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Auction 61

Automated Maritime Telecommunications System

DateAuction 61 began on
 and closed on
10 Automated Maritime Telecommunications System Area (AMTSA) licenses
Spectrum217/219 MHz band
BandwidthBlock A: 217.5 – 218.0/219.5 – 220.0 (total 1 MHz), where available
Block B: 217.0 – 217.5/219.0 – 219.5 (total 1 MHz), where available
Winning Bidders4
Qualified Bidders7
Licenses Won10
Net Bids$7,094,350
Gross Bids$10,881,000

Key Dates

Pre-Auction Seminar
Form 175 (Short Form) Application Filing Window Opens
5/25/2005; 12:00 noon ET
Form 175 (Short Form) Application Filing Deadline
6/9/2005; 6:00 pm ET
Upfront Payments Deadline
7/8/2005; 6:00 pm ET
Mock Auction
Auction Start
Auction Closed

Licenses Offered

Auction No. 61 will include 10 AMTS licenses in a specialized system of public coast stations in the 217/219 MHz band. A complete list of licenses for Auction No. 61 and their descriptions is provided in Attachment A of Public Notice DA 05-1047. The AMTSAs are based on, and composed of one or more of, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s 172 Economic Areas (EAs). In addition, the Commission treats Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Gulf of Mexico as EA-like areas. Each AMTSA also includes the adjacent waters under the jurisdiction of the United States.
The following table describes the licenses that will be auctioned in each of the AMTSAs:
Block Frequency Bands (MHz) Total Bandwidth Pairing Geographic Area Type No. of Licenses
A217.5 – 218.0 / 219.5 – 220.01 MHz2 x 500 kHzAMTSA9
B217.0 – 217.5 / 219.0 – 219.51 MHz2 x 500 kHzAMTSA1
Note: The above table displays the band edges of spectrum blocks A and B using the twenty 25 kHz channels that comprise each block as listed in 47 C.F.R. § 80.385(a)(2). It should be noted that pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 80.481, licensees are not required to use 25 kHz channelization and may choose any channelization scheme; however, regardless of the channelization scheme used, emissions at these band edges must be attenuated within the limitation that would be required under 47 C.F.R. § 80.211 if the licensee were using 25 kHz channels.
For Auction No. 61, licenses are not available in each spectrum block in every market. See Attachment A of Public Notice DA 05-1047 for a complete listing of the licenses to be offered.

Permissible Operations

AMTS is a specialized system of coast stations providing integrated and interconnected marine voice and data communications, somewhat like a cellular phone system, for tugs, barges, and other vessels on waterways. Service to units on land is permitted, so long as marine-originating communications receive priority.

License Period

AMTS geographic area licenses are issued for a ten-year term beginning on the date of the initial authorization grant. Licensees have a renewal expectancy based on the provision of substantial service and substantial compliance with applicable Commission rules, policies, and the Communications Act. (See Third Report and Order, 13 FCC Rcd at 19871 33).
Each AMTS geographic area licensee must provide “substantial service” within ten years, i.e., at the time of license renewal.

Bidding Credit

Bidding credits are available to small or very small businesses or consortia thereof, as defined in 47 C.F.R. § 80.1252. A bidding credit is a payment discount on a winning bid determined at the conclusion of the bidding process. The size of the bidding credit depends on the average of the aggregated annual gross revenues for each of the preceding three years of the bidder, its affiliates, its controlling interests, and the affiliates of its controlling interests:
Small business bidding credits are not cumulative. A qualifying applicant receives either the 25 percent or the 35 percent bidding credit on its winning bid, but only one credit per license.

Tribal Land Bidding Credit

A winning bidder that intends to use its license(s) to deploy facilities and provide services to federally-recognized tribal lands that are unserved by any telecommunications carrier or that have a wireline penetration rate equal to or below 85 percent is eligible to receive a tribal land bidding credit as set forth in 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.2107(e) and 1.2110(f). A tribal land bidding credit is in addition to, and separate from, any other bidding credit for which a winning bidder may qualify. A winning bidder need not qualify for a small business bidding credit to be eligible for a tribal lands bidding credit.
Unlike other bidding credits that are requested prior to the auction, a winning bidder applies for the tribal land bidding credit after winning the auction when it first files its long-form application (FCC Form 601). In order for a winning bidder to be awarded a tribal land bidding credit, it must provide specific certifications regarding the servicing of tribal lands and is subject to specific performance criteria as set forth in 47 C.F.R. § 1.2110(f).
Additional information on the tribal land bidding credit, including how the amount of the credit is calculated, can be found on the Commission’s auction web site at Tribal Land Bidding Credits.


Geographic area licensees must locate their stations at least 120 kilometers from the station of co-channel site-based AMTS licensees. Shorter separations between stations will be considered by the Commission on a case-by-case basis upon submission of a technical analysis indicating that at least 18 dB protection will be provided to a site-based licensee’s predicted 38 dBu signal contour. Geographic area licensees must also coordinate to minimize interference at or near their geographic area borders, and must cooperate to resolve any instances of interference in accordance with the provisions of 80.70(a).
Incumbents are prohibited from renewing, transferring, assigning, or modifying their licenses in any manner that extends their system’s service area or results in their acquiring additional frequencies, unless there is consent from each affected geographic area licensee. If an incumbent fails to construct, discontinues operations, or otherwise has its license terminated, the spectrum covered by the incumbent’s authorization will automatically revert to the geographic area licensee.
In addition, AMTS licensees that cause interference to television reception or to the U.S. Navy SPASUR system must cure the problem or discontinue operations. Also, law enforcement tracking operations are currently authorized on a primary basis in certain markets in AMTSAs 3, 4, 6, 9 and 10 on a frequency in block A. These operations are scheduled to be converted to non-AMTS frequencies by 2007.

Licensing Rules

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