Hurricane Ida Prompts FCC to Extend Deadline for 5G Auction Payments

A National Guard vehicle drives through floodwater left behind by Hurricane Ida in LaPlace, Louisiana, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.
Floodwater left behind by Hurricane Ida in LaPlace, Louisiana (Image credit: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Citing the "substantial" communications service disruptions from Hurricane Ida, the category 4 storm that hit the Gulf Coast, the FCC has extended the deadline for upfront payments for participants in Auction 110 to Sept. 7. The deadline had been Sept. 2. It has also extended the deadline for resubmission of applications previously deemed incomplete to that same date.

Auction 110 is the auction of flexible use licenses in the 3.45 GHz band, scheduled to begin Oct. 5.

"[Ida] continues to cause significant damage in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, including significant property damage, personal injury, and substantial service disruptions and outages in communications and electric services," the FCC's Office of Economics and Analytics and the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau said in extending the deadline.

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"Its effects are expected to continue for at least the next several days," the office said. "We take this step to ensure that Auction 110 applicants have adequate opportunity to complete the steps necessary to participate in the auction."

The FCC voted unanimously back in March on the process for opening up a swath of high-value midband spectrum in the 3.45 GHz band--currently used by DOD for key radar applications--for commercial wireless broadband (5G) and, separately, approved proposed applications and bidding processes for the auction (110) of that 100 MHz.

The FCC voted to allocate the 3.45-3.55 GHz band for flexible use, complete the relocation of secondary non-federal commercial users, and sunset amateur use of a portion of the band.

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.