FCC Approves CBRS Bidders

The FCC has approved the first batch of short-form applications for the July 23 CBRS license auction (delayed from its initial planned June 25 start. It features the most licenses ever up for bid in a single auction--22,631, but the majority of the applications still need work.

The FCC is auctioning 70 MHz of the 3.5 GHz (CBRS) midband spectrum for 5G, an auction of priority access licenses (or PALs).

Of the 348 short-form applications filed, the FCC's Wireless Bureau says that 106 applications are complete, with another 242 incomplete, but the latter have the opportunity to fix that.

The approved bidders have until June 19 to pony up their upfront payments, after which they will be considered qualified bidders. The incomplete applications must be corrected and upfront payments submitted by the same date.

Among the approved applications are ones from AT&T, Cox, Shenandoah Cable TV, USSC, and Windstream.

Among the incomplete submissions are those from T-Mobile, Verizon,and Cable One.

Related: FCC Approves CBRS Auction Framework

The FCC voted 3-1 along party lines Oct. 23, 2018, to change the rules on licenses for the 3.5 GHz (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) band to make it more attractive for providers of 5G, which includes cable ops looking to up their mobile broadband game. The change was billed as a way to spur investment in the band and promote more efficient use, including for 5G.

The move was billed as targeted changes to spur investment in the band and promote more efficient use, including for 5G. The main adjustments were the decision to increase the sizes of priority access licenses (PALs) from census tracts to the larger county-sized licenses, a compromise from the larger partial economic area (PEA) licenses some had advocated for.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.