New Licenses, ECF Funding, Banned Communications
3.45GHz Licenses Granted
The FCC issued a Public Notice last week announcing the grant of 23 long-form applications and issuance of 4.041 licenses in Auction 110 for wireless services in the 3.45 GHz band (Vol. XVIII, Issue 48). Auction 110 resulted in gross proceeds exceeding $22.5 billion with thirteen of the winning companies qualifying as small business or entities serving rural communities. It also had a substantial increase in the number of winning bidders per market compared to the C-Band auction, as over one-third of the top 100 markets had at least four winning bidders, compared with 10% of the top 100 markets in the Auction 107. The Commission has now granted all licenses requested of winning bidders in Auction 110.
Nearly $39 Million in Emergency Connectivity Fund Committed
Last week, the FCC announced that it is committing nearly $39 million in the latest round of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (Vol. XVIII, Issue 18). This round of commitments will support 140 schools, 14 libraries, and 1 consortium across the country. The last day for schools and libraries to apply for support for eligible equipment and services for the 2022-2023 school year is May 13. The FCC anticipates awarding at least $1 billion in support in this final filing window.
$100K Fine for Prohibited Auction Communications
Last week, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to LTD Broadband LLC (“LTD”) for repeatedly engaging in prohibited communications during the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”) Phase I Auction and failing to report such actions (Auction 904). LTD hired the investment firm RJM & Company, LLC (“RJM”) after winning bids in the auction to help it raise capital, and RJM subsequently shared information with Cox Communications, Inc. (“Cox”) about LTD’s bids, bidding strategies, and bidding outcomes during the auction’s Quiet Period. The Bureau proposes a forfeiture of $100,000 for LTD’s violations.
RDOF Support Authorized
The FCC issued a Public Notice last week announcing it is ready to authorize nearly $200 million in support through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”) (Vol. XIX, Issue 16). The funding would go toward new broadband developments in 26 states and the Northern Mariana Islands, brining service to over 230,000 locations. The winning applications must submit acceptable irrevocable stand-by letters of credit and Bankruptcy Code opinion letters for each state where they have winning bids by 6:00 pm EST on May 17, 2022.
This article contains contributions from Jaimy “Sindy” Alarcon, James Baller, Jason P. Chun, Timothy A. Doughty, Michael TN Fitch, C. Douglas Jarrett, Thomas B. Magee, Tracy P. Marshall, Kathleen Slattery Thompson, and Sean A Stokes.