[107th Congress Public Law 195]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]

[DOCID: f:publ195.107]

[[Page 116 STAT. 715]]

Public Law 107-195
107th Congress

                                 An Act

To eliminate the deadlines for spectrum auctions of spectrum previously 
  allocated to television broadcasting. <<NOTE: June 19, 2002 -  [H.R. 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
the <<NOTE: Auction Reform Act of 2002.>>  United States of America in 
Congress assembled,

SECTION <<NOTE: 47 USC 609 note.>>  1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Auction Reform Act of 2002''.

SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 47 USC 309 note.>>  FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Circumstances in the telecommunications market have 
        changed dramatically since the auctioning of spectrum in the 700 
        megahertz band was originally mandated by Congress in 1997, 
        raising serious questions as to whether the original deadlines, 
        or the subsequent revision of the deadlines, are consistent with 
        sound telecommunications policy and spectrum management 
            (2) No comprehensive plan yet exists for allocating 
        additional spectrum for third-generation wireless and other 
        advanced communications services. The Federal Communications 
        Commission should have the flexibility to auction frequencies in 
        the 700 megahertz band for such purposes.
            (3) The study being conducted by the National 
        Telecommunications and Information Administration in 
        consultation with the Department of Defense to determine whether 
        the Department of Defense can share or relinquish additional 
        spectrum for third generation wireless and other advanced 
        communications services will not be completed until after the 
        June 19th auction date for the upper 700 megahertz band, and 
        long after the applications must be filed to participate in the 
        auction, thereby creating further uncertainty as to whether the 
        frequencies in the 700 megahertz band will be put to their 
        highest and best use for the benefit of consumers.
            (4) The Federal Communications Commission is also in the 
        process of determining how to resolve the interference problems 
        that exist in the 800 megahertz band, especially for public 
        safety. One option being considered for the 800 megahertz band 
        would involve the 700 megahertz band. The Commission should not 
        hold the 700 megahertz auction before the 800 megahertz 
        interference issues are resolved or a tenable plan has been 
            (5) The 700 megahertz band is currently occupied by 
        television broadcasters, and will be so until the transfer to 
        digital television is completed. This situation creates a 

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        amount of uncertainty concerning when the spectrum will be 
        available and reduces the value placed on the spectrum by 
        potential bidders. The encumbrance of the 700 megahertz band 
        reduces both the amount of money that the auction would be 
        likely to produce and the probability that the spectrum would be 
        purchased by the entities that valued the spectrum the most and 
        would put the spectrum to its most productive use.
            (6) The Commission's rules governing voluntary mechanisms 
        for vacating the 700 megahertz band by broadcast stations--
                    (A) produced no certainty that the band would be 
                available for advanced mobile communications services, 
                public safety operations, or other wireless services any 
                earlier than the existing statutory framework provides; 
                    (B) should advance the transition of digital 
                television and must not result in the unjust enrichment 
                of any incumbent licensee.


    (a) FCC To Determine Timing of Auctions.--Section 309(j) of the 
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j)) is amended by adding at 
the end the following new paragraph:
            ``(15) Commission to determine timing of auctions.--
                    ``(A) Commission authority.--Subject to the 
                provisions of this subsection (including paragraph 
                (11)), but notwithstanding any other provision of law, 
                the Commission shall determine the timing of and 
                deadlines for the conduct of competitive bidding under 
                this subsection, including the timing of and deadlines 
                for qualifying for bidding; conducting auctions; 
                collecting, depositing, and reporting revenues; and 
                completing licensing processes and assigning licenses.
                    ``(B) Termination of portions of auctions 31 and 
                44.--Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the 
                Commission shall not commence or conduct auctions 31 and 
                44 on June 19, 2002, as specified in the public notices 
                of March 19, 2002, and March 20, 2002 (DA 02-659 and DA 
                    ``(C) Exception.--
                          ``(i) Blocks excepted.--Subparagraph (B) shall 
                      not apply to the auction of--
                                    ``(I) the C-block of licenses on the 
                                bands of frequencies located at 710-716 
                                megahertz, and 740-746 megahertz; or
                                    ``(II) the D-block of licenses on 
                                the bands of frequencies located at 716-
                                722 megahertz.
                          ``(ii) Eligible bidders.--The entities that 
                      shall be eligible to bid in the auction of the C-
                      block and D-block licenses described in clause (i) 
                      shall be those entities that were qualified 
                      entities, and that submitted applications to 
                      participate in auction 44, by May 8, 2002, as part 
                      of the original auction 44 short form filing 
                          ``(iii) Auction deadlines for excepted 
                      blocks.--Notwithstanding subparagraph (B), the 
                      auction of the

[[Page 116 STAT. 717]]

                      C-block and D-block licenses described in clause 
                      (i) shall be commenced no earlier than August 19, 
                      2002, and no later than September 19, 2002, and 
                      the proceeds of such auction shall be deposited in 
                      accordance with paragraph (8) not later than 
                      December 31, 2002.
                          ``(iv) Report.--Within one year after the date 
                      of enactment of this paragraph, the Commission 
                      shall submit a report to Congress--
                                    ``(I) specifying when the Commission 
                                intends to reschedule auctions 31 and 44 
                                (other than the blocks excepted by 
                                clause (i)); and
                                    ``(II) describing the progress made 
                                by the Commission in the digital 
                                television transition and in the 
                                assignment and allocation of additional 
                                spectrum for advanced mobile 
                                communications services that warrants 
                                the scheduling of such auctions.
                    ``(D) Return of payments.--Within one month after 
                the date of enactment of this paragraph, the Commission 
                shall return to the bidders for licenses in the A-block, 
                B-block, and E-block of auction 44 the full amount of 
                all upfront payments made by such bidders for such 

    (b) Conforming Amendments.--
            (1) Communications act of 1934.--Section 309(j)(14)(C)(ii) 
        of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j)(14)(C)(ii)) 
        is amended by striking the second sentence.
            (2) Balanced budget act of 1997.--Section 3007 of the 
        Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (111 Stat. 269) <<NOTE: 47 USC 309 
        note.>>  is repealed.
            (3) Consolidated appropriations act.--Paragraphs (2) and (3) 
        of section 213(a) of H.R. 3425 of the 106th Congress, as enacted 
        into law by section 1000(a)(5) of An Act making consolidated 
        appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2000, 
        and for other purposes (Public Law 106-113; 113 Stat. 1501A-
        295), <<NOTE: 47 USC 337 note.>>  are repealed.


    The Federal Communications Commission shall conduct rescheduled 
auctions 31 and 44 prior to the expiration of the auction authority 
under section 309(j)(11) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 


    Nothing in this Act shall be construed to relieve television 
broadcast station licensees of the obligation to complete the digital 
television service conversion as required by section 309(j)(14) of the 
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j)(14)).


    (a) Interference Waivers.--In granting a request by a television 
broadcast station licensee assigned to any of channels 52-69 to utilize 
any channel of channels 2-51 that is assigned for digital broadcasting 
in order to continue analog broadcasting during the transition to 
digital broadcasting, the Federal Communications Commission may not, 
either at the time of the grant or thereafter, waive or otherwise 
            (1) the spacing requirements provided for analog 
        broadcasting licensees within channels 2-51 as required by 
        section 73.610 of the Commission's rules (and the table 
        contained therein) (47 CFR 73.610), or

[[Page 116 STAT. 718]]

            (2) the interference standards provided for digital 
        broadcasting licensees within channels 2-51 as required by 
        sections 73.622 and 73.623 of such rules (47 CFR 73.622, 

if such waiver or reduction will result in any degradation in or loss of 
service, or an increased level of interference, to any television 
household except as the Commission's rules would otherwise expressly 
permit, exclusive of any waivers previously granted.
    (b) Exception for Public Safety Channel Clearing.--The restrictions 
in subsection (a) shall not apply to a station licensee that is seeking 
authority (either by waiver or otherwise) to vacate the frequencies that 
constitute television channel 63, 64, 68, or 69 in order to make such 
frequencies available for public safety purposes pursuant to the 
provisions of section 337 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 

    Approved June 19, 2002.


HOUSE REPORTS: No. 107-443 (Comm. on Energy and Commerce).
            May 7, considered and passed House.
            June 18, considered and passed Senate, amended. House 
                concurred in Senate amendment.