FCC Defines When 600 MHz Band Licensees Commence Operations

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a Report and Order which clarifies an important aspect of the 600 MHz Broadcast Incentive Auction’s post-auction transition process. Following the close of the forward auction component of the Incentive Auction, certain “secondary and unlicensed users” – low power television and TV translator (LPTV) stations, fixed broadcast auxiliary service operations (BAS), and unlicensed white space devices – will be permitted to continue operating in the newly-licensed 600 MHz Band, under specified conditions. However, these secondary and unlicensed users must vacate the band once a wireless licensee “commences operations” in its licensed 600 MHz spectrum. As explained in the FCC’s Report and Order, a 600 MHz Band wireless licensee commences operations when it conducts site commissioning tests. Additionally, there is a limited exception that will allow 600 MHz Band licensees to conduct first field application testing in advance of site commissioning tests under certain circumstances.

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