Arlington, Va. (March 11, 2014) – NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association (NTCA) and the Rural Wireless Association (RWA), together with the Competitive Carriers’ Association (CCA) and the Blooston Rural Carriers, today announced a consensus proposal for the use of smaller geographic licensing areas in the forward auction of spectrum in the 600 MHz band. The ad hoc coalition’s proposal builds upon the FCC’s proposed map of licensing territories by incorporating feedback from the rural associations’ respective memberships and input from a variety of other industry stakeholders.

Via an ex parte filing to the FCC, NTCA and RWA, along with CCA and law firm Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP on behalf of rural carrier clients, submitted a new geographic area licensing proposal of aggregated partial economic areas reflecting 416 territories that seek to address concerns and feedback raised by small, wireless service providers. The coalition expressed its continued preference for small cellular market area licenses, but offered the consensus proposal as a solution to the unique concerns raised by community-based wireless service providers about the first-of-its-kind incentive auction for 600 MHz spectrum.  The coalition argued against earlier licensing proposals that contained oversized license areas that would significantly limit smaller carriers’ ability to participate in the auction. The proposals leave rural consumers and businesses unserved as larger bidders focus on more densely populated markets and seek to ease spectrum congestion in urban areas and fill in their national footprints.

“The FCC should move to immediately implement this consensus proposal made on behalf of consumers and based on feedback from carriers about their unique spectrum needs,ˮ said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “This historic industry collaboration has resulted in a proposal that strikes the right balance by giving rural carriers a meaningful chance to participate in the auction, allowing larger carriers to bid on spectrum for more populated areas while also creating options for consumers. I encourage the commission to adopt it right away.”

“The joint proposal filed today represents true industry collaboration. It offers a solution to some of the unique complexities posed by the 600 MHz auction, and would provide all wireless carriers the opportunity to participate,” said RWA General Counsel Caressa D. Bennet. “The commission should adopt this geographic license area map without delay.”

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use. Visit us at www.ntca.org.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., RWA – the Rural Wireless Association, Inc. is a trade association representing rural wireless carriers who each serve fewer than 100,000 subscribers. RWA’s members have joined together to speed delivery of new, efficient and innovative telecommunications technologies to remote and underserved communities.

Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP is a law firm in Washington, D.C., representing clients before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the courts and state regulatory commissions, on a variety of telecommunications issues.