FCC Denies Kurian’s Request for Waiver and Extension of the 700 MHz E Block Interim Build-out Deadline

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The Federal Communications Commission’s Mobility Division (Division) has denied the request of Thomas K. Kurian (Kurian) for a waiver or five-year extension of the interim construction requirement for a Lower 700 MHz E Block license in the U.S. Territory of Guam. In 2012, as part of the interoperability proceeding, the FCC sought comment on whether it should modify the E Block rules to allow downlink only and how such modification would affect the operations and plans of Lower E Block licensees. At this time, Kurian filed an extension request. In September 2013, parties involved in the proceeding filed a voluntary industry consensus agreement to resolve interoperability limiting all Lower 700 MHz E Block operations to downlink only. In its October 2013 Interoperability Report and Order, the FCC changed the rules restricting the E block to downlink only and provided a two year extension to all E Block licensees because of the rule change, thereby addressing Kurian’s request. Kurian did not file comments in the proceeding or a petition for reconsideration of the rule changes adopted.

In February 2017, Kurian filed the subject request arguing that because of the rule changes, his spectrum is unusable unless he can acquire uplink spectrum or find a partner with uplink spectrum (for which he has been unsuccessful), and thus needs an additional five years to acquire spectrum. The Division denied Kurian’s request finding that Kurian failed to demonstrate that grant of the relief would ensure use of the spectrum and that Kurian failed to explain how his circumstances are unique. Moreover, the Division determined that the basis for Kurian’s request is a result of his own voluntary business decision not to construct which is not a circumstance beyond his control. Finally, the Division noted that Kurian never objected to the rule change because he never participated in the rulemaking proceeding. The Division therefore denied his request and accelerated the end-of-license-term.

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