FCC Seeks Comments on Mobile Spectrum Policy

Mobile spectrum holdings notice of proposed rulemaking linked to spectrum auction plan
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The U.S. government is seeking comment on whether to retain or modify the current case-by-case analysis used to evaluate mobile spectrum holdings in the context of transactions and auctions.
On Oct. 9, 2012 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) posted a Federal Register notice—Policies Regarding Mobile Spectrum Holdings—that is a summary of regulations proposed by the FCC concerning mobile spectrum holdings that have been codified in a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that the Commission adopted and issued Sept. 28, 2012.
In the Oct. 9 notice the FCC is seeking comments on updating the spectrum bands that should be included in any evaluation of mobile spectrum holdings and whether to make distinctions between different bands. It also seeks comment on what are the appropriate product and geographic markets and other implementation issues such as attribution rules, remedies and possible transition issues.
With the NPRM, the FCC initiates a review of its policies governing mobile spectrum holdings in order to ensure that they fulfill its statutory objectives given changes in technology, spectrum availability and the marketplace since the Commission's last comprehensive review more than a decade ago. During the last few years, large, medium and small providers, as well as public interest groups, have raised concerns about the current approach and sought review, the notice says.
Since the FCC’s last comprehensive review of those issues, the number of spectrum bands used for mobile wireless services have expanded, and new, innovative service offerings have been rolled out, the notice says. In addition, increasingly sophisticated devices have been introduced into the marketplace and consumers have adopted those devices to access a wide array of bandwidth-intensive applications, the FCC says.
“In light of the surge in consumer demand for mobile broadband services that require greater bandwidth, spectrum—a key input in the provision of mobile wireless services—is becoming increasingly critical for all providers,” the notice says. “In this proceeding, the Commission seeks comment on retaining or modifying the current case-by-case analysis used to evaluate mobile spectrum holdings in the context of transactions and auctions, as well as on bright-line limits advocated by some providers and public interest groups,” it says.
The FCC also “seeks comment on updating the spectrum bands that should be included in any evaluation of mobile spectrum holdings and whether it should make distinctions between different bands.” The Commission is also taking “a fresh look at geographic market analysis and other implementation issues such as attribution rules, remedies and possible transition issues,” the notice says.
The deadline for general comments is Nov. 23, 2012, and for reply comments is Dec. 24, 2012.
Click here to access the Federal Register notice.

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