FCC to Consider C-Band Reform and Auction Procedures at February Meeting

(GN Docket No. 18-122; AU Docket No. 20-25)


The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) circulated two draft documents detailing its plans to make a portion of the 3.7-4.2 GHz band (the “C-band”) available for next generation wireless uses through a public auction (“Auction 107”).  In a draft Report and Order and Proposed Order of Modification (“Draft Order), the Commission outlines how it will clear the lower portion of the band (3.7 to 4.0 GHz) and relocate all of the current operations into the upper 200 MHz of the band (4.0 to 4.2 GHz) in order to make C-Band spectrum available for Auction 107. Reserving 20 MHz to serve as a guard band, the Commission will auction overlay licenses in the remaining 280 MHz of the band (3.7 to 3.98 GHz).  The Draft Order also requires the winning bidders of Auction 107 to reimburse the incumbent satellite operators for reasonable relocation costs.

Additionally, the Commission released a draft Public Notice (“Draft Public Notice”) seeking comment on proposed application and bidding procedures for Auction 107.  In the Draft Public Notice, the Commission proposes to use an ascending clock auction design with a subsequent assignment phase.  The Commission proposes to offer fourteen 20 MHz blocks on a Partial Economic Area basis throughout the contiguous United States.  Consistent with Auctions 101, 102, and 103, bidding credits are proposed for eligible small businesses and rural service providers with the same caps proposed on the total amount of bidding credits.  Bidding in Auction 107 is expected to begin on December 8, 2020.

Please note that the Draft Order and the Draft Public Notice have not been adopted yet. The Commission will consider the items at the February Open Commission Meeting, which is scheduled to take place on February 28, 2020 at 10:30 AM, ET. The Draft Order can be found here and the Draft Public Notice can be found here.  If you have any questions or if you are interested in this proceeding, please contact Dee Herman at [email protected] or Molly O’Conor at [email protected]. We will continue to monitor the proceeding and provide updates upon adoption of the items.