The FCC has just posted a “draft” decision in the rulemaking on EBS, and it expects to adopt the decision during its monthly meeting on July 10, 2019. The draft decision is available here: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-358065A1.pdf.
NEBSA is pleased that the draft decision carefully protects existing EBS licenses and their service areas. It confirms that no disruption will occur to existing lease agreements. It also retains current renewal standards for existing EBS licenses which can be satisfied with either a showing of reasonable deployment and coverage or educational use.
NEBSA is disappointed, however, that the FCC does not intend to expand existing EBS licensed service areas to county boundaries, as we had requested. The draft decision also eliminates the educational eligibility standards for holding EBS licenses and removes the minimum educational use requirements. Finally, it does not contemplate a special filing window for new educational applicants. (Although the FCC order does contemplate a priority filing window for rural Native American tribal areas.) NEBSA had urged the FCC to keep “education” in EBS licensing by offering new educators an opportunity to obtain licenses through a process other than auctions, and by maintaining eligibility and educational use rules.
NEBSA will continue to explore options to affect the decision between now and the FCC meeting on July 10, and it plans to provide detailed information on the decision, and how EBS licensees can protect their interests, following the FCC’s action.