FCC Rejects “One Path, Four Links” Interpretation of LMDS Point-to-Point Safe Harbor

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The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (Bureau) has denied an LMDS construction notification of licensee The Ponderosa Telephone Co. (Ponderosa), effectively terminating Ponderosa’s LMDS license.  According to the Bureau’s order, Ponderosa claimed to demonstrate “substantial service” under the FCC’s LMDS fixed, point-to-point safe harbor provision of one link per 250,000 pops in Ponderosa’s license area that has just under 840,000 pops.  However, the Bureau took issue with Ponderosa’s actual deployment of one path with two antennas and eight total radios (four at each antenna site) that transmit and receive on slightly different frequencies and thereby creating four “links.”  The Bureau also disagreed with Ponderosa’s interpretation that an LMDS licensee could subdivide its spectrum between two points into a large number of arbitrarily smaller channels and claim credit for each as a separate link.  The Bureau found that this interpretation of “link” undermines the FCC’s intent in adopting construction requirements.  Due to failure to satisfy the FCC’s “substantial service” construction requirement, Ponderosa’s LMDS license is automatically terminated.

For additional information, please contact Bob Silverman.

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