EBS licensees are permitted to lease their excess capacity spectrum, subject to the rules adopted in the Secondary Markets Report and Order. In the Secondary Markets Report and Order, the Commission took important first steps to facilitate significantly broader access to valuable spectrum resources by enabling a wide array of facilities-based providers of broadband and other communications services to enter into spectrum leasing arrangements with Wireless Radio Service licensees. These flexible policies continue our evolution toward greater reliance on the marketplace to expand the scope of available wireless services and devices, leading to more efficient and dynamic use of the important spectrum resource to the ultimate benefit of consumers throughout the country.
Our Secondary Market rules limit spectrum leasing arrangements to the length of the license term. However, EBS leases entered into under our pre-existing ITFS leasing framework have been grandfathered and may remain in effect for up to fifteen years, so long as such leases are not materially changed.
EBS licensees must adhere to the following substantive use requirements, which are designed to maintain the traditional educational purposes of ITFS:
- There must be a minimum of 20 hours per 6 MHz channel per week of educational use of EBS spectrum.
- For analog facilities, EBS licensees must retain a right to recapture an additional amount of 20 more hours per channel per week capacity for educational purposes.
- For digital facilities, the EBS licensee must reserve at least 5% of its transmission capacity for educational purposes.
- The EBS licensee must retain responsibility for compliance with FCC rules regarding station construction and operation.
- Only the EBS licensee can file FCC applications for modifications to its station’s facilities.
- The EBS licensee must retain some right to acquire the EBS transmission equipment, or comparable equipment, upon termination of the lease agreement.