FCC lays out rules for C-band auction
WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission today established final application and bidding procedures for the auction of 280 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for 5G and other advanced wireless services. This auction will offer 5,684 new flexible-use overlay licenses based on Partial Economic Areas (PEAs) for spectrum in the 3.7–3.98 GHz band. This spectrum holds the potential to be prime spectrum for 5G services, and the procedures adopted today will ensure the assignment to auction winners of contiguous spectrum blocks allowing wide channel bandwidths that support 5G deployment.
In February, the Commission adopted rules for the C-band (3.7-4.2 GHz), which allocated the lower 280 megahertz (3.7-3.98 GHz band) for flexible terrestrial wireless services (with a 20-megahertz guard band (3.98-4.0 GHz)) and required existing satellite operators to repack their operations from the band's entire 500 megahertz into the upper 200 megahertz (4.0-4.2 GHz). Bidding in the auction, which is designated as Auction 107, will begin on December 8, 2020.
The Public Notice approved by the FCC today details the procedures governing participation in Auction 107. Specifically, the Public Notice establishes:
- Bidding procedures for the clock and assignment phases of the auction, including two clock phase categories of generic blocks in the 46 PEAs where certain blocks are subject to the first early clearing deadline of December 2021.
- An assignment phase in which winning bidders for blocks subject to the first early clearing timeline will be assigned both interim and final contiguous frequency-specific license assignments.
- Upfront payment and minimum opening bid amounts for bidding on the licenses as well as bidding credit caps for rural service providers and small businesses, including a cap on the overall amount of bidding credits a small business bidder may apply to winning licenses in smaller markets.
The action taken today is the latest important step toward implementing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's 5G FAST plan for deploying 5G wireless and other advanced spectrum-based services across the country and boosting economic growth, job creation, and America's global competitiveness.