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NTIA Releases AWS-3 Transition Plan

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration has published the transition plan for the host of federal agencies vacating or sharing spectrum in the AWS-3 band.

The feds are vacating or sharing so the FCC can free up spectrum for its AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction set for fall.

NTIA, which oversaw the negotiations to free up the government spectrum, set up a website in May to provide information including the estimated relocation and sharing costs and timelines for the freeing up of the 1695-1710 MHz and the 1755-1780 MHz spectrum bands being auctioned.

NTIA estimates total relocation and sharing costs for the 1695-1710 MHz band at $527.1 million and for the 1755-1780 MHz band at $4.576 billion.

Most of the federal users are moving out of those bands, but some will be sharing them with commercial users.

The AWS-3 auction, scheduled to begin Nov. 13, is the second of three auctions to free up spectrum for mobile wireless. The first was the H Block auction earlier this year, followed by AWS-3, then the broadcast incentive auction next year.

"NTIA is working with the FCC and other federal agencies to meet President Obama’s goal of finding 500 megahertz of additional spectrum for commercial mobile broadband by 2020, which was announced in 2010," the agency said. "NTIA and the FCC will soon be releasing a joint public notice detailing the coordination procedures between AWS-3 licensees and the agencies following the FCC auction."

“While we are reviewing the details of the transition plan, we appreciate NTIA’s effort to keep the AWS-3 process moving forward," said CTIA President Meredith Attwell Baker, whose members will be bidding on all that spectrum. "As both independent reports and our own survey demonstrate, consumer demand for wireless broadband is skyrocketing; repurposing of federal spectrum bands is key to enabling commercial providers to meet this demand and keep America at the forefront of the wireless revolution. This is an important step toward a successful auction this fall and good progress that we applaud.”

To check out the NTIA's plans, click here.