FCC Seeks Comment on Bidding Procedures for Auction of 3.5 GHz Priority Access Licenses

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The FCC is seeking comment on proposed application and bidding procedures for the auction of Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the 3550-3650 MHz portion of the 3.5 GHz Band in the Citizens Band Radio Service. The Auction, designated Auction 105, is scheduled to commence on June 25, 2020. The FCC will offer seven PALs in each county-based license area, for a total of 22,631 PALs nationwide. Each PAL will consist of a 10-megahertz unpaired channel assigned by Spectrum Access Systems frequency coordinators. Priority Access Licensees would be permitted to aggregate up to four PALs in any license area. The FCC seeks comment on its proposals to: (1) use an ascending clock auction format where bidders indicate their demand for generic license blocks in specific counties; (2) offer bidders the option to bid at a Cellular Market Area (CMA) level in 172 CMAs that are classified as Metropolitan Statistical Areas and comprise multiple counties; and (3) incorporate an “activity upper limit” that would allow bidders to submit bids that exceed their current bidding eligibility, to mitigate the possibility of losing bidding eligibility under certain circumstances. The FCC also proposes rules for bidding credit caps, upfront payments, bidding eligibility, minimum opening bids, and bid removal and withdrawal procedures. Comments are due October 28, 2019, and reply comments are due November 12, 2019.

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