Commission seeks comments for wireless licenses in the 700MHz band

The FCC last week said it will seek comment on possible changes to the rules governing wireless licenses in the 698MHz-746MHz, 747MHz-762MHz, and 777MHz-792MHz spectrum bands.

These portions of the 698MHz-806MHz band, which is commonly referred to as the “700MHz band,” have been allocated for commercial wireless services and do not include the 700 MHz guard bands nor the portions of the 700 MHz band that have been allocated for public safety services.

Under the Digital Television and Public Safety Act of 2005 (DTV Act), which was signed into law earlier this year, the FCC is required to commence an auction of previously unauctioned spectrum in this band no later than January 28, 2008.

In response to the changes made by the DTV Act affecting the 700MHz band, and because more than four years have passed since the commission previously established band plans and service rules for this spectrum, the FCC said it has decided to revisit some of its earlier decisions regarding the service rules for licenses in this band.

The commission said it seeks comment on the possibility of modifying the size of the geographic service areas and spectrum blocks, and on revising the performance requirements, for the portions of the 700MHz band that have not yet been auctioned. It is also seeking comment on several issues related to both auctioned and unauctioned spectrum, including modifying the rules related to license renewal, license terms and power limits.

“With the grand-daddy of all auctions coming at us in 700MHz in less than two years, I am encouraged that we begin today the process of developing service rules for it,” said FCC commissioner Michael Copps on the action. “Getting this one absolutely right is absolutely necessary if we are going to reap the full measure of benefit from this beach-front property spectrum.”