FCC Adopts Consent Decrees Settling CBRS PAL Aggregation Limit Violations

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The FCC has reached settlement agreements, outlined in Consent Decrees, for violation of Citizen Broadband Radio Service Priority Access License aggregation limits by the following applicants: SAL Spectrum, LLC; Cable One, Inc.; NorthWestern Corporation; U.S. Cellular Corporation; and Shenandoah Cable Television, LLC.  The Commission’s rules state that controlling and non-controlling interests of 10 percent or more in spectrum are attributable.  Black Rock, Inc., a private equity firm, holds a 10 percent or greater interest in these five CBRS applicants, making all of their winning bids attributable to each other and thus resulting in all five of the applicants exceeding the four-PAL aggregation limitation.

Per the Consent Decree and as part of their compliance plans, the applicants have been instructed to either amend their long-form applications to remove all the licenses that would cause them to exceed the four-PAL aggregation limit in an identified market or amend their long-form application to remove enough PALs in each identified market to avoid exceeding the four-PAL aggregation limit.  In total, the five applicants implicated a total of 462 PALs in 80 license areas where the four-PAL aggregation limit would be violated.  The FCC has waived all the associated default penalties and forfeitures.

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