Text: H.R.4560 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 107-195 (06/19/2002)
[107th Congress Public Law 195]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[[Page 116 STAT. 715]]
Public Law 107-195
To eliminate the deadlines for spectrum auctions of spectrum previously
allocated to television broadcasting. <<NOTE: June 19, 2002 - [H.R.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the <<NOTE: Auction Reform Act of 2002.>> United States of America in
SECTION <<NOTE: 47 USC 609 note.>> 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Auction Reform Act of 2002''.
SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 47 USC 309 note.>> FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) Circumstances in the telecommunications market have
changed dramatically since the auctioning of spectrum in the 700
megahertz band was originally mandated by Congress in 1997,
raising serious questions as to whether the original deadlines,
or the subsequent revision of the deadlines, are consistent with
sound telecommunications policy and spectrum management
(2) No comprehensive plan yet exists for allocating
additional spectrum for third-generation wireless and other
advanced communications services. The Federal Communications
Commission should have the flexibility to auction frequencies in
the 700 megahertz band for such purposes.
(3) The study being conducted by the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration in
consultation with the Department of Defense to determine whether
the Department of Defense can share or relinquish additional
spectrum for third generation wireless and other advanced
communications services will not be completed until after the
June 19th auction date for the upper 700 megahertz band, and
long after the applications must be filed to participate in the
auction, thereby creating further uncertainty as to whether the
frequencies in the 700 megahertz band will be put to their
highest and best use for the benefit of consumers.
(4) The Federal Communications Commission is also in the
process of determining how to resolve the interference problems
that exist in the 800 megahertz band, especially for public
safety. One option being considered for the 800 megahertz band
would involve the 700 megahertz band. The Commission should not
hold the 700 megahertz auction before the 800 megahertz
interference issues are resolved or a tenable plan has been
(5) The 700 megahertz band is currently occupied by
television broadcasters, and will be so until the transfer to
digital television is completed. This situation creates a
[[Page 116 STAT. 716]]
amount of uncertainty concerning when the spectrum will be
available and reduces the value placed on the spectrum by
potential bidders. The encumbrance of the 700 megahertz band
reduces both the amount of money that the auction would be
likely to produce and the probability that the spectrum would be
purchased by the entities that valued the spectrum the most and
would put the spectrum to its most productive use.
(6) The Commission's rules governing voluntary mechanisms
for vacating the 700 megahertz band by broadcast stations--
(A) produced no certainty that the band would be
available for advanced mobile communications services,
public safety operations, or other wireless services any
earlier than the existing statutory framework provides;
(B) should advance the transition of digital
television and must not result in the unjust enrichment
of any incumbent licensee.
SEC. 3. ELIMINATION OF STATUTORY DEADLINES FOR SPECTRUM AUCTIONS.
(a) FCC To Determine Timing of Auctions.--Section 309(j) of the
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j)) is amended by adding at
the end the following new paragraph:
``(15) Commission to determine timing of auctions.--
``(A) Commission authority.--Subject to the
provisions of this subsection (including paragraph
(11)), but notwithstanding any other provision of law,
the Commission shall determine the timing of and
deadlines for the conduct of competitive bidding under
this subsection, including the timing of and deadlines
for qualifying for bidding; conducting auctions;
collecting, depositing, and reporting revenues; and
completing licensing processes and assigning licenses.
``(B) Termination of portions of auctions 31 and
44.--Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the
Commission shall not commence or conduct auctions 31 and
44 on June 19, 2002, as specified in the public notices
of March 19, 2002, and March 20, 2002 (DA 02-659 and DA
``(i) Blocks excepted.--Subparagraph (B) shall
not apply to the auction of--
``(I) the C-block of licenses on the
bands of frequencies located at 710-716
megahertz, and 740-746 megahertz; or
``(II) the D-block of licenses on
the bands of frequencies located at 716-
``(ii) Eligible bidders.--The entities that
shall be eligible to bid in the auction of the C-
block and D-block licenses described in clause (i)
shall be those entities that were qualified
entities, and that submitted applications to
participate in auction 44, by May 8, 2002, as part
of the original auction 44 short form filing
``(iii) Auction deadlines for excepted
blocks.--Notwithstanding subparagraph (B), the
auction of the
[[Page 116 STAT. 717]]
C-block and D-block licenses described in clause
(i) shall be commenced no earlier than August 19,
2002, and no later than September 19, 2002, and
the proceeds of such auction shall be deposited in
accordance with paragraph (8) not later than
December 31, 2002.
``(iv) Report.--Within one year after the date
of enactment of this paragraph, the Commission
shall submit a report to Congress--
``(I) specifying when the Commission
intends to reschedule auctions 31 and 44
(other than the blocks excepted by
clause (i)); and
``(II) describing the progress made
by the Commission in the digital
television transition and in the
assignment and allocation of additional
spectrum for advanced mobile
communications services that warrants
the scheduling of such auctions.
``(D) Return of payments.--Within one month after
the date of enactment of this paragraph, the Commission
shall return to the bidders for licenses in the A-block,
B-block, and E-block of auction 44 the full amount of
all upfront payments made by such bidders for such
(b) Conforming Amendments.--
(1) Communications act of 1934.--Section 309(j)(14)(C)(ii)
of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j)(14)(C)(ii))
is amended by striking the second sentence.
(2) Balanced budget act of 1997.--Section 3007 of the
Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (111 Stat. 269) <<NOTE: 47 USC 309
note.>> is repealed.
(3) Consolidated appropriations act.--Paragraphs (2) and (3)
of section 213(a) of H.R. 3425 of the 106th Congress, as enacted
into law by section 1000(a)(5) of An Act making consolidated
appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2000,
and for other purposes (Public Law 106-113; 113 Stat. 1501A-
295), <<NOTE: 47 USC 337 note.>> are repealed.
SEC. 4. <<NOTE: 47 USC 309 note.>> COMPLIANCE WITH AUCTION AUTHORITY.
The Federal Communications Commission shall conduct rescheduled
auctions 31 and 44 prior to the expiration of the auction authority
under section 309(j)(11) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C.
SEC. 5. <<NOTE: 47 USC 309 note.>> PRESERVATION OF BROADCASTER
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to relieve television
broadcast station licensees of the obligation to complete the digital
television service conversion as required by section 309(j)(14) of the
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j)(14)).
SEC. 6. <<NOTE: 47 USC 337 note.>> INTERFERENCE PROTECTION.
(a) Interference Waivers.--In granting a request by a television
broadcast station licensee assigned to any of channels 52-69 to utilize
any channel of channels 2-51 that is assigned for digital broadcasting
in order to continue analog broadcasting during the transition to
digital broadcasting, the Federal Communications Commission may not,
either at the time of the grant or thereafter, waive or otherwise
(1) the spacing requirements provided for analog
broadcasting licensees within channels 2-51 as required by
section 73.610 of the Commission's rules (and the table
contained therein) (47 CFR 73.610), or
[[Page 116 STAT. 718]]
(2) the interference standards provided for digital
broadcasting licensees within channels 2-51 as required by
sections 73.622 and 73.623 of such rules (47 CFR 73.622,
if such waiver or reduction will result in any degradation in or loss of
service, or an increased level of interference, to any television
household except as the Commission's rules would otherwise expressly
permit, exclusive of any waivers previously granted.
(b) Exception for Public Safety Channel Clearing.--The restrictions
in subsection (a) shall not apply to a station licensee that is seeking
authority (either by waiver or otherwise) to vacate the frequencies that
constitute television channel 63, 64, 68, or 69 in order to make such
frequencies available for public safety purposes pursuant to the
provisions of section 337 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C.
Approved June 19, 2002.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 4560:
HOUSE REPORTS: No. 107-443 (Comm. on Energy and Commerce).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 148 (2002):
May 7, considered and passed House.
June 18, considered and passed Senate, amended. House
concurred in Senate amendment.