Last Friday the FCC issued a Public Notice auctioning 78 licenses within the 2496-2690 MHz band. This spectrum includes broadcast auxiliary channel A10, which is used by many established broadcasters under grandfathered licenses. These broadcasters will be protected, but need to take care that they do not let their licenses lapse.
The Public Notice states, "Any licenses granted pursuant to this auction will not include the geographic service areas of any overlapping, co channel incumbent licenses. If an incumbent license cancels or is forfeited, however, the right to operate within that area shall revert to the overlay licensee that holds the license for the BRS service area that encompasses that BTA. BRS incumbent licenses are entitled to interference protection in accordance with the applicable technical rules."
Auction winners will also have to protect grandfathered Educational Broadband Service (EBS) licensees and share the 2496-2500 MHz on a co-primary basis with CDMA Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) operations.
The licenses being offered are in small to medium sized "Basic Trading Areas" (BTAs). Many of the licenses are being reauctioned as result of default, cancellation, or termination of previous licenses. Underlying pre-existing incumbent BRS licenses within these geographic areas remain intact.
More information, including a list of licenses to be auctioned is available through links at the FCC's Auction 86 – Broadband Radio Service web site.
Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.
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