FCC Suspends Expiration Date for 2 GHz Mandatory Negotiation Period

The FCC released an Order Tuesday suspending, until Nov. 13, 2003, the expiration date for the initial two-year mandatory negotiation period of Phase 1 of the 2 GHz band relocation.

As reported earlier in RF Report, portions of the 2 GHz Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) band have been reallocated to the Mobile-Satellite-Service (MSS). The FCC reallocation plan "requires MSS entrants to provide comparable facilities to BAS incumbents that are relocated prior to specified sunset dates." Earlier this year, the FCC reallocated part of the MSS spectrum to new fixed and mobile services, including Advanced Wireless Services (AWS), determining that it was in the public interest to continue the mandatory negotiation period "until the Commission addressed the outstanding relocation issues" and extended the deadline until Nov. 4, 2003.

The FCC Order released last Tuesday said, "As of today, the Commission is still considering what modifications to the BAS relocation procedures may be necessary in light of the developments in the band, including the adoption of the AWS Third R&O and the ATC Report and Order. Accordingly, we find that it continues to serve the public interest to extend the mandatory negotiating period until the Commission addresses outstanding relocation issues in the band, and that the interests addressed in the Suspension Order and the Suspension Extension Order continue to apply. We therefore suspend effective immediately upon release of this order, expiration of the initial Phase 1, two-year mandatory BAS negotiation period for 9 days, until Nov. 13, 2003. We retain the option to shorten or lengthen this suspension as circumstances warrant. We also emphasize that the action taken herein is interim in nature and does not prejudice further action in other proceedings. For the duration of this suspension, all other aspects of the initial mandatory BAS negotiation period will continue in force and, as a consequence, BAS incumbents will not be subject to involuntary relocation by MSS licensees. For the duration of the suspension, we likewise require MSS and BAS licensees to comply with all negotiation requirements and procedures adopted in the Second Report and Order that are applicable to the initial BAS mandatory negotiation period."

The FCC has an Open Meeting scheduled for Nov. 13, but no items related to the BAS relocation were listed on the agenda.