[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 169 (Friday, September 1, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 41530-41549]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-18501]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Parts 1, 22, 24, 27, 30, 74, 80, 90, 95, and 101

[WT Docket No. 10-112; FCC 17-105]


Uniform License Renewal, Discontinuance of Operation, and 
Geographic Partitioning and Spectrum Disaggregation Rules and Policies 
for Certain Wireless Radio Services

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission adopts 
rules to streamline and harmonize the Commission's license renewal and 
service continuity rules for the Wireless Radio Services (WRS). This 
unified regulatory framework includes: establishing a consistent 
standard for renewing wireless licenses; setting forth safe harbors 
providing expedited renewal for licensees that meet their initial term 
construction requirement and generally remain operating at or above 
that level; adopting consistent

[[Page 41531]]

service continuity rules, which provide for automatic termination of 
any license on which a licensee permanently discontinues service or 
operation; eliminating unnecessary, legacy ``comparative renewal 
rules''; and requiring that when portions of geographic licenses are 
sold, both parties to the transaction have a clear construction 
obligation and penalty in the event of failure, closing a loophole used 
to avoid the Commission's construction requirements. This action will 
enhance competition and facilitate robust use of the nation's scarce 
spectrum resources.

DATES: Effective October 2, 2017, except for the amendments to 
Sec. Sec.  1.949, 1.950, and 1.953, which contain information 
collection requirements that require approval by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), 
and which the Commission will announce by publishing a document in the 
Federal Register. The amendments to paragraphs (e), (q)(7), (r)(6), 
(s)(6), and (t)(6) of Sec.  27.14 will become effective after OMB 
review and approval of Sec.  1.949, which the Commission will announce 
by publishing a document in the Federal Register; and the amendments to 
Sec. Sec.  22.317, 22.947, 27.17, 30.106, 74.632, 90.157, 90.631, and 
101.65 will become effective after OMB review and approval of Sec.  
1.953, and which the Commission will announce by publishing a document 
in the Federal Register.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joyce Jones at joyce.jones@fcc.gov, of 
the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Mobility Division, (202) 418-
1327. For additional information concerning the PRA information 
collection requirements contained in this document, contact Cathy 
Williams at (202) 418-2918 or send an email to PRA@fcc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Second 
Report and Order (Order) in WT Docket No. 10-112, FCC 17-105, released 
on August 3, 2017. The complete text of the Order, including all 
Appendices, is available for inspection and copying during normal 
business hours in the FCC Reference Center, 445 12th Street SW., Room 
CY-A157, Washington, DC 20554, or by downloading the text from the 
Commission's Web site at https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-17-105A1.pdf.
    Alternative formats are available for people with disabilities 
(Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), by sending an 
email to FCC504@fcc.gov or calling the Consumer and Government Affairs 
Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).
    The Commission will send a copy of the Order in a report to be sent 
to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the 
Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

I. Second Report and Order

A. Renewal Requirements for Wireless Radio Services

    1. Commission licensing records reflect that, over the next 10 
years, the Commission can expect more than 50,000 renewal applications 
to be filed by geographic-area licensees and more than 625,000 by site-
based licensees. By its Order, the Commission implements standardized 
renewal requirements and expeditious renewal procedures, while 
continuing to ensure that licenses are renewed in the public interest 
as required by the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act). The 
Commission finds that adoption of uniform renewal rules will promote 
the efficient use of spectrum resources, serve the public interest by 
providing licensees certainty regarding their license renewal 
requirements, encourage licensees to invest in new facilities and 
services, and facilitate their business and network planning.
    2. The Commission's current renewal requirements vary widely. Some 
service rules include comprehensive filing and processing procedures, 
while others contain only minimal guidance. For example, some radio 
services have evaluation criteria for a renewal applicant involved in a 
comparative renewal proceeding but no procedures for filing competing 
applications. Some services require a detailed showing that the 
licensee has provided substantial service during the license term. The 
renewal rules for some of the Commission's newer services generally 
require the licensee to be providing service or operating on an ongoing 
basis, after construction, during the license term.
    3. In an NPRM released on May 25, 2010 (WT Docket No. 10-112) (WRS 
Reform NPRM), the Commission proposed to adopt renewal requirements for 
numerous Wireless Radio Services based on the Commission's model for 
the 700 MHz Commercial Services Band licensees. Under this three-part 
approach: (1) Renewal applicants would file a detailed renewal showing, 
demonstrating that they are providing service to the public (or, when 
allowed under the relevant service rules or pursuant to waiver, using 
the spectrum for private, internal communications) and substantially 
complying with the Commission's rules (including any applicable 
performance requirements) and policies and the Act; (2) competing 
renewal applications would be prohibited; and (3) if a license is not 
renewed, the associated spectrum would be returned to the Commission 
for reassignment. For services licensed by site, the Commission 
proposed to modify the first part of this approach by requiring 
affected licensees to certify that they are continuing to operate 
consistent with their applicable construction notification(s) or 
authorization(s) (where the filing of construction notifications is not 
required), rather than making a renewal showing.
    4. Renewal Standard. The Commission adopts a unified renewal 
standard for most Wireless Radio Services licensees, both geographic 
and site-based. A clear, consistent standard will promote the efficient 
use of spectrum resources and will serve the public interest by 
providing licensees certainty regarding their renewal requirements. To 
qualify for renewal, each WRS licensee must demonstrate that over the 
course of its license term, the licensee either: (1) Provided and 
continues to provide service to the public, taking into account the 
periods of time the applicable service-specific rules give licensees to 
construct facilities and meet performance benchmarks, or (2) operated 
and continues to operate over the course of the license term to address 
the licensee's private, internal communications needs, again taking 
into account the periods of time the applicable service-specific rules 
give licensees to construct facilities and meet performance benchmarks.
    5. More specifically, for renewal at the end of an initial license 
term, the licensee must demonstrate that it timely constructed to any 
level(s) required by the service-specific rules and, thereafter, 
consistent with the Commission's permanent discontinuance rules, 
continuously provided service or operated at or above the required 
level(s) for the remainder of the license term. For subsequent 
renewals, the licensee must demonstrate that, over the license term at 
issue, it continuously provided service to the public or operated under 
the license to meet the licensee's private, internal communications 
needs, at or above the level required to meet the final construction 
requirement during the initial term of the license. In all events, the 
licensee also must certify that its service or operations are 
continuing. This requirement is reflected in the new

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Sec.  1.949 the Commission adopts today, which replaces separate 
renewal rules for each service in various rule parts, as reflected in 
the final rules.
    6. The renewal standard the Commission adopts today follows the 
approach the Commission adopted in many of its proceedings for new 
wireless services over the past decade. Beginning with the 700 MHz 
First Report and Order in 2007 (WT Docket No. 06-150), and continuing 
to the 2016 600 MHz Report and Order (GN Docket No. 12-268), the 
Commission has established that licensees ``must demonstrate that they 
are providing adequate levels of service over the course of their 
license terms.'' Most recently, the Commission applied the same 
principles in the Spectrum Frontiers Report and Order (GN Docket No. 
14-177), concluding that Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service (UMFUS) 
licensees would meet the renewal standard in their initial license 
terms if they met certain performance benchmarks and were ``using 
[their] facilities to provide service.'' For subsequent license terms, 
the Commission concluded that it would ``award a renewal expectancy for 
subsequent license terms if the licensee continues to provide at least 
the initially-required level of service through the end of any 
subsequent license terms.'' Today, the Commission applies that policy 
across the board to most WRS licenses, finding that these renewal 
requirements are in the public interest and their benefits outweigh any 
likely costs.
    7. As the Commission has stated in a number of decisions, a 
licensee's renewal obligations are distinct from its performance (also 
known as construction or buildout) requirements. Many of the 
Commission's specific service rules require performance showings to be 
made at the midpoint and end of an initial license term regarding 
population or area covered. For some services, licensees must 
demonstrate, or may elect to demonstrate, substantial service as their 
performance requirement during their initial license term. Under the 
Commission's performance requirement rules, a licensee generally 
provides a snapshot in time (usually a date in close proximity to, but 
no later than, the construction deadline) of the level of service that 
it is providing to the public or its level of operation. By contrast, 
the showing for renewal--also sometimes referred to as a substantial 
service showing--requires more detailed information regarding a 
licensee's services or operations and related matters for its entire 
license period. Thus, under the Commission's current rules, those 
licensees with a substantial service performance requirement at the end 
of their initial license term are subject to two distinct substantial 
service requirements, one to support their renewal application and one 
for performance purposes. The renewal standard the Commission adopts 
today and the accompanying discussion should make it more readily 
apparent to licensees that the showing required for renewal is distinct 
from the showing required to meet a performance requirement.
    8. As the Commission stated in the WRS Reform NPRM, the Wireless 
Radio Services that are licensed by rule or on a ``personal'' basis or 
that have no construction/performance obligation are beyond the scope 
of this proceeding and are not encompassed within the renewal policies 
the Commission adopts today. Similarly, these policies do not extend to 
public safety licenses issued based on the applicant demonstrating 
eligibility under Sec. Sec.  90.20 or 90.529, or public safety licenses 
issued in conjunction with a waiver pursuant to section 337 of the Act. 
The Commission also excludes the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) 
from application of the renewal requirements articulated in the Order 
since this service presents unique issues that are under consideration 
in a separate, comprehensive EBS rulemaking proceeding (See WT Docket 
No. 03-66).
    9. In contrast, the Commission finds it is no longer necessary to 
provide any sort of modified renewal requirements for Broadband Radio 
Service (BRS) licensees as the Commission had proposed in the WRS 
Reform NPRM. Given that the BRS transition, which began in 2010, is now 
complete, the Commission concludes that the BRS is appropriately 
included within the overall renewal framework now. The Commission also 
rejects Motorola's request that the partitioned and/or disaggregated 
Part 80 VHF Public Coast (VPC) Service spectrum it acquired for the 
purpose of promoting public safety and private land mobile systems be 
excluded from application of the Commission's generally applicable 
renewal framework. The Commission is not persuaded that the 
characteristics of the Motorola-held VPC Service spectrum and its 
planned usage warrant different treatment from other WRS licenses 
regarding the renewal rules, and thus the Commission does not grant the 
exception from the renewal policies sought by Motorola.
    10. Implementation of Renewal Standard. Many commenters express 
concern that the renewal framework proposed in the WRS Reform NPRM 
would cause uncertainty in the renewal process and create undue 
administrative burdens for licensees and Commission staff. Some 
commenters suggest that the Commission apply a certification process 
for all renewal applications. Other commenters suggest that the 
Commission should adopt some form of a safe harbor.
    11. The Commission agrees that clearer and more certain renewal 
processes will benefit both licensees and the Commission and concludes 
that adopting a set of safe harbors--based on licensee certifications--
will serve the public interest by reducing filing burdens on licensees 
and concentrating scarce Commission resources on reviewing renewal 
filings that warrant close scrutiny. Accordingly, the Commission adopts 
four safe harbors to accommodate four license renewal scenarios by 
which a renewal applicant can meet the renewal standard adopted in this 
Order. These license renewal safe harbors are for (1) site-based 
licenses; (2) wireless providers using geographic licenses; (3) private 
systems using geographic licenses; and (4) partitioned or disaggregated 
licenses without a performance requirement. In a future proceeding, the 
Commission may consider additional safe harbors as necessary and 
warranted. If a licensee is unable to meet the requirements of one of 
the enumerated safe harbors, the licensee must make a more detailed 
``renewal showing'' as part of its renewal application; the 
requirements for a renewal showing are described following the 
discussion of the renewal safe harbors.
    12. Each safe harbor scenario is based on three certifications, 
which are subject to the Form 601 condition that ``[w]illful false 
statements made on this form or any attachments are punishable by fine 
and/or imprisonment (18 U.S.C. 1001) and/or revocation of any station 
license or construction permit (47 U.S.C. 312(a)(1)), and/or forfeiture 
(47 U.S.C. 503).'' If the renewal applicant, in good faith, can make 
all three certifications, its renewal application will be subject to 
routine processing, and no further detailed renewal showing will be 
required as part of the renewal application. The first certification in 
each scenario addresses the renewal applicant's ongoing provision of 
service and/or operations, and is tailored to the particular nature of 
licenses covered under a given safe harbor. The second certification 
requires the licensee to certify that no permanent discontinuance of 
service or operation (as defined below as an unbroken failure to 
provide service or operate over a

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specified period of days) occurred during the license term. The third 
certification requires the licensee to certify that it has 
substantially complied with all applicable FCC rules, policies, and the 
Act.
    13. Site-based Licenses. Consistent with the Commission's 
certification proposal in the WRS Reform NPRM for the renewal of site-
based licensees, the Commission adopts a safe harbor for site-based WRS 
licensees. With site-based services, a licensee's initial application 
for authorization provides the exact technical parameters of its 
planned operations (such as transmitter location, frequency, and power 
levels), while the licensee's subsequent notification, that it has 
completed construction, confirms that the facilities have been 
constructed consistent with its authorization (or with minor 
modifications as may be permitted by the applicable service rules). A 
licensee also may file to modify its license, which may lead to a 
modified authorization and the submission of a subsequent construction 
notification. Consequently, at the time a site-based service provider 
files a renewal application, it should be operating as licensed.
    14. A site-based WRS licensee will meet the Commission's renewal 
standard if it can certify that it is continuing to operate consistent 
with the licensee's most recently filed construction notification (or 
most recent authorization, when no construction notification is 
required), and make the certifications regarding permanent 
discontinuance and substantial compliance with Commission rules and 
policies that are applicable to all renewal applicants seeking to avail 
themselves of one of the renewal safe harbors. Consistent with the 
Commission's treatment of wireless providers using geographic licenses 
as discussed below, licensees who temporarily reduce their operations 
for fewer than 180 days may avail themselves of the safe harbor. The 
Commission concludes that this safe harbor for site-based WRS licensees 
is in the public interest and will expedite the renewal process for 
licensees, ensure spectrum is being used efficiently to provide service 
to the public or for private internal needs, and allow Commission staff 
to concentrate scarce resources on renewal applications that warrant 
heightened scrutiny. Moreover, applying the safe harbor process to 
site-based services will ensure that renewed licenses in these services 
are being operated, and if they are not, the licensee must submit a 
renewal showing as discussed below. This safe harbor may be used by any 
site-based WRS license in the services listed in Appendix G of the 
Order.
    15. Wireless Providers Using Geographic Licenses. The Commission 
also finds that it would be in the public interest to adopt a safe 
harbor for WRS licensees that provide service to customers using 
geographic licenses. Many commenters urge the Commission to adopt a 
streamlined certification process for renewal of geographic licenses 
like what the Commission proposed for site-based licenses. Most 
recently, Verizon argues that a straightforward renewal certification 
``will obligate the licensee to verify that it is complying with the 
terms of its authorization and Commission rules, including buildout, 
spectrum utilization, or other performance requirements.'' Similarly, 
CTIA maintains that a certification for geographic license renewal 
``would require that licensees verify that they have complied with all 
buildout, performance, and other rules--demonstrating that they are 
providing service--without imposing unjustified burdens.'' Both Verizon 
and CTIA argue that a certification is consistent with the renewal 
standard adopted in the Spectrum Frontiers Order for the millimeter 
wave spectrum bands at 28 GHz, 37 GHz, and 39 GHz. The Commission 
agrees that a certification, as part of a comprehensive safe harbor for 
geographic licenses, will streamline its renewal processes, ensure 
compliance with its rules, and provide clarity and certainty for WRS 
licensees.
    16. Accordingly, the Commission adopts a safe harbor for WRS 
providers using geographic licenses consistent with the approach taken 
in the Spectrum Frontiers Order. A geographically-licensed WRS licensee 
providing service to customers will meet the renewal standard if it can 
make the following certifications. For a licensee in its initial 
license term \1\ with an interim performance requirement, the licensee 
must certify that (1) it has met its interim performance requirement 
and that over the portion of the license term following the interim 
performance requirement (up until the deadline for meeting the final 
performance requirement), the licensee continues to use its facilities 
\2\ to provide at least the level of service or operation required by 
its interim performance requirement,\3\ and (2) it has met its final 
performance requirement and continues to use its facilities to provide 
at least the level of service required by its final performance 
requirement through the end of the license term. For a licensee in its 
initial license term with no interim performance requirement, the 
licensee must certify that it has met its final performance requirement 
and continues to use its facilities to provide at least the level of 
service required by its final performance requirement through the end 
of the license term.\4\ For a licensee in any subsequent license term, 
the licensee must certify that it continues to use its facilities to 
provide at least the level of service required by its last performance 
requirement through the end of any subsequent license terms. Some 
commenters ask the Commission to recognize that there are circumstances 
(e.g., network upgrades, natural disasters, power outages, routine 
maintenance, temporary service outages) during which a licensee may 
need to ``reduce overall coverage below the level required by buildout 
requirements, or briefly turn down service . . . for a limited 
period.'' CTIA maintains that ``these events should not disqualify a 
licensee from using the safe harbor.'' Thus, the Commission clarifies 
that licensees who temporarily drop below their construction benchmark 
for fewer than 180 days may avail themselves of the safe harbor. In 
addition, the licensee must make the certifications regarding permanent 
discontinuance and substantial compliance with Commission rules and 
policies that are applicable to all renewal applicants seeking to avail 
themselves of one of the renewal safe harbors. This safe harbor may be 
used

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by geographic licensees in the Wireless Radio Services listed in 
Appendix H of the Order.
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    \1\ For performance showing requirements at the end of the 
initial license term, there are two filing processes in ULS 
depending on the service of the license. For some services, 
licensees file a notification of construction (NT) and a separate 
renewal application. For other services, licensees include their 
performance showing as an exhibit to the renewal application and do 
not file a separate NT. Under either filing method, the licensee 
would certify in its renewal application that it has submitted a 
final performance showing in good faith, but acceptance of its safe 
harbor renewal certification is contingent on the Commission's 
review and acceptance of the performance showing. This is true as 
well for private systems using geographic licenses.
    \2\ The Commission determines that use of facilities includes 
operations under any spectrum leasing arrangement.
    \3\ The Commission notes that any licensee that fails to meet 
its interim performance requirement will not be able to avail itself 
of this safe harbor option at the end of the initial license term 
because it will be unable to certify that it has met its interim 
performance requirement.
    \4\ The Commission recognizes that a licensee may file a renewal 
application as early as 90 days prior to license expiration. 47 CFR 
1.949(a). The Commission notes that a licensee with a performance 
requirement deadline coincident with its license expiration date 
must meet any applicable performance requirement before it can 
certify compliance with the safe harbor requirements and file a 
renewal application.
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    17. Private Systems Using Geographic Licenses. The Commission finds 
that the public interest will be served by adopting a separate safe 
harbor for private systems using geographic licenses. In the WRS Reform 
NPRM, the Commission queried what factors should be considered during 
renewal of licenses used for a licensee's private, internal 
communications needs. Commenters generally object to applying the WRS 
Reform NPRM's proposed renewal framework to geographic licensees that 
deploy private, internal communications systems. Instead, numerous 
commenters urge the Commission to adopt a certification for such 
licensees. The Commission agrees that a certification, as part of a 
comprehensive safe harbor for geographic licensees using their licenses 
for private, internal purposes, will streamline its renewal processes, 
ensure compliance with its rules, and provide clarity and certainty for 
such licensees.
    18. Accordingly, the Commission adopts a safe harbor for WRS 
licensees using their geographic licenses for private, internal 
systems. A geographically licensed WRS licensee using its license for 
private, internal purposes will meet the renewal standard if it can 
make the following certifications. For a licensee in its initial 
license term with an interim performance requirement, the licensee must 
certify that (1) it has met its interim performance requirement and 
that over the portion of the license term following the interim 
performance requirement (up until the deadline for meeting the final 
performance requirement), the licensee continues to use its facilities 
to further the licensee's private, internal business or public 
interest/public safety needs at or above the level required to meet its 
interim performance requirement, and (2) it has met its final 
performance requirement and continues to use its facilities to further 
the licensee's private business or public interest/public safety needs 
at or above the level required by its final performance requirement 
through the end of the license term. For a licensee in its initial 
license term with no interim performance requirement, the licensee must 
certify that it has met its final performance requirement and continues 
to use its facilities to further the licensee's private business or 
public interest/public safety needs at or above the level required by 
its final performance requirement through the end of the license term. 
For a licensee in any subsequent license term, the licensee must 
certify that it continues to use its facilities to further the 
licensee's private business or public interest/public safety needs at 
or above the level required to meet its last performance requirement. 
Consistent with the treatment of wireless providers using geographic 
licenses as discussed above, licensees who temporarily drop below their 
construction benchmark for fewer than 180 days may avail themselves of 
the safe harbor. In addition, the licensee must make the certifications 
regarding permanent discontinuance and substantial compliance with 
Commission rules and policies that are applicable to all renewal 
applicants seeking to avail themselves of one of the renewal safe 
harbors. This safe harbor may be used by geographic area licensees in 
the Wireless Radio Services listed in Appendix H of the Order.
    19. Partitioned or Disaggregated Licenses. As discussed in more 
detail below, the Commission's rules permit parties to partitioning or 
disaggregation agreements to choose between two options to determine 
how the parties will satisfy any relevant pending performance 
requirement for the license after it has been divided by geographic 
partitioning or spectrum disaggregation arrangements. In cases where 
the original licensee has satisfied the applicable performance 
requirement prior to partitioning or disaggregating the license, 
however, the recipient of the partitioned area or disaggregated 
spectrum has no performance requirement associated with the partitioned 
or disaggregated portion. This lack of a performance requirement is 
relevant in the renewal context because, while the partitioner or 
disaggregator may be able to meet a safe harbor (to demonstrate that 
over the course of its license term, the licensee provided and 
continues to provide service to the public, or operated and continues 
to operate the license to meet the licensee's private, internal 
communications needs), the partitionee or disaggregatee will not be 
able to avail itself of the safe harbors as adopted above because it 
cannot certify continuing service or operation consistent with its 
final performance requirement because it has none. Accordingly, the 
safe harbor approach must be adjusted to provide the partitionee or 
disagregatee with a mechanism for demonstrating compliance with the 
renewal standard.
    20. To this end, the Commission adopts an approach that applies to 
WRS licensees with partitioned or disaggregated licenses when there is 
no performance requirement. Such a licensee will meet the renewal 
standard if it can satisfy the following safe harbor. The licensee must 
certify that it uses and continues to use its facilities either to 
provide service to the public or to further the licensee's private, 
internal business or public interest/public safety needs. Thus, 
although the Commission does not impose a specific performance 
requirement for such licensees at renewal of the current license term, 
in order to avail itself of the streamlined safe harbor renewal process 
for any subsequent license term, a licensee without a performance 
requirement must demonstrate some level of service or operation over 
the subsequent license term. In addition, the licensee must make the 
certifications regarding permanent discontinuance (as defined below) 
and substantial compliance with Commission rules and policies that are 
applicable to all renewal applicants seeking to avail themselves of one 
of the renewal safe harbors. This safe harbor may be used by any WRS 
licensee with a partitioned or disaggregated license without an 
associated performance requirement. Any licensee that cannot meet the 
requirements of the safe harbor must submit a renewal showing as 
discussed below.
    21. The Commission recognizes that this safe harbor, unlike the 
others, does not prescribe a specific level of service or operation 
required for renewal. As the Commission has explained, however, ``[t]he 
goal of our construction requirements in both the partitioning and 
disaggregation contexts is to ensure that the spectrum is used to the 
same degree that would have been required had the partitioning or 
disaggregation transaction not taken place.'' In the scenario addressed 
here, the partitioner or disaggregator has already met the associated 
performance requirement for the license; any additional construction 
undertaken by the partitionee or disaggregatee exceeds the relevant 
performance benchmark for the original license and thus does not 
contravene the goal of the Commission's construction requirement in the 
partitioning and disaggregation context. However, the Commission 
contemplates taking action if it appears that parties to a partitioning 
or disaggregation are attempting to abuse its rules.
    22. Renewal Showing. The Commission seeks to provide licensees with 
certainty and clarity regarding the renewal process, and thus have 
adopted four safe harbors to provide licensees with a streamlined 
mechanism for meeting the renewal standard. The Commission expects that 
most licensees will be able to avail themselves of its streamlined safe 
harbor process and

[[Page 41535]]

receive timely renewal grants. In the event a licensee is unable to 
meet the requirements of any of the enumerated safe harbors, however, 
it must file a ``renewal showing'' to demonstrate how it meets the 
renewal standard the Commission adopts in this Order. Examples of 
licensees that will not be able to meet a safe harbor, but for whom 
there nonetheless may be legitimate bases that warrant renewal, include 
a licensee that no longer provides service or no longer operates at the 
level required to meet its final performance requirement, or a licensee 
that has modified its service or operations since its final performance 
requirement to offer novel services or employ a unique system 
architecture. These scenarios warrant additional scrutiny before the 
Commission can determine whether license renewal is in the public 
interest. The Commission reiterates that it will not require renewal 
applicants to file a renewal showing if they can meet the renewal 
standard via a safe harbor.
    23. In the WRS Reform NPRM, the Commission proposed to require all 
renewal applicants to meet its renewal standard by filing a detailed 
renewal showing to demonstrate that they are providing service to the 
public (or, when allowed under the relevant service rules or pursuant 
to waiver, using the spectrum for private, internal communication), and 
substantially complying with the Commission's rules (including any 
applicable performance requirements) and policies and the Act. The 
Commission now turns toward a consideration of this proposed standard 
for cases in which a renewal applicant does not meet one of the safe 
harbors adopted herein.
    24. The renewal showing proposed in the WRS Reform NPRM followed 
the paradigm adopted in the 700 MHz Report and Order. After the release 
of the WRS Reform NPRM, the Commission has adopted the 700 MHz 
Commercial Services renewal paradigm in four additional services--AWS-
4, H Block, AWS-3, and 600 MHz. Specifically, the Commission proposed 
to consider the following factors when evaluating whether a renewal 
showing met the renewal standard: (1) The level and quality of service 
provided by the applicant (e.g., the population served, the area 
served, the number of subscribers, the services offered); (2) the date 
service commenced, whether service was ever interrupted, and the 
duration of any interruption or outage; (3) the extent to which service 
is provided to rural areas; (4) the extent to which service is provided 
to tribal lands; and (5) any other factors associated with a licensee's 
level of service to the public.
    25. Many commenters object to the adoption of this renewal showing 
for all WRS licensees. These commenters argue that the proposed renewal 
showing is complex and would impose substantial costs and burdens on 
licensees. Other commenters assert that the proposed renewal process is 
unclear and creates uncertainty for licensees. Still other commenters 
maintain that the proposed process requests information already in the 
Commission's possession, requests detailed information that licensees 
do not maintain, and may require disclosure of competitively sensitive 
information. The Commission acknowledges commenters' many concerns 
regarding a general requirement that all WRS licensees submit detailed 
renewal showings and have concluded that, in many cases, streamlined 
applications containing the required certifications for safe harbor 
treatment will be sufficient to ensure that the Commission renews 
licenses in the public interest, consistent with the Act. The 
Commission emphasizes that licensees that can take advantage of one of 
the ``safe harbor'' renewal applications described above will not be 
required to submit a renewal showing as part of their renewal 
applications. Rather, only licensees that cannot satisfy one of the 
enumerated safe harbors will be required to file a detailed renewal 
showing. To fulfill the Commission's statutory mandate to ensure 
efficient spectrum use consistent with the public interest, where a 
licensee does not satisfy one of the streamlined processes, the 
Commission must undertake a closer examination of a licensee's record 
of service or operation over its license term. Consistent with the 
Commission's conclusions in the AWS-4, H Block, AWS-3, and 600 MHz 
proceedings, the Commission finds that the renewal showing it adopts 
today, applied in the limited circumstances described herein, is in the 
public interest and its benefits outweigh any likely costs.
    26. Accordingly, licensees that cannot satisfy the renewal standard 
under one of the enumerated safe harbors can nonetheless meet the 
renewal standard by demonstrating that they are providing service to 
the public (or, when allowed under the relevant service rules or 
pursuant to waiver, using the spectrum for private, internal 
communication), using the following renewal showing, as applicable:
    (1) The level and quality of service/operation provided by the 
applicant (e.g., for service--the population served, the area served, 
the number of subscribers, the services offered; for operation--the 
number of users (if applicable), the operating area, the type of 
operation);
    (2) the date service/operation commenced, whether service/operation 
was ever interrupted, and the duration of any interruption or outage;
    (3) the extent to which service/operation is provided to/in rural 
areas;
    (4) the extent to which service/operation is provided to/in tribal 
lands; and
    (5) any other factors associated with a licensee's level of service 
to the public/level of operation.
    27. Each of the factors listed above to be considered in a renewal 
showing directly relates to the renewal standard the Commission adopts 
today--service or operation over the license term. The Commission will 
consider the totality of all the factors on a case-by-case basis to 
determine if a licensee has demonstrated over the course of its license 
term that it has provided and continues to provide service to the 
public, or has operated and continues to operate under the license to 
meet the licensee's private, internal communications needs.
    28. In the WRS Reform NPRM, the Commission also asked whether a 
variety of other factors should be incorporated into the renewal rules. 
Many commenters object to the collection of additional data in support 
of a renewal showing. On balance, the Commission agrees that the costs 
of requesting additional information beyond the renewal showing as 
adopted would outweigh the benefits of such additional information. The 
Commission thus decides not to add further factors at this time to the 
renewal showing requirements. The Commission finds that its renewal 
framework strikes an appropriate balance between the need for 
information to fully evaluate renewal applications that cannot meet the 
safe harbors and minimizing burdens on licensees.
    29. The Commission disagrees with commenters that argue that the 
option of filing a full renewal showing would be contrary to the 
Commission's original proposal for site-based services. Under the 
Commission's prior proposal, if a site-based licensee could not make 
the requisite certification, the renewal application could not be 
granted and the spectrum would be returned to the Commission. Under the 
renewal framework the Commission adopts today, if a site-based licensee 
cannot meet the requirements of the safe harbor, it may choose to file 
a renewal showing to explain why it should

[[Page 41536]]

nonetheless retain its license, thus providing additional flexibility 
to such a licensee.
    30. Implementation Timeline. The renewal framework represents, for 
some WRS licenses, a significant change in how the Commission will 
evaluate and process renewal applications going forward.\5\ For 
licensees that already meet the renewal standard, the unified renewal 
paradigm presents a streamlined process using safe harbors with minimal 
filing burdens and certain, timely renewal processing. The Commission 
recognizes, however, that other licensees will need time to come into 
compliance with the renewal standard. Accordingly, the Commission 
adopts an implementation schedule that will make the benefits of the 
renewal framework available immediately for those licensees most likely 
able to avail themselves of the streamlined processes, but provide 
ample time for those licensees that may need to come into compliance 
with the new rules. In all instances, compliance with the renewal 
standard, via either a safe harbor or renewal showing, will be assessed 
from the effective date of the new rules. Thus, for example, the 
requirement to provide continuous service/operation does not cover 
periods before the effective date of those rules. Nor does a licensee 
seeking safe harbor treatment need to certify that it met the necessary 
criteria during time periods prior to the effective date.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Because substantial compliance with applicable FCC rules and 
policies and the Act is an ongoing obligation of licensees, this 
will be assessed over the entire term of the license at renewal.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    31. Site-based Licenses. For site-based licensees, the new renewal 
paradigm is akin to their existing renewal requirements. As discussed 
above, at the time a site-based service provider files a renewal 
application, it should be operating as licensed. Thus, current renewal 
requirements for site-based licensees are much like the safe harbor the 
Commission adopts for such licensees. The Commission finds that the 
renewal standard and renewal processes (whether streamlined or 
entailing an evaluation of the licensee's full renewal showing) should 
be made available to site-based licensees as soon as possible and thus 
determines that such rules will be applied to those licensees without a 
transition period, with one exception, effective upon their applicable 
effective dates. For microwave licenses in the Common Carrier Fixed 
Point-to-Point Microwave Service, licensees will not be required to 
comply with the revised renewal rules for site-based licenses until 
October 1, 2018, in order to provide sufficient time for them to 
undertake a compliance review necessary to make the required 
certification regarding operation. Existing service-specific renewal 
rules will remain in effect until the renewal rules adopted herein 
become effective. Applications filed prior to the effective date of the 
new rules will be processed under the rules in effect when they are 
filed.
    32. Geographic-area Licenses. Given the inconsistency of the 
Commission's renewal rules across wireless services, the Commission has 
seen markedly different renewal submissions by licensees describing the 
level of service or operation in the various specific services within 
the WRS. Some licensees have submitted renewal applications clearly 
demonstrating service or operation over the entire license term, which 
would meet the renewal standard the Commission adopts today. Others 
have filed applications that demonstrate service or operation over 
significantly less than the entire license term, which would not meet 
the Commission's new renewal standard contemplating ongoing service or 
operation during the license term. The Commission seeks to provide 
sufficient time to geographic-area licensees that have yet to be 
subject to the renewal standard so that they can comply with the new 
standard (indeed, some licensees are not yet required to even 
demonstrate service over the license term). The Commission determines 
that the renewal standard and the renewal framework will take effect 
for such licensees on January 1, 2023, replacing the existing service-
specific renewal rules, giving licensees at least five years to comply 
with the new renewal rules (giving all licensees sufficient time to 
show service over the license term, starting from the effective date of 
the new renewal rules). Existing service-specific renewal rules will 
cease to be effective as of January 1, 2023. The Commission notes, 
however, that licensees in the 700 MHz, AWS-4, H Block, AWS-3, and 600 
MHz services already are subject to the renewal standard that it adopts 
today for all WRS geographic licenses. Accordingly, the Commission 
concludes that these licensees should be able to avail themselves of 
the safe harbors and associated streamlined procedures prior to January 
1, 2023. Thus, for licensees in the 700 MHz, AWS-4, H Block, AWS-3, and 
600 MHz services, the safe harbor rules will apply immediately upon 
their effective dates. Existing service-specific renewal rules will 
remain in effect until the renewal rules adopted herein become 
effective. Applications filed prior to the effective date of the new 
rules will be processed under the rules in effect when they are filed.
    33. Geographic and Site-based Licensed Services--Other 
Requirements. Consistent with the Commission's proposal in the WRS 
Reform NPRM, the Commission applies a single regulatory compliance 
demonstration requirement to all renewal applicants, whether licensed 
by geographic area or by site. In addition, the Commission prohibits 
the filing of competing applications against such renewal applications. 
Further, if a renewal application cannot be granted, the associated 
spectrum generally will be returned to the Commission for re-licensing 
under the applicable processes.
    34. Regulatory Compliance Demonstration. In the 700 MHz First 
Report and Order, the Commission stated that, as part of their renewal 
filing, renewal applicants must demonstrate ``that they have 
substantially complied with all applicable Commission rules, policies, 
and the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, including any 
applicable performance requirements.'' As the Commission stated in the 
WRS Reform NPRM, such a regulatory compliance demonstration serves the 
public interest by facilitating the Commission's evaluation of the 
character and other qualifications of a renewal applicant.
    35. To aid in this evaluation, the Commission proposed a detailed 
submission of documents regarding compliance by the licensee and 
certain defined affiliates. Industry commenters uniformly opposed 
adoption of the proposed regulatory compliance demonstration as a 
prerequisite to renewal on the basis that it is onerous and unduly 
burdensome and could impose significant costs, particularly on rural 
and regional carriers.
    36. The Commission has a statutory duty to ensure that licensees 
substantially comply with all applicable Commission rules and policies 
and the Act. At the same time, where possible and practicable, the 
Commission seeks to streamline the existing renewal application 
processes and minimize filing burdens on licensees. In lieu of the 
regulatory compliance demonstration proposed in the WRS Reform NPRM, 
the Commission concludes that it can perform its duties and further its 
public interest goals effectively by requiring a renewal applicant to 
certify that it has substantially complied with all applicable FCC 
rules, policies, and the Act. If a particular renewal applicant is 
unable to make the substantial

[[Page 41537]]

compliance certification, it will need to provide an explanation of the 
circumstances preventing such a certification and why renewal of the 
subject license should still be granted.
    37. Elimination of Comparative Renewal Rules for WRS. As proposed 
in the WRS Reform NPRM and consistent with the action the Commission 
took in the WRS Reform First Report and Order in this proceeding 
adopted in tandem with the Cellular Reform Second Report and Order on 
March 23, 2017 (WT Docket No. 12-40), and in several other proceedings 
over the last decade, the Commission prohibits the filing of competing 
applications for all WRS and eliminates the remaining comparative 
renewal procedures and requirements across various rule parts.
    38. The WRS Reform NPRM proposed to prohibit the filing of 
competing renewal applications for all WRS as part of its proposed 
uniform WRS renewal process. The majority of commenters support the 
Commission's proposal to eliminate service-specific rules regarding the 
filing of competing applications and the use of comparative hearings to 
resolve them. A number of commenters maintain that the comparative 
renewal process is an outdated vestige of licensing rules predating the 
Commission's current reliance on auctions in many services.
    39. The Commission deletes the remaining service-specific 
comparative renewal rules and prohibits the filing of competing renewal 
applications for all WRS. This approach is consistent with the 
Commission's determinations in many other commercial wireless service 
proceedings over the last ten years--including those for the AWS-3 and 
AWS-4 Bands, the H Block, the 600 MHz Band, and the 700 MHz Commercial 
Services Band--and with the elimination of comparative renewal rules 
applicable to the Cellular Service. The same logic that the Commission 
used in exempting those bands from comparative renewal applications 
likewise applies to the remaining WRS bands. The Commission previously 
found, and commenters agree here, that the public interest is not 
served by the filing of time-consuming and costly competing 
applications, and a prohibition on competing applications will 
``protect[] the public interest without creating incentives for 
speculators to file `strike' applications.''
    40. The few commenters that support retention of the comparative 
renewal application rules argue that, without the ability to file 
competing applications, there is no way to discover disqualifying facts 
about incumbent licensees. The renewal requirements the Commission 
adopts today, however, will provide it with ample information to 
determine whether a particular license renewal is in the public 
interest. Some commenters also argue that competing applications are 
rare, but this only strengthens the rationale to eliminate the outdated 
rules. The Commission finds that the best course is to remove the 
comparative renewal rules and harmonize the approach across spectrum 
bands--many of which, as discussed above, already prohibit the filing 
of competing applications. In the event that an entity lacks standing 
to file a petition to deny a WRS license renewal application, it may 
still bring relevant facts to the attention of the Commission by means 
of an informal filing.
    41. If a license is not renewed, the associated spectrum will be 
returned to the Commission as discussed below, allowing parties that 
may have been inclined to file a competing application to participate 
in the auction of spectrum recovered from geographic licensees or apply 
for spectrum recovered from a Cellular or site-based licensee.
    42. Return of Spectrum to Commission if Renewal Application Is 
Denied. Consistent with the Commission's proposals in the WRS Reform 
NPRM, the Commission concludes that, if a WRS licensee cannot meet the 
renewal standard and its license cannot be renewed, its licensed 
spectrum will be returned automatically to the Commission. For site-
based licenses, the Commission will continue to apply the policy of 
having spectrum revert to a geographic area licensee, if applicable, if 
an underlying site-based authorization is not renewed.
    43. One overarching goal in this proceeding is to ensure that 
valued spectrum resources are rapidly put to their highest and best 
use. A second goal in this proceeding is to provide licensees with 
certainty and clarity regarding the rules that apply to them and the 
consequences for failing to meet those rules. The Commission's existing 
spectrum reversion rule employed today serves these dual goals. If a 
licensee cannot meet the renewal standard (via safe harbor or renewal 
showing) or it has permanently discontinued service, or its regulatory 
compliance certification is insufficient, its renewal application 
cannot be granted, and its licensed spectrum will return automatically 
to the Commission.
    44. Wireless Radio Services Excluded from Rulemaking. The 
Commission concludes that certain Wireless Radio Services should be 
excluded from the new renewal requirements. Specifically, the 
Commission will not apply the revised renewal paradigm to Wireless 
Radio Services licenses that have no construction obligations, 
including services where operations are licensed by rule (and thus 
there is no individual ``license'' to renew) or to Wireless Radio 
Services that can be considered to involve a ``personal'' license. 
These services are listed in Appendix I of the Order.

B. Permanent Discontinuance of Operations for Wireless Radio Services

    45. All WRS licensees are currently subject to the Part 1 rule 
governing permanent discontinuance, which provides that an 
authorization automatically terminates, without specific Commission 
action, if service is ``permanently discontinued.'' To promote service 
continuity, the Commission replaces disparate service-specific rules 
dealing with permanent discontinuance with a standardized rule for all 
WRS licensees. This rule will work in concert with construction and 
renewal obligations to ensure that licensees provide service in a 
timely manner, continue to provide service over the term of the 
license, and do not discontinue service for such an extended period of 
time that it should be deemed permanent.
    46. Current service-specific rules do not clearly and consistently 
define permanent discontinuance resulting in license termination, with 
a few services defining the term and many services completely lacking 
any definition. Thus, after meeting any service-specific construction 
and renewal requirements, some licensees in a service whose rules 
provide no definition of ``permanent'' discontinuance might conclude 
that they are permitted to discontinue service for long periods of 
time, and that such suspension of service would not trigger automatic 
license termination. In contrast, other licensees/competitors in a 
service whose rules define ``permanent'' discontinuance as specific 
amount of time during which operations were suspended (e.g., 90 days) 
would be subject to automatic license termination if they discontinued 
service to subscribers for that specified length of time. As the 
Commission noted in the WRS Reform NPRM, the public interest is not 
served by such marked regulatory disparities. The Commission 
accordingly proposed to adopt a uniform discontinuance of service rule 
for Parts 22, 24, 27, 80, 90, 95, and 101 Wireless Radio Services. The 
Commission finds that the adoption of a uniform regulatory framework 
governing the permanent discontinuance of operations for Wireless Radio 
Services will serve the public interest by: (1) Affording

[[Page 41538]]

similarly situated licensees and like services comparable regulatory 
treatment; (2) providing licensees and other interested parties clarity 
and certainty to facilitate business and network planning; and (3) 
ensuring that valuable spectrum is not underutilized. The rules the 
Commission adopts today strike the appropriate balance between 
providing licensees with operational flexibility and ensuring spectrum 
is not warehoused and does not lie fallow.
    47. Most but not all commenters support a uniform regulatory 
framework governing permanent discontinuance. Commenters disagree, 
however, on the appropriate discontinuance period to be applied to the 
various Wireless Radio Services, with some commenters supporting the 
Commission's proposed time periods while other commenters seek a 365-
day discontinuance period for all WRS licensees.
    48. Commenters are generally supportive of the Commission's 
proposal to apply the permanent discontinuance rule commencing on the 
date a licensee makes its initial construction showing or notification. 
Some commenters, however, ask that the Commission commence the 
permanent discontinuance period on the date of a licensee's 
construction deadline, while Sprint suggests that the Commission use a 
licensee's final construction deadline date.
    49. Section 101.305 of the rules states that common carrier 
licensees in certain services must notify the Commission of involuntary 
discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of service within 48 hours, 
and that voluntary discontinuance by a common carrier licensee in the 
identified services must occur only with prior Commission approval, 
under the procedures of part 63 of the Commission's rules. AT&T asks 
that the Commission take this opportunity to delete Sec.  101.305, 
arguing that it is both obsolete and duplicative of other rules, 
specifically Sec.  101.65 and that the rule's concern for protecting 
``communities'' is misplaced.
    50. After reviewing the extensive record in this proceeding, the 
Commission finds that the public interest will be best served by 
adopting a uniform regulatory framework governing service continuity. 
The Commission therefore adopts new Sec.  1.953 as it appears in 
Appendix A of the Order and deletes multiple rule sections governing 
permanent discontinuance in specific Wireless Radio Services. As 
recognized by the Commission in four other proceedings and by 
commenters in this proceeding, the approach the Commission adopts 
strikes an appropriate balance between affording licensees operational 
flexibility and ensuring that licensed spectrum is efficiently 
utilized. The Commission disagrees with those commenters that oppose 
the adoption of any permanent discontinuance rules. Allowing licensees 
unfettered discretion to determine how long scarce spectrum resources 
lie fallow after meeting relevant construction requirements would be 
inconsistent with the intent of those requirements and would directly 
contradict the Commission's statutory obligation to ``prevent 
stockpiling or warehousing of spectrum by licensees or permittees.''
    51. The Commission replaces the existing hodgepodge of 
discontinuance rules with a unified regulatory framework that ensures 
regulatory parity across services and license types and applies the 
rules on a per-license basis. Under the new rules for all 
geographically licensed radio services, permanent discontinuance of 
service for a given license will be defined as 180 consecutive days 
during which a licensee does not operate or, in the case of WRS 
licensees providing service to customers, does not provide service to 
at least one subscriber that is not affiliated with, controlled by, or 
related to the providing carrier. The Commission adopted an identical 
framework for AWS-4, H Block, AWS-3, and 600 MHz, which are all 
licensed on a geographic basis. In addition, for all radio services 
licensed by site, permanent discontinuance of service for a given 
license will be defined as 365 consecutive days during which a licensee 
does not operate or, in the case of WRS licensees providing service to 
customers, does not provide service to at least one subscriber that is 
not affiliated with, controlled by, or related to the providing 
carrier. A licensee's authorization will automatically terminate, 
without specific Commission action, if it permanently discontinues 
service.
    52. The rules distinguish between wireless providers providing 
service to subscribers and private licensee operation. In accordance 
with the Commission's proposal, for wireless providers, the Commission 
defines ``permanently discontinued'' as a period of 180 or 365 
consecutive days (for geographic and site-based licenses, respectively) 
during which the licensee does not provide service to at least one 
subscriber that is not affiliated with, controlled by, or related to, 
the provider. The Commission adopts a different approach for wireless 
licensees that use their licenses for private, internal communications, 
however, because such licensees generally do not provide service to 
unaffiliated subscribers. For such private, internal communications, 
the Commission defines ``permanent discontinuance'' as a period of 180 
or 365 consecutive days (for geographic and site-based licenses 
respectively) during which the licensee does not operate.
    53. The Commission concludes that different rules for geographic 
versus site-based licenses are warranted by their differing operational 
characteristics. Under a geographic license, a licensee constructs and 
operates its entire network in the market under the umbrella of its 
geographic license. As MetroPCS explains, wireless carriers constantly 
discontinue individual sites or channels as they reconfigure their 
networks to increase and adjust capacity. The Commission's goal in this 
proceeding is not to hamper a licensee's normal network design and 
reconfiguration processes. Licensees should continue to have the 
necessary flexibility to add or remove network facilities consistent 
with their business strategies and network planning processes. Thus, 
for geographic licensees, the period of discontinuance will not start 
for a given license until all network facilities operated under that 
license within the licensed area are discontinued.
    54. By contrast, site-based licensees do not have the same 
flexibility as geographic licensees to decommission individual 
facilities. Site-based licensees are authorized to transmit from a 
particular location or over a particular path and have little 
flexibility to alter these parameters; ceasing operation on a frequency 
or band constitutes a total cessation of all service or operation under 
the site-based license and, unless otherwise provided, would therefore 
start the clock for measuring the length of discontinued service/
operations on that licensed frequency/band at that location/path. Thus, 
to provide site-based licensees with the necessary flexibility to 
repair, modify, or upgrade their sites without fear of triggering a 
discontinuance period that could lead to the automatic termination of 
their license, the Commission finds that site-based licensees should be 
afforded a 365-day discontinuance period.
    55. The Commission does not find that geographic licensees need a 
365-day discontinuance period to adequately conduct technology upgrades 
and to avoid unfairly penalizing licensees that operate in remote or 
highly seasonal areas of the country that may be uninhabited for more 
than half the year. Given the flexibility geographic licensees have to

[[Page 41539]]

turn off individual facilities in their licensed area so long as at 
least one facility continues to operate or continues to serve at least 
one non-affiliated subscriber, the Commission finds that 180 days 
provides licensees with ample time to effectuate network modifications 
without triggering a discontinuance period. Adoption of a 180-day 
discontinuance period substantially increases the amount of time 
licensees can discontinue operations in some services. However, the 
Commission decreases the discontinuance period from one year to 180 
days in certain services, for example, certain Part 101 geographic 
licenses and 220-222 MHz geographic licenses (listed in Appendix F of 
the Order). Given the operational flexibility afforded geographic area 
licensees discussed above, the Commission concludes that this reduction 
will not create undue burdens on such licensees. Moreover, in the event 
additional time is needed, as discussed below, the rules will provide 
for an automatic 30-day extension or licensees can file for a waiver 
under Sec.  1.925 of the Commission's rules if additional time is 
warranted.
    56. The Commission agrees with commenters who propose that the 
discontinuance rule should begin to apply on the date a licensee must 
meet its first performance requirement benchmark, i.e., the 
construction deadline. Using the construction deadline, versus the date 
a licensee actually makes its construction notification, will ``avoid 
unduly punishing early adopters who are experimenting with certain 
business models or technologies, and who later deploy a different 
technology.'' If a licensee files its notification prior to the 
required construction deadline, the licensee should have the 
flexibility to alter its network as it sees fit, including turning down 
the entire system to accommodate changes in business plans or network 
design. If the Commission were to apply the rule immediately upon the 
filing of a licensee's construction showing or notification, it would 
create a disincentive for licensees to deploy their networks prior to 
their construction deadline. Such a result would be contrary to the 
Commission's goal of rapid spectrum deployment.
    57. In most cases, the first performance requirement benchmark is 
the interim or final construction deadline for geographic licenses, or 
the 12-month construction deadline for site-based licenses. In a few 
cases, licensees have partitioned and/or disaggregated their licenses 
under current rules, and one or more of the resulting licenses does not 
have a construction deadline. Under the new renewal standard these 
licenses must be operating by the end of the next full renewal term 
after their current license term to warrant renewal. As such, the 
discontinuance rules will apply to these partitioned/disaggregated 
licenses at that date. This approach provides consistent treatment in 
that licensees need only be concerned about permanent discontinuance 
after they are required to be operating (whether at their next 
construction deadline or renewal). The Commission adopted the same 
approach for AWS-4, H Block, AWS-3, and 600 MHz.
    58. In services where the Commission's rules currently contain no 
definition of permanent discontinuance, some licensees may have met 
their interim construction deadline, but have yet to reach their final 
construction deadline and may have discontinued operations as part of a 
business strategy or network plan. Absent a definition of permanent 
discontinuance, these licensees might have concluded that they could 
discontinue service for a long period without fear of automatic license 
termination. While all covered WRS licensees must comply with the 
permanent discontinuance rules going forward, it is equitable to 
provide certain existing licensees with additional time to come into 
compliance with the rules, if necessary. Thus, in all services that do 
not currently have an explicit definition of permanent discontinuance, 
(e.g., Part 24 Personal Communications Services, certain Part 27 
Miscellaneous Wireless Communications Services, Part 80 Safety and 
Special Radio Services, and Part 95 218-219 MHz Service) licensees will 
be given until January 1, 2019 to come into compliance with the rules 
adopted today regarding permanent discontinuance. If a licensee in 
these services is not providing service or is not operational on 
January 1, 2019, the discontinuance period would start on that date. 
After that date, a WRS licensee's authorization will automatically 
terminate, without specific Commission action, if service is 
permanently discontinued as defined under the newly adopted rules.
    59. The Commission declines to adopt Sprint's request to apply the 
permanent discontinuance rules only after a licensee's final 
construction date. The permanent discontinuance rules are designed to 
ensure that once a licensee is required to begin operations or provide 
service to the public by, e.g., an interim construction date, it 
continues to do so thereafter without substantial breaks in operation 
or service. If the Commission generally does not apply the permanent 
discontinuance rules until after a licensee's final construction date, 
a licensee would be permitted to initiate service at its interim date 
and then shut down all operations until the final construction 
deadline. This result is contrary to the Commission's goal of promoting 
robust spectrum use. However, for some services a failure to meet an 
interim construction date results in acceleration of the final 
construction date and, in some cases, the license expiration date. For 
these services, if a licensee fails to meet the interim construction 
date, the discontinuance rule will apply after the licensee's 
accelerated final construction date.
    60. The Commission exclude EBS from application of the new 
permanent discontinuance rule because this service presents unique 
issues that are under consideration in a separate proceeding. The 
Commission finds that it should consider EBS permanent discontinuance 
policies in the context of the comprehensive EBS rulemaking. For the 
reasons stated above in the discussion of the renewal policy rules, the 
Commission finds that BRS licenses and the Motorola-held partitioned 
and/or disaggregated Part 80 VHF Public Coast licenses should be 
subject to the rules and policies adopted herein regarding permanent 
discontinuance.
    61. Section 101.305 contains a number of requirements related to 
discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of services for some or all 
Part 101 services. The bulk of these provisions relate to involuntary 
and voluntary discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of public 
communications services and required filings to be made with the 
Commission. In particular, Sec.  101.305(b) requires that covered 
licensees subject to Title II of the Act must obtain prior approval 
from the Commission pursuant to the procedures set forth in part 63 of 
the Commission's rules before they may voluntarily discontinue, reduce, 
or impair public communications services to a community or part of a 
community. Because Sec.  101.305 implicates the provision of service 
pursuant to Title II of the Act and given the limited record addressing 
this rule, the Commission makes no changes to this rule section at this 
time.
    62. Notification of permanent discontinuance. The Commission adopts 
the proposed filing requirement that a licensee that permanently 
discontinues service must notify the Commission of the discontinuance 
within 10 days by filing FCC Form 601 or 605 requesting license 
cancellation. Such a self-reporting requirement will

[[Page 41540]]

facilitate timely and accurate recordkeeping of the Commission license 
and spectrum inventory. However, even if a licensee fails to file the 
required form requesting license cancellation, an authorization will 
automatically terminate, without specific Commission action, if service 
is permanently discontinued as defined by the new rules. The Commission 
disagrees with the two commenters who ask that the notification period 
be extended to 30 days. Neither commenter advances a compelling basis 
for extending the notification period and the proposed 10-day period 
will ensure that the Commission's records are updated on a timely 
basis.
    63. Extension requests. In addition, the Commission adopts the 
proposed extension request process under which a request for a longer 
discontinuance period may be filed for good cause, subject to the 
requirement that it be filed at least 30 days before the end of the 
discontinuance period. Under this process, the filing of a request 
would automatically extend the discontinuance period a minimum of the 
later of an additional 30 days or the date upon which the Wireless 
Telecommunications Bureau (Bureau) acts on the request. Commenters 
support the proposed automatic process for extension requests. Such an 
express process provides licensees with the flexibility to request a 
limited period of additional time for discontinuance of operations as 
necessitated by the licensee's business and operational needs and the 
certainty that they will receive a minimum of 30 additional days to 
resume service.
    64. The Commission declines, however, to adopt CCA's proposal for 
an automatic six-month extension period or case-by-case review. An 
automatic extension of the permissible discontinuance period of six 
months runs contrary to the goals of timely and efficient use of the 
nation's scare spectrum resources. Although unique circumstances may 
arise that necessitate a period of discontinuance beyond what is 
automatically permitted under the new rules, these circumstances can 
adequately be addressed by the existing waiver processes.
    65. Roaming. Several commenters ask that the Commission clarify how 
its permanent discontinuance rules apply to licensees that serve 
roamers. The Commission concludes that, for purposes of the permanent 
discontinuance rule, the term ``service'' includes service provided 
exclusively or incidentally to roamers even though such roamers are not 
subscribers of the licensee providing roaming service. Including 
roaming within the definition of service serves the underlying goal of 
the Commission's rules to ensure that licensees are actively using 
their spectrum--be it to provide service to subscribers or roamers--and 
not allowing it to lie fallow. The Commission clarifies, however, that 
a WRS licensee must actually be providing service to a roamer and not 
merely have the ability to provide service to roamers.
    66. Channel keepers. The Commission adopts its proposed rule that 
operation of so-called channel keepers--devices that transmit test 
signals, tones, and/or color bars, for example--will not constitute 
operation or service for the purposes of the permanent discontinuance 
rule. As the Commission explained previously, ``it was clearly 
unreasonable . . . to believe that the periodic broadcasting of signals 
that nobody received constituted `service' within the meaning of the 
rule. Such an interpretation is unreasonable; in order to provide a 
service a provider would, at a minimum, need a customer or other person 
to serve.'' The Commission thus adopts the rule regarding channel 
keepers as proposed.
    67. Verizon asks the Commission to expand the definition of 
operation to include facilities that are ``available'' to carry 
customer traffic but are in ``standby'' mode and only used on an ``as-
needed basis depending on capacity demands.'' Verizon argues that these 
systems are needed to allow licensees to maximize efficiency of their 
spectrum resources and network investment and maintain optimal 
performance levels while providing seamless service to customers across 
multiple licenses in the same market. The Commission declines to expand 
its definition of operation as requested by Verizon. As the Commission 
explained previously, at a minimum, provision of service requires a 
customer or other person to serve. That a network is capable of service 
in ``standby mode'' or on an ``as-needed basis'' without providing 
actual service to a customer or other person is insufficient to 
constitute service for purposes of the Commission's permanent 
discontinuance rules. Moreover, the Commission does not license 
spectrum on a network basis; rather, it evaluates operational 
obligations on a license-by-license basis, and thus licensees must 
maintain continuity of service or operations on a license-by-license 
basis.

C. Geographic Partitioning and Spectrum Disaggregation Rules and 
Policies

    68. In the WRS Reform NPRM, the Commission proposed a new rule, 
Sec.  1.950, to standardize and clarify its partitioning and 
disaggregation rules across services in which such activities are 
permitted. As part of this proposal, the Commission contemplated 
establishing consistent performance obligations (i.e., construction and 
operation) for spectrum licenses that have been divided by geographic 
partitioning or spectrum disaggregation arrangements. Specifically, the 
Commission proposed that each party to such an arrangement would be 
individually required to meet any service-specific performance 
requirements.
    69. At present, there are a wide variety of Wireless Radio Services 
under the Commission's authority that are subject to equally varied 
construction and performance obligations. The Commission's current 
partitioning rules provide licensees several options to meet their 
construction obligations: (1) Independent Construction--the parties may 
independently elect to satisfy the construction requirements for their 
respective partitioned license areas and failure to perform subjects a 
licensee in this context to forfeiture of its partitioned license; (2) 
Collective Construction--the parties may collectively share 
responsibility for meeting the construction requirement for the entire 
geographic area and if the parties collectively fail, then both will be 
subject to a range of penalties, including possible license forfeiture; 
or (3) Partitioner-only Construction--the partitioner may satisfy the 
construction requirement for the entire pre-partitioned geographic 
area. Many services allow this third option, but the repercussions for 
failure to perform vary significantly. In some instances, partitionees 
must still satisfy a substantial service requirement for the 
partitioned area at renewal. In others, partitionees can argue that 
they are not obligated to provide service to obtain license renewal 
since only the non-performing partitioner is subject to forfeiture of 
its license at renewal.
    70. Licensees also currently have multiple options under the 
Commission's disaggregation rules to meet applicable construction 
obligations: (1) One-party Construction--parties can assign 
responsibility to either the disaggregator or the disaggregatee, and 
construction by that party is deemed sufficient for both. Generally, if 
the designated party

[[Page 41541]]

fails to perform, only its license is subject to forfeiture at renewal. 
(2) Shared Construction Responsibility--parties may share 
responsibility for meeting the construction requirements. Depending on 
the service, failure to perform by either party could result in 
forfeiture of both licenses. By contrast, some service rules allow 
parties to a disaggregation to satisfy the construction requirement in 
the aggregate rather than individually.
    71. A majority of the commenters that addressed the partitioning 
and disaggregation construction requirements in the WRS Reform NPRM 
disagree with the Commission's proposal to require that each party to 
such arrangements independently satisfy construction obligations. They 
object largely on the basis that the current rules already promote 
efficient spectrum use and changing them is unnecessary, or worse, 
harmful. They contend, among other things, that the new rules will curb 
interest in secondary market opportunities, particularly in rural 
areas, and will disrupt existing private contractual relationships.
    72. The Commission's experience with partitioning and 
disaggregation indicates that parties can, and sometimes do, manipulate 
the current requirements in ways that result in spectrum in some 
services lying fallow for long periods of time, contrary to the 
Commission's stated goal of maximizing efficient spectrum use. For 
instance, under the current rules, parties have been free to 
disaggregate a small sliver of a spectrum license over the entire 
geographic licensed area and assign the entire construction requirement 
to that particular license. In that circumstance, only that small 
sliver of spectrum has been subject to license termination or 
forfeiture, while the bulk of the license has not been subject to any 
construction requirement. The Commission finds that none of the 
comments effectively addresses the central rationale for proposing to 
modify the partitioning and disaggregation performance requirements, 
i.e., preventing spectrum warehousing. The Commission therefore amends 
the partitioning and disaggregation rules to prevent spectrum 
warehousing.
    73. In lieu of requiring each party to a partitioning or 
disaggregation arrangement to certify that it will independently 
satisfy service-specific construction and/or performance requirements, 
the Commission will afford such parties the additional option of 
sharing service-specific performance requirements.\6\ Further, to 
ensure uniformity and clarity, the Commission adopts Sec.  1.950, 
largely as proposed, and Sec.  1.950(g), as revised, to replace 
separate partitioning and disaggregation construction and performance 
rules for each service in various rule parts. The Commission concludes 
that these changes will provide WRS licensees with greater flexibility 
to configure their licenses according to their operational needs, while 
still affording important safeguards against spectrum warehousing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Specifically, in Sec.  1.950(g), as revised herein, the 
Commission provides the parties to a partitioning and/or 
disaggregation arrangement with two options for satisfying service-
specific performance requirements (i.e., construction and operation 
requirements). Under the first option, each party may individually 
satisfy any service-specific requirements and, upon failure, must 
individually face any service-specific performance penalties. Under 
the second option, both parties may agree to share responsibility 
for any service-specific requirements. Upon failure to meet their 
shared service-specific performance requirements, both parties will 
be subject to any service-specific penalties.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    74. The Commission agrees with Verizon that imposing an independent 
construction requirement on both parties to a partitioning or 
disaggregation arrangement, as proposed in draft Sec.  1.950(g) in the 
WRS Reform NPRM, might, under certain circumstances, unnecessarily 
impose additional construction requirements on parties to partitioning 
and disaggregation arrangements that would not have existed had the 
license not been partitioned or disaggregated. To address this 
potential issue, the Commission revises Sec.  1.950(g) to allow 
participants to share the construction requirement, which ensures that 
no two parties to a partitioning or disaggregation arrangement will be 
required to build out more than 100 percent of the requirement for any 
particular geographic area or spectrum block. In addition, parties to 
partitioning and disaggregation arrangements are not required to 
continue construction in cases where the original licensee has already 
satisfied the requirement for the license term. However, to the extent 
that Sec.  1.950(g), as revised, requires that partitionees and 
disaggregatees comply with interim and final construction benchmarks in 
addition to satisfying the renewal requirements the Commission adopts 
in this order, the Commission's interest in preventing spectrum 
warehousing that is permitted under current rules outweighs the 
potential added burden, if any, on these third-party licensees.
    75. The Commission finds that the new rule adequately addresses 
commenters' arguments that proposed Sec.  1.950(g) would deter 
secondary market activity, especially with respect to small, rural 
licensees for whom buildout requirements may be prohibitively costly. 
The Commission also finds that its rule adequately addresses Blooston's 
arguments underlying its recommendation that the Commission exempt 
rural areas from the rule. The revised rule allows parties to 
partitioning and disaggregation arrangements to share service-specific 
construction requirements. The Commission concludes that the additional 
flexibility of the revised rule will continue to enable service 
providers to configure geographic area and spectrum block licenses to 
suit their unique operational needs, which includes using partitioning 
and disaggregation to open up licensing opportunities to rural 
carriers.
    76. The Commission declines to retain ``partitioner only'' 
construction rules (wherein a partitioner can certify that it has met 
or will meet the construction requirement for the entire pre-
partitioned area) to encourage carriers to take risks in rural markets. 
This proposal would appear to allow a partitionee in certain services 
to hold a license for the partitioned area without deploying facilities 
on the spectrum for a significant period of time, even if the licensee 
must be able to certify that it is providing service at renewal, or 
otherwise make a showing to justify license renewal. The Commission 
concludes that the better way to promote service to rural markets is to 
ensure that all license holders--at least during the initial license 
term, and in circumstances where the original licensee has not 
previously satisfied the construction requirement for the entire 
geographic area or spectrum block--have, directly or indirectly, an 
obligation to construct and operate facilities on the spectrum.
    77. The Commission declines to adopt CTIA's proposal that the 
Commission should exempt a licensee's wholly owned subsidiaries or 
commonly controlled affiliates when they partner with the licensee to 
divide the license. The Commission's experience has shown that this 
type of intra-corporate family partitioning and disaggregation has 
proven particularly susceptible to manipulation for spectrum 
warehousing purposes simply because the parties to the division are 
commonly controlled. Adoption of CTIA's proposal risks undermining 
rather than advancing the Commission's objective of eliminating 
spectrum warehousing. Moreover, the addition of the new option to 
permit shared construction responsibility by a

[[Page 41542]]

partitioner/partitionee or a disaggregator/disaggregatee should largely 
address this concern.
    78. The Commission does not adopt the suggestions raised by 
MetroPCS and Verizon that the Commission exempt Broadband PCS from the 
proposed rule based on the argument that the substantial service 
requirement at renewal discourages parties to a partitioning 
arrangement from warehousing spectrum in the manner the Commission 
seeks to preclude. The Commission concludes that these licensees will 
be no worse off under a regulatory framework that holds all licensees 
to comparable requirements. Many services still allow parties to a 
partitioning or disaggregation arrangement to assign the performance 
requirement to one of the parties and thereby allow the other to delay 
or avoid construction in that party's portion of the license (whether 
geography or spectrum) if they so choose. This problem exists in 
numerous services, even if some service rules may discourage so-called 
free riders. By this Order, the Commission seeks to consolidate the 
services under a single set of rules and proscribe spectrum warehousing 
by all licensees in the covered services, not just the few who hold 
spectrum subject to service rules that more effectively prevent such 
warehousing.
    79. The Commission also declines to adopt CTIA's proposal to 
prohibit parties from assuming construction and performance obligations 
for an entire license area or spectrum block unless they also hold 
spectrum covering a majority of that same geographic area or spectrum 
block. CTIA does not provide evidence demonstrating why this approach 
would be more effective at preventing spectrum warehousing than the 
consistent approach envisioned by the partitioning and disaggregation 
rules adopted today, nor does it acknowledge or address the potential 
administrative burdens that would be placed on applicants and on 
Commission staff in addressing such arrangements. The Commission 
believes that adoption of CTIA's proposal would provide greater 
uncertainty in the spectrum marketplace and would not consistently and 
successfully prevent spectrum warehousing.
    80. The Commission also declines to exempt existing partitioning 
and disaggregation arrangements from application of the requirements of 
Sec.  1.950(g) as adopted today, and apply the rule only prospectively 
and only to future partitioning and disaggregation arrangements. By 
adopting Sec.  1.950(g) as revised, the Commission intends to prevent 
spectrum warehousing and ensure that future transactions facilitate the 
availability of spectrum in the marketplace for licensees who are most 
highly motivated to use it. By this action, the Commission seeks to 
resolve loopholes in the current partitioning and disaggregation rules 
that could be and have been manipulated to avoid the very construction 
and substantial service obligations that promote efficient spectrum 
use. However, the Commission agrees that its rules should not be 
applied retroactively to disrupt transactions that have already been 
negotiated based on the pre-existing rules and submitted to the 
Commission for approval. Specifically, Sec.  1.950(g) will be applied 
to partitioning and disaggregation arrangements reflected in 
applications filed on or after the effective date of the new rule, and 
not to any arrangements reflected in an already granted application or 
in an application filed before the effective date of new Sec.  
1.950(g).
    81. The Commission makes no changes in response to AT&T's argument 
that new entrants will be discouraged from acquiring spectrum through 
partitioning or disaggregation when it is late in the original license 
term, and there is little time to fulfill the construction obligation. 
The Commission concludes that this concern is related not to 
partitioning and disaggregation rules, but to the current build out 
rules, which provide that the performance requirements associated with 
a license are not reduced or extended as a result of any secondary 
market transaction, including one near the end of a license term. The 
rule modifications do not alter those obligations.
    82. Finally, the Commission does not address the suggestion by 
Sprint and AT&T that licensees that have acquired previously 
partitioned and/or disaggregated licenses be allowed, as a matter of 
processing, to consolidate the subdivided parts into the original 
license configuration. The Commission finds this proposal to be beyond 
the scope of this proceeding, which is narrowly focused on 
standardizing and clarifying the Commission's partitioning and 
disaggregation rules across services. The question of whether, and how, 
a partitioned or disaggregated license can be reconstituted as a matter 
or processing can be addressed by Commission staff under current rules 
and licensing systems.
    83. Commenting parties in this proceeding that addressed proposed 
Sec.  1.950 focused solely on proposed Sec.  1.950(g). Accordingly, 
based on the record in this proceeding, the Commission adopt Sec.  
1.950 largely as proposed in the WRS Reform NPRM, with the exception of 
Sec.  1.950(g). The Commission further concludes that adopting new 
Sec.  1.950(g), as revised herein, will most effectively balance its 
competing obligations to: (1) remove potential barriers to entry by 
returning heretofore fallow spectrum to the marketplace, and thereby 
increase competition; (2) encourage parties to use spectrum more 
efficiently; and (3) speed service to unserved and underserved areas.

D. Freeze on the Filing of Competing Renewal Applications and 
Resolution of Previously Pending Competing Renewal Applications

    84. In the WRS Reform Order, the Commission imposed a freeze on the 
filing of competing renewal applications and held in abeyance the 
already-filed competing renewal applications until the conclusion of 
this proceeding. The Commission stated that, if it were to adopt the 
rules proposed in the WRS Reform NPRM, it would ``dismiss all pending 
mutually exclusive applications and related correspondence filed with 
the Commission regarding those applications.''
    85. At the time that the WRS Reform Order was adopted, the 
Commission had before it a total of 151 renewal applications in three 
different service bands, and 178 applications competing with those 
renewal applications. Most of those competing applications--175 of 
178--were filed in the 2.3 GHz Band against WCS licensees. These 
competing applications were dismissed by the Commission after the 
relevant parties reached settlement agreements. Of the remaining three 
competing applications, two were against Cellular licensees' renewal 
applications and one was against a Broadband PCS licensee's renewal 
application. The two Cellular competing applications have since been 
dismissed or resolved. The PCS competing application was withdrawn 
after the applicant obtained the underlying license at issue via the 
license assignment process.
    86. Because there are no remaining pending competing renewal 
applications, there is no further action needed on the Commission's 
part to dismiss such applications.

E. Transition From Interim Renewal Application Procedures

    87. The Commission directed incumbent licensees to continue to file 
timely renewal applications as required by applicable Commission rules 
during the pendency of this rulemaking. The Commission further directed 
that

[[Page 41543]]

renewal applications routinely should continue to be placed on a Bureau 
accepted for filing public notice, and that interested parties could 
continue to file petitions to deny consistent with the rules. In order 
to reduce uncertainty that might be caused by long-pending renewal 
applications, the Commission directed the Bureau to routinely grant 
renewal applications during the pendency of this proceeding, 
conditioned on the outcome of this rulemaking.
    88. Notwithstanding the Commission's statement in the WRS Reform 
Order that interested parties may file petitions to deny consistent 
with the requirements of its rules, NTCH, Inc., now asks that the 
Commission provide an opportunity for a potential applicant to 
challenge a renewal applicant's basic qualifications at the close of 
this docket. NTCH asserts that providing this opportunity to file 
petitions to deny against conditionally granted renewal applications is 
necessary to avoid ``permanently abrogat[ing] the legal rights of 
parties interested in challenging the grant of a renewal application.'' 
The Commission denies NTCH's request that it open a window for the 
filing of petitions to deny against licensees whose renewal 
applications have been conditionally granted. The opportunity to file 
petitions to deny against renewal applications has been present 
throughout the pendency of this proceeding, and NTCH has not offered a 
persuasive legal or equitable argument in support of having a second 
shot at these renewal applications. The Commission accordingly declines 
to open a window for the filing of petitions to deny against renewal 
applications that have been conditionally granted.
    89. Petitions for reconsideration of the actions taken by the WRS 
Reform Order were filed by: (1) Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc., in 
connection with its wholly owned indirect subsidiary's, Tisdale 
Telephone Company, LLC, competing Cellular application with the 
Cellular renewal application filed by Kankakee Cellular L.L.C.; (2) 
CTIA, AT&T, Cricket, Rural Cellular Association, Sprint, T-Mobile, US 
Cellular, and Verizon Wireless; (3) Green Flag Wireless, LLC, CWC 
Licensing Holding, Inc., James McCotter, and NTCH-CA, Inc.; and (4) 
Wireless Communications Association International, Inc. (WCAI).
    90. The Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. petition has been mooted by the 
fact that Kankakee withdrew its renewal application for a Cellular 
license authorization in the Kankakee, Illinois market, and Tisdale was 
granted a Cellular license for that market. The Commission previously 
approved the withdrawal of the petition for reconsideration filed by 
Green Flag Wireless, LLC, CWC License Holding, Inc., James McCotter, 
and NTCH-CA, Inc., along with another petition for reconsideration 
filed by the same parties on October 22, 2010, pursuant to a settlement 
agreement. The WCAI petition for partial reconsideration was addressed 
by the WRS Reform Clarification Public Notice, (WT Docket No. 10-112) 
on March 18, 2011, issued by the Bureau to clarify the conditional 
grant of applications for renewal of license in the WRS Reform Order. 
Subsequent to the release of the WRS Reform Clarification Public 
Notice, CTIA, AT&T, Cricket, Rural Cellular Association, Sprint, T-
Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless filed a motion to withdraw 
their petition for reconsideration. The Commission finds no reason to 
address the arguments in the CTIA Petition and accordingly will grant 
the request to withdraw the CTIA Petition.
    91. The Commission directs the Bureau to take the necessary steps 
to cease conditioning the grant of renewal applications on the outcome 
of this proceeding. In addition, the Commission directs the Bureau to 
take the necessary steps to remove the condition from already granted 
renewal applications or otherwise make clear on the face of such 
licenses that such condition is no longer valid.

II. Procedural Matters

A. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

    92. The Order contains modified information collection requirements 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-
13. It will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
for review under Sec.  3507(d) of the PRA. OMB, the general public, and 
other Federal agencies will be invited to comment on the modified 
information collection requirements contained in this proceeding. In 
addition, the Commission notes that pursuant to the Small Business 
Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 
3506(c)(4), it previously sought specific comment on how it might 
further reduce the information collection burden for small business 
concerns with fewer than 25 employees.
    93. The Commission assessed the effects of the policies adopted in 
the Order with regard to information collection burdens on small 
business concerns, and found that these policies will benefit many 
companies with fewer than 25 employees because the revisions the 
Commission adopts should reduce filing burdens for all WRS licensees, 
whether large or small. Also, by ensuring, pursuant to the partitioning 
and disaggregation rules and the permanent discontinuance rules the 
Commission adopts today, that valuable spectrum will not lie fallow, 
these policies will provide small entities with more opportunities to 
gain access to valuable spectrum. In addition, the Commission has 
described impacts that might affect small businesses, which includes 
most businesses with fewer than 25 employees, in the Final Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) in Appendix B of the Order.

B. Congressional Review Act

    94. The Commission will send a copy of this Order to Congress and 
the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional 
Review Act. In addition, the Commission will send a copy of the Order, 
including the FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA (5 
U.S.C. 603(a)).

C. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    95. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) requires that an 
agency prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis for notice and comment 
rulemakings, unless the agency certifies that ``the rule will not, if 
promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities.'' Accordingly, the Commission has prepared a FRFA, 
set forth in Appendix B of the Order, concerning the possible impact of 
the rule changes.

D. Ex Parte Presentations

    96. This proceeding shall continue to be treated as ``permit-but-
disclose'' proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte 
rules. Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any 
written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation 
within two business days after the presentation (unless a different 
deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons making 
oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the 
presentation must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise 
participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was 
made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during 
the presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of 
the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the 
presenter's written comments, memoranda or other filings in the 
proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such data or

[[Page 41544]]

arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings 
(specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data 
or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the 
memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex 
parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must 
be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by 
rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method of 
electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda 
summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, 
must be filed through the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System 
(ECFS) available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native 
format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this 
proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission's ex parte 
rules.
    97. People with Disabilities. To request materials in accessible 
formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic 
files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the 
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-
418-0432 (tty).

III. Ordering Clauses

    98. Accordingly, it is ordered, pursuant to sections 1, 2, 4(i), 
4(j), 7, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, and 332 of the Communications 
Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 154(i), 154(j), 157, 301, 
303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 332, that this second report and order in WT 
Docket No. 10-112 is adopted.
    99. It is further ordered that parts 1, 22, 24, 27, 30, 74, 80, 90, 
95, and 101 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR parts 1, 22, 24, 27, 30, 
74, 80, 90, 95, and 101, are amended, effective October 2, 2017 except 
as otherwise provided herein.
    100. It is further ordered that the amendments adopted in this 
second report and order, and to Sec. Sec.  1.949, 1.950, and 1.953, 
which contain new or modified information collection requirements that 
require review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act, will become effective after OMB review and 
approval, on the effective date specified in a notice that the 
Commission will have published in the Federal Register announcing such 
approval and effective date.
    101. It is further ordered that the amendments adopted in this 
second report and order, and to paragraphs (e), (q)(7), (r)(6), (s)(6), 
and (t)(6) of Sec.  27.14, will become effective after OMB review and 
approval of Sec.  1.949, on the effective date specified in a notice 
that the Commission will have published in the Federal Register 
announcing such approval and effective date.
    102. It is further ordered that the amendments adopted in this 
second report and order, and to Sec. Sec.  22.317, 22.947, 27.17, 
30.106, 74.632, 90.157, 90.631, and 101.65, will become effective after 
OMB review and approval of Sec.  1.953, on the effective date specified 
in a notice that the Commission will have published in the Federal 
Register announcing such approval and effective date.
    103. It is further ordered that, pursuant to sections 4(i) and 405 
of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 405, and Sec.  
1.106 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.106, the Motion of CTIA--The 
Wireless Association[supreg], AT&T Services, Inc., Cricket 
Communications, Inc., Rural Cellular Association, Sprint Nextel 
Corporation, T-Mobile USA, United States Cellular Corporation and 
Verizon Wireless To Withdraw Petition for Reconsideration, filed May 
31, 2011, to withdraw their Petition for Reconsideration, filed Aug. 6, 
2010, is granted.
    104. It is further ordered that, pursuant to section 801(a)(1)(A) 
of the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A), the Commission 
shall send a copy of the second report and order to Congress and to the 
Government Accountability Office.
    105. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a 
copy of the second report and order, including the Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis and the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to 
the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

List of Subjects in 47 CFR Parts 1, 22, 24, 27, 30, 74, 80, 90, 95, 
and 101

    Communications common carriers, Radio, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

Federal Communications Commission.
Katura Jackson,
Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary.

Final Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal 
Communications Commission amends 47 CFR parts 1, 22, 24, 27, 30, 74, 
80, 90, 95, and 101 as follows:

PART 1--PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE

0
1. The authority citation for part 1 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 154(j), 155, 157, 160, 201, 
225, 227, 303, 309, 310, 332, 1403, 1404, 1451, 1452, and 1455.


0
2. Amend Sec.  1.907 by adding the definitions of ``Covered Geographic 
Licenses'' and ``Covered Site-based Licenses'' in alphabetical order to 
read as follows:


Sec.  1.907  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Covered Geographic Licenses. Covered geographic licenses consist of 
the following services: 1.4 GHz Service (part 27, subpart I of this 
chapter); 1.6 GHz Service (part 27, subpart J); 24 GHz Service and 
Digital Electronic Message Services (part 101, subpart G); 218-219 MHz 
Service (part 95, subpart F); 220-222 MHz Service, excluding public 
safety licenses (part 90, subpart T); 600 MHz Service (part 27, subpart 
N); 700 MHz Commercial Services (part 27, subparts F and H); 700 MHz 
Guard Band Service (part 27, subpart G); 800 MHz Specialized Mobile 
Radio Service (part 90, subpart S); 900 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio 
Service (part 90, subpart S); Advanced Wireless Services (part 27, 
subparts K and L); Air-Ground Radiotelephone Service (Commercial 
Aviation) (part 22, subpart G); Broadband Personal Communications 
Service (part 24, subpart E); Broadband Radio Service (part 27, subpart 
M); Cellular Radiotelephone Service (part 22, subpart H); Dedicated 
Short Range Communications Service, excluding public safety licenses 
(part 90, subpart M); H Block Service (part 27, subpart K); Local 
Multipoint Distribution Service (part 101, subpart L); Multichannel 
Video Distribution and Data Service (part 101, subpart P); 
Multilateration Location and Monitoring Service (part 90, subpart M); 
Multiple Address Systems (EAs) (part 101, subpart O); Narrowband 
Personal Communications Service (part 24, subpart D); Paging and 
Radiotelephone Service (part 22, subpart E; part 90, subpart P); VHF 
Public Coast Stations, including Automated Maritime Telecommunications 
Systems (part 80, subpart J); Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service 
(part 30); and Wireless Communications Service (part 27, subpart D).
    Covered Site-based Licenses. Covered site-based licenses consist of 
the following services: 220-222 MHz Service (site-based), excluding 
public safety licenses (part 90, subpart T of this

[[Page 41545]]

chapter); 800/900 MHz (SMR and Business and Industrial Land 
Transportation Pool) (part 90, subpart S); Aeronautical Advisory 
Stations (Unicoms) (part 87, subpart G); Air-Ground Radiotelephone 
Service (General Aviation) (part 22, subpart G); Alaska-Public Fixed 
Stations (part 80, subpart O); Broadcast Auxiliary Service (part 74, 
subparts D, E, F, and H); Common Carrier Fixed Point-to-Point, 
Microwave Service (part 101, subpart I); Industrial/Business Radio Pool 
(part 90, subpart C); Local Television Transmission Service (part 101, 
subpart J); Multiple Address Systems (site-based), excluding public 
safety licenses (part 101, subpart H); Non-Multilateration Location and 
Monitoring Service (part 90, subpart M); Offshore Radiotelephone 
Service (part 22, subpart I); Paging and Radiotelephone Service (site-
based) (part 22, subpart E); Private Carrier Paging (part 90, subpart 
P); Private Operational Fixed Point-to-Point Microwave Service, 
excluding public safety licenses (part 101, subpart H); Public Coast 
Stations (site-based) (part 80, subpart J); Radiodetermination Service 
Stations (Radionavigation Land Stations) (part 87, subpart Q); 
Radiolocation Service (part 90, subpart F); and Rural Radiotelephone 
Service (including Basic Exchange Telephone Radio Service) (part 22, 
subpart F).
* * * * *

0
3. Amend Sec.  1.934 by:
0
a. Revising paragraphs (a)(1)(ii);
0
b. Removing paragraph (a)(3); and
0
c. Revising paragraphs (b) and (c).
    The revisions read as follows:


Sec.  1.934  Defective applications and dismissal.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (ii) If the applicant requests dismissal of its application without 
prejudice, the Commission will dismiss that application without 
prejudice, unless it is an application for which the applicant 
submitted the winning bid in a competitive bidding process.
* * * * *
    (b) Dismissal of mutually exclusive applications not granted. The 
Commission may dismiss mutually exclusive applications for which the 
applicant did not submit the winning bid in a competitive bidding 
process.
    (c) Dismissal for failure to prosecute. The Commission may dismiss 
applications for failure of the applicant to prosecute or for failure 
of the applicant to respond substantially within a specified time 
period to official correspondence or requests for additional 
information. Such dismissal may be with prejudice in cases of non-
compliance with Sec.  1.945. The Commission may dismiss applications 
with prejudice for failure of the applicant to comply with requirements 
related to a competitive bidding process.
* * * * *

0
4. Revise Sec.  1.949 to read as follows:


Sec.  1.949  Application for renewal of authorization.

    (a) Filing requirements. Applications for renewal of authorizations 
in the Wireless Radio Services must be filed no later than the 
expiration date of the authorization, and no sooner than 90 days prior 
to the expiration date. Renewal applications must be filed on the same 
form as applications for initial authorization in the same service, 
i.e., FCC Form 601 or 605.
    (b) Common expiration date. Licensees with multiple authorizations 
in the same service may request a common date on which such 
authorizations expire for renewal purposes. License terms may be 
shortened by up to one year but will not be extended.
    (c) Implementation. Covered Site-based Licenses, except Common 
Carrier Fixed Point-to-Point Microwave Service (part 101, subpart I of 
this chapter), and Covered Geographic Licenses in the 600 MHz Service 
(part 27, subpart N); 700 MHz Commercial Services (part 27, subpart F); 
Advanced Wireless Services (part 27, subpart L) (AWS-3 (1695-1710 MHz, 
1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz) and AWS-4 (2000-2020 MHz and 2180-
2200 MHz) only); and H Block Service (part 27, subpart K) must comply 
with paragraphs (d) through (h) of this section. All other Covered 
Geographic Licenses must comply with paragraphs (d) through (h) of this 
section beginning on January 1, 2023. Common Carrier Fixed Point-to-
Point Microwave Service (part 101, subpart I) must comply with 
paragraphs (d) through (h) of this section beginning on October 1, 
2018.
    (d) Renewal Standard. An applicant for renewal of an authorization 
of a Covered Site-based License or a Covered Geographic License must 
demonstrate that over the course of the license term, the licensee(s) 
provided and continue to provide service to the public, or operated and 
continue to operate the license to meet the licensee(s)' private, 
internal communications needs.
    (e) Safe harbors. An applicant for renewal will meet the Renewal 
Standard if it can certify that it has satisfied the requirements of 
one of the following safe harbors:
    (1) Covered Site-based Licenses. (i) The applicant must certify 
that it is continuing to operate consistent with its most recently 
filed construction notification (or most recent authorization, when no 
construction notification is required).
    (ii) The applicant must certify that no permanent discontinuance of 
service occurred during the license term. This safe harbor may be used 
by any Covered Site-based License.
    (2) Geographic licenses--commercial service. (i) For an applicant 
in its initial license term with an interim performance requirement, 
the applicant must certify that it has met its interim performance 
requirement and that over the portion of the license term following the 
interim performance requirement, the applicant continues to use its 
facilities to provide at least the level of service required by its 
interim performance requirement; and the licensee has met its final 
performance requirement and continues to use its facilities to provide 
at least the level of service required by its final performance 
requirement through the end of the license term. For an applicant in 
its initial license term with no interim performance requirement, the 
applicant must certify that it has met its final performance 
requirement and continues to use its facilities to provide at least the 
level of service required by its final performance requirement through 
the end of the license term. For an applicant in any subsequent license 
term, the applicant must certify that it continues to use its 
facilities to provide at least the level of service required by its 
final performance requirement through the end of any subsequent license 
terms.
    (ii) The applicant must certify that no permanent discontinuance of 
service occurred during the license term. This safe harbor may be used 
by any Covered Geographic License.
    (3) Geographic licenses--private systems. (i) For an applicant in 
its initial license term with an interim performance requirement, the 
applicant must certify that it has met its interim performance 
requirement and that over the portion of the license term following the 
interim performance requirement, the applicant continues to use its 
facilities to further the applicant's private business or public 
interest/public safety needs at or above the level required to meet its 
interim performance requirement; and the applicant has met its final 
performance requirement and continues to use its facilities to provide 
at least the level of operation required by its final performance 
requirement through the end of the license term. For an applicant in 
its initial license term

[[Page 41546]]

with no interim performance requirement, the applicant must certify 
that it has met its final performance requirement and continues to use 
its facilities to provide at least the level of operation required by 
its final performance requirement through the end of the license term. 
For an applicant in any subsequent license term, the applicant must 
certify that it continues to use its facilities to further the 
applicant's private business or public interest/public safety needs at 
or above the level required to meet its final performance requirement.
    (ii) The applicant must certify that no permanent discontinuance of 
operation occurred during the license term. This safe harbor may be 
used by any Covered Geographic License.
    (4) Partitioned or disaggregated license without a performance 
requirement. (i) The applicant must certify that it continues to use 
its facilities to provide service or to further the applicant's private 
business or public interest/public safety needs.
    (ii) The applicant must certify that no permanent discontinuance of 
service occurred during the license term. This safe harbor may be used 
by any Covered Geographic License.
    (f) Renewal Showing. If an applicant for renewal cannot meet the 
Renewal Standard in paragraph (d) of this section by satisfying the 
requirements of one of the safe harbors in paragraph (e) of this 
section, it must make a Renewal Showing, independent of its performance 
requirements, as a condition of renewal. The Renewal Showing must 
specifically address the Renewal Standard by including a detailed 
description of the applicant's provision of service (or, when allowed 
under the relevant service rules or pursuant to waiver, use of the 
spectrum for private, internal communication) during the entire license 
period and address, as applicable:
    (1) The level and quality of service provided by the applicant 
(e.g., the population served, the area served, the number of 
subscribers, the services offered);
    (2) The date service commenced, whether service was ever 
interrupted, and the duration of any interruption or outage;
    (3) The extent to which service is provided to rural areas;
    (4) The extent to which service is provided to qualifying tribal 
land as defined in Sec.  1.2110(e)(3)(i) of this chapter; and
    (5) Any other factors associated with the level of service to the 
public.
    (g) Regulatory Compliance Certification. An applicant for renewal 
of an authorization in the Wireless Radio Services identified in 
paragraph (d) of this section must make a Regulatory Compliance 
Certification certifying that it has substantially complied with all 
applicable FCC rules, policies, and the Communications Act of 1934, as 
amended.
    (h) Consequences of denial. If the Commission, or the Wireless 
Telecommunications Bureau acting under delegated authority, finds that 
a licensee has not met the Renewal Standard under paragraph (d) of this 
section, or that its Regulatory Compliance Certification under 
paragraph (g) of this section is insufficient, its renewal application 
will be denied, and its licensed spectrum will return automatically to 
the Commission for reassignment (by auction or other mechanism). In the 
case of certain services licensed site-by-site, the spectrum will 
revert automatically to the holder of the related overlay geographic-
area license. To the extent that an AWS-4 licensee also holds the 2 GHz 
Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) rights for the affected license area, 
the MSS protection rule in Sec.  27.1136 of this chapter will no longer 
apply in that license area.

0
5. Add Sec.  1.950 to read as follows:


Sec.  1.950  Geographic partitioning and spectrum disaggregation.

    (a) Definitions. The terms ``county and county equivalent,'' 
``geographic partitioning,'' and ``spectrum disaggregation'' as used in 
this section are defined as follows:
    (1) County and county equivalent. The terms county and county 
equivalent as used in this part are defined by Federal Information 
Processing Standards (FIPS) 6-4, which provides the names and codes 
that represent the counties and other entities treated as equivalent 
legal and/or statistical subdivisions of the 50 States, the District of 
Columbia, and the possessions and freely associated areas of the United 
States. Counties are the ``first-order subdivisions'' of each State and 
statistically equivalent entity, regardless of their local designations 
(county, parish, borough, etc.). Thus, the following entities are 
equivalent to counties for legal and/or statistical purposes: The 
parishes of Louisiana; the boroughs and census areas of Alaska; the 
District of Columbia; the independent cities of Maryland, Missouri, 
Nevada, and Virginia; that part of Yellowstone National Park in 
Montana; and various entities in the possessions and associated areas. 
The FIPS codes and FIPS code documentation are available online at 
http://www.itl.nist.gov/fipspubs/index.htm.
    (2) Geographic partitioning. Geographic partitioning is the 
assignment of a geographic portion of a geographic area licensee's 
license area.
    (3) Spectrum disaggregation. Spectrum disaggregation is the 
assignment of portions of blocks of a geographic area licensee's 
spectrum.
    (b) Eligibility. Covered Geographic Licenses are eligible for 
geographic partitioning and spectrum disaggregation.
    (1) Geographic partitioning. An eligible licensee may partition any 
geographic portion of its license area, at any time following grant of 
its license, subject to the following exceptions:
    (i) 220 MHz Service licensees must comply with Sec.  90.1019 of 
this chapter.
    (ii) Cellular Radiotelephone Service licensees must comply with 
Sec.  22.948 of this chapter.
    (iii) Multichannel Video & Distribution and Data Service licensees 
are only permitted to partition licensed geographic areas along county 
borders (Parishes in Louisiana or Territories in Alaska).
    (2) Spectrum disaggregation. An eligible licensee may disaggregate 
spectrum in any amount, at any time following grant of its license to 
eligible entities, subject to the following exceptions:
    (i) 220 MHz Service licensees must comply with Sec.  90.1019 of 
this chapter.
    (ii) Cellular Radiotelephone Service licensees must comply with 
Sec.  22.948 of this chapter.
    (iii) VHF Public Coast (156-162 MHz) spectrum may only be 
disaggregated in frequency pairs, except that the ship and coast 
transmit frequencies comprising Channel 87 (see Sec.  80.371(c) of this 
chapter) may be disaggregated separately.
    (iv) Disaggregation is not permitted in the Multichannel Video & 
Distribution and Data Service 12.2-12.7 GHz band.
    (c) Filing requirements. Parties seeking approval for geographic 
partitioning, spectrum disaggregation, or a combination of both must 
apply for a partial assignment of authorization by filing FCC Form 603 
pursuant to Sec.  1.948. Each request for geographic partitioning must 
include an attachment defining the perimeter of the partitioned area by 
geographic coordinates to the nearest second of latitude and longitude, 
based upon the 1983 North American Datum (NAD83). Alternatively, 
applicants may specify an FCC-recognized service area (e.g., Basic 
Trading Area, Economic Area, Major Trading Area, Metropolitan Service 
Area, or Rural Service Area), county, or county equivalent, in which

[[Page 41547]]

case, applicants need only list the specific FCC-recognized service 
area, county, or county equivalent names comprising the partitioned 
area.
    (d) Relocation of incumbent licensees. Applicants for geographic 
partitioning, spectrum disaggregation, or a combination of both must, 
if applicable, include a certification with their partial assignment of 
authorization application stating which party will meet any incumbent 
relocation requirements, except as otherwise stated in service-specific 
rules.
    (e) License term. The license term for a partitioned license area 
or disaggregated spectrum license is the remainder of the original 
licensee's license term.
    (f) Frequency coordination. Any existing frequency coordination 
agreements convey with the partial assignment of authorization for 
geographic partitioning, spectrum disaggregation, or a combination of 
both, and shall remain in effect for the term of the agreement unless 
new agreements are reached.
    (g) Performance requirements. Parties to geographic partitioning, 
spectrum disaggregation, or a combination of both, have two options to 
satisfy service-specific performance requirements (i.e., construction 
and operation requirements). Under the first option, each party may 
certify that it will individually satisfy any service-specific 
requirements and, upon failure, must individually face any service-
specific performance penalties. Under the second option, both parties 
may agree to share responsibility for any service-specific 
requirements. Upon failure to meet their shared service-specific 
performance requirements, both parties will be subject to any service-
specific penalties.
    (h) Unjust enrichment. Licensees making installment payments or 
that received a bidding credit, that partition their licenses or 
disaggregate their spectrum to entities that do not meet the 
eligibility standards for installment payments or bidding credits, are 
subject to the unjust enrichment requirements of Sec.  1.2111.

0
6. Add Sec.  1.953 to read as follows:


Sec.  1.953  Discontinuance of service or operations.

    (a) Termination of authorization. A licensee's authorization will 
automatically terminate, without specific Commission action, if the 
licensee permanently discontinues service or operations under the 
license during the license term. A licensee is subject to this 
provision commencing on the date it is required to be providing service 
or operating.
    (b) 180-day Rule for Geographic Licenses. Permanent discontinuance 
of service or operations for Covered Geographic Licenses is defined as 
180 consecutive days during which a licensee does not operate or, in 
the case of commercial mobile radio service providers, does not provide 
service to at least one subscriber that is not affiliated with, 
controlled by, or related to the licensee.
    (c) 365-day Rule for Site-based Licenses. Permanent discontinuance 
of service or operations for Covered Site-based Licenses is defined as 
365 consecutive days during which a licensee does not operate or, in 
the case of commercial mobile radio service providers, does not provide 
service to at least one subscriber that is not affiliated with, 
controlled by, or related to the providing carrier.
    (d) 365-day Rule for public safety licenses. Permanent 
discontinuance of operations is defined as 365 consecutive days during 
which a licensee does not operate. This 365-day rule applies to public 
safety licenses issued based on the applicant demonstrating eligibility 
under Sec.  90.20 or Sec.  90.529 of this chapter, or public safety 
licenses issued in conjunction with a waiver pursuant to section 337 of 
the Communications Act.
    (e) Channel keepers. Operation of channel keepers (devices that 
transmit test signals, tones, color bars, or some combination of these, 
for example) does not constitute operation or service for the purposes 
of this section.
    (f) Filing requirements. A licensee that permanently discontinues 
service as defined in this section must notify the Commission of the 
discontinuance within 10 days by filing FCC Form 601 or 605 requesting 
license cancellation. An authorization will automatically terminate, 
without specific Commission action, if service or operations are 
permanently discontinued as defined in this section, even if a licensee 
fails to file the required form requesting license cancellation.
    (g) Extension request. A licensee may file a request for a longer 
discontinuance period for good cause. An extension request must be 
filed at least 30 days before the end of the applicable 180-day or 365-
day discontinuance period. The filing of an extension request will 
automatically extend the discontinuance period a minimum of the later 
of an additional 30 days or the date upon which the Wireless 
Telecommunications Bureau acts on the request.

0
7. Amend Sec.  1.955 by revising paragraph (a)(3) to read as follows:


Sec.  1.955  Termination of authorizations.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (3) Service discontinued. Authorizations automatically terminate, 
without specific Commission action, if service or operations are 
permanently discontinued. See Sec.  1.953.
* * * * *

PART 22--PUBLIC MOBILE SERVICES

0
8. The authority citation for part 22 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 222, 303, 309 and 332.


Sec.  22.131  [Amended]

0
9. Amend Sec.  22.131 as follows:
0
a. Remove paragraph (b)(1);
0
b. Redesignate paragraphs (b)(2) through (4) as paragraphs (b)(1) 
through (3);
0
c. Remove paragraph (c)(3)(i);
0
d. Redesignate paragraphs (c)(3)(ii) and (iii) as paragraphs (c)(3)(i) 
and (ii);
0
e. Remove paragraph (c)(4)(i); and
0
f. Redesignate paragraphs (c)(4)(ii) through (iv) as paragraphs 
(c)(4)(i) through (iii).


Sec.  22.317  [Removed]

0
10. Remove Sec.  22.317.


Sec.  22.513  [Amended]

0
11. Amend Sec.  22.513 by removing paragraphs (f) and (g).


Sec.  22.947  [Removed]

0
12. Remove Sec.  22.947.

PART 24--PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

0
13. The authority citation for part 24 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 301, 302, 303, 309 and 332.


Sec.  24.16  [Removed]

0
14. Remove Sec.  24.16.


Sec.  24.104  [Amended]

0
15. Amend Sec.  24.104 by removing paragraphs (f) and (g).


Sec.  24.714  [Amended]

0
16. Amend Sec.  24.714 by removing paragraph (e).

PART 27--MISCELLANEOUS WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

0
17. The authority citation for part 27 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 301, 302a, 303, 307, 309, 332, 336, 
337, 1403, 1404, 1451, and 1452, unless otherwise noted.


[[Page 41548]]



0
a. Revising the section heading;
0
b. Removing and reserving paragraphs (b) through (f); and
0
c. Removing paragraphs (q)(7), (r)(6), (s)(6), and (t)(6).
    The revision reads as follows:


Sec.  27.14  Construction requirements.

* * * * *


Sec.  27.15  [Amended]

0
19. Amend Sec.  27.15 by removing paragraph (d).


Sec.  27.17  [Removed]

0
20. Remove Sec.  27.17.

PART 30--UPPER MICROWAVE FLEXIBLE USE SERVICE

0
21. The authority citation for part 30 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 153, 154, 301, 303, 304, 307, 
309, 310, 316, 332, 1302.


Sec.  30.105  [Amended]

0
22. Amend Sec.  30.105 by removing paragraph (d).


Sec.  30.106  [Removed]

0
23. Remove Sec.  30.106.

PART 74--EXPERIMENTAL RADIO, AUXILIARY, SPECIAL BROADCAST AND OTHER 
PROGRAM DISTRIBUTIONAL SERVICES

0
24. The authority citation for part 74 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 302a, 303, 307, 309, 310, 336 and 554.


Sec.  74.632  [Amended]

0
25. Amend Sec.  74.632 by removing paragraph (g).

PART 80--STATIONS IN THE MARITIME SERVICES

0
26. The authority citation for part 80 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: Secs. 4, 303, 307(e), 309, and 332, 48 Stat. 1066, 
1082, as amended; 47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 307(e), 309, and 332, unless 
otherwise noted. Interpret or apply 48 Stat. 1064-1068, 1081-1105, 
as amended; 47 U.S.C. 151-155, 301-609; 3 UST 3450, 3 UST 4726, 12 
UST 2377.

0
27. Amend Sec.  80.60 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows:


Sec.  80.60  Partitioned licenses and disaggregated spectrum.

* * * * *
    (d) Partitioning and disaggregation construction requirements for 
site-based AMTS, and nationwide or multi-region LF, MF, and HF public 
coast. Parties seeking to acquire a partitioned license or 
disaggregated spectrum from a site-based AMTS, or nationwide or multi-
region LF, MF, and HF public coast licensee will be required to 
construct and commence ``service to subscribers'' in all facilities 
acquired through such transactions within the original construction 
deadline for each facility as set forth in Sec.  80.49. Failure to meet 
the individual construction deadline will result in the automatic 
termination of the facility's authorization.

PART 90--PRIVATE LAND MOBILE RADIO SERVICES

0
28. The authority citation for part 90 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: Sections 4(i), 11, 303(g), 303(r), and 332(c)(7) of 
the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 161, 
303(g), 303(r), and 332(c)(7), and Title VI of the Middle Class Tax 
Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Public Law 112-96, 126 Stat. 
156.


Sec.  90.157  [Removed]

0
29. Remove Sec.  90.157.

0
30. Amend Sec.  90.165 by:
0
a. Removing paragraph (b)(1);
0
b. Redesignating paragraphs (b)(2) through (4) as paragraphs (b)(1) 
through (3);
0
c. Removing paragraph (c)(3)(i);
0
d. Redesignating paragraphs (c)(3)(ii) and (iii) as paragraphs 
(c)(3)(i) and (ii);
0
e. Revising newly redesignated paragraph (c)(3)(ii);
0
f. Removing paragraph (c)(4)(i); and
0
g. Redesignating paragraphs (c)(4)(ii) through (iv) as paragraphs 
(c)(4)(i) through (iii).
    The revision reads as follows:


Sec.  90.165  Procedures for mutually exclusive applications.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (ii) If any mutually exclusive application filed on the earliest 
filing date is an application for modification, a same-day filing group 
is used.
* * * * *


Sec.  90.365  [Amended]

0
31. Amend Sec.  90.365 by removing paragraph (d).

0
32. Amend Sec.  90.375 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  90.375  RSU license areas, communication zones and registrations.

* * * * *
    (b) Applicants who are approved in accordance with FCC Form 601 
will be granted non-exclusive licenses for all non-reserved DSRCS 
frequencies (see Sec.  90.377). Such licenses serve as a prerequisite 
of registering individual RSUs located within the licensed geographic 
area described in paragraph (a) of this section. Licensees must 
register each RSU in the Universal Licensing System (ULS) before 
operating such RSU. RSU registrations are subject, inter alia, to the 
requirements of Sec.  1.923 of this chapter as applicable (antenna 
structure registration, environmental concerns, international 
coordination, and quiet zones). Additionally, RSUs at locations subject 
to NTIA coordination (see Sec.  90.371(b)) may not begin operation 
until NTIA approval is received. Registrations are not effective until 
the Commission posts them on the ULS. It is the DSRCS licensee's 
responsibility to delete from the registration database any RSUs that 
have been discontinued.
* * * * *

0
33. Amend Sec.  90.631 by revising paragraph (f) to read as follows:


Sec.  90.631  Trunked systems loading, construction and authorization 
requirements.

* * * * *
    (f) If a station is not placed in permanent operation, in 
accordance with the technical parameters of the station authorization, 
within one year, except as provided in Sec.  90.629, its license 
cancels automatically. For purposes of this section, a base station is 
not considered to be placed in operation unless at least two associated 
mobile stations, or one control station and one mobile station, are 
also placed in operation.
* * * * *

0
34. Amend Sec.  90.685 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  90.685  Authorization, construction and implementation of EA 
licenses.

    (a) EA licenses in the 809-824/854-869 MHz band will be issued for 
a term not to exceed ten years.
* * * * *

0
35. Revise Sec.  90.743 to read as follows:


Sec.  90.743  Renewal requirements.

    Until January 1, 2023, all licensees seeking renewal of their 
authorizations at the end of their license term must file a renewal 
application in accordance with the provisions of Sec.  1.949 of this 
chapter. Licensees must demonstrate, in their application, that:
    (a) They have provided ``substantial'' service during their past 
license term. ``Substantial'' service is defined in this rule as 
service that is sound, favorable, and substantially above a level of 
mediocre service that just might minimally warrant renewal; and
    (b) They have substantially complied with applicable FCC rules, 
policies, and

[[Page 41549]]

the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.


Sec.  90.813  [Amended]

0
36. Amend Sec.  90.813 by removing paragraph (e).


Sec.  90.816  [Removed]

0
37. Remove Sec.  90.816.


Sec.  90.911  [Amended]

0
38. Amend Sec.  90.911 by removing paragraphs (e) and redesignating 
paragraph (f) as (e).


Sec.  90.1019  [Amended]

0
39. Amend Sec.  90.1019 by removing paragraph (d).

PART 95--PERSONAL RADIO SERVICES

0
40. The authority citation for part 95 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 301, 302(a), 303, and 307(e).


Sec.  95.1923  [Amended]

0
41. Amend Sec.  95.1923 by removing paragraph (d).

0
42. Amend Sec.  95.1933 by revising paragraph (a) and paragraph (b) 
introductory text to read as follows:


Sec.  95.1933  Construction requirements.

    (a) Each 218-219 MHz Service licensee must make a showing of 
``substantial service'' within ten years of the license grant. Until 
January 1, 2023, ``substantial service'' assessment will be made at 
renewal pursuant to the provisions and procedures contained in Sec.  
1.949 of this chapter.
    (b) Until January 1, 2023, each 218-219 MHz Service licensee must 
file a report to be submitted to inform the Commission of the service 
status of its system. The report must be labeled as an exhibit to the 
renewal application. At minimum, the report must include:
* * * * *

PART 101--FIXED MICROWAVE SERVICES

0
43. The authority citation for part 101 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  47 U.S.C. 154, 303.


0
44. Revise Sec.  101.65 to read as follows:


Sec.  101.65  Termination of station authorizations.

    In addition to the provisions of Sec.  1.953 of this chapter, a 
site-based license will be automatically terminated in whole or in part 
without further notice to the licensee upon the voluntary removal or 
alteration of the facilities, so as to render the station not 
operational for a period of 30 days or more. A licensee is subject to 
this provision commencing on the date it is required to be providing 
service or operating under Sec.  101.63. This provision is inapplicable 
to blanket authorizations to operate fixed stations at temporary 
locations pursuant to the provisions of Sec.  101.31(a)(2). See Sec.  
101.305 for additional rules regarding temporary and permanent 
discontinuation of service.

0
45. Amend Sec.  101.527 by revising paragraph (a) and paragraph (b) 
introductory text to read as follows:


Sec.  101.527  Construction requirements for 24 GHz operations.

    (a) Each licensee must make a showing of ``substantial service'' 
within ten years of its license grant. ``Substantial service'' is a 
service which is sound, favorable, and substantially above a level of 
mediocre service which just might minimally warrant renewal during its 
past license term. Until January 1, 2023, ``substantial service'' 
assessment will be made at renewal pursuant to the provisions and 
procedures set forth in Sec.  1.949 of this chapter.
    (b) Until January 1, 2023, each licensee must, at a minimum file:
* * * * *


Sec.  101.529  [Removed]

0
46. Remove Sec.  101.529.


Sec.  101.535  [Amended]

0
47. Amend Sec.  101.535 by removing paragraph (d).

0
48. Revise Sec.  101.1011 to read as follows:


Sec.  101.1011  Construction requirements.

    LMDS licensees must make a showing of ``substantial service'' in 
their license area within ten years of being licensed. ``Substantial'' 
service is defined as service which is sound, favorable, and 
substantially above a level of mediocre service which might minimally 
warrant renewal. Failure by any licensee to meet this requirement will 
result in forfeiture of the license and the licensee will be ineligible 
to regain it.


Sec.  101.1111  [Amended]

0
49. Amend Sec.  101.1111 by removing paragraph (e).

0
50. Amend Sec.  101.1323 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  101.1323  Spectrum aggregation, disaggregation, and partitioning.

* * * * *
    (c) Construction requirements. Responsible parties must submit 
supporting documents showing compliance with the respective 
construction requirements within the appropriate construction 
benchmarks set forth in Sec.  101.1325.
* * * * *


Sec.  101.1327  [Removed]

0
51. Remove Sec.  101.1327.

0
52. Amend Sec.  101.1413 by revising the section heading, paragraph (b) 
introductory text, and paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  101.1413  License term and construction requirements.

* * * * *
    (b) As a construction requirement, MVDDS licensees must make a 
showing of substantial service at the end of five years into the 
license period and ten years into the license period. The substantial 
service requirement is defined as a service that is sound, favorable, 
and substantially above a level of mediocre service which might 
minimally warrant renewal. At the end of five years into the license 
term and ten years into the license period, the Commission will 
consider factors such as:
* * * * *
    (c) The renewal application of an MVDDS licensee is governed by 
Sec.  1.949 of this chapter.


Sec.  101.1415  [Amended]

0
53. Amend Sec.  101.1415 by removing paragraph (f).

0
54. Amend Sec.  101.1513 by revising the section heading to read as 
follows:


Sec.  101.1513  License term.

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[FR Doc. 2017-18501 Filed 8-31-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P