that, under the current rules, 
there is a significant threat of harmful interference from high power 
transmissions in the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks to Band Class 12 
devices operating on the Lower 700 MHz B and C Blocks that could 
jeopardize the viability of interoperability in the band. The Report 
and Order therefore revises the technical rules applicable to the Lower 
700 MHz D and E Blocks by reducing the maximum permissible power levels 
and antenna heights on these blocks. It also modifies the rules to 
limit all operations in the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks to downlink 
only. The Report and Order also provides that Lower 700 MHz D and E 
Block licensees may operate particular sites at power levels higher 
than permitted under the revised rules under certain specified 
conditions. The Report and Order finds these changes to be in the 
public interest because, without them, the public would not be able to 
realize the substantial benefits of mobile broadband deployment and 
interoperability in the Lower 700 MHz band. The technical changes the 
Report and Order adopts will continue to enable the six megahertz of 
unpaired Lower 700 MHz E Block spectrum to be put to commercial use 
while facilitating effective and efficient use of 36 megahertz of the 
Lower 700 MHz A, B, and C Blocks for mobile broadband services.

C. Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response 
to the IRFA

    78. There were no comments filed that specifically addressed the 
rules and policies proposed in the IRFA.

D. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which 
the Proposed Rules Would Apply

    79. 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 rules adopted herein. 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 Small Business Administration 
(SBA).
    80. Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental 
Jurisdictions. Our action may, over time, affect small entities that 
are not easily categorized at present. The Commission therefore 
describes here, at the outset, three comprehensive, statutory small 
entity size standards that encompass entities that could be directly 
affected by the proposals under consideration. As of 2009, small 
businesses represented 99.9% of the 27.5 million businesses in the 
United States, according to the SBA. Additionally, a small organization 
is generally any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned 
and operated and is not dominant in its field. Nationwide, as of 2007, 
there were approximately 1,621,315 small organizations. Finally, the 
term small governmental jurisdiction is defined generally as 
governments of cities, counties, towns, townships, villages, school 
districts, or special districts, with a population of less than fifty 
thousand. Census Bureau data for 2007 indicate that there were 89,527 
local governmental jurisdictions in the United States. The Commission 
estimates that, of this total, as many as 88,761 entities may qualify 
as small governmental jurisdictions. Thus, the Commission estimates 
that most governmental jurisdictions are small.
    81. Wireless Telecommunications Carrier (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. Under the present and prior categories, the SBA has deemed a 
wireless business to be small if it had 1,500 or fewer employees. For 
this category, census data for 2007 show that there were 11,163 firms 
that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 10,791 firms had

[[Page 66314]]

employment of 999 or fewer employees and 372 had employment of 1,000 
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. Similarly, according to Commission data, 413 carriers 
reported that they were engaged in the provision of wireless telephony, 
including cellular service, Personal Communications Services (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, the Commission estimates that the majority 
of wireless firms can be considered small.
    82. Lower 700 MHz Band Licenses. The Commission previously adopted 
criteria for defining three groups of small businesses for purposes of 
determining their eligibility for special provisions such as bidding 
credits. The Commission defined a small business as an entity that, 
together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average 
gross revenues not exceeding $40 million for the preceding three years. 
A very small business is defined as an entity that, together with its 
affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues that 
are not more than $15 million for the preceding three years. 
Additionally, the Lower 700 MHz Service had a third category of small 
business status for Metropolitan/Rural Service Area (MSA/RSA) 
licenses--entrepreneur--which is defined as an entity that, together 
with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross 
revenues that are not more than $3 million for the preceding three 
years. The SBA approved these small size standards. An auction of 740 
licenses (one license in each of the 734 MSAs/RSAs and one license in 
each of the six Economic Area Groupings (EAGs)) was conducted in 2002. 
Of the 740 licenses available for auction, 484 licenses were won by 102 
winning bidders. Seventy-two of the winning bidders claimed small 
business, very small business or entrepreneur status and won licenses. 
A second auction commenced on May 28, 2003, closed on June 13, 2003, 
and included 256 licenses. Seventeen winning bidders claimed small or 
very small business status, and nine winning bidders claimed 
entrepreneur status. In 2005, the Commission completed an auction of 5 
licenses in the Lower 700 MHz band. All three winning bidders claimed 
small business status.
    83. In 2007, the Commission reexamined its rules governing the 700 
MHz band in the 700 MHz Second Report and Order. An auction of A, B and 
E block 700 MHz licenses was held in 2008. Twenty winning bidders 
claimed small business status (those with attributable average annual 
gross revenues that exceed $15 million and do not exceed $40 million 
for the preceding three years). Thirty three winning bidders claimed 
very small business status (those with attributable average annual 
gross revenues that do not exceed $15 million for the preceding three 
years).
    84. Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications 
Equipment Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this category as an 
industry that comprises establishments primarily engaged in 
manufacturing radio and television broadcast and wireless 
communications equipment. Examples of products made by these 
establishments are: Transmitting and receiving antennas, cable 
television equipment, GPS equipment, pagers, cellular phones, mobile 
communications equipment, and radio and television studio and 
broadcasting equipment. The SBA has developed a small business size 
standard for Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless 
Communications Equipment Manufacturing, which is: All such firms having 
750 or fewer employees. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there 
were a total of 939 establishments in this category that operated for 
part or all of the entire year. Of this total, 912 had fewer than 500 
employees and 27 had more than 500 employees. Thus, under this size 
standard, the majority of firms can be considered small.

E. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements for Small Entities

    85. The Report and Order will not impose any new reporting or 
recordkeeping requirements on small entities. As described in Section A 
of this FRFA, to minimize interference and enable interoperability, the 
Report and Order revises the technical rules applicable to the Lower 
700 MHz D and E Blocks by reducing the maximum permissible power levels 
and antenna heights on these blocks. It also modifies the rules to 
limit all operations in the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks to downlink 
only. The Report and Order also provides that Lower 700 MHz D and E 
Block licensees may operate particular sites at power levels higher 
than permitted under the revised rules under certain specified 
conditions.

F. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small 
Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

    86. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, 
specifically small business alternatives that it has considered in 
developing 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 and 
reporting requirements under the rule for such small entities; (3) the 
use of performance rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption 
from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for such small 
entities.
    87. The changes to the rules will benefit small or regional 
wireless providers serving rural areas by facilitating Lower 700 MHz A 
Block operations because LTE service provided on the A Block would 
otherwise likely be subject to harmful interference from high-power 
operations in the Lower 700 MHz E Block. In particular, mobile devices 
operating near a Lower E Block transmitter but far from their serving 
LTE base stations face a substantial risk of receiving harmful 
interference from E Block transmitters. The potential for this 
interference would exist because of vastly different radio propagation 
characteristics between the high-powered Lower 700 MHz E Block and 
lower powered A Block LTE systems, and such interference would result 
in significant degradation of service to A Block operations in areas 
close to high-powered E Block transmitters. Accordingly, the changes to 
the technical rules will facilitate Lower A Block licensees' ability to 
provision mobile broadband LTE services to consumers in all of the 
paired Lower 700 MHz bands without significant service degradation.
    88. In revising the technical rules for the Lower 700 MHz D and E 
Blocks, the Commission carefully considered the various benefits 
identified in the record, and the costs for Lower 700 MHz D and E Block 
licensees that would be associated with a new rule. The Commission 
considered alternative actions, including maintaining the current 
technical rules, but determined that modifying the power limits and 
antenna height restrictions for the Lower 700 MHz D and E Blocks would

[[Page 66315]]

enable Lower 700 MHz interoperability by resolving concerns about 
interference from high-powered transmissions. The Report and Order 
provides flexibility for licensees by indicating that Lower 700 MHz D 
and E Block licensees may operate particular sites at power levels 
higher than permitted under the revised rules under certain specified 
conditions.
    89. In addition, to minimize the impact of the changes in the 
technical rules, the Report and Order waives the construction 
requirements, extending the construction benchmark deadlines for Lower 
700 MHz A, B, and E Block licensees. The Report and Order concludes 
that waiving the construction requirements will allow licensees to make 
appropriate business decisions regarding build-out and to meet the 
construction benchmark deadlines.
    90. Report to Congress: The Commission will send a copy of the 
Report and Order, including this FRFA, in a report to be sent to 
Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. In addition, the 
Commission will send a copy of the Report and Order, including this 
FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA. A copy of the 
Report and Order and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will also be published 
in the Federal Register.

G. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

    91. This document does not contain new or modified information 
collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(PRA), Public Law 104-13. In addition, therefore, it does not contain 
any new information collection burden for small business concerns with 
fewer than 25 employees, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork 
Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).

VI. Ordering Clauses

    92. It is ordered that pursuant to sections 1, 2, 4(i), 4(j), 301, 
302(a), 303(b), 303(e), 303(f), 303(g), 303(r), 304, 307(a), 309(j)(3), 
and 316(a)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 
151, 152, 154(i), 154(j), 301, 302a(a), 303(b), 303(e), 303(f), 303(g), 
303(r), 304, 307(a), 309(j)(3), and 316(a)(1), and Sec. Sec.  1.87 and 
1.401 et seq. of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.87, 1.401 et seq., 
the R&O and Order is adopted.
    93. It is further proposed, pursuant to sections 4(i) and 316(a) of 
the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 316, and 
Sec.  1.87 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.87, that AT&T's 700 MHz 
B and C Blocks licenses be modified consistent with Section IV (Order 
of Proposed Modification) of the R&O and Order. Pursuant to section 
316(a)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 
316(a)(1), and Sec.  1.87(a) of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.87(a), 
receipt of the R&O and Order by certified mail, return receipt 
requested, shall constitute notification in writing of our Order of 
Proposed Modification that proposes to modify AT&T's Lower 700 MHz B 
and C Block licenses and of the grounds and reasons therefor, and AT&T 
shall have until January 15, 2014 to protest such Order of Proposed 
Modification. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is delegated 
authority to issue an order of modification if no protests are filed.
    94. It is further ordered that the Wireless Telecommunications 
Bureau shall send the R&O and Order by certified mail, return receipt 
requested to AT&T.
    95. It is further ordered that the license modification proceeding 
commenced by the Order of Proposed Modification shall be treated as a 
permit-but-disclose proceeding under the Commission's ex parte rules, 
47 CFR 1.1200 et seq.
    96. It is further ordered that pursuant to section 4(i) of the 
Communications Act, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), and Sec. Sec.  1.3, 
1.925, and 27.14(g) of Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.3, 1.925, and 
27.14(g), the Commission grants a limited waiver of Sec.  24.14(g) and 
extends the interim construction benchmark deadline until December 13, 
2016, for all active Lower 700 MHz band A and B Block licensees. 
Accordingly, the pending requests for extension and waiver of Sec.  
27.14(g) of the Commission's rules filed by Lower 700 MHz A and B Block 
are granted to the extent described herein and are otherwise denied.
    97. It is further ordered that pursuant to section 4(i) of the 
Communications Act, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), and Sec. Sec.  1.3, 
1.925, and 27.14(g) of Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.3, 1.925, and 
27.14(g), the Commission waives, on its motion, the interim 
construction benchmark deadline in Sec.  27.14(g) of the Commission's 
rules for each active Lower 700 MHz A Block licensee where a 108 km 
radius around a Channel 51 transmitter overlaps at least a portion of 
the license's market area (overlap) and either: (1) 30 percent or more 
of the geographic license area is within that overlap; or (2) less than 
30 percent of the geographic license area is within that overlap but 
more than two-thirds of the population is within that overlap.
    98. It is further ordered that pursuant to section 4(i) of the 
Communications Act, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), and Sec. Sec.  1.3, 
1.925, and 27.14(l) of Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.3, 1.925, and 
27.14(l), the Commission grants, on its own motion, a waiver of the 
requirement in Sec.  24.14(l) for all active Lower 700 MHz band A and B 
Block licensees subject to the extended interim construction benchmark 
deadline to file a second status report regarding the licensees' 
efforts to meet the performance requirements applicable to their 
spectrum authorizations, except that Lower 700 MHz band A block 
licensees subject to a waiver of the interim construction benchmark 
deadline because of Channel 51 interference protection requirements 
shall remain subject to the Sec.  27.14(l) requirement to file a second 
status report no later than June 13, 2016.
    99. It is further ordered that pursuant to section 4(i) of the 
Communications Act, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), and Sec. Sec.  1.3, 
1.925, and 27.14(g) of Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.3, 1.925, and 
27.14(g), the Commission grants a limited waiver of Sec.  24.14(g) to 
extend the interim construction benchmark deadline until March 7, 2017, 
for all active Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees and, on its motion, 
extend the end-of-term construction benchmark deadline until March 7, 
2021, for all active Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees. Accordingly, 
the pending requests for extension and waiver of Sec.  27.14(g) of the 
Commission's rules filed by Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees are 
granted to the extent described herein and are otherwise denied.
    100. It is further ordered that pursuant to section 4(i) of the 
Communications Act, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), and Sec. Sec.  1.3, 
1.925, and 27.13(b) of Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.3, 1.925, and 
27.13(b), the Commission grants, on its own motion, a waiver of Sec.  
24.13(b) and waive the ten year license period and extend the license 
term until March 7, 2021, for all active Lower 700 MHz E Block 
licensees.
    101. It is further ordered that pursuant to section 4(i) of the 
Communications Act, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), and Sec. Sec.  1.3, 
1.925, and 27.14(g) of Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.3, 1.925, and 
27.14(g), the Commission grants, on its own motion, a limited waiver of 
Sec.  24.14(g) to allow all active Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees 
to meet their interim construction benchmark deadline by providing 
signal coverage and offering service to at least 40 percent of its 
total E Block population (where a licensee's total E Block population 
shall by calculated by summing the population of each its license areas 
in the E Block), and to meet their end-of-term construction

[[Page 66316]]

benchmark by providing signal coverage to at least 70 percent of the 
population in each of its license areas, as an alternative to meeting 
geographic-based performance requirements.
    102. It is further ordered that pursuant to section 4(i) of the 
Communications Act, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), and Sec. Sec.  1.3, 
1.925, and 27.14(g) of Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.3, 1.925, and 
27.14(g), the Commission grants, on its own motion, a limited waiver of 
Sec.  24.14(g) so that all active Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees 
that fail to meet the interim construction benchmark deadline will have 
the term of that license authorization reduced by one year.
    103. It is further ordered that pursuant to section 4(i) of the 
Communications Act, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), and Sec. Sec.  1.3, 
1.925, and 27.14(l) of Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.3, 1.925, and 
27.14(l), the Commission grants, on its own motion, a limited waiver of 
the filing requirement in Sec.  27.14(l), to extend the deadline until 
March 7, 2019, for all active Lower 700 MHz band E Block licensees to 
file a second status report regarding the licensees' efforts to meet 
the performance requirements applicable to their spectrum 
authorizations.
    104. It is further ordered that part 27 of the Commission's rules 
is amended as set forth, effective December 5, 2013, except as 
otherwise provided herein.
    105. It is further ordered that the Final Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis hereto IS ADOPTED.
    106. It is further ordered that the Commission SHALL SEND a copy of 
the Report and Order to Congress and the Government Accountability 
Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 
801(a)(1)(A).
    107. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer & 
Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a 
copy of the Report and Order, including the Final Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small 
Business Administration.

List of Subjects in 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 part 27 as follows:

PART 27--MISCELLANEOUS WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

0
1. The authority citation for part 27 continues 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
2. Section 27.2 is amended by adding paragraph (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  27.2  Permissible communications.

* * * * *
    (e) 716-722 MHz and 722-728 MHz bands. The 716-722 and 722-728 MHz 
frequencies may not be used for uplink transmission and must be used 
only for downlink transmissions.

0
3. Section 27.50 is amended by revising paragraph (c)(7) and adding 
paragraphs (c)(12) and (13) to read as follows:


Sec.  27.50  Power limits and duty cycle.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (7) A licensee authorized to operate in the 710-716 or 740-746 MHz 
bands may operate a fixed or base station at an ERP up to a total of 50 
kW within its authorized, 6 megahertz spectrum block if the licensee 
complies with the provisions of Sec.  27.55(b). The antenna height for 
such stations is limited only to the extent required to satisfy the 
requirements of Sec.  27.55(b).
* * * * *
    (12) A licensee authorized to operate in the 716-722 or 722-728 MHz 
bands may operate a fixed or base station at an ERP up to a total of 50 
kW within its authorized, 6 megahertz spectrum block if the licensee 
complies with the provisions of Sec.  27.55(b), obtains written 
concurrences from all affected licensees in the 698-746 MHz bands 
within 120 km of the proposed high power site, and files a copy of each 
written concurrences with the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau on FCC 
Form 601. The antenna height for such stations is limited only to the 
extent required to satisfy the requirements of Sec.  27.55(b).
    (13) Licensees authorized to operate in the 716-722 or 722-728 MHz 
bands must coordinate with licensees with uplink operations in the 698-
716 MHz band to mitigate the potential for harmful interference. 
Licensees authorized to operate in the 716-722 or 722-728 MHz bands 
must mitigate harmful interference to licensees' uplink operations in 
the 698-716 MHz band within 30 days after receiving written notice from 
the affected licensees. A licensee authorized to operate in the 716-722 
or 722-728 MHz bands must ensure that 716-728 MHz band transmissions 
are filtered at least to the extent that the 716-728 MHz band 
transmissions are filtered in markets where the 716-728 MHz band 
licensee holds any license in the 698-716 band, as applicable. For 
purposes of coordination and mitigations measures in paragraphs (i) and 
(iii) below, network will be deemed ``deployed'' as of the date upon 
which the network is able to support a commercial mobile or data 
service. The coordination and mitigation measures should include, but 
are not limited to, the following:
    (i) If a licensee operating in the 698-716 and 728-746 MHz band 
deploys a network after the 716-722 or 722-728 MHz bands licensee 
deploys a network on its 716-722 or 722-728 MHz spectrum in the same 
geographic market, the 716-722 or 722-728 MHz bands licensee will work 
with the licensee with uplink operations in the 698-716 MHz band to 
identify sites that will require additional filtering, and will help 
the licensee operating in the 698-716 and 728-746 MHz bands to identify 
proper filters;
    (ii) The 716-722 or 722-728 MHz bands licensee must permit 
licensees operating in the 698-716 and 728-746 MHz bands to collocate 
on the towers it owns at prevailing market rates; and
    (iii) If a 698-716 and 728-746 MHz bands licensee deploys a network 
before a licensee in the 716-722 or 722-728 MHz bands deploys a network 
in the same geographic market, the 716-722 or 722-728 MHz bands 
licensee will work with licensees in the 698-716 and 728-746 MHz bands 
to identify sites that will need additional filtering and will purchase 
and pay for installation of required filters on such sites.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2013-26484 Filed 11-4-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P