[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 195 (Wednesday, October 11, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 47155-47160]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-21790]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 2 and 27

[GN Docket No. 12-268: DA 17-887]


Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum 
Through Incentive Auctions

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Commission modifies the Table of 
Frequency Allocations (Allocations Table) in of its rules, as well as 
modifying four of its rules, to conform them to the results of the 
broadcast television incentive auction. This action ensures that the 
Commission's rules accurately reflect revisions that occurred because 
of that auction.

DATES: Effective November 13, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Mooring, Office of Engineering and

[[Page 47156]]

Technology, 202-418-2450, Tom.Mooring@fcc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Order, 
GN Docket No. 12-268, DA 17-887, adopted September 11, 2017, and 
released September 13, 2017. The full text of this document is 
available for inspection and copying during normal business hours in 
the FCC Reference Center (Room CY-A257), 445 12th Street SW., 
Washington, DC 20554. The full text may also be downloaded at: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0714/FCC-17-95A1.pdf.
    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).

Summary of Order

    1. In the Incentive Auction Report and Order (R&O) in this 
proceeding, 79 FR 48442 (August 15, 2014), the Commission adopted rules 
to implement the incentive auction to allow spectrum that is used for 
broadcast television under a broadcasting service allocation to be 
repurposed for new services and applications under fixed and mobile 
services allocations. Under the auction design, the Commission provided 
that varying amounts of spectrum within the 512-698 MHz range could 
potentially be repurposed for such use as a result of the incentive 
auction. As part of the Incentive Auction R&O, the Commission amended 
the Allocations Table to add entries for primary non-Federal fixed and 
mobile services in the 512-608 MHz (UHF TV channels 2136) and 614698 
MHz (UHF TV channels 38-51) bands, as well as corresponding cross-
references to the Miscellaneous Wireless Communications Services, part 
27, in the ``FCC Rule Part(s)'' column of the Allocations Table. 
Recognizing that the particular amount of television broadcast spectrum 
that would ultimately be repurposed would not be known until the 
incentive auction concluded, the Commission adopted specific 600 MHz 
band plan scenarios that would correspond to a range of different 
auction results. It further delegated authority to the Chief of the 
Office of Engineering and Technology to take such actions as are 
necessary to modify the Allocations Table to reflect the outcome of the 
incentive auction. As part of this pre-auction process, the Commission 
also modified certain of the part 27 rules to include generic 
references to the frequencies that could be assigned to new wireless 
services depending on the outcome of the incentive auction.
    2. The April 13, 2017 Closing and Channel Reassignment Public 
Notice in this proceeding announced the completion of the reverse and 
forward auctions and the channel reassignments and reallocations made 
in the repacking process, including the specific 600 MHz band plan 
effectuated by the auction and repacking process. Under this band plan 
(the 600 MHz Band Plan), TV broadcasting spectrum associated with 
Channels 38-51 (614-698 MHz) was repurposed to include 70 megahertz of 
licensed spectrum (seven paired five megahertz channel blocks) for 600 
MHz service wireless licensees that will operate under part 27 of the 
rules. The 600 MHz Band Plan is comprised of: (1) The 600 MHz band 
licensed for the 600 MHz service wireless licensees (which includes a 
downlink (617-652 MHz) band and an uplink (UL, 663-698 MHz) band); (2) 
the 600 MHz duplex gap (652-663 MHz) between these bands; and (3) the 
600 MHz guard band (614-617 MHz) between Channel 37 (608-614 MHz), 
which is presently being used by the Wireless Medical Telemetry Service 
(WMTS) and the Radio Astronomy Service (RAS), and the 600 MHz band 
downlink band (617-652 MHz). The April 13, 2017 release date of the 
Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice also triggered the start 
of the 39-month post-auction transition period, which will end on July 
13, 2020.
    3. Based on the results of the incentive auction, we hereby modify 
the Allocations Table. Specifically, we delete the primary fixed and 
mobile service allocations and part 27 cross reference from the 512-608 
MHz band and return the band to its pre-auction allocation status. We 
also revise the entries for the 614-698 MHz band by deleting the 
primary broadcasting service allocation and removing the part 73 cross 
reference to account for post-auction fixed and mobile use by 600 MHz 
service wireless licensees that will operate under part 27 of the rules 
and new footnote NG33. This change reflects use of these frequencies 
for broadcasting during and after the 39-month post-auction transition 
period as discussed below. In addition, we revise the text of three 
non-Federal Government footnotes (NG5, NG14, and NG149) that provide 
for limited flexible use of the television broadcast bands, including 
the 614-698 MHz band, by providing a cross reference to new footnote 
NG33.
    4. To fully account for the various licensed services and 
unlicensed devices that will operate in the 614-698 MHz band during and 
after the transition, we add new footnote NG33 to the Allocations 
Table. Pursuant to the Commission's direction, the footnote authorizes 
operations of: (1) Full power and Class A television stations on a 
primary basis in the 614-698 MHz band (i.e., TV channels 38-51) until 
such stations terminate operations on their preauction channels, (2) 
licensed low power television (LPTV) and TV translator station 
operations on a secondary basis in the 614-698 MHz band under part 74 
Subpart G, (3) licensed fixed broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) 
operations (which include TV studio-transmitter link (STL), TV relay, 
and TV translator relay station operations) on a secondary basis in the 
614-698 MHz band under part 74 Subpart F, (4) licensed wireless 
microphone and other low power auxiliary station (LPAS) operations and 
wireless assist video device (WAVD) operations on a secondary basis 
under part 74 Subpart H, (5) unlicensed wireless microphone operations 
under part 15 on a non-interference basis, on frequencies in the 614-
698 MHz band, and (6) unlicensed white space device operations under 
part 15 on a non-interference basis on frequencies in the 614-698 MHz 
band.
    5. Based on the results of the incentive auction, we also modify 
four rules in part 27. We revise section 27.1(b)(14) to replace a 
generic reference to the 470-698 MHz UHF band with a specific reference 
to ``617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz,'' to follow the 600 MHz Band Plan and 
be consistent with the way the rule is structured. We also modify 
section 27.5, which lists available frequencies, channel blocks, and 
geographic areas of licensing, by revising paragraph (l) to state that 
the 600 MHz Band (for the 600 MHz service) consists of seven pairs of 5 
megahertz channel blocks available for assignment on a Partial Economic 
Area basis, and to identify the frequencies associated with blocks A 
through G. Section 27.6 specifies the Partial Economic Areas for each 
of the frequency bands and channel blocks listed in section 27.5. We 
revise the text of 27.6(l) to reference additional details recently 
provided by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau about licensing in 
the 600 MHz band by Partial Economic Areas. Lastly, we revise section 
27.11(k) to specify the 600 MHz Band (i.e., the 617-652 MHz downlink 
band and 663-698 MHz uplink band) and to add a cross-reference to the 
frequency blocks specified in Section 27.5(l).

[[Page 47157]]

    6. We conclude that there is good cause for not employing the prior 
notice and comment procedure specified in the Administrative Procedure 
Act (APA) in this case. The rule modifications here implement the 
Commission's prior rulemaking decisions issued following notice-and-
comment procedures in the incentive auction proceeding with respect to 
the 600 MHz Band and the end date of the post-auction transition 
period. These specific frequency bands and dates were not known until 
the close of the incentive auction on April 13, 2017 with the release 
of the Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice. In implementing 
these rule revisions, we have no discretion to deviate from the auction 
results and the Commission's prior rulemaking decisions. Under these 
circumstances, we find that notice and comment under section 553 of the 
APA, 5 U.S.C. 553, would be unnecessary.
    7. We take this action to modify the Allocations Table and to make 
conforming amendments to the rules under authority expressly delegated 
by the Commission in the Incentive Auction R&O and the authority 
delegated in part 0 of the Commission's rules. The specific edits to 
the Allocations Table and service rules described herein are contained 
in the Final Rules.
    8. Because this Order is being adopted without notice and comment, 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act does not apply.
    9. The rules contained herein have been analyzed with respect to 
the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and found to contain no new or 
modified form, information collection, and/or recordkeeping, labeling, 
disclosure, or record retention requirements, and will not increase or 
decrease burden hours imposed on the public. In addition, therefore, 
this Order does not contain any new or modified ``information 
collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 
employees,'' pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 
2002.
    10. The Commission will send a copy of the Order in a report to 
Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the 
Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).
    11. Accordingly, it is ordered that parts 2 and 27 of the 
Commission's Rules, 47 CFR parts 2 and 27, are amended as set forth in 
the Final Rules, effective 30 days after the date of publication in the 
Federal Register. This action is taken pursuant to authority found in 
sections 4(i) and 303 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 
U.S.C. 154(i) and 303; in section 553(b)(B) of the Administrative 
Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B); in Sections 0.31, 0.131, 0.241 and 
0.331 of the Commission's Rules, 47 CFR 0.31, 0.131, 0.241 and 0.331; 
and in Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum 
Through Incentive Auctions, GN Docket No. 12-268, Report and Order, 29 
FCC Rcd 6567 (2014).

List of Subjects

47 CFR Part 2

    Telecommunications.

47 CFR Part 27

    Communications equipment.

Federal Communications Commission.
Ronald T. Repasi,
Deputy Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology.

Final Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal 
Communications Commission amends parts 2 and 27 of Title 47 of the Code 
of Federal Regulations to read as follows:

PART 2--FREQUENCY ALLOCATIONS AND RADIO TREATY MATTERS; GENERAL 
RULES AND REGULATIONS

0
1. The authority citation for part 2 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 302a, 303, and 336, unless otherwise 
noted.


0
2. Section 2.106, the Table of Frequency Allocations, is amended as 
follows:
0
a. Pages 29 and 30 are revised.
0
b. In the list of Non-Federal Government (NG) Footnotes, footnotes NG5, 
NG14, and NG149 are revised and footnote NG33 is added.
    The revisions and additions read as follows:


Sec.  2.106  Table of Frequency Allocations.

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* * * * *

Non-Federal Government (NG) Footnotes

* * * * *
    NG5 In the band 535-1705 kHz, AM broadcast licensees and permittees 
may use their AM carrier on a secondary basis to transmit signals 
intended for both broadcast and non-broadcast purposes. In the band 88-
108 MHz, FM broadcast licensees and permittees are permitted to use 
subcarriers on a secondary basis to transmit signals intended for both 
broadcast and non-broadcast purposes. In the bands 54-72, 76-88, 174-
216, 470-608, and 614-698 MHz, TV broadcast licensees and permittees 
are permitted to use subcarriers on a secondary basis for both 
broadcast and non-broadcast purposes. Use of the band 614-698 MHz is 
subject to the provisions specified in NG33.
* * * * *
    NG14 TV broadcast stations authorized to operate in the bands 54-
72, 76-88, 174-216, 470-608, and 614-698 MHz may use a portion of the 
television vertical blanking interval for the transmission of 
telecommunications signals, on the condition that harmful interference 
will not be caused to the reception of primary services, and that such 
telecommunications services must accept any interference caused by 
primary services operating in these bands. Use of the band 614-698 MHz 
is subject to the provisions specified in NG33.
* * * * *
    NG33 In the band 614-698 MHz, the following provisions shall apply:
    (a) Until July 13, 2020, stations in the broadcasting service and 
other authorized uses may operate as follows:
    (1) Full power and Class A television (TV) stations, i.e., 
broadcast TV stations, may operate on a co-equal, primary basis with 
stations in the fixed and mobile services until such stations terminate 
operations on their pre-auction television channels in accordance with 
Sec.  73.3700(b)(4).
    (2) Low power TV (LPTV) and TV translator stations may operate on a 
secondary basis to stations in the fixed and mobile services and to 
broadcast TV stations, and fixed TV broadcast auxiliary stations may 
operate on a secondary basis to LPTV and TV translator stations, unless 
such stations are required to terminate their operations earlier in 
accordance with Sec.  73.3700(g)(4) or Sec.  74.602(h)(5)-(6).
    (3) Low power auxiliary stations (LPAS), including wireless assist 
video devices (WAVDs), may operate on a secondary basis to all other 
authorized stations in accordance with Sec.  74.802(f) and Sec.  
74.870(i).
    (4) Unlicensed wireless microphones and white space devices (WSDs) 
may operate on a non-interference basis, unless such devices are 
required to terminate operations earlier in accordance with Sec.  
15.236(c)(2) or Sec.  15.707(a)(1)-(2), (5), respectively.
    (b) After July 13, 2020, only the following types of radiofrequency 
devices that are authorized in paragraph (a) may continue to operate:
    (1) LPTV and TV translator stations may operate on a secondary 
basis to stations in the fixed and mobile services in the sub-bands 
617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz until required to terminate their 
operations in accordance with Sec.  73.3700(g)(4).
    (2) LPAS may operate in the sub-band 653-657 MHz and unlicensed 
wireless microphones may operate in the sub-bands 614-616 MHz and 657-
663 MHz.
    (3) WSDs may operate in: (i) The sub-bands 617-652 MHz and 663-698 
MHz, except in those areas where their use is prohibited in accordance 
with Sec. Sec.  15.707(a)(5) and 15.713(b)(2)(iv), and (ii) the sub-
band 657-663 MHz, in accordance with Sec.  15.707(a)(4).
* * * * *
    NG149 The bands 54-72, 76-88, 174-216, 470-608, and 614-698 MHz are 
also allocated to the fixed service to permit subscription television 
operations in accordance with 47 CFR part 73. Use of the band 614-698 
MHz is subject to the provisions specified in NG33.
* * * * *

PART 27--MISCELLANEOUS WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

0
3. 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.


0
4. Section 27.1 is amended by revising paragraph (b)(14) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  27.1  Basis and purpose.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (14) 617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz.
* * * * *

0
5. Section 27.5 is amended by revising paragraph (l) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  27.5  Frequencies.

* * * * *
    (l) 600 MHz band. The 600 MHz band (617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz) 
has seven pairs of 5 megahertz channel blocks available for assignment 
on a Partial Economic Area basis as follows:
    Block A: 617-622 MHz and 663-668 MHz;
    Block B: 622-627 MHz and 668-673 MHz;
    Block C: 627-632 MHz and 673-678 MHz;
    Block D: 632-637 MHz and 678-683 MHz;
    Block E: 637-642 MHz and 683-688 MHz;
    Block F: 642-647 MHz and 688-693 MHz; and
    Block G: 647-652 MHz and 693-698 MHz.

0
6. Section 27.6 is amended by revising paragraph (l) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  27.6   Service areas.

* * * * *
    (l) 600 MHz band. Service areas for the 600 MHz band are based on 
Partial Economic Areas (PEAs) as defined by Wireless Telecommunications 
Bureau Provides Details About Partial Economic Areas, Public Notice, 29 
FCC Rcd 6491, App. B (2014). The service areas of PEAs that border the 
U.S. coastline of the Gulf of Mexico extend 12 nautical miles from the 
U.S. Gulf coastline. The service area of the Gulf of Mexico PEA (PEA 
416) that comprises the water area of the Gulf of Mexico extends from 
12 nautical miles off the U.S. Gulf coast outward into the Gulf.


0
7. Section 27.11 is amended by revising paragraph (k) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  27.11  Initial authorization.

* * * * *
    (k) 600 MHz band. Initial authorizations for the 600 MHz band will 
be based on Partial Economic Areas (PEAs), as specified in Sec.  
27.6(1), and, shall be paired channels that each consist of a 5 
megahertz channel block in the 600 MHz downlink band (617-652 MHz), 
paired with a 5 megahertz channel block in the 600 MHz uplink band 
(663-698 MHz), based on the frequency blocks specified in Sec.  
27.5(l).

[FR Doc. 2017-21790 Filed 10-10-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6712-01-P