C-Band Auction 107 Short-Form Application Window Now Open – Applications to Participate Due September 22

C-Band Auction 107 Short-Form Application Window Now Open – Applications to Participate Due September 22

Reminder: Applications to participate in Auction 107 for the 3.7 to 3.98 GHz band must be filed by September 22. Please see below for more details.

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) has released a Public Notice announcing the dates, and application and bidding procedures for Auction 107, the C-band auction, which is scheduled to begin on December 8, 2020.[1] This auction will offer 5,684 flexible-use overlay licenses for spectrum in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band. Existing earth station satellite licensees operating in the band eventually will be relocated. The Short-Form Application (“Form 175”) filing window will open on September 9, 2020 at 12 p.m. ET and will close on September 22, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.
ET. Upfront payments will be due on November 2, 2020 by 6:00 p.m. ET and the actual bidding is set to begin on December 8, 2020. Below is a brief summary of the licenses available and the auction procedures.

The FCC will auction and license the 280 megahertz of C-Band spectrum in 20- megahertz sub-blocks by partial economic area (“PEA”). Similar to the 600 MHz band auction, the auction will use an ascending clock with two phases. Phase I, the clock phase, will be successive clock bidding rounds. A bidder will indicate its demand for generic license blocks in PEAs. Phase II will be an assignment phase in which winning clock bidders from Phase I can bid on combinations of frequency-specific license assignments.

Bidding credits will be available to eligible small businesses and rural service providers as follows:
“Small Business” (a business with attributed average annual gross revenues that
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do not exceed $55M for the preceding 5 years) will be eligible to receive a 15% discount on its winning bids.
“Very Small Business” (a business with attributed average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $20M for the preceding 5 years) will be eligible to receive a 25% discount on its winning bids.
“Rural Service Provider” (an existing communications provider that has fewer than 250,000 attributed subscribers and that serves predominately rural areas) will be eligible to receive a 15% discount on its winning bids.
The Public Notice establishes bidding credit caps of $10 million for rural service providers and $25 million for small businesses. There is also a $10 million overall cap on small businesses who win licenses in smaller markets.

The C-Band is adjacent to the Citizens Broadband Radio Service General Authorized Access blocks, and is expected to draw significant interest from large mobile carriers looking to expand 5G offerings. This auction caps a contentious and complicated proceeding in which the FCC tried to balance the rights of satellite incumbents with much-needed demand for mid-band spectrum.

If you have any questions, or would like assistance with this process, please contact Dee Herman at dee@hermanwhiteaker.com, Greg Whiteaker at greg@hermanwhiteaker.com, Clare Andonov at candonov@hermanwhiteaker.com or Hilary Rosenthal at hrosenthal@hermanwhiteaker.com.