FCC Plans for Advanced Wireless Services Spectrum Auctions in 2006

The FCC approved a Declaratory Ruling and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on June 9 that starts the process of changing its rules to implements the Commercial Spectrum Act (CSEA) that was signed into law late last year. CSEA requires establishment of a "Spectrum Relocation Fund" to reimburse federal agencies for costs incurred in moving off spectrum reallocated for non-federal use. Under CSEA, auctions for this reallocated spectrum may not conclude if receipts from the auction (total cash proceeds) are less than 110 percent of the total estimated relocation costs of the federal users.

The spectrum covered by CSEA includes 216-220 MHz, 1432-1435 MHz, 1710-1755 MHz, and 2385-2390 MHz as well as other spectrum that may be reallocated for non-federal use. Most of the proposed changes to the rules are to ensure sufficient funds are collected to meet the CSEA requirement. However, one of the proposed modifications listed in the FCC news release announcing the FCC action is, "Changing the payment rules and procedures for broadcast construction permits won at auction to conform to those for non-broadcast licenses."

The 1710-1755 MHz band accounts for half the spectrum the Commission plans to auction as early as June 2006 for Advanced Wireless Services, according to the news release.