FCC plans to begin D Block re-auction process this summer

The FCC may start the process of re-auctioning the D Block of the 700 MHZ spectrum band this summer, according to a top FCC official.

Jamie Barnett, the chief of the FCC's Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau, told Reuters that the FCC could issue a notice of inquiry about the re-auction as soon as "early" summer, but stressed that a final decision has not been made. The auction would then take place in the first or second quarter of next year.

The commission has made the D-Block re-auction a key part of its national broadband plan, and is intended to create a nationwide, interoperable network for first responders. As part of the effort, the agency's plan calls on Congress to allocate $12 billion to $16 billion over the next 10 years to help build out a public-safety network using the D Block.

However, the plan also lays out several possible conditions for the auction, including a requirement that D-Block licensee or licensees use a nationally standardized air interface, such as LTE, that public-safety users roam onto and have priority access to adjacent 700 MHz spectrum bands, and that owners of those adjacent bands be compensated for the roaming. Further, D-Block licensees must develop and offer devices that work both on the D Block and the neighboring public-safety broadband spectrum block. Finally, D Block licensee or licensees "should be subject to commercially reasonable buildout requirements."

The planned auction has drawn support from carriers such as Sprint Nextel, Clearwire and T-Mobile USA.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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