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FCC announces H Block spectrum auction

The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Sept. 13, 2013, announced the procedures to be used for the auction of H Block licenses in the 1915MHz-to-1920MHz and 1995MHz-to-2000MHz bands.

The auction, designated Auction 96 by the FCC, is scheduled for Jan. 14, 2014. One license will be awarded for each Economic Area (EA) in the United States, according to the FCC auction notice.

Licensed spectrum for each EA will be awarded in a pair of 5MHz blocks, a total of 10MHz each. Five megahertz will be awarded from the lower H Block (1915MHz to 1920MHz) for mobile and lower-powered fixed-station use, and 5MHz from the upper H Block (1995MHz-to-2000MHz) will be assigned for fixed, downlink use.

The auction puts in place formulas to share the costs of relocating incumbent spectrum users on a prorated basis. The cost-sharing will reimburse UTAM for clearing lower H Block spectrum and Sprint Nextel for clearing the upper H Block. In particular, the Sprint Nextel reimbursement relates to relocating Broadcast Auxiliary Service licensees from spectrum used for analog ENG transmission between 1990MHz and 2110MHz to new digital channels between 2025MHz and 2110MHz.

The 57-page notice announcing the H-Block auction lays out detailed rules, application requirements, auction procedures, and in-depth instructions on the auction, including its structure, bidding procedures and what procedures will be followed following the auction.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (the Spectrum Act) requires the FCC to allocate spectrum in the H Block through competitive bidding no later than Feb. 23, 2015.