The WCA recently told the FCC that no further delay is warranted in the 2.5 GHz EBS band proceeding. As reported by TR Daily, “The FCC should reject the call of proponents of educational broadband service (EBS) spectrum to seek further comment in its EBS proceeding and defer action until the Commission and Justice Department have acted on the T-Mobile US, Inc.—Sprint Corp. merger, according to the Wireless Communications Association International (WCA).”

The WCA outlined their case for no further delay in their May 30 ex parte filing in WT docket 18-120:

I [Mary N. O’Connor, Counsel to WCA] noted WCA’s strong opposition to the issuance of a public notice soliciting additional comment in this proceeding. This is hardly the type of docket where the Commission calls for additional comment. The NPRM was issued a year ago and raised each and every issue that is being debated by the parties. EBS interests and their allies have made in excess of 350 filings in the docket, so clearly they have had ample opportunity to have their say. To the extent that many EBS licensees have not been heard from, that silence likely reflects what is clear from the record – the overwhelming majority of EBS lease the maximum permissible amount of capacity and do little with what they must reserve.  Furthermore, even if this item becomes scheduled for a vote at the next Commission meeting (scheduled for July 10, 2019) and normal “sunset” rules apply, EBS interests still have over a month to submit their views on their usage, the recent SHLB economic analysis, or anything else through the ex parte process.

The extension request asserts that a further delay is required because “there is no reasonable way for the public to determine where EBS white space exists.” As WCA noted in its September 7, 2018 reply comments in this proceeding, that is simply not the case. The Universal Licensing System (“ULS”) currently identifies for every EBS license the coordinates of the centroid for its 35-mile radius circular Geographic Service Area (“GSA”). Indeed, four days after the filing of the extension request, SHLB filed with the Commission a study prepared by Dr. Raul Katz that includes maps specifically identifying the EBS white space! And SHLB is not alone, as Voqal, Mobile Beacon and North American Catholic Programming Foundation (all signatories to the extension request) have at various times submitted into the docket maps that illustrate the EBS white spaces. While WCA continues to believe that rationalizing GSAs to county boundaries will simplify the auction process, it is simply not true that the EBS white space cannot today be ascertained from ULS.”

It’s time to make 2.5 GHz spectrum available to aid the race to 5G and to help close the Homework Gap, as envisioned by FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.