The Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) today has filed an ex parte letter in response to the Federal Communications Commission release of a draft Sixth Report and Order (R&O) and Seventh Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) on the future use and control of the 4.9 GHz band.
In its letter, EWA stated that it “welcomes any approach that has the potential for putting this spectrum to more intensive use, particularly by private enterprise entities whose need for access to broadband spectrum has been well-documented in this proceeding. What is not clear is how the FCC intends to monitor progress in that regard. While market forces generally drive private enterprises to maximize the value of their assets, governmental entities may not share that motivation or the time urgency that drives the marketplace. Is there an end date by which the state must confirm the identity of its State Lessor if it is not the single, current 4.9 GHz statewide licensee? Is there any end date by which the state needs to establish a spectrum leasing process? Does the FCC anticipate reviewing the results of this experiment in a reasonable timeframe to ensure that this new licensing paradigm has performed as anticipated and to take further action if the band remains underutilized? How will utilization be assessed in the absence of build-out requirements, the standard measurement by which spectrum usage is evaluated? EWA assumes each state has regulations that require it to conduct its activities in a fair and transparent manner, but does the FCC feel any obligation to review those processes in light of its own statutory obligations?”
EWA further noted that while appreciating the FCC’s effort to recognize the interests of public safety entities, it would be “most unfortunate and contrary to the public interest if two decades of underutilization of 50 MHz of spectrum turned into three decades or more”. EWA urged the FCC to establish benchmarks and timelines to ensure that states implement processes that give all parties with a need for and commitment to deploying broadband spectrum fair access to this lease opportunity.