Promoting Investment in the 3500-3700 MHz Band, 56193-56201 [2017-25672]

Download as PDF jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 28, 2017 / Proposed Rules On October 25, 2017, the Corps issued a report recommending changes to nine nationwide permits to reduce burdens on domestic energy producers. The report is available at: http:// www.usace.army.mil/Portals/2/docs/ civilworks/nwp/NWP_13783_ 25sept2017_castle.pdf?ver=2017-10-25092532-813. The Corps issues nationwide permits to authorize certain categories of activities that require Department of the Army permits under section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. Nationwide permits are general permits that authorize activities across the country that result in no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects. Nationwide permits can be issued for a period of 5 years, and the current nationwide permits were issued on December 21, 2016. Those nationwide permits were published in the Federal Register on January 6, 2017 (82 FR 1860) and went into effect on March 19, 2017. Those nationwide permits expire on March 18, 2022. There are 52 nationwide permits, and the report identifies 12 nationwide permits that authorize activities associated with domestic energy production and use. The report suggests modifications to nine of those nationwide permits to reduce burdens on domestic energy producers. The nine nationwide permits (NWPs) recommended for changes include: NWP 3, Maintenance; NWP 12, Utility Line Activities; NWP 17, Hydropower Projects; NWP 21, Surface Coal Mining Activities; NWP 39, Commercial and Institutional Developments; NWP 49, Coal Remining Activities; NWP 50, Underground Coal Mining Activities; NWP 51, Land-Based Renewable Energy Generation Projects; and NWP 52, Water-Based Renewable Energy Generation Pilot Projects. The Corps will coordinate with the administration to determine if the recommended changes in the report will be pursued. Any modifications to the nine nationwide permits identified in the report would require rulemaking to change those nationwide permits. That rulemaking process requires publishing a proposed rule in the Federal Register to solicit comments on the proposed changes to the nationwide permits, evaluating the comments received, and issuing a final rule to modify those nationwide permits. Modification of those nationwide permits will also require, as applicable, water quality certifications under section 401 of the Clean Water Act and consistency VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:25 Nov 27, 2017 Jkt 244001 determinations under the Coastal Zone Management Act. Dated: November 17, 2017. Thomas P. Smith, Chief, Operations and Regulatory Division, Directorate of Civil Works. [FR Doc. 2017–25554 Filed 11–27–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720–58–P FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 96 [GN Docket No. 17–258; FCC 17–134] Promoting Investment in the 3500– 3700 MHz Band Federal Communications Commission. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) proposes and seeks comment on reforms of its licensing rules governing Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the 3550–3700 MHz band (3.5 GHz Band). Specifically, the Commission proposes extending PAL license terms from three years to 10 years, with the possibility for renewal; seeks comment on increasing the PAL geographic licensing area; proposes to allow portioning and disaggregation of PALs on the secondary market; and proposes to amend the rules governing assignment of PALs. The Commission also proposes to remove a rule requiring public disclosure of device registration information, and seeks comment on changes to the technical rules to allow operation over wider bandwidths. DATES: Interested parties may file comments on or before December 28, 2017, and reply comments on or before January 29, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by GN Docket No. 17–258, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS): http:// fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998). • Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. Generally, if more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number. Commenters are only required to file copies in GN Docket No. 13–111. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 56193 • Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission. • All hand-delivered or messengerdelivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St. SW., Room TW–A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the building. • Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9050 Junction Drive, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701. • U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. 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). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jessica Greffenius, Jessica.Greffenius@ fcc.gov, of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Mobility Division, (202) 418–2896. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in GN Docket No. 17–258, FCC 17–134, released on October 24, 2017. The complete text of the NPRM is available for viewing via the Commission’s ECFS Web site by entering the docket number, GN Docket No. 17–258. The complete text of the NPRM is also available for public inspection and copying from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) Monday through Thursday or from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET on Fridays in the FCC Reference Information Center, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY–B402, Washington, DC 20554, telephone 202– 488–5300, fax 202–488–5563. 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 proceeding this NPRM initiates shall be treated as a ‘‘permit-but- E:\FR\FM\28NOP1.SGM 28NOP1 56194 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 28, 2017 / Proposed Rules disclose’’ proceeding in accordance with the Commission’s ex parte rules (47 CFR 1.1200 et seq.). 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 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 electronic comment filing system 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. We find that all ex parte presentations made by NTIA or Department of Defense representatives are exempt under our exemption for presentations by federal agencies sharing jurisdiction with the Commission (see 47 CFR 1.1204(a)(5)). jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Synopsis I. Introduction and Background In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in GN Docket No. 17–258 (NPRM), the Commission seeks comment on several proposed changes to the rules governing Priority Access Licenses (PALs) that will be issued in 3550–3700 MHz band (3.5 GHz Band)— including longer license terms, renewability, larger geographic license VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:25 Nov 27, 2017 Jkt 244001 areas, and auction methodology. These changes are consistent with the service rules and license assignment models that helped foster the development of 4G and LTE services in the United States. We anticipate that adopting similar rules for the 3.5 GHz Band similarly will encourage robust investment in network deployment. We also seek comment on changes to the technical rules that could facilitate operations over wider bandwidths while ensuring that current and future incumbent operations continue to be protected from interference. In addition, we seek changes to the information security requirements that would help safeguard private information and protect critical infrastructure. In 2015, the Commission adopted rules for commercial use of 150 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz Band. Specifically, the First Report and Order in GN Docket No. 12–354, adopted April 15, 2015 and released April 21, 2015 (FCC 15–47), created a three-tiered framework to coordinate shared federal and non-federal use of the band. Incumbents comprise the highest tier and receive protection from all other users, followed by PAL, the second tier, and General Authorized Access (GAA), the third tier. PALs receive protection from GAA operations; GAA is licensedby-rule and must accept interference from all other users. Automated frequency coordinators, known as Spectrum Access Systems (SASs), will coordinate operations between and among users in different access tiers. The service and technical rules governing the 3.5 GHz Band were adopted as the new Part 96 of the Commission’s rules. In June 2017, both CTIA and T-Mobile (together, Petitioners) filed petitions for rulemaking, which ask the Commission to reexamine several of the PAL licensing rules. CTIA proposes several changes to the PAL licensing rules; TMobile supports CTIA’s proposals and makes additional proposals, including proposed changes to the amount of spectrum available for PALs and to the technical rules governing the 3.5 GHz Band. Petitioners argue that these changes are necessary to promote 5G network deployment in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Office of Engineering and Technology sought comment on the Petitions—and on related issues raised in ex parte communications—on June 22, 2017 (DA 17–609), and received comments and reply comments from more than 120 parties. PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 II. NPRM A. PAL Licensing Rules 1. License Term and Renewability The rules adopted in the First Report and Order established a three-year license term for PALs. Under the current rules, at the end of its term, a PAL will terminate automatically and may not be renewed. During the first application window, however, an applicant may apply for up to two consecutive threeyear terms for a given PAL. During subsequent regular application windows, only the next three-year license term will be made available for any given PAL. Petitioners ask the Commission to increase the PAL license term to ten years, and to include an expectation of renewal. Petitioners and some commenters argue that a longer, renewable license term will better encourage investment in the 3.5 GHz Band, stressing that a three-year term with automatic termination creates a risk that Priority Access licensees will face stranded investment in just three (or, initially, six) years. Petitioners and some commenters also disagree with the assumption underlying the current rule—that a user’s ability to switch between Priority Access and GAA use will provide sufficient incentives for investment. T-Mobile argues that the current rule does not account for challenges ‘‘that providers have reported experiencing in the real world today’’ that can delay network deployment. For example, CTIA cites difficulties in obtaining siting approvals, which they argue are magnified in this band, given the complexity of rolling out a high number of small cell deployments. CTIA and several commenters also note that a ten-year, renewable licensing scheme is consistent with the Commission’s ‘‘proven approach’’ in most other licensed mobile bands, including the bands at issue in the Spectrum Frontiers proceeding which, like the 3.5 GHz Band, ‘‘will see network deployments comprised mostly of small cells.’’ Others argue that tenyear terms would harmonize the U.S. approach with the global approach to actively encourage 5G network deployment in the mid-band spectrum. Other commenters, however, support the existing rules. They argue that that a longer, renewable license—combined with other potential rule changes sought by the Petitioners—would make PALs economically viable investments only for large entities, and would convert the 3.5 GHz Band from an innovative framework into a traditionally licensed E:\FR\FM\28NOP1.SGM 28NOP1 jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 28, 2017 / Proposed Rules band. These commenters also argue that the investments already made in the band based on the current rules belie concerns about barriers to investment and that any changes to the band should permit a diversity of deployment models and use cases and not be solely designed for the benefit of one (i.e., 5G). We propose to revise our rules by increasing the PAL license term from three years to ten years and by eliminating the requirement that PALs automatically terminate at the end of the license term. We also seek comment on this change and on the appropriate performance requirements and renewal standards for PALs. This approach is consistent with that adopted for other wireless services and will afford each licensee sufficient time to design and acquire the necessary equipment and devices and to deploy facilities across the license area. We invite detailed comments on this proposal from all stakeholders. We seek comment on whether the proposed rule changes will affect investment already made, as well as how they will incentivize future investment, in this band. What specific impact will a longer, renewable license have on investments and business plans already underway? How will the proposal affect investment in the future, particularly given the longer term of ten years and the possibility of renewal? To what extent would a longer license term with the possibility of renewal facilitate the deployment of a wide array of technologies? We also seek comment on how a longer, renewable license term for PALs could affect deployments in rural areas. Does the proposed rule change effectively promote the development and rapid deployment of new technologies, products, and services to benefit the public, including those residing in rural areas? Given concerns raised by the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) and other commenters about access to spectrum in rural areas, does the proposed rule change appropriately balance the objectives in Section 309(j) (47 U.S.C. 309(j))? Do these arguments present a persuasive case for maintaining the current three-year license term for PALs in rural areas? Further, does extending the license term to ten years lead to barriers to exit for companies that could impede innovation and investment or is the ability to return a license to the Commission sufficient to allay such concerns? Additionally, we seek comment on alternative approaches to the length of the license term, including different, VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:25 Nov 27, 2017 Jkt 244001 hybrid approaches for particular subsets of PALs (e.g., three years for some PALs, five years for some, and ten for yet others). Many of these other approaches are already in the record. For example, Charter proposes a six-year renewable term, Motorola Solutions proposes a five-year term with only a single renewal allowed, and Southern Linc and WISPA suggest that a subset of PALs could have a five-year term, with PALs seeking renewal paying a fee. What other alternative licensing terms and conditions might be appropriate for this band? What impact would these alternatives have on investment, deployment, and on smaller or rural entities seeking PALs? Commenters that submit alternative proposals should include a cost-benefit analysis to support their approach. If the license term is increased to ten years with the possibility of renewal, PALs would more closely resemble other licenses issued by the Commission under its auction authority. Such licenses include performance requirements—typically construction requirements—and many services also include renewal standards. Some commenters argue that, if PALs are licensed for a ten-year, renewable term, the Commission should impose construction requirements on Priority Access licensees, as it has for other licensed wireless services. We seek comment on whether, if we adopt longer term, renewable PALs, it would serve the public interest to adopt certain performance requirements to ensure that the spectrum is put to its best use in an efficient and effective manner. If so, what types of performance requirements would be appropriate? Which performance metrics (e.g., population coverage, geographic coverage) and benchmarks would be appropriate? Does the opportunistic GAA use of the band—including unused PAL channels—alleviate concerns involving spectrum warehousing or otherwise satisfy the Commission’s statutory obligations? If so, how can we take that into account in determining performance requirements for longer term, renewable PALs? In addition, to obtain renewal, a licensee generally must show that it has continued to provide at least the initially-required level of service necessary to satisfy its performance requirement, and that it has substantially complied with the Communications Act and Commission rules. If we adopt the proposed changes to PALs, what standard, if any, would be appropriate for the Commission to apply at the end of the PAL license term to determine whether renewal is PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 56195 warranted? Would such a requirement be appropriate in this band? If so, how should it be applied and what level of service should be used as a renewal standard? Some commenters have argued that, instead of renewability, the licenses should be reauctioned at the end of the license term. For example, Paul Milgrom describes an auction format under which an incumbent would be required to bid for a renewal of its license at the end of the license term, but it would be given a bidding credit so that, if it won, it would have to pay only a fraction of the auctiondetermined price. Moreover, if the incumbent loses, it would be compensated with a transferable bidding credit to apply to the purchase of other outcomes. Milgrom argues that this would mitigate the risk that the incumbent licensee’s investments may become stranded. We seek comment on this approach and its assumptions, as well as on other approaches that might offer an alternative to renewability and still encourage robust investment in the band. Could this approach promote competition and efficient use of spectrum? 2. Geographic License Area The First Report and Order defined the geographic license area for each PAL as one census tract. Petitioners request that the Commission increase the geographic licensing area from census tracts to Partial Economic Area (PEAs). T-Mobile argues that doing so would ‘‘be consistent with the geographic licensing area that the Commission has already identified as best for 5G operations’’ in the Spectrum Frontiers proceeding. Petitioners and some commenters contend that licensing PALs on a census tract-basis—which could result in over 500,000 PALs—will be challenging for SAS Administrators, the Commission, and licensees to manage, and will create unnecessary interference risks due to the large number of border areas that will need to be managed and maintained. Petitioners and some commenters contend that these challenges ultimately will make PALs unattractive to licensees and reduce investment. They argue that PEAs are small enough to allow for flexible and targeted networks, but large enough to reduce border areas and decrease administrative burdens. Some commenters also contend that a larger license area (along with a longer, renewable license term) will promote global harmonization of the 3.5 GHz Band for 5G development. Many commenters oppose expanding the geographic license area of PALs E:\FR\FM\28NOP1.SGM 28NOP1 jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS 56196 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 28, 2017 / Proposed Rules from census tracts to PEAs or other larger areas. These commenters argue that PEAs—especially in combination with other potential changes to the PAL licensing rules—could foreclose smaller entities from participating in the PAL auction. Some commenters similarly contend that enlarging the geographic area and extending the license term will effectively grant permanent spectrum rights to large carriers, and upend planned business models for targeted, local, and rural uses. Some of these commenters—including, Google and Sony, which have applied to be SAS Administrators—argue that managing licenses in over 70,000 geographic areas would not pose an undue burden ‘‘given the meaningful advances in database management, cloud computing, and other technologies and engineering systems in recent years.’’ NCTA and Charter suggest that county-sized license areas could strike a balance between preserving low barriers to entry and minimizing administrative burdens. Some commenters propose using a hybrid approach to offer more than one PAL license size (e.g., offering some licenses by PEAs and others by county or census tracts). GeoLinks similarly asks us to consider whether rural areas would benefit more from using census tracts or counties to ensure more timely broadband access to rural communities, while more urban areas could benefit from using PEAs. We seek comment on increasing the geographic licensing area of PALs to stimulate additional investment, promote innovation, and encourage efficient use of spectrum resources. We seek comment on this proposal and on the potential effects of this change on investment in and use of the 3.5 GHz Band. We also seek comment on whether a larger license area would provide additional flexibility to facilitate the deployment of a wide variety of technologies, including 5G. We seek comment on Petitioners’ specific request to increase the license size of PALs to PEAs, and how this would affect investment in PALs—both investments currently underway and future PAL investment—and diversity of PAL uses and users. Would PEAs strike an appropriate balance between facilitating access to spectrum by both large and small providers while incentivizing investment in, and rapid deployment of, new technologies? We also note that, like census tracts, counties nest into PEAs, which in turn nest into EAs. This nesting would make it easier for operators to combine or partition their PEAs into the license area of their choice. Would the larger size of PEAs and the ability to combine and VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:25 Nov 27, 2017 Jkt 244001 partition licenses to customize service areas effectively address the concerns raised by commenters and promote robust deployment in the band? Commenters should include cost-benefit analyses when comparing licensing PALs on a PEA-basis versus a census tract-basis, as well as for options in between these choices (e.g., licensing on a county-basis). Would PEAs effectively balance the objectives set forth in Section 309(j) of the Act (47 U.S.C. 309(j)), including encouraging ‘‘efficient and intensive’’ use of the 3.5 GHz spectrum and prescribing license area designations that promote ‘‘an equitable distribution of licenses and services among geographic areas’’ and ‘‘economic opportunity for a wide variety of applications’’? What impact would licensing PALs using PEAs have on smaller entities, rural deployments, and existing investments? Would PEAbased licensing facilitate compatible, authorized users and uses occupying the same spectrum? We also seek comment on alternatives or hybrid approaches, including those already in the record. Would counties, or a combination of PAL license areas (e.g., a hybrid combination of PEAs in urban areas and census tracts in rural areas, offering PALs of different sizes, such as PEAs and census tracts, or some other combination) ensure a diversity of auction participants, differing technologies, and rural deployments? Since we are offering seven PALs, commenters in favor of offering different license sizes in rural and urban areas should discuss what would be the appropriate balance between larger geographic areas and census tracts. Are there other possibilities that could promote such objectives? Should the Commission reconsider package bidding of census tracts or other geographic areas for a limited number of PALs? Would this approach promote our objectives? Would package bidding, bidding credits for certain bidders or areas, or other auction design mechanisms be appropriate for us to consider if we were to increase the license area? Specifically, we seek comment on whether we should adopt the bidding credits we used in the 600 MHz Band (Incentive Auction). Commenters should include a costbenefit analysis of their proposed alternatives or hybrid approaches and discuss how their proposed approach appropriately balances the objectives set forth in Section 309(j) of the Act (47 U.S.C. 309(j)). In addition, we seek comment generally on how changes to the license area (on their own, and in combination with changes to the license term) could PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 affect auction complexity. How might such changes affect bidding strategies? How would a combination of license areas affect the auction mechanism and bidding strategies? Are there insights from bidders’ experience during recent auctions that may be relevant in this context? In light of the proposed change to modify the geographic license area, as well as any other changes considered in this NPRM, should the Commission modify the current 40 megahertz spectrum aggregation limit? Should we remove it altogether? What are the costs and benefits of higher or lower limits? How would changes affect competition and new entrants? 3. Secondary Markets In the Second Report and Order in GN Docket No. 12–354 (FCC 16–55), the Commission prohibited Priority Access licensees from partitioning or disaggregating their licenses because the Commission found typical reasons for permitting partitioning and disaggregation in more traditionally licensed bands were not present in the 3.5 GHz Band. The Commission also determined that a light-touch leasing process could achieve the goal of making PAL spectrum use rights available in secondary markets—on a targeted, flexible basis—without the need for the Commission oversight required of partitioning and disaggregation. In its Petition, T-Mobile asks the Commission to consider allowing partitioning and disaggregation of PALs, if it permits licensing on a PEA basis. Several commenters agree that allowing partitioning and disaggregation will help ensure that PAL spectrum rights flow to their best use and support a wide variety of deployments. These commenters also argue that partitioning and disaggregation will encourage service to targeted areas, mitigating concerns that licensing larger area PALs might result in in inefficient spectrum use. Several commenters oppose the concept of secondary market transactions as a replacement for smaller geographic areas and shorter term PALs to encourage efficient use of spectrum by a variety of users. They argue that there is no guarantee that the licensee will lease or sell idle spectrum in the secondary market. Other commenters, however, suggest that, if the Commission were to make changes to the PAL license term, renewability, and geographic area, then the ability of a PAL licensee to partition or disaggregate its license on the secondary market could be a useful tool to ensure E:\FR\FM\28NOP1.SGM 28NOP1 jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 28, 2017 / Proposed Rules robust and targeted use of the spectrum throughout the license area. We propose to allow partitioning and disaggregation of PALs in secondary market transactions. Allowing partitioning and disaggregation would be consistent with other changes considered in this NPRM, and is consistent with the licensing paradigm for other similarly licensed services. We also anticipate that the ability to partition and disaggregate a PAL will be an effective way to improve spectral efficiency and facilitate targeted network deployments, particularly if the Commission adopts a longer license term or larger license area for PALs. We seek comment on this proposal and its underlying assumptions. If we were to adopt a larger geographic license area for some or all PALs, would allowing partitioning and disaggregation of PALs enable prospective PAL licensees to acquire PAL rights in smaller geographic areas where their business needs call for it? Are partitioning and disaggregation effective means to facilitate the ability of small entities to access the spectrum they desire for targeted, local deployments? If the Commission does not adopt some or all of the other proposed revisions to PALs, should we still allow partitioning and disaggregation? If so, why? To what extent would partitioning and disaggregation help the Commission facilitate the objectives of Section 309(j) (47 U.S.C. 309(j)), which, among other considerations, asks us to promote ‘‘economic opportunity for a wide variety of applications’’? We note that several commenters argue the PAL licensees will lack an incentive to disaggregate or partition a larger, longer-term PAL. T-Mobile, in response, suggests that this ‘‘can be remedied by adopt[ing] reasonable performance requirements associated with renewal expectations.’’ We seek comment on the relationship between secondary market transactions and performance requirements. What types of requirements would be appropriate to encourage a robust secondary market for PALs to facilitate targeted and intensive spectrum use? How would requirements related to secondary markets interplay with construction requirements for PALs more broadly? How could performance requirements and secondary markets incentivize users to provide service to rural and other difficult-to-serve areas? 4. SAS Public Disclosure of CBSD Registration Information In the First Report and Order, the Commission required that SAS Administrators make Citizens VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:25 Nov 27, 2017 Jkt 244001 Broadband Radio Service Device (CBSD) registration information available to the general public. When doing so, however, SAS Administrators must ‘‘obfuscate the identities of the licensees.’’ In doing so, the Commission acknowledged ‘‘the concerns raised by commenters about disclosure of confidential business information to the public.’’ Both CTIA and T-Mobile, supported by several commenters, ask the Commission to eliminate the rule requiring public disclosure of CBSD registration information. Petitioners assert that the rule raises both competitive concerns and ‘‘cybersecurity and national security concerns.’’ AT&T also claims that ‘‘the SAS will be required to collect extensive data regarding users’ network configuration, uses, and technical parameters’’—data that ‘‘amounts to critical infrastructure data’’ that must be adequately protected to avoid competitive and cybersecurity concerns.’’ In addition, Petitioners and commenters argue that obfuscating the licensees’ identities does not adequately address these concerns because it still may be possible to uncover the identities of individual licensees based on publicly available information. Petitioners and commenters also contend that, since potential GAA operators can coordinate directly with the SAS Administrators to deploy GAA services, the public disclosure requirement is unnecessary to ensure that operations in the band are effectively coordinated. Google, Open Technology Institute and Public Knowledge (OTI/PK), and WISPA support retention of the current rule, arguing that it benefits potential operators that need to investigate the feasibility of deploying GAA or PAL service before incurring the cost of attempting to reserve or auction spectrum. OTI/PK contends that meaningful transparency allows incumbents and public advocacy groups to play a productive role in holding SAS Administrators and other stakeholders accountable for responsibilities such as military radar protection and ensuring that valuable PAL spectrum does not lie fallow. Google denies that anonymized public registration data presents security or competitive concerns and argues that such information is already available, as wireless carriers’ transceiver locations are visible to a passerby, logged by crowd-sourced applications, and publicly documented. Google also notes that several aspiring SAS Administrators—including CTIA— already have negotiated a model sharing agreement, and that CTIA itself has PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 56197 stated that the agreement ‘‘provides the necessary protections for SAS customers’ proprietary and competitively sensitive information, as well as end users’ private information.’’ In response, AT&T argues that the model sharing agreement that Google references addresses SAS-to-SAS information sharing, not public availability of information, and that Google incorrectly assumes that licensees plan network deployment based on activities of others rather than on internal objectives and consumer behavior. Charter, Federated Wireless, and NCTA encourage the Commission to seek comment on how it could ensure that prospective users of the band can obtain sufficient information to execute network deployments without disclosing detailed CBSD registration information to the public. We propose to amend the current rules to prohibit SASs from disclosing publicly CBSD registration information that may compromise the security of critical network deployments or be considered competitively sensitive. We seek comment on the proposal and ask which specific information should be withheld from public disclosure to address the concerns raised by Petitioners and Commenters. We ask commenters to address the potential competitive, security, or other forms of risk presented by the rule, as well as on specific and actionable suggestions to mitigate these risks. Nothing we propose here will affect SAS-to-SAS information sharing requirements. We also note that some commenters claim that potential GAA and PAL users will use registration information to plan deployments. As such, we seek comment on how to appropriately balance the potential competitive and security risks with potential users’ need for information about CBSD deployment. Is there a mechanism— other than full public disclosure of CBSD registration information—for potential users to plan future GAA and/ or PAL deployments? For example, could potential users communicate with an SAS on a confidential basis? We also seek comment on whether there is certain information that the SAS can publicly provide while balancing data sensitivity and security concerns. 5. Competitive Bidding Procedures for PALs a. Assignment of PALs Section 309(j) of the Communications Act (47 U.S.C. 309(j)) requires that the Commission assign licenses using competitive bidding when ‘‘mutually E:\FR\FM\28NOP1.SGM 28NOP1 jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS 56198 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 28, 2017 / Proposed Rules exclusive applications are accepted for any initial license,’’ subject to certain exemptions not applicable to this band. Because of the ‘‘generic’’ nature of PAL frequency assignments, mutual exclusivity exists when multiple applicants apply to bid on more PALs than exist in a given census tract. In the First Report and Order, the Commission decided that, when there are two or more applicants for PALs in a given census tract, it will make available one fewer PAL than the total number of PALs for which all applicants have applied in that license area, up to a maximum of seven PALs. The Commission also concluded that assigning PALs on a non-auctioned basis would not result in the most efficient assignment of the spectrum. It therefore decided that, where there is only a single applicant for one or more PALs in a license area, it would not proceed to an auction or assign any PALs for that license area and there would only be shared GAA access to that spectrum until the next filing window for competitive bidding. In its Order on Reconsideration in GN Docket No. 12–354 (FCC 16–55), the Commission granted a limited exception for certain rural areas, finding it in the public interest to assign a PAL even if there is only a single applicant, given the likelihood of lower demand in rural areas. T-Mobile and several commenters ask the Commission to make all PALs available, regardless of the number of applications the Commission receives in any given license area. GeoLinks argues that, by prohibiting the assignment of PALs when there is only one interested carrier, the Commission will ‘‘surely create gaps in rural, sparsely populated parts of the country that could benefit from an interested service provider.’’ Further, several commenters, like AT&T and Ericsson, argue that the Commission’s current policy will eventually phase out PAL licenses in a market with each subsequent auction if there is no renewal expectancy, rendering the auctions ‘‘essentially a game of musical chairs for PAL licensees.’’ No commenter opposes TMobile’s mutual exclusivity proposal specifically. United States Cellular Corporation (USCC) argues that the Commission should assign PALs in any given license area by subjecting all PALs to a minimum opening bid and the existing spectrum aggregation limit of four PALs. If the aggregate demand in a license area does not exceed seven PALs, USCC suggests that the applicant(s) would receive the number of PALs for which they applied, subject to the payment of VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:25 Nov 27, 2017 Jkt 244001 the minimum opening bid for those PALs, and remaining spectrum would be available on a GAA basis. Consistent with our proposals to lengthen the PAL license term, make them renewable, and increase the PAL geographic license area, we also propose to employ our standard practice for finding mutual exclusivity among accepted applications. We propose to eliminate the rule that limited the number of PALs the Commission would make available. We also propose to assign PALs even when there is only one applicant in a given license area, assuming the applicant is otherwise qualified. We seek comment on these changes, which appear consistent with the broad opposition to the current requirements already in the record. The other proposed changes to PAL licensing discussed in this NPRM— including longer, renewable license terms and a larger geographic area— would make PALs more similar to licenses offered in the Incentive Auction and other recent spectrum auctions, where there was no need for the requirements in Sections 96.29(c) and 96.29(d) of our rules (47 CFR 96.29(c) and 47 CFR 96.29(d)). We seek comment on this proposal. What are the costs and benefits of removing these requirements? Are these changes consistent with the statutory objectives of Section 309(j) (47 U.S.C. 309(j)), including to ‘‘promot[e]economic opportunity and competition,’’ ‘‘ensur[e] that new and innovative technologies are readily accessible,’’ ‘‘avoid[ ] excessive concentration of licenses’’ and ‘‘disseminat[e] licenses among a wide variety of applicants’’; ‘‘recover[ ] for the public of a portion of the value of the of the public spectrum’’; and promote ‘‘efficient and intensive use of electromagnetic spectrum.’’ Additionally, as fully described below, we also seek comment on whether a PAL for any given license area is mutually exclusive to GAA use in that area such that the Commission would have the authority to assign PALs by auction in those situations. In the First Report and Order, the Commission adopted these two limitations on the assignment of PALs because it concluded that assigning PALs on a non-auctioned basis would not result in as efficient an assignment of the spectrum as licensing the spectrum for shared GAA use. The Commission found that ensuring widespread GAA use of spectrum in any geographic area for which it had not received mutually exclusive PAL applications was the best way to discharge its statutory obligation to ‘‘encourage the larger and more effective PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 use of radio in the public interest.’’ However, the Commission reached these conclusions regarding nonrenewable PALs that had substantially shorter license terms than we are now proposing to adopt for PALs. Under our current proposals, the use case for PALs could vary more significantly from GAA use than under our current rules. The Commission also noted in the First Report and Order that the determination of mutual exclusivity of PAL applications would not be a one-time event for this band, because PALs would be licensed for three-year, nonrenewable terms and the Commission would periodically open application windows for new PALs, as well as interim filing windows to accept applications for unassigned PALs. If we adopt our proposal to increase PAL license terms to 10 years, such frequent application or filing windows likely would not be necessary. We seek comment on whether the circumstances that will pertain if our proposals regarding license term, renewability, and geographic area are adopted warrant our elimination of the current limits on the number of PALs we make available. Moreover, the record indicates that PALs will be more useful to a wide variety of potential licensees if PALs are renewable, longer term, and/or licensed for a larger geographic area. USCC suggests that, if the Commission adopts PEA-based license areas and a ten-year license period with a renewal expectancy, ‘‘it will be far less likely that the aggregate demand in any license area will be less than seven PALs.’’ We seek comment on whether our proposed changes in the term, renewability, and service area of PALs would make them more useful to a wider range of potential licensees and, if so, whether that would reduce the benefit of limiting the number of PALs available in a given license area or not assigning PALs in any area for which there is only one applicant. We note that, if we adopt the above proposal to make all of the PALs in a given license area available for assignment regardless of the number of applicants that have applied in that area, it would still be possible, albeit less likely, for the number of PALs being offered to exceed applicant demand in a given area. Similarly, if we were to assign PALs in a license area for which only a single applicant applied for a PAL, as some commenters advocate, in those instances we would not have accepted mutually exclusive PAL applications, which is the prerequisite for assigning PALs by auction. While the Commission has the authority in both situations to assign the PALs on a E:\FR\FM\28NOP1.SGM 28NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 28, 2017 / Proposed Rules jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS non-auctioned basis, we seek comment on whether it would be consistent with our statutory objectives to do so on a non-auctioned basis given the nature of the changes we propose to adopt for PALs. Such a circumstance raises questions of how to accommodate GAA use such that the sharing envisioned within this band could occur. To the extent necessary and as an alternative, we also seek comment on whether we nevertheless have authority to assign PALs by auction in these situations because a PAL for any given area is mutually exclusive to GAA use in that area. If we were to assign PALs by auction in these situations, applicants would be required to submit at least the minimum opening bid for each PAL consistent with the Commission’s general competitive bidding procedures. Would such an approach be consistent with our statutory requirements and objectives under Section 309 of Act (47 U.S.C. 309(j))? Commenters that support this proposal should describe in detail the mechanism by which such a change would work, particularly within the sharing regime contemplated in the 3.5 GHz Band, and how it would fit within the Commission’s statutory requirements. b. Bidding on Specific PAL License Blocks Under the current rules, Priority Access licensees do not bid on specific spectrum blocks. Rather, SAS Administrators assign frequencies based on the amount of spectrum that the PAL licensee is authorized to use in a given license area. Licensees may request a particular channel or frequency range from the SAS, but are not guaranteed a particular assignment. The SAS will ‘‘assign geographically contiguous PALs held by the same Priority Access Licensee to the same channels in each geographic area’’ and ‘‘assign multiple channels held by the same Priority Access Licensee to contiguous frequencies within the same License Area’’ when it is feasible to do so. TMobile instead asks the Commission to allow applicants to bid on particular channels, rather than bidding solely on an amount of spectrum that will later be assigned by the SAS. A few commenters support T-Mobile’s proposal. Ericsson argues that this approach would ensure a ‘‘stable and predictable’’ spectrum environment, while 5G Americas and GSMA argue that it would encourage robust use of the band for 5G and would align with what other countries have planned for the band. Commenters opposing this proposal question how it would work given the VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:25 Nov 27, 2017 Jkt 244001 need to protect incumbent rights. Vivint Wireless calls it ‘‘unnecessary and a bit confusing,’’ arguing that it ‘‘would seem to limit the available channels should a PAL licensee need to move to avoid interfering with a protected incumbent.’’ Google argues that, if the Commission permitted parties to manually select frequencies, an operator could position itself in the middle of the PAL spectrum, preventing other PAL holders from aggregating contiguous blocks. It argues that ‘‘the current SAS dynamic assignment framework allows protection of federal incumbent and Priority Access operations while enabling a seamless experience for end users of [Citizens Broadband Radio Service] services.’’ We seek comment on the feasibility and desirability of allowing PAL licensees to bid on specific channel assignments. How could the Commission accomplish this given the other constraints of the band, including the need to protect incumbents? Would having a separate voluntary channel assignment phase of the auction—as was done recently in the Incentive Auction—work in this context? For example, could we first allow applicants to bid on the amount of PAL spectrum they desire, then in a separate round, allow PAL bidders to value and bid on specific channel assignments? Would this allow PAL bidders to value their PAL spectrum more accurately by knowing their primary location vis-a-vis federal and other incumbents and adjacent band licensees? Would the Commission need to make changes to the assignment phase framework used in the Incentive Auction to accommodate interference protection of federal incumbents by PALs? And if so, what changes would it need to make? Should the Commission adopt rules to ensure that bidders are assigned to contiguous frequencies within a geographic area, where possible? We also seek comment on what alternative auction methodologies might be appropriate to balance the SAS Administrator’s need to dynamically avoid interference with Priority Access licensees’ desire for certainty and the ability to aggregate contiguous spectrum. Are there other auction designs that could better balance interests in this context? We seek comment on the costs and benefits of any proposed approaches. B. Emissions and Interference Limits In the First Report and Order, the Commission adopted the following emission limits: PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 56199 • ¥13 dBm/MHz from 0 to 10 megahertz from the assigned channel edge; • ¥25 dBm/MHz beyond 10 megahertz from the assigned channel edge down to 3530 megahertz and up to 3720 megahertz; • ¥40 dBm/MHz below 3530 megahertz and above 3720 megahertz. In the Second Report and Order, the Commission denied petitions for reconsideration that requested changes to these limits. T-Mobile’s Petition requests changes to the emission limits that it claims are necessary to support channels wider than 10 megahertz without power reduction. Specifically, T-Mobile argues that the ¥13 dBm/MHz limit should apply from 0–20 megahertz outside the channel edge, and the ¥25 dBm/MHz requirement should be eliminated (or, alternatively, apply at least 20 megahertz from the channel edge). Outside of the 3550–3700 MHz band, TMobile contends that the ¥40 dBm/ MHz limit should be eliminated (or, alternatively, the transition gap should be 40 megahertz instead of 20 megahertz). Qualcomm agrees that the emission limits should be relaxed to facilitate wider channels without power reduction. Qualcomm argues that, for single or aggregated channels that are the channel bandwidth (B) megahertz wide (up to 40 megahertz), the ¥13 dBm/MHz requirement should apply from 0 to B megahertz above and below the channel edges, and the¥25 dBm/ MHz requirement should apply at frequencies beyond B megahertz. Qualcomm does not request changes to the ¥40 dBm/MHz emission limit outside of the 3550–3700 megahertz band. Several other commenters also support relaxation of the emission limits. Others, including Motorola Solutions and Vivint Wireless, support the current emissions limits. Motorola Solutions argues that no changes are necessary because current technologies can be utilized to meet the existing limits, and the existing rules allow higher power with wider bandwidth which helps counteract the need for power reduction. Vivint Wireless asserts that relaxing the emissions limits will increase the risk of interference between adjacent channel operations. Our current rules were designed to accommodate 10 megahertz and 20 megahertz channels. We propose to relax the emissions mask in a manner that will be scalable to accommodate wider bandwidth channels. Petitioners and commenters agree on the value of the first step of attenuation at ¥13 E:\FR\FM\28NOP1.SGM 28NOP1 jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS 56200 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 28, 2017 / Proposed Rules dBm/MHz—starting at the channel edge—and many of them agree on the value of the lowest attenuation in the band at ¥25 dBm/MHz. We believe that relaxation of the current emission limits, while enabling efficient frequency and power assignments, would promote innovation and investment in the band and allow operators to make use of wider channels without reducing their transmit power. However, we are not persuaded by TMobile’s proposals to eliminate the ¥25 dBm/MHz limit or to eliminate the ¥40 dBm/MHz limit below 3530 megahertz and above 3720 megahertz. We also are not persuaded by T-Mobile’s proposal to increase the transition bandwidth to 40 megahertz outside of the band, because of the impact these changes would have on protecting adjacent operations. Rather, we seek comment on two alternative proposals. First, we seek comment on Qualcomm’s proposal to: (1) Extend the ¥13 dBm/MHz limit from 0 to 100% of B; (2) apply the ¥25 dBm/MHz limit beyond 100% of B; and (3) not change the ¥40 dBm/MHz limit specified in Section 96.41(e)(2). Second, we seek comment on a more graduated reduction of the emission limits in Qualcomm’s proposal, with the addition of an attenuation step between the channel edge and a full channel bandwidth from the channel edge, as follows: • ¥13 dBm/MHz from 0 to B/2 (i.e., 50% of B) megahertz from the assigned channel edge; • ¥20 dBm/MHz from B/2 to B (i.e., 100% of B) megahertz from the assigned channel edge; • ¥25 dBm/MHz beyond B megahertz from the assigned channel edge, down to 3530 megahertz and up to 3720 megahertz; • ¥40 dBm/MHz below 3530 megahertz and above 3720 megahertz. We seek comment on these two proposals and on the tradeoffs in the number and levels of the attenuation steps. A more relaxed mask gives more margin to accommodate bandwidths wider than 10 megahertz, although this could raise the potential for increased interference to users operating on adjacent channels. We seek quantitative analysis of these tradeoffs and we seek comment on whether alternative attenuation steps could balance these tradeoffs more effectively. What is the balance between vendor cost, radio performance, and spectrum efficiency? For example, are there tradeoffs in the design complexity of out-of-band signal reduction techniques, balanced with flexible and efficient spectrum sharing? Will either or both of the proposed masks facilitate the use of wider VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:25 Nov 27, 2017 Jkt 244001 channels in the band without requiring power reduction? In the second proposal above, we seek comment on an attenuation step of ¥20 dBm/MHz between ¥13 dBm/MHz and ¥25 dBm/MHz, between one-half channel (50% of B) and one channel bandwidth (100% of B) from the channel edge. This additional attenuation step may enable more efficient SAS-based frequency and power assignments while facilitating wider channel bandwidths. Without this step, frequency separation between PAL channels (and other GAA/PAL channels) may be larger under some operational use cases. We seek comment on the capabilities of current and future CBSDs and end user devices to meet these masks, and the attenuation steps used in other bands for other wireless services. We also seek quantitative analysis of TDD interference scenarios to assess the tradeoff and balance between the emission mask and the statistical likelihood of interference between licensees. We note that studies have shown that device output power and out-of-band emissions are likely to be lower than regulatory limits or industry standards. For instance, an Ofcom study describes a case where the actual out-of-band emissions is lower than the minimum requirements specified in 3GPP by ∼8 dB in the first adjacent channel. The study also shows the non-linear effect of out-of-band emissions at maximum power, and higher reduction in out-ofband emissions for every dB of reduction in fundamental transmit power. Ofcom notes that the increased emission leakage that accompanies increasing fundamental power is due to the non-linear behavior of the power amplifier when it is driven into saturation. What are the likely effects of this behavior in devices that will be deployed in the 3.5 GHz Band? We seek comment and quantitative evidence that actual out-of-channel emissions in the 3.5 GHz Band will be substantially lower than worst case values. Are the margins found in the Ofcom study typical and representative of the margins that can be expected in 3.5 GHz? We also seek comment on the tradeoffs inherent in any change to the emission mask(s) in the band. Specifically, what are the tradeoffs between the margins of actual emissions, and the spectral efficiency of frequency assignments in the 3.5 GHz Band? Will either or both of the proposed masks meet the more restrictive 3GPP Adjacent Channel Leakage Ratio (ACLR) emissions limit (i.e., 30 dBc for user devices and 45 dBc PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 for base stations)? Finally, given the existing OOBE limits that apply above 3720 MHz and below 3530 MHz—which we do not propose to change—we seek comment on whether either of these proposals would facilitate the use of wider bandwidth channels at or near the band edges. III. Procedural Matters Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 603), the Commission has prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) for this NPRM, of the possible significant economic impact on small entities of the policies and rules addressed in this document. Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed on or before the dates on the first page of this NPRM. The Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, will send a copy of the NPRM, including the IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. Initial Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis The NPRM contains proposed modified information collection requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and the Office of Management and Budget OMB to comment on the information collection requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107–198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission seeks specific comment on how it might further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 96 Telecommunications, Radio. Federal Communications Commission. Katura Jackson, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary. Proposed Rules For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 96 as follows: E:\FR\FM\28NOP1.SGM 28NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 28, 2017 / Proposed Rules § 96.55 PART 96—CITIZENS BROADBAND RADIO SERVICE [Amended]. 7. Section 96.55 is amended by removing and reserving paragraph (a)(3). ■ 1. The authority citation for part 96 continues to read as follows: ■ [FR Doc. 2017–25672 Filed 11–27–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 303, and 307. 2. Section 96.25 is amended by revising paragraphs (a) and (b)(3) to read as follows: ■ § 96.25 [Removed and Reserved] 3. Remove and reserve § 96.27. 4. Section 96.29 is revised to read as follows: ■ ■ § 96.29 Competitive bidding procedures. Mutually exclusive initial applications for Priority Access Licenses are subject to competitive bidding. The general competitive bidding procedures set forth in part 1, subpart Q of this chapter will apply unless otherwise provided in this subpart. ■ 5. Section 96.32 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows: § 96.32 Priority access assignments of authorization, transfer of control, and leasing arrangements. * * * * (b) Priority Access Licensees may partition or disaggregate their licenses and partially assign or transfer their licenses and may enter into de facto leasing arrangements for a portion of their licenses. * * * * * ■ 6. Section 96.41 is amended by revising paragraph (e)(2) to read as follows: jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS * § 96.41 Fish and Wildlife Service Priority access licenses. (a) An applicant must file an application for an initial authorization for all PALs desired. Initial authorizations shall be granted in accordance with Section 96.29. Priority Access Licensees must operate CBSDs consistent with the technical rules and interference protection requirements set for in this part. (b) * * * (3) License term. Each PAL has a tenyear license term. Licensees must file a renewal application in accordance with the provisions of Section 1.949. * * * * * § 96.27 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR General radio requirements. (e) * * * (2) Additional protection levels. Notwithstanding paragraph (e)(1) of this section, the conducted power of any emissions below 3530 MHz or above 3720 MHz shall not exceed ¥40dBm/ MHz. * * * * * VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:25 Nov 27, 2017 Jkt 244001 50 CFR Part 91 [Docket No. FWS–HQ–MB–2015–0161; FXMB12330900000//189//FF09M13200] RIN 1018–BB23 Revision of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) Contest Regulations AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. Revised proposed rule; request for comments. ACTION: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are revising our previous proposal to revise regulations governing the annual Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Contest (also known as the Federal Duck Stamp Contest (contest)). The proposals in this document are revisions to our February 11, 2016, proposed rule and consist of further updates to the scientific names of species on our list of contest design subjects, updates to recognize technological advances in stamp design and printing, and proposed requirements specific to the 2018 contest. DATES: We will accept comments that we receive on or before December 28, 2017. Please note that if you are using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES, below), the deadline for submitting an electronic comment is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: • Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–HQ–MB–2015–0161, which is the docket number for this proposed rule. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on ‘‘Comment Now!’’ Please ensure that you have found the correct rulemaking before submitting your comment. • By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand delivery to: Public Comments SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 56201 Processing, Attn: FWS–HQ–MB–2015– 0161; Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: BPHC; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. We will post all comments on https:// www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see Public Comment Procedures and Public Availability of Comments under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for more information). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Suzanne Fellows, (703) 358–2145, suzanne_fellows@fws.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background History of the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) Program On March 16, 1934, Congress passed, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed, the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act. Popularly known as the Duck Stamp Act, it required all waterfowl hunters 16 years or older to buy a stamp annually. The revenue generated was originally earmarked for the Department of Agriculture, but 5 years later was transferred to the Department of the Interior and the Service. In the years since its enactment, the Federal Duck Stamp Program has become one of the most popular and successful conservation programs ever initiated. Today, some 1.8 million stamps are sold each year, and as of 2017, Federal Duck Stamps have generated more than $1 billion for the preservation of more than 6 million acres of waterfowl habitat in the United States. Numerous other birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have similarly prospered because of habitat protection made possible by the program. An estimated one-third of the Nation’s endangered and threatened species find food or shelter in refuges preserved by Duck Stamp funds. Moreover, the protected wetlands help dissipate storms, purify water supplies, store flood water, and nourish fish hatchlings important for sport and commercial fishermen. History of the Duck Stamp Contest The first Federal Duck Stamp was designed at President Roosevelt’s request by Jay N. ‘‘Ding’’ Darling, a nationally known political cartoonist for the Des Moines Register and a noted hunter and wildlife conservationist. In subsequent years, noted wildlife artists were asked to submit designs. The first E:\FR\FM\28NOP1.SGM 28NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 227 (Tuesday, November 28, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 56193-56201]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-25672]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 96

[GN Docket No. 17-258; FCC 17-134]


Promoting Investment in the 3500-3700 MHz Band

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission 
(Commission) proposes and seeks comment on reforms of its licensing 
rules governing Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the 3550-3700 MHz 
band (3.5 GHz Band). Specifically, the Commission proposes extending 
PAL license terms from three years to 10 years, with the possibility 
for renewal; seeks comment on increasing the PAL geographic licensing 
area; proposes to allow portioning and disaggregation of PALs on the 
secondary market; and proposes to amend the rules governing assignment 
of PALs. The Commission also proposes to remove a rule requiring public 
disclosure of device registration information, and seeks comment on 
changes to the technical rules to allow operation over wider 
bandwidths.

DATES: Interested parties may file comments on or before December 28, 
2017, and reply comments on or before January 29, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by GN Docket No. 17-258, 
by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the Commission's Electronic Comment 
Filing System (ECFS): http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. See Electronic 
Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
     Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must 
file an original and one copy of each filing. Generally, if more than 
one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this 
proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each 
additional docket or rulemaking number. Commenters are only required to 
file copies in GN Docket No. 13-111.
     Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by 
commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. 
Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's 
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
     All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings 
for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 
445 12th St. SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours 
are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together 
with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be 
disposed of before entering the building.
     Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service 
Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9050 Junction Drive, 
Annapolis Junction, MD 20701.
     U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority 
mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.
    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).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jessica Greffenius, 
Jessica.Greffenius@fcc.gov, of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, 
Mobility Division, (202) 418-2896.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in GN Docket No. 17-258, FCC 17-134, 
released on October 24, 2017. The complete text of the NPRM is 
available for viewing via the Commission's ECFS Web site by entering 
the docket number, GN Docket No. 17-258. The complete text of the NPRM 
is also available for public inspection and copying from 8:00 a.m. to 
4:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) Monday through Thursday or from 8:00 a.m. 
to 11:30 a.m. ET on Fridays in the FCC Reference Information Center, 
445 12th Street SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, telephone 202-
488-5300, fax 202-488-5563.
    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 proceeding this NPRM initiates shall be treated as a ``permit-
but-

[[Page 56194]]

disclose'' proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte 
rules (47 CFR 1.1200 et seq.). 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 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 electronic 
comment filing system 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. We find that all ex parte presentations 
made by NTIA or Department of Defense representatives are exempt under 
our exemption for presentations by federal agencies sharing 
jurisdiction with the Commission (see 47 CFR 1.1204(a)(5)).

Synopsis

I. Introduction and Background

    In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in GN Docket No. 17-258 
(NPRM), the Commission seeks comment on several proposed changes to the 
rules governing Priority Access Licenses (PALs) that will be issued in 
3550-3700 MHz band (3.5 GHz Band)--including longer license terms, 
renewability, larger geographic license areas, and auction methodology. 
These changes are consistent with the service rules and license 
assignment models that helped foster the development of 4G and LTE 
services in the United States. We anticipate that adopting similar 
rules for the 3.5 GHz Band similarly will encourage robust investment 
in network deployment. We also seek comment on changes to the technical 
rules that could facilitate operations over wider bandwidths while 
ensuring that current and future incumbent operations continue to be 
protected from interference. In addition, we seek changes to the 
information security requirements that would help safeguard private 
information and protect critical infrastructure.
    In 2015, the Commission adopted rules for commercial use of 150 
megahertz in the 3.5 GHz Band. Specifically, the First Report and Order 
in GN Docket No. 12-354, adopted April 15, 2015 and released April 21, 
2015 (FCC 15-47), created a three-tiered framework to coordinate shared 
federal and non-federal use of the band. Incumbents comprise the 
highest tier and receive protection from all other users, followed by 
PAL, the second tier, and General Authorized Access (GAA), the third 
tier. PALs receive protection from GAA operations; GAA is licensed-by-
rule and must accept interference from all other users. Automated 
frequency coordinators, known as Spectrum Access Systems (SASs), will 
coordinate operations between and among users in different access 
tiers. The service and technical rules governing the 3.5 GHz Band were 
adopted as the new Part 96 of the Commission's rules.
    In June 2017, both CTIA and T-Mobile (together, Petitioners) filed 
petitions for rulemaking, which ask the Commission to reexamine several 
of the PAL licensing rules. CTIA proposes several changes to the PAL 
licensing rules; T-Mobile supports CTIA's proposals and makes 
additional proposals, including proposed changes to the amount of 
spectrum available for PALs and to the technical rules governing the 
3.5 GHz Band. Petitioners argue that these changes are necessary to 
promote 5G network deployment in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service.
    The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Office of Engineering 
and Technology sought comment on the Petitions--and on related issues 
raised in ex parte communications--on June 22, 2017 (DA 17-609), and 
received comments and reply comments from more than 120 parties.

II. NPRM

A. PAL Licensing Rules

1. License Term and Renewability
    The rules adopted in the First Report and Order established a 
three-year license term for PALs. Under the current rules, at the end 
of its term, a PAL will terminate automatically and may not be renewed. 
During the first application window, however, an applicant may apply 
for up to two consecutive three-year terms for a given PAL. During 
subsequent regular application windows, only the next three-year 
license term will be made available for any given PAL.
    Petitioners ask the Commission to increase the PAL license term to 
ten years, and to include an expectation of renewal. Petitioners and 
some commenters argue that a longer, renewable license term will better 
encourage investment in the 3.5 GHz Band, stressing that a three-year 
term with automatic termination creates a risk that Priority Access 
licensees will face stranded investment in just three (or, initially, 
six) years. Petitioners and some commenters also disagree with the 
assumption underlying the current rule--that a user's ability to switch 
between Priority Access and GAA use will provide sufficient incentives 
for investment. T-Mobile argues that the current rule does not account 
for challenges ``that providers have reported experiencing in the real 
world today'' that can delay network deployment. For example, CTIA 
cites difficulties in obtaining siting approvals, which they argue are 
magnified in this band, given the complexity of rolling out a high 
number of small cell deployments.
    CTIA and several commenters also note that a ten-year, renewable 
licensing scheme is consistent with the Commission's ``proven 
approach'' in most other licensed mobile bands, including the bands at 
issue in the Spectrum Frontiers proceeding which, like the 3.5 GHz 
Band, ``will see network deployments comprised mostly of small cells.'' 
Others argue that ten-year terms would harmonize the U.S. approach with 
the global approach to actively encourage 5G network deployment in the 
mid-band spectrum.
    Other commenters, however, support the existing rules. They argue 
that that a longer, renewable license--combined with other potential 
rule changes sought by the Petitioners--would make PALs economically 
viable investments only for large entities, and would convert the 3.5 
GHz Band from an innovative framework into a traditionally licensed

[[Page 56195]]

band. These commenters also argue that the investments already made in 
the band based on the current rules belie concerns about barriers to 
investment and that any changes to the band should permit a diversity 
of deployment models and use cases and not be solely designed for the 
benefit of one (i.e., 5G).
    We propose to revise our rules by increasing the PAL license term 
from three years to ten years and by eliminating the requirement that 
PALs automatically terminate at the end of the license term. We also 
seek comment on this change and on the appropriate performance 
requirements and renewal standards for PALs. This approach is 
consistent with that adopted for other wireless services and will 
afford each licensee sufficient time to design and acquire the 
necessary equipment and devices and to deploy facilities across the 
license area. We invite detailed comments on this proposal from all 
stakeholders.
    We seek comment on whether the proposed rule changes will affect 
investment already made, as well as how they will incentivize future 
investment, in this band. What specific impact will a longer, renewable 
license have on investments and business plans already underway? How 
will the proposal affect investment in the future, particularly given 
the longer term of ten years and the possibility of renewal? To what 
extent would a longer license term with the possibility of renewal 
facilitate the deployment of a wide array of technologies?
    We also seek comment on how a longer, renewable license term for 
PALs could affect deployments in rural areas. Does the proposed rule 
change effectively promote the development and rapid deployment of new 
technologies, products, and services to benefit the public, including 
those residing in rural areas? Given concerns raised by the Wireless 
Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) and other commenters 
about access to spectrum in rural areas, does the proposed rule change 
appropriately balance the objectives in Section 309(j) (47 U.S.C. 
309(j))? Do these arguments present a persuasive case for maintaining 
the current three-year license term for PALs in rural areas? Further, 
does extending the license term to ten years lead to barriers to exit 
for companies that could impede innovation and investment or is the 
ability to return a license to the Commission sufficient to allay such 
concerns?
    Additionally, we seek comment on alternative approaches to the 
length of the license term, including different, hybrid approaches for 
particular subsets of PALs (e.g., three years for some PALs, five years 
for some, and ten for yet others). Many of these other approaches are 
already in the record. For example, Charter proposes a six-year 
renewable term, Motorola Solutions proposes a five-year term with only 
a single renewal allowed, and Southern Linc and WISPA suggest that a 
subset of PALs could have a five-year term, with PALs seeking renewal 
paying a fee. What other alternative licensing terms and conditions 
might be appropriate for this band? What impact would these 
alternatives have on investment, deployment, and on smaller or rural 
entities seeking PALs? Commenters that submit alternative proposals 
should include a cost-benefit analysis to support their approach.
    If the license term is increased to ten years with the possibility 
of renewal, PALs would more closely resemble other licenses issued by 
the Commission under its auction authority. Such licenses include 
performance requirements--typically construction requirements--and many 
services also include renewal standards. Some commenters argue that, if 
PALs are licensed for a ten-year, renewable term, the Commission should 
impose construction requirements on Priority Access licensees, as it 
has for other licensed wireless services. We seek comment on whether, 
if we adopt longer term, renewable PALs, it would serve the public 
interest to adopt certain performance requirements to ensure that the 
spectrum is put to its best use in an efficient and effective manner. 
If so, what types of performance requirements would be appropriate? 
Which performance metrics (e.g., population coverage, geographic 
coverage) and benchmarks would be appropriate? Does the opportunistic 
GAA use of the band--including unused PAL channels--alleviate concerns 
involving spectrum warehousing or otherwise satisfy the Commission's 
statutory obligations? If so, how can we take that into account in 
determining performance requirements for longer term, renewable PALs?
    In addition, to obtain renewal, a licensee generally must show that 
it has continued to provide at least the initially-required level of 
service necessary to satisfy its performance requirement, and that it 
has substantially complied with the Communications Act and Commission 
rules. If we adopt the proposed changes to PALs, what standard, if any, 
would be appropriate for the Commission to apply at the end of the PAL 
license term to determine whether renewal is warranted? Would such a 
requirement be appropriate in this band? If so, how should it be 
applied and what level of service should be used as a renewal standard?
    Some commenters have argued that, instead of renewability, the 
licenses should be reauctioned at the end of the license term. For 
example, Paul Milgrom describes an auction format under which an 
incumbent would be required to bid for a renewal of its license at the 
end of the license term, but it would be given a bidding credit so 
that, if it won, it would have to pay only a fraction of the auction-
determined price. Moreover, if the incumbent loses, it would be 
compensated with a transferable bidding credit to apply to the purchase 
of other outcomes. Milgrom argues that this would mitigate the risk 
that the incumbent licensee's investments may become stranded. We seek 
comment on this approach and its assumptions, as well as on other 
approaches that might offer an alternative to renewability and still 
encourage robust investment in the band. Could this approach promote 
competition and efficient use of spectrum?
2. Geographic License Area
    The First Report and Order defined the geographic license area for 
each PAL as one census tract. Petitioners request that the Commission 
increase the geographic licensing area from census tracts to Partial 
Economic Area (PEAs). T-Mobile argues that doing so would ``be 
consistent with the geographic licensing area that the Commission has 
already identified as best for 5G operations'' in the Spectrum 
Frontiers proceeding. Petitioners and some commenters contend that 
licensing PALs on a census tract-basis--which could result in over 
500,000 PALs--will be challenging for SAS Administrators, the 
Commission, and licensees to manage, and will create unnecessary 
interference risks due to the large number of border areas that will 
need to be managed and maintained. Petitioners and some commenters 
contend that these challenges ultimately will make PALs unattractive to 
licensees and reduce investment. They argue that PEAs are small enough 
to allow for flexible and targeted networks, but large enough to reduce 
border areas and decrease administrative burdens. Some commenters also 
contend that a larger license area (along with a longer, renewable 
license term) will promote global harmonization of the 3.5 GHz Band for 
5G development.
    Many commenters oppose expanding the geographic license area of 
PALs

[[Page 56196]]

from census tracts to PEAs or other larger areas. These commenters 
argue that PEAs--especially in combination with other potential changes 
to the PAL licensing rules--could foreclose smaller entities from 
participating in the PAL auction. Some commenters similarly contend 
that enlarging the geographic area and extending the license term will 
effectively grant permanent spectrum rights to large carriers, and 
upend planned business models for targeted, local, and rural uses. Some 
of these commenters--including, Google and Sony, which have applied to 
be SAS Administrators--argue that managing licenses in over 70,000 
geographic areas would not pose an undue burden ``given the meaningful 
advances in database management, cloud computing, and other 
technologies and engineering systems in recent years.''
    NCTA and Charter suggest that county-sized license areas could 
strike a balance between preserving low barriers to entry and 
minimizing administrative burdens. Some commenters propose using a 
hybrid approach to offer more than one PAL license size (e.g., offering 
some licenses by PEAs and others by county or census tracts). GeoLinks 
similarly asks us to consider whether rural areas would benefit more 
from using census tracts or counties to ensure more timely broadband 
access to rural communities, while more urban areas could benefit from 
using PEAs.
    We seek comment on increasing the geographic licensing area of PALs 
to stimulate additional investment, promote innovation, and encourage 
efficient use of spectrum resources. We seek comment on this proposal 
and on the potential effects of this change on investment in and use of 
the 3.5 GHz Band. We also seek comment on whether a larger license area 
would provide additional flexibility to facilitate the deployment of a 
wide variety of technologies, including 5G.
    We seek comment on Petitioners' specific request to increase the 
license size of PALs to PEAs, and how this would affect investment in 
PALs--both investments currently underway and future PAL investment--
and diversity of PAL uses and users. Would PEAs strike an appropriate 
balance between facilitating access to spectrum by both large and small 
providers while incentivizing investment in, and rapid deployment of, 
new technologies? We also note that, like census tracts, counties nest 
into PEAs, which in turn nest into EAs. This nesting would make it 
easier for operators to combine or partition their PEAs into the 
license area of their choice. Would the larger size of PEAs and the 
ability to combine and partition licenses to customize service areas 
effectively address the concerns raised by commenters and promote 
robust deployment in the band? Commenters should include cost-benefit 
analyses when comparing licensing PALs on a PEA-basis versus a census 
tract-basis, as well as for options in between these choices (e.g., 
licensing on a county-basis). Would PEAs effectively balance the 
objectives set forth in Section 309(j) of the Act (47 U.S.C. 309(j)), 
including encouraging ``efficient and intensive'' use of the 3.5 GHz 
spectrum and prescribing license area designations that promote ``an 
equitable distribution of licenses and services among geographic 
areas'' and ``economic opportunity for a wide variety of 
applications''? What impact would licensing PALs using PEAs have on 
smaller entities, rural deployments, and existing investments? Would 
PEA-based licensing facilitate compatible, authorized users and uses 
occupying the same spectrum?
    We also seek comment on alternatives or hybrid approaches, 
including those already in the record. Would counties, or a combination 
of PAL license areas (e.g., a hybrid combination of PEAs in urban areas 
and census tracts in rural areas, offering PALs of different sizes, 
such as PEAs and census tracts, or some other combination) ensure a 
diversity of auction participants, differing technologies, and rural 
deployments? Since we are offering seven PALs, commenters in favor of 
offering different license sizes in rural and urban areas should 
discuss what would be the appropriate balance between larger geographic 
areas and census tracts. Are there other possibilities that could 
promote such objectives? Should the Commission reconsider package 
bidding of census tracts or other geographic areas for a limited number 
of PALs? Would this approach promote our objectives? Would package 
bidding, bidding credits for certain bidders or areas, or other auction 
design mechanisms be appropriate for us to consider if we were to 
increase the license area? Specifically, we seek comment on whether we 
should adopt the bidding credits we used in the 600 MHz Band (Incentive 
Auction). Commenters should include a cost-benefit analysis of their 
proposed alternatives or hybrid approaches and discuss how their 
proposed approach appropriately balances the objectives set forth in 
Section 309(j) of the Act (47 U.S.C. 309(j)).
    In addition, we seek comment generally on how changes to the 
license area (on their own, and in combination with changes to the 
license term) could affect auction complexity. How might such changes 
affect bidding strategies? How would a combination of license areas 
affect the auction mechanism and bidding strategies? Are there insights 
from bidders' experience during recent auctions that may be relevant in 
this context?
    In light of the proposed change to modify the geographic license 
area, as well as any other changes considered in this NPRM, should the 
Commission modify the current 40 megahertz spectrum aggregation limit? 
Should we remove it altogether? What are the costs and benefits of 
higher or lower limits? How would changes affect competition and new 
entrants?
3. Secondary Markets
    In the Second Report and Order in GN Docket No. 12-354 (FCC 16-55), 
the Commission prohibited Priority Access licensees from partitioning 
or disaggregating their licenses because the Commission found typical 
reasons for permitting partitioning and disaggregation in more 
traditionally licensed bands were not present in the 3.5 GHz Band. The 
Commission also determined that a light-touch leasing process could 
achieve the goal of making PAL spectrum use rights available in 
secondary markets--on a targeted, flexible basis--without the need for 
the Commission oversight required of partitioning and disaggregation.
    In its Petition, T-Mobile asks the Commission to consider allowing 
partitioning and disaggregation of PALs, if it permits licensing on a 
PEA basis. Several commenters agree that allowing partitioning and 
disaggregation will help ensure that PAL spectrum rights flow to their 
best use and support a wide variety of deployments. These commenters 
also argue that partitioning and disaggregation will encourage service 
to targeted areas, mitigating concerns that licensing larger area PALs 
might result in in inefficient spectrum use.
    Several commenters oppose the concept of secondary market 
transactions as a replacement for smaller geographic areas and shorter 
term PALs to encourage efficient use of spectrum by a variety of users. 
They argue that there is no guarantee that the licensee will lease or 
sell idle spectrum in the secondary market. Other commenters, however, 
suggest that, if the Commission were to make changes to the PAL license 
term, renewability, and geographic area, then the ability of a PAL 
licensee to partition or disaggregate its license on the secondary 
market could be a useful tool to ensure

[[Page 56197]]

robust and targeted use of the spectrum throughout the license area.
    We propose to allow partitioning and disaggregation of PALs in 
secondary market transactions. Allowing partitioning and disaggregation 
would be consistent with other changes considered in this NPRM, and is 
consistent with the licensing paradigm for other similarly licensed 
services. We also anticipate that the ability to partition and 
disaggregate a PAL will be an effective way to improve spectral 
efficiency and facilitate targeted network deployments, particularly if 
the Commission adopts a longer license term or larger license area for 
PALs. We seek comment on this proposal and its underlying assumptions. 
If we were to adopt a larger geographic license area for some or all 
PALs, would allowing partitioning and disaggregation of PALs enable 
prospective PAL licensees to acquire PAL rights in smaller geographic 
areas where their business needs call for it? Are partitioning and 
disaggregation effective means to facilitate the ability of small 
entities to access the spectrum they desire for targeted, local 
deployments? If the Commission does not adopt some or all of the other 
proposed revisions to PALs, should we still allow partitioning and 
disaggregation? If so, why? To what extent would partitioning and 
disaggregation help the Commission facilitate the objectives of Section 
309(j) (47 U.S.C. 309(j)), which, among other considerations, asks us 
to promote ``economic opportunity for a wide variety of applications''?
    We note that several commenters argue the PAL licensees will lack 
an incentive to disaggregate or partition a larger, longer-term PAL. T-
Mobile, in response, suggests that this ``can be remedied by adopt[ing] 
reasonable performance requirements associated with renewal 
expectations.'' We seek comment on the relationship between secondary 
market transactions and performance requirements. What types of 
requirements would be appropriate to encourage a robust secondary 
market for PALs to facilitate targeted and intensive spectrum use? How 
would requirements related to secondary markets interplay with 
construction requirements for PALs more broadly? How could performance 
requirements and secondary markets incentivize users to provide service 
to rural and other difficult-to-serve areas?
4. SAS Public Disclosure of CBSD Registration Information
    In the First Report and Order, the Commission required that SAS 
Administrators make Citizens Broadband Radio Service Device (CBSD) 
registration information available to the general public. When doing 
so, however, SAS Administrators must ``obfuscate the identities of the 
licensees.'' In doing so, the Commission acknowledged ``the concerns 
raised by commenters about disclosure of confidential business 
information to the public.''
    Both CTIA and T-Mobile, supported by several commenters, ask the 
Commission to eliminate the rule requiring public disclosure of CBSD 
registration information. Petitioners assert that the rule raises both 
competitive concerns and ``cybersecurity and national security 
concerns.'' AT&T also claims that ``the SAS will be required to collect 
extensive data regarding users' network configuration, uses, and 
technical parameters''--data that ``amounts to critical infrastructure 
data'' that must be adequately protected to avoid competitive and 
cybersecurity concerns.'' In addition, Petitioners and commenters argue 
that obfuscating the licensees' identities does not adequately address 
these concerns because it still may be possible to uncover the 
identities of individual licensees based on publicly available 
information. Petitioners and commenters also contend that, since 
potential GAA operators can coordinate directly with the SAS 
Administrators to deploy GAA services, the public disclosure 
requirement is unnecessary to ensure that operations in the band are 
effectively coordinated.
    Google, Open Technology Institute and Public Knowledge (OTI/PK), 
and WISPA support retention of the current rule, arguing that it 
benefits potential operators that need to investigate the feasibility 
of deploying GAA or PAL service before incurring the cost of attempting 
to reserve or auction spectrum. OTI/PK contends that meaningful 
transparency allows incumbents and public advocacy groups to play a 
productive role in holding SAS Administrators and other stakeholders 
accountable for responsibilities such as military radar protection and 
ensuring that valuable PAL spectrum does not lie fallow. Google denies 
that anonymized public registration data presents security or 
competitive concerns and argues that such information is already 
available, as wireless carriers' transceiver locations are visible to a 
passerby, logged by crowd-sourced applications, and publicly 
documented. Google also notes that several aspiring SAS 
Administrators--including CTIA--already have negotiated a model sharing 
agreement, and that CTIA itself has stated that the agreement 
``provides the necessary protections for SAS customers' proprietary and 
competitively sensitive information, as well as end users' private 
information.'' In response, AT&T argues that the model sharing 
agreement that Google references addresses SAS-to-SAS information 
sharing, not public availability of information, and that Google 
incorrectly assumes that licensees plan network deployment based on 
activities of others rather than on internal objectives and consumer 
behavior.
    Charter, Federated Wireless, and NCTA encourage the Commission to 
seek comment on how it could ensure that prospective users of the band 
can obtain sufficient information to execute network deployments 
without disclosing detailed CBSD registration information to the 
public.
    We propose to amend the current rules to prohibit SASs from 
disclosing publicly CBSD registration information that may compromise 
the security of critical network deployments or be considered 
competitively sensitive. We seek comment on the proposal and ask which 
specific information should be withheld from public disclosure to 
address the concerns raised by Petitioners and Commenters. We ask 
commenters to address the potential competitive, security, or other 
forms of risk presented by the rule, as well as on specific and 
actionable suggestions to mitigate these risks. Nothing we propose here 
will affect SAS-to-SAS information sharing requirements.
    We also note that some commenters claim that potential GAA and PAL 
users will use registration information to plan deployments. As such, 
we seek comment on how to appropriately balance the potential 
competitive and security risks with potential users' need for 
information about CBSD deployment. Is there a mechanism--other than 
full public disclosure of CBSD registration information--for potential 
users to plan future GAA and/or PAL deployments? For example, could 
potential users communicate with an SAS on a confidential basis? We 
also seek comment on whether there is certain information that the SAS 
can publicly provide while balancing data sensitivity and security 
concerns.
5. Competitive Bidding Procedures for PALs
a. Assignment of PALs
    Section 309(j) of the Communications Act (47 U.S.C. 309(j)) 
requires that the Commission assign licenses using competitive bidding 
when ``mutually

[[Page 56198]]

exclusive applications are accepted for any initial license,'' subject 
to certain exemptions not applicable to this band. Because of the 
``generic'' nature of PAL frequency assignments, mutual exclusivity 
exists when multiple applicants apply to bid on more PALs than exist in 
a given census tract. In the First Report and Order, the Commission 
decided that, when there are two or more applicants for PALs in a given 
census tract, it will make available one fewer PAL than the total 
number of PALs for which all applicants have applied in that license 
area, up to a maximum of seven PALs. The Commission also concluded that 
assigning PALs on a non-auctioned basis would not result in the most 
efficient assignment of the spectrum. It therefore decided that, where 
there is only a single applicant for one or more PALs in a license 
area, it would not proceed to an auction or assign any PALs for that 
license area and there would only be shared GAA access to that spectrum 
until the next filing window for competitive bidding. In its Order on 
Reconsideration in GN Docket No. 12-354 (FCC 16-55), the Commission 
granted a limited exception for certain rural areas, finding it in the 
public interest to assign a PAL even if there is only a single 
applicant, given the likelihood of lower demand in rural areas.
    T-Mobile and several commenters ask the Commission to make all PALs 
available, regardless of the number of applications the Commission 
receives in any given license area. GeoLinks argues that, by 
prohibiting the assignment of PALs when there is only one interested 
carrier, the Commission will ``surely create gaps in rural, sparsely 
populated parts of the country that could benefit from an interested 
service provider.'' Further, several commenters, like AT&T and 
Ericsson, argue that the Commission's current policy will eventually 
phase out PAL licenses in a market with each subsequent auction if 
there is no renewal expectancy, rendering the auctions ``essentially a 
game of musical chairs for PAL licensees.'' No commenter opposes T-
Mobile's mutual exclusivity proposal specifically.
    United States Cellular Corporation (USCC) argues that the 
Commission should assign PALs in any given license area by subjecting 
all PALs to a minimum opening bid and the existing spectrum aggregation 
limit of four PALs. If the aggregate demand in a license area does not 
exceed seven PALs, USCC suggests that the applicant(s) would receive 
the number of PALs for which they applied, subject to the payment of 
the minimum opening bid for those PALs, and remaining spectrum would be 
available on a GAA basis.
    Consistent with our proposals to lengthen the PAL license term, 
make them renewable, and increase the PAL geographic license area, we 
also propose to employ our standard practice for finding mutual 
exclusivity among accepted applications. We propose to eliminate the 
rule that limited the number of PALs the Commission would make 
available. We also propose to assign PALs even when there is only one 
applicant in a given license area, assuming the applicant is otherwise 
qualified. We seek comment on these changes, which appear consistent 
with the broad opposition to the current requirements already in the 
record. The other proposed changes to PAL licensing discussed in this 
NPRM--including longer, renewable license terms and a larger geographic 
area--would make PALs more similar to licenses offered in the Incentive 
Auction and other recent spectrum auctions, where there was no need for 
the requirements in Sections 96.29(c) and 96.29(d) of our rules (47 CFR 
96.29(c) and 47 CFR 96.29(d)). We seek comment on this proposal. What 
are the costs and benefits of removing these requirements? Are these 
changes consistent with the statutory objectives of Section 309(j) (47 
U.S.C. 309(j)), including to ``promot[e]economic opportunity and 
competition,'' ``ensur[e] that new and innovative technologies are 
readily accessible,'' ``avoid[ ] excessive concentration of licenses'' 
and ``disseminat[e] licenses among a wide variety of applicants''; 
``recover[ ] for the public of a portion of the value of the of the 
public spectrum''; and promote ``efficient and intensive use of 
electromagnetic spectrum.'' Additionally, as fully described below, we 
also seek comment on whether a PAL for any given license area is 
mutually exclusive to GAA use in that area such that the Commission 
would have the authority to assign PALs by auction in those situations.
    In the First Report and Order, the Commission adopted these two 
limitations on the assignment of PALs because it concluded that 
assigning PALs on a non-auctioned basis would not result in as 
efficient an assignment of the spectrum as licensing the spectrum for 
shared GAA use. The Commission found that ensuring widespread GAA use 
of spectrum in any geographic area for which it had not received 
mutually exclusive PAL applications was the best way to discharge its 
statutory obligation to ``encourage the larger and more effective use 
of radio in the public interest.'' However, the Commission reached 
these conclusions regarding nonrenewable PALs that had substantially 
shorter license terms than we are now proposing to adopt for PALs. 
Under our current proposals, the use case for PALs could vary more 
significantly from GAA use than under our current rules. The Commission 
also noted in the First Report and Order that the determination of 
mutual exclusivity of PAL applications would not be a one-time event 
for this band, because PALs would be licensed for three-year, non-
renewable terms and the Commission would periodically open application 
windows for new PALs, as well as interim filing windows to accept 
applications for unassigned PALs. If we adopt our proposal to increase 
PAL license terms to 10 years, such frequent application or filing 
windows likely would not be necessary. We seek comment on whether the 
circumstances that will pertain if our proposals regarding license 
term, renewability, and geographic area are adopted warrant our 
elimination of the current limits on the number of PALs we make 
available.
    Moreover, the record indicates that PALs will be more useful to a 
wide variety of potential licensees if PALs are renewable, longer term, 
and/or licensed for a larger geographic area. USCC suggests that, if 
the Commission adopts PEA-based license areas and a ten-year license 
period with a renewal expectancy, ``it will be far less likely that the 
aggregate demand in any license area will be less than seven PALs.'' We 
seek comment on whether our proposed changes in the term, renewability, 
and service area of PALs would make them more useful to a wider range 
of potential licensees and, if so, whether that would reduce the 
benefit of limiting the number of PALs available in a given license 
area or not assigning PALs in any area for which there is only one 
applicant.
    We note that, if we adopt the above proposal to make all of the 
PALs in a given license area available for assignment regardless of the 
number of applicants that have applied in that area, it would still be 
possible, albeit less likely, for the number of PALs being offered to 
exceed applicant demand in a given area. Similarly, if we were to 
assign PALs in a license area for which only a single applicant applied 
for a PAL, as some commenters advocate, in those instances we would not 
have accepted mutually exclusive PAL applications, which is the 
prerequisite for assigning PALs by auction. While the Commission has 
the authority in both situations to assign the PALs on a

[[Page 56199]]

non-auctioned basis, we seek comment on whether it would be consistent 
with our statutory objectives to do so on a non-auctioned basis given 
the nature of the changes we propose to adopt for PALs. Such a 
circumstance raises questions of how to accommodate GAA use such that 
the sharing envisioned within this band could occur. To the extent 
necessary and as an alternative, we also seek comment on whether we 
nevertheless have authority to assign PALs by auction in these 
situations because a PAL for any given area is mutually exclusive to 
GAA use in that area. If we were to assign PALs by auction in these 
situations, applicants would be required to submit at least the minimum 
opening bid for each PAL consistent with the Commission's general 
competitive bidding procedures. Would such an approach be consistent 
with our statutory requirements and objectives under Section 309 of Act 
(47 U.S.C. 309(j))? Commenters that support this proposal should 
describe in detail the mechanism by which such a change would work, 
particularly within the sharing regime contemplated in the 3.5 GHz 
Band, and how it would fit within the Commission's statutory 
requirements.
b. Bidding on Specific PAL License Blocks
    Under the current rules, Priority Access licensees do not bid on 
specific spectrum blocks. Rather, SAS Administrators assign frequencies 
based on the amount of spectrum that the PAL licensee is authorized to 
use in a given license area. Licensees may request a particular channel 
or frequency range from the SAS, but are not guaranteed a particular 
assignment. The SAS will ``assign geographically contiguous PALs held 
by the same Priority Access Licensee to the same channels in each 
geographic area'' and ``assign multiple channels held by the same 
Priority Access Licensee to contiguous frequencies within the same 
License Area'' when it is feasible to do so. T-Mobile instead asks the 
Commission to allow applicants to bid on particular channels, rather 
than bidding solely on an amount of spectrum that will later be 
assigned by the SAS.
    A few commenters support T-Mobile's proposal. Ericsson argues that 
this approach would ensure a ``stable and predictable'' spectrum 
environment, while 5G Americas and GSMA argue that it would encourage 
robust use of the band for 5G and would align with what other countries 
have planned for the band.
    Commenters opposing this proposal question how it would work given 
the need to protect incumbent rights. Vivint Wireless calls it 
``unnecessary and a bit confusing,'' arguing that it ``would seem to 
limit the available channels should a PAL licensee need to move to 
avoid interfering with a protected incumbent.'' Google argues that, if 
the Commission permitted parties to manually select frequencies, an 
operator could position itself in the middle of the PAL spectrum, 
preventing other PAL holders from aggregating contiguous blocks. It 
argues that ``the current SAS dynamic assignment framework allows 
protection of federal incumbent and Priority Access operations while 
enabling a seamless experience for end users of [Citizens Broadband 
Radio Service] services.''
    We seek comment on the feasibility and desirability of allowing PAL 
licensees to bid on specific channel assignments. How could the 
Commission accomplish this given the other constraints of the band, 
including the need to protect incumbents? Would having a separate 
voluntary channel assignment phase of the auction--as was done recently 
in the Incentive Auction--work in this context? For example, could we 
first allow applicants to bid on the amount of PAL spectrum they 
desire, then in a separate round, allow PAL bidders to value and bid on 
specific channel assignments? Would this allow PAL bidders to value 
their PAL spectrum more accurately by knowing their primary location 
vis-a-vis federal and other incumbents and adjacent band licensees? 
Would the Commission need to make changes to the assignment phase 
framework used in the Incentive Auction to accommodate interference 
protection of federal incumbents by PALs? And if so, what changes would 
it need to make? Should the Commission adopt rules to ensure that 
bidders are assigned to contiguous frequencies within a geographic 
area, where possible? We also seek comment on what alternative auction 
methodologies might be appropriate to balance the SAS Administrator's 
need to dynamically avoid interference with Priority Access licensees' 
desire for certainty and the ability to aggregate contiguous spectrum. 
Are there other auction designs that could better balance interests in 
this context? We seek comment on the costs and benefits of any proposed 
approaches.

B. Emissions and Interference Limits

    In the First Report and Order, the Commission adopted the following 
emission limits:
     -13 dBm/MHz from 0 to 10 megahertz from the assigned 
channel edge;
     -25 dBm/MHz beyond 10 megahertz from the assigned channel 
edge down to 3530 megahertz and up to 3720 megahertz;
     -40 dBm/MHz below 3530 megahertz and above 3720 megahertz.
    In the Second Report and Order, the Commission denied petitions for 
reconsideration that requested changes to these limits.
    T-Mobile's Petition requests changes to the emission limits that it 
claims are necessary to support channels wider than 10 megahertz 
without power reduction. Specifically, T-Mobile argues that the -13 
dBm/MHz limit should apply from 0-20 megahertz outside the channel 
edge, and the -25 dBm/MHz requirement should be eliminated (or, 
alternatively, apply at least 20 megahertz from the channel edge). 
Outside of the 3550-3700 MHz band, T-Mobile contends that the -40 dBm/
MHz limit should be eliminated (or, alternatively, the transition gap 
should be 40 megahertz instead of 20 megahertz).
    Qualcomm agrees that the emission limits should be relaxed to 
facilitate wider channels without power reduction. Qualcomm argues 
that, for single or aggregated channels that are the channel bandwidth 
(B) megahertz wide (up to 40 megahertz), the -13 dBm/MHz requirement 
should apply from 0 to B megahertz above and below the channel edges, 
and the-25 dBm/MHz requirement should apply at frequencies beyond B 
megahertz. Qualcomm does not request changes to the -40 dBm/MHz 
emission limit outside of the 3550-3700 megahertz band. Several other 
commenters also support relaxation of the emission limits.
    Others, including Motorola Solutions and Vivint Wireless, support 
the current emissions limits. Motorola Solutions argues that no changes 
are necessary because current technologies can be utilized to meet the 
existing limits, and the existing rules allow higher power with wider 
bandwidth which helps counteract the need for power reduction. Vivint 
Wireless asserts that relaxing the emissions limits will increase the 
risk of interference between adjacent channel operations.
    Our current rules were designed to accommodate 10 megahertz and 20 
megahertz channels. We propose to relax the emissions mask in a manner 
that will be scalable to accommodate wider bandwidth channels. 
Petitioners and commenters agree on the value of the first step of 
attenuation at -13

[[Page 56200]]

dBm/MHz--starting at the channel edge--and many of them agree on the 
value of the lowest attenuation in the band at -25 dBm/MHz. We believe 
that relaxation of the current emission limits, while enabling 
efficient frequency and power assignments, would promote innovation and 
investment in the band and allow operators to make use of wider 
channels without reducing their transmit power. However, we are not 
persuaded by T-Mobile's proposals to eliminate the -25 dBm/MHz limit or 
to eliminate the -40 dBm/MHz limit below 3530 megahertz and above 3720 
megahertz. We also are not persuaded by T-Mobile's proposal to increase 
the transition bandwidth to 40 megahertz outside of the band, because 
of the impact these changes would have on protecting adjacent 
operations. Rather, we seek comment on two alternative proposals. 
First, we seek comment on Qualcomm's proposal to: (1) Extend the -13 
dBm/MHz limit from 0 to 100% of B; (2) apply the -25 dBm/MHz limit 
beyond 100% of B; and (3) not change the -40 dBm/MHz limit specified in 
Section 96.41(e)(2). Second, we seek comment on a more graduated 
reduction of the emission limits in Qualcomm's proposal, with the 
addition of an attenuation step between the channel edge and a full 
channel bandwidth from the channel edge, as follows:
     -13 dBm/MHz from 0 to B/2 (i.e., 50% of B) megahertz from 
the assigned channel edge;
     -20 dBm/MHz from B/2 to B (i.e., 100% of B) megahertz from 
the assigned channel edge;
     -25 dBm/MHz beyond B megahertz from the assigned channel 
edge, down to 3530 megahertz and up to 3720 megahertz;
     -40 dBm/MHz below 3530 megahertz and above 3720 megahertz.
    We seek comment on these two proposals and on the tradeoffs in the 
number and levels of the attenuation steps. A more relaxed mask gives 
more margin to accommodate bandwidths wider than 10 megahertz, although 
this could raise the potential for increased interference to users 
operating on adjacent channels. We seek quantitative analysis of these 
tradeoffs and we seek comment on whether alternative attenuation steps 
could balance these tradeoffs more effectively. What is the balance 
between vendor cost, radio performance, and spectrum efficiency? For 
example, are there tradeoffs in the design complexity of out-of-band 
signal reduction techniques, balanced with flexible and efficient 
spectrum sharing? Will either or both of the proposed masks facilitate 
the use of wider channels in the band without requiring power 
reduction?
    In the second proposal above, we seek comment on an attenuation 
step of -20 dBm/MHz between -13 dBm/MHz and -25 dBm/MHz, between one-
half channel (50% of B) and one channel bandwidth (100% of B) from the 
channel edge. This additional attenuation step may enable more 
efficient SAS-based frequency and power assignments while facilitating 
wider channel bandwidths. Without this step, frequency separation 
between PAL channels (and other GAA/PAL channels) may be larger under 
some operational use cases. We seek comment on the capabilities of 
current and future CBSDs and end user devices to meet these masks, and 
the attenuation steps used in other bands for other wireless services. 
We also seek quantitative analysis of TDD interference scenarios to 
assess the tradeoff and balance between the emission mask and the 
statistical likelihood of interference between licensees.
    We note that studies have shown that device output power and out-
of-band emissions are likely to be lower than regulatory limits or 
industry standards. For instance, an Ofcom study describes a case where 
the actual out-of-band emissions is lower than the minimum requirements 
specified in 3GPP by ~8 dB in the first adjacent channel. The study 
also shows the non-linear effect of out-of-band emissions at maximum 
power, and higher reduction in out-of-band emissions for every dB of 
reduction in fundamental transmit power. Ofcom notes that the increased 
emission leakage that accompanies increasing fundamental power is due 
to the non-linear behavior of the power amplifier when it is driven 
into saturation. What are the likely effects of this behavior in 
devices that will be deployed in the 3.5 GHz Band? We seek comment and 
quantitative evidence that actual out-of-channel emissions in the 3.5 
GHz Band will be substantially lower than worst case values. Are the 
margins found in the Ofcom study typical and representative of the 
margins that can be expected in 3.5 GHz?
    We also seek comment on the tradeoffs inherent in any change to the 
emission mask(s) in the band. Specifically, what are the tradeoffs 
between the margins of actual emissions, and the spectral efficiency of 
frequency assignments in the 3.5 GHz Band? Will either or both of the 
proposed masks meet the more restrictive 3GPP Adjacent Channel Leakage 
Ratio (ACLR) emissions limit (i.e., 30 dBc for user devices and 45 dBc 
for base stations)? Finally, given the existing OOBE limits that apply 
above 3720 MHz and below 3530 MHz--which we do not propose to change--
we seek comment on whether either of these proposals would facilitate 
the use of wider bandwidth channels at or near the band edges.

III. Procedural Matters

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) (5 
U.S.C. 603), the Commission has prepared an Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) for this NPRM, of the possible significant 
economic impact on small entities of the policies and rules addressed 
in this document. Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. 
Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed 
on or before the dates on the first page of this NPRM. The Commission's 
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, 
will send a copy of the NPRM, including the IRFA, to the Chief Counsel 
for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

Initial Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

    The NPRM contains proposed modified information collection 
requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to 
reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and the Office of 
Management and Budget OMB to comment on the information collection 
requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. In addition, pursuant to the 
Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 
U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission seeks specific comment on how it 
might further reduce the information collection burden for small 
business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 96

    Telecommunications, Radio.

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

Proposed Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal 
Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 96 as follows:

[[Page 56201]]

PART 96--CITIZENS BROADBAND RADIO SERVICE

0
1. The authority citation for part 96 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  47 U.S.C. 154(i), 303, and 307.

0
2. Section 96.25 is amended by revising paragraphs (a) and (b)(3) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  96.25  Priority access licenses.

    (a) An applicant must file an application for an initial 
authorization for all PALs desired. Initial authorizations shall be 
granted in accordance with Section 96.29. Priority Access Licensees 
must operate CBSDs consistent with the technical rules and interference 
protection requirements set for in this part.
    (b) * * *
    (3) License term. Each PAL has a ten-year license term. Licensees 
must file a renewal application in accordance with the provisions of 
Section 1.949.
* * * * *


Sec.  96.27   [Removed and Reserved]

0
3. Remove and reserve Sec.  96.27.
0
4. Section 96.29 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  96.29  Competitive bidding procedures.

    Mutually exclusive initial applications for Priority Access 
Licenses are subject to competitive bidding. The general competitive 
bidding procedures set forth in part 1, subpart Q of this chapter will 
apply unless otherwise provided in this subpart.
0
5. Section 96.32 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  96.32  Priority access assignments of authorization, transfer of 
control, and leasing arrangements.

* * * * *
    (b) Priority Access Licensees may partition or disaggregate their 
licenses and partially assign or transfer their licenses and may enter 
into de facto leasing arrangements for a portion of their licenses.
* * * * *
0
6. Section 96.41 is amended by revising paragraph (e)(2) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  96.41  General radio requirements.

    (e) * * *
    (2) Additional protection levels. Notwithstanding paragraph (e)(1) 
of this section, the conducted power of any emissions below 3530 MHz or 
above 3720 MHz shall not exceed -40dBm/MHz.
* * * * *


Sec.  96.55   [Amended].

0
7. Section 96.55 is amended by removing and reserving paragraph (a)(3).

[FR Doc. 2017-25672 Filed 11-27-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6712-01-P