Washington, D.C. – Today, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to auction mid-band spectrum in the 3.45- 3.55 GHz band by the end of this year. The Rural Wireless Association is disappointed that the FCC chose to continue to use large Partial Economic Areas when auctioning the spectrum. While the FCC did increase the number of licenses from five 20 MHz licenses to ten 10 MHz licenses, allowing more licenses to be auctioned, the FCC did not reduce the geographic size of each license area as requested by RWA. Large PEA-sized license areas –which include densely populated urban areas along with sparsely populated rural areas — will make it nearly impossible for RWA’s members to be successful in acquiring this mid-band spectrum. Like the recently concluded C-Band auction, this auction will be dominated by Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T. Large license areas coupled with build out requirements based on population not geography is a formula for stranding rural areas without broadband access because the “Big 3” carriers will focus, as they always have, on highly populated urban network build outs. “How does the FCC expect to get 5G to rural America when it doesn’t give those willing to serve rural areas access to the spectrum to do it? From rural America’s perspective this is an epic fail,” stated Carri Bennet, RWA’s General Counsel.