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FAQs - General Cost-sharing


What is the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse?
Designated in 2006 by the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC" or "Commission"), the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse ensures objective and equitable cost sharing of relocations in the 2110–2200 MHz spectrum band. It provides the database management and technical analysis to all affected licensees, whether incumbent users of the spectrum or newly licensed entities, in the relocation and cost-sharing process. The CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse is tasked with the identification and notification of cost-sharing obligations in the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS)/Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) spectrum bands. Through the cost-sharing clearinghouse, the FCC seeks to distribute the financial burden of incumbent relocation fairly and promote a more rapid deployment of Advanced Wireless Services.

When does a licensee obtain reimbursement rights for a relocated link?
An AWS or MSS/ATC ("Ancillary Terrestrial Component") relocator obtains reimbursement rights for a link on the date that it signs a relocation agreement with the incumbent. A voluntarily relocating microwave incumbent obtains reimbursement rights for its link on the date that it notifies the FCC it intends to discontinue or has discontinued the use of the link. In either situation, claims for reimbursement are limited to relocation expenses incurred on or after the date of the first AWS license being issued, November 29, 2006.

Is there a time-frame in which I must file my relocation for cost-sharing?
The FCC's rules provide that a relocator has 30 calendar days from the date the relocation agreement is signed with the incumbent to register its reimbursement claim with the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse. For a voluntarily relocating incumbent, the incumbent must file with the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse within 30 calendar days of the date it submits a notice of service discontinuance with the FCC. Lastly, in the event that relocation is involuntary, the FCC requires the relocator to register its reimbursement claim with the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse within 30 calendar days after the end of the relocation process, which will be the end of the one-year trial period.

What documentation needs to be provided when I register a relocation for cost-sharing?
Once relocation occurs, the AWS relocator, MSS/ATC relocator, or the voluntarily relocating microwave incumbent must submit documentation itemizing the amount spent on each relocation. Specifically, the AWS relocator, MSS/ATC relocator, or the voluntarily relocating microwave incumbent must submit the uniform cost data requested by the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse along with a copy of either the relocation agreement or the third party appraisal, when appropriate. Additionally, a voluntarily relocating microwave incumbent must submit its notice of service discontinuance filed with the FCC.

What is a PCN and when must it be filed with the Clearinghouse?
A PCN is a Prior Coordination Notification containing site deployment information. A licensee must file the PCN with the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse 30 calendar days prior to operating the base-station(s) at a commercial power level.

CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse recommendation: since the affected Federal agencies have 60 days to review your PCN and accompanying analysis, you may want to provide your proposed deployment information to them in advance of providing the same information to other affected licensees, who have only 30 days for their review.

How is a license determined to be co-channel interference to a relocated link?
For each relocated link that is registered with the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse for cost-sharing, the relocator must provide the emission bandwidth. This designator, when coupled with the operating frequency of the link, will determine the spectral bandwidth of the system. This will then indicate exactly what licenses are co-channel to an individual relocation. For example, a fixed microwave link with the operating frequencies of 2120/2170 MHz and the emission designator of 3.5 MHz will be co-channel to both the A and B block of the AWS band—2118.25 MHz (block A) to 2121.75 MHz (block B).

How will I be notified of a cost-sharing obligation or reimbursement opportunity?
When a cost-sharing obligation or reimbursement opportunity is identified by the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse, the affected parties will be notified via e-mail.

How does the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse determine whether an obligation is full-reimbursement or pro-rata?
If a new entrant relocates a Broadband Radio Service (BRS) facility that is either fully outside its market area, or a fixed microwave link whose end points are fully outside its market area, or its license is not co-channel to the frequencies of the relocation, it may seek full reimbursement without depreciation. Otherwise, the pro-rata cost-sharing formula will be applied.

Can a licensee trigger more than 1 cost-sharing obligation on the same relocated facility?
Yes. Cost-sharing obligations are determined on a per license basis, regardless of which entity owns the license.

If I have engineered my base-stations to avoid the relocation of an incumbent, can I still trigger a cost-sharing obligation?
Yes. The CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse determines cost-sharing obligations by applying the Proximity Threshold Test. The FCC finds that the presence of an AWS site within the Proximity Threshold Box, regardless of whether it predates or postdates relocation of the incumbent, and regardless of the potential for actual interference, will trigger a cost-sharing obligation. Accordingly, any licensee that "engineers around" the link can expect to trigger a cost-sharing obligation once relocation occurs and is registered for cost-sharing at the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse.

What happens if I deconstruct a site that originally created a cost-sharing obligation?
The reimbursement obligation will remain once identified. The FCC's rules preclude licensees that have triggered a cost-sharing obligation from avoiding the obligation by deconstructing or modifying their facilities.

What is a transaction fee and when is it incurred?
A transaction fee is a service charge from the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse for providing the notification of a reimbursement opportunity on an individual relocation. This transaction fee is paid to the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse once per relocation, upon notification that an entity is entitled to receive reimbursement.

What is a multi-party relocation?
A multi-party relocation is one in which two or more licensees jointly relocate an incumbent facility.

What is an incomplete relocation?
An incomplete relocation is one in which the final costs are unknown at the time the relocation is registered for cost-sharing. In such situations, the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse administers the appropriate cost-sharing test without final costs and notifies the affected parties of the general cost-sharing activity. The notifications may not include specific dollar amounts of the obligation, however, until the relocator provides the final relocation costs to the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse.

What if I have a cost-sharing dispute with another licensee?
The FCC requires participants in the cost-sharing plan to submit their disputes to the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse for resolution in the first instance. If parties are unable to resolve their issues before the CTIA Spectrum Clearinghouse, parties are encouraged to use expedited ADR procedures, such as binding arbitration, mediation, or other ADR techniques.

What is sunset?
Sunset is the term the FCC uses to describe the date on which its rules for fixed microwave and BRS relocations and cost-sharing in the AWS band terminate.

When will sunset take place?
Sunset is scheduled to take place ten (10) years after the first AWS license was awarded, i.e., on November 29, 2016. However, there are two exceptions to this sunset date: first, cost-sharing on eligible BRS relocations will end on November 29, 2021, 15 years after the first F block license was awarded; and second, for the licensees in the 2180 to 2200 MHz band, sunset will take place on December 8, 2013, ten years after the mandatory negotiation period began for the MSS/ATC operators.