Comment Sought on Small Business Size Standards for Auctions of Licenses in the 2.5 GHz Band

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 244 (Thursday, December 19, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 244 (Thursday, December 19, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 69696-69697]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-27425]
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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
47 CFR Parts 1, 27
[WT Docket No. 18-120; DA 19-1184; FRS 1685]
Comment Sought on Small Business Size Standards for Auctions of
Licenses in the 2.5 GHz Band
AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.
ACTION: Comments invited on small business size standards.
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SUMMARY: In this document, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB)
and the Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA) seek comment on the
small business size standards to be used to determine an entity's
eligibility for small business bidding credits in an auction of
unassigned Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum in the 2.5 GHz
band.
DATES: Comments are due on or before January 21, 2020, and reply
comments are due on or before February 3, 2020.
ADDRESSES: Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic
Comment Filing System (ECFS) or by filing paper copies. Electronic
Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (May 1,
1998). All filings in response to the 2.5 GHz Small Business Size
Standards Public Notice must refer to WT Docket No. 18-120. The
Commission strongly encourages interested parties to file comments
electronically.
    Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the
internet by accessing the ECFS: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/. Filers
should follow the instructions provided on the website for submitting
comments. In completing the transmittal screen, filers should include
their full name, U.S. Postal Service mailing address, and the
applicable docket number, WT Docket No. 18-120.
    Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an
original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or
rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers
must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or
rulemaking number. Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery,
by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S.
Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
    All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the
Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445
12th St. SW, Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are
8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with
rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of
before entering the building.
    Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express
Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9050 Junction Drive, Annapolis
Junction, MD 20701.
    U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be
addressed to 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Lovejoy in the Auctions Division
of the Office of Economics and Analytics at (202) 418-0660.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Public Notice (2.5
GHz Small Business Size Standards Public Notice), WT Docket No. 18-120,
DA 19-1184, released on November 15, 2019. The complete text of the 2.5
GHz Small Business Size Standards Public Notice is available for public
inspection and copying from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET)
Monday through Thursday or from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET on Fridays
in the FCC Reference Information Center, 445 12th Street SW, Room CY-
A257, Washington, DC 20554. The complete text is also available on the
Commission's website at www.fcc.gov/auctions or by using the search
function for WT Docket No. 18-120 on the Commission's ECFS web page at
www.fcc.gov/ecfs. Alternative formats are available to persons with
disabilities by sending an email to [email protected] or by calling the
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202)
418-0432 (TTY). Pursuant to Sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the
Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file
comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the
first page of this document.
    1. In the 2.5 GHz Small Business Size Standards Public Notice, the
WTB and OEA seek comment on the small business size standards to be
used to determine an entity's eligibility for small business bidding
credits in an auction of unassigned Educational Broadband Service (EBS)
spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band. In the 2.5. GHz Report and Order, 84 FR
57343, October 25, 2019, the Commission modernized the regulatory
framework for the 2.5 GHz band to make this swath of vital mid-band
spectrum available for
[[Page 69697]]
advanced wireless services, including 5G, with unassigned spectrum to
be made available for commercial use via competitive bidding following
the completion of a Rural Tribal priority filing window. In so doing,
the Commission adopted small business size standards and associated
bidding credits for new EBS licenses to improve the ability of small
businesses to attract the capital necessary to participate meaningfully
in the auction of 2.5 GHz spectrum.
    2. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in this proceeding, 83
FR 26396, June 7, 2018, proposed to conduct any auction of EBS licenses
in conformity with the Commission's Part 1 competitive bidding rules.
The NPRM also proposed not to apply designated entity preferences in
such auctions, and accordingly did not propose any small business size
standards under which qualifying small businesses would receive bidding
credits. In comments and ex parte letters submitted in response to the
NPRM, several parties supported the adoption of bidding credits in an
EBS auction to encourage the participation of small service providers.
Upon consideration of the record in this proceeding, the Commission
concluded that using bidding credits in competitive bidding for EBS
licenses in the 2.5 GHz band would be an effective tool to achieve the
statutory objective of promoting the participation of designated
entities in the provision of spectrum-based services. Noting that the
removal of the eligibility restriction and educational use requirements
will attract more commercial operators to the 2.5 GHz band, the
Commission found that bidding credits should help facilitate greater
participation in any auction of EBS licenses and that offering bidding
credits to designated entities should improve the ability of small
businesses to attract the capital necessary to meaningfully participate
in such an auction. Thus, the 2.5 GHz Report and Order adopted small
business size standards and associated bidding credits for new EBS
licenses.
    3. A Federal department or agency that adopts a size standard for
categorizing a business concern as a small business is required to
consult with the Small Business Administration (SBA) prior to proposing
the size standard for public comment and subsequently, it is required
to obtain the SBA Administrator's approval of the size standard. In
this proceeding, because the NPRM did not propose to apply designated
entity preferences in auctions of new EBS licenses in the 2.5 GHz band,
the NPRM did not propose any size standards under which qualifying
small businesses would receive bidding credits. Therefore, the
Commission did not consult with the SBA regarding proposed size
standards for new EBS licenses in the 2.5 GHz band. However, in the 2.5
GHz Report and Order, the Commission directed the WTB, in conjunction
with OEA, to seek further comment on the two adopted small business
size standards and to consult with the SBA and obtain its approval of
the adopted size standards in advance of any auction of 2.5 GHz EBS
overlay licenses, as required by law.
    4. Accordingly, we seek comment on the definitions of a ``small
business'' as an entity that, together with its affiliates, its
controlling interests, and the affiliates of its controlling interests,
has average gross revenues that are not more than $55 million for the
preceding five years, and a ``very small business'' as an entity that,
together with its affiliates, its controlling interests, and the
affiliates of its controlling interests, has average gross revenues
that are not more than $20 million for the preceding five years.
Pursuant to the 2.5 GHz Report and Order, a winning bidder in an
auction of EBS licenses that qualifies as a ``small business'' would be
eligible for a 15% bidding credit, and a winning bidder qualifying as a
``very small business'' would be eligible for a 25% bidding credit.
    5. Copies of the comments and replies filed in response to the 2.5
GHz Small Business Size Standards Public Notice will be provided to the
SBA consistent with SBA procedures for approval of size standards
prescribed by Federal departments and agencies.
    6. Ex Parte Rules. This proceeding has been designated as a
``permit-but-disclose'' proceeding in accordance with the Commission's
ex parte rules. Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy
of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral
presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a
different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons
making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda
summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or
otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte
presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and
arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted
in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already
reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda or other
filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such
data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other
filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where
such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the
memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex
parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must
be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by
rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method of
electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda
summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto,
must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available
for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g.,
.doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding
should familiarize themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.
Federal Communications Commission.
William Huber,
Associate Chief, Auctions Division, Office of Economics and Analytics.
[FR Doc. 2019-27425 Filed 12-18-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6712-01-P