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FCC plots third mmWave auction; unveils Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

16 Apr 2019

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has initiated a consultation regarding its third planned sale of millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum, ‘Auction 103’. As per the consultation document, the watchdog seeks to auction off Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service (UMFUS) licences in the Upper 37GHz (37.6GHz-38.6GHz), 39GHz (38.6GHz-40GHz) and 47GHz (47.2GHz-48.2GHz) bands. The FCC has proposed to use an ‘ascending clock auction format’ alongside a ‘sealed bid assignment phase’. Submissions from interested parties are welcomed until 15 May.

TeleGeography notes that the FCC completed its first sale of mmWave spectrum (‘Auction 101’) in January 2019, raising USD702.6 million via the auction of 28GHz spectrum. A second sale process (‘Auction 102’) commenced last month, with 24GHz frequencies on the auction block.

The third mmWave auction was announced by FCC chairman Ajit Pai, at an event at the White House, alongside President Donald Trump. In a parallel announcement, Pai pledged to create the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will inject USD20.4 billion into the development of high speed broadband networks in rural America over the next decade; the project seeks to close the digital divide and connect up to four million rural homes and small businesses.

United States, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

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