194. For all of the AWS-3 spectrum within the scope of this NPRM, i.e., spectrum for which we seek comment regarding service rules for non-Federal use, we propose to assign licenses by competitive bidding, offering five megahertz blocks that can be aggregated using Economic Areas (EAs) as the area for geographic licensing. We also seek comment on whether, and if so how, to pair any of the AWS-3 spectrum.
195. These service rules would make available additional spectrum for flexible use in accordance with the Spectrum Act. In proposing service rules for the band, which include technical rules to protect against harmful interference, licensing rules to establish geographic license areas and spectrum block sizes, and performance requirements to promote robust buildout, we advance toward enabling rapid and efficient deployment. We do so by proposing service, technical, assignment, and licensing rules for this spectrum under the Commission's part 27 rules, which generally govern flexible use terrestrial wireless service, except where special provisions are necessary to facilitate shared use with co-primary Federal operations.
196. Overall, these proposals are designed to provide for flexible use of this spectrum by allowing licensees to choose their type of service offerings, to encourage innovation and investment in mobile broadband use in this spectrum, and to provide a stable regulatory environment in which broadband deployment would be able to develop through the application of standard terrestrial wireless rules. The market-oriented licensing framework for these bands would ensure that this spectrum is efficiently utilized and will foster the development of new and innovative technologies and services, as well as encourage the growth and development of broadband services, ultimately leading to greater benefits to consumers.
197. The proposed action is authorized pursuant to sections 1, 2, 4(i), 201, 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 324, 332, and 333 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Public Law 1122-96, 126
Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Proposed Rules Will Apply
198. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and, where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities to which the proposed rules and policies will apply, if adopted. The RFA generally defines the term "small entity" as having the same meaning as the terms "small business," "small organization," and "small governmental jurisdiction." In addition, the term "small business" has the same meaning as the term "small business concern" under the Small Business Act. A "small business concern" is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA.
199. Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental Jurisdictions. Our action may, over time, affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. We therefore describe here, at the outset, three comprehensive, statutory small entity size standards that encompass entities that could be directly affected by the proposals under consideration. Nationwide, there are a total of approximately 27.9 million small businesses, according to the SBA. Additionally, a "small organization" is generally "any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field." Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1,621,315 small organizations. Finally, the term "small governmental jurisdiction" is defined generally as "governments of cities, counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of less than fifty thousand."
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