Appendix C to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
Supplement to Appendix C: Auctionomics/Power Auctions Option for Forward Auction (February 1, 2013)

Converting Broadcast Spectrum to Wireless Spectrum

The Band Plan, which has not yet been finalized, will determine exactly which frequencies will be cleared in the Reverse Auction for each possible clearing target and the structure of the wireless licenses to be assigned in the Forward Auction.

In describing this auction design option, we will assume that the Reverse Auction will clear channels in the UHF band, while potentially moving UHF stations to the VHF band, and potentially having stations from any of these bands go off-air.

We also assume for any number of UHF channels cleared (above some minimum), it will be possible to create some number of paired (uplink and downlink) wireless licenses. We further assume that wireless licenses will cover Economic Areas (EAs), a geographic license unit used in a number of past FCC Spectrum Auctions. There may also be additional downlink-only licenses and some residual spectrum designated for unlicensed use.

The reason for having downlink only licenses as well as paired uplink and downlink licenses is that broadcast channels do not generally convert to whole numbers of paired wireless licenses. Broadcast channels are 6 MHz, while wireless licenses are often composed of 5 MHz blocks or multiples thereof. Spectrum also is needed to create guard bands that separate wireless broadband from neighboring spectrum uses. As a result, creating paired wireless licenses may leave “extra” spectrum to create supplementary downlink licenses, as well as “remainder” spectrum that will be part of the guard bands and may be available for unlicensed use.

Regional vs. National Band Plan. We assume in this auction design option that an attempt will be made to create a uniform national band plan, i.e., that the same channels will be cleared nationwide. However, it is possible that some exceptions will be required if broadcaster participation is too low in certain areas or Canadian or Mexican television allotments constrain the amount of spectrum that can be made available for flexible use. This may result in “impaired areas” where fewer licenses are offered in the forward auction.