FCC Denies 700 MHz License Waiver and Extension Request

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The Chief of the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s Mobility Division (Division) has denied a waiver and extension request filed by Smith Bagley, Inc. (SBI) for its lower 700 MHz C Block license in CMA 555, New Mexico – Catron. SBI acquired its license in 2012, and subsequently partitioned counties, except for Catron County. SBI asserted that it needed an extension to construct because it was focused on constructing other 700 MHz spectrum and just recently turned its attention to Catron County. SBI also asserted that the rural nature and low population density of the county were unique circumstances justifying a waiver and extension. The Division disagreed. According to the Division, strict application of the construction rule in this case serves the underlying purpose of the rule to ensure spectrum use. Granting a waiver would be contrary to the public interest because SBI’s circumstances are exactly what the rule is meant to prevent: circumstances where a licensee chooses to wait until the last moment to consider its construction obligations, and then argue that it needs more time as a result of its own delays. In short, the Division concludes that SBI’s voluntary business decisions as to when to construct did not justify waiver relief or an extension. The Division denies the request and SBI’s license automatically terminates.

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