United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Sep 25, 2023
Subject to the provisions of this section, the Commission shall determine, in the case of each application filed with it to which section 308 of this title applies, whether the public interest, convenience, and necessity will be served by the granting of such application, and, if the Commission, upon examination of such application and upon consideration of such other matters as the Commission may officially notice, shall find that public interest, convenience, and necessity would be served by the granting thereof, it shall grant such application.
If, in the case of any application to which subsection (a) of this section applies, a substantial and material question of fact is presented or the Commission for any reason is unable to make the finding specified in such subsection, it shall formally designate the application for hearing on the ground or reasons then obtaining and shall forthwith notify the applicant and all other known parties in interest of such action and the grounds and reasons therefor, specifying with particularity the matters and things in issue but not including issues or requirements phrased generally. When the Commission has so designated an application for hearing the parties in interest, if any, who are not notified by the Commission of such action may acquire the status of a party to the proceeding thereon by filing a petition for intervention showing the basis for their interest not more than thirty days after publication of the hearing issues or any substantial amendment thereto in the Federal Register. Any hearing subsequently held upon such application shall be a full hearing in which the applicant and all other parties in interest shall be permitted to participate. The burden of proceeding with the introduction of evidence and the burden of proof shall be upon the applicant, except that with respect to any issue presented by a petition to deny or a petition to enlarge the issues, such burdens shall be as determined by the Commission.
When an application subject to subsection (b) has been filed, the Commission, notwithstanding the requirements of such subsection, may, if the grant of such application is otherwise authorized by law and if it finds that there are extraordinary circumstances requiring temporary operations in the public interest and that delay in the institution of such temporary operations would seriously prejudice the public interest, grant a temporary authorization, accompanied by a statement of its reasons therefor, to permit such temporary operations for a period not exceeding 180 days, and upon making like findings may extend such temporary authorization for additional periods not to exceed 180 days. When any such grant of a temporary authorization is made, the Commission shall give expeditious treatment to any timely filed petition to deny such application and to any petition for rehearing of such grant filed under section 405 of this title.
The Commission is authorized to adopt reasonable classifications of applications and amendments in order to effectuate the purposes of this section.
Such station licenses as the Commission may grant shall be in such general form as it may prescribe, but each license shall contain, in addition to other provisions, a statement of the following conditions to which such license shall be subject: (1) The station license shall not vest in the licensee any right to operate the station nor any right in the use of the frequencies designated in the license beyond the term thereof nor in any other manner than authorized therein; (2) neither the license nor the right granted thereunder shall be assigned or otherwise transferred in violation of this chapter; (3) every license issued under this chapter shall be subject in terms to the right of use or control conferred by section 606 of this title.
If, consistent with the obligations described in paragraph (6)(E), mutually exclusive applications are accepted for any initial license or construction permit, then, except as provided in paragraph (2), the Commission shall grant the license or permit to a qualified applicant through a system of competitive bidding that meets the requirements of this subsection.
No person shall be permitted to participate in a system of competitive bidding pursuant to this subsection unless such bidder submits such information and assurances as the Commission may require to demonstrate that such bidder’s application is acceptable for filing. No license shall be granted to an applicant selected pursuant to this subsection unless the Commission determines that the applicant is qualified pursuant to subsection (a) and sections 308(b) and 310 of this title. Consistent with the objectives described in paragraph (3), the Commission shall, by regulation, prescribe expedited procedures consistent with the procedures authorized by subsection (i)(2) for the resolution of any substantial and material issues of fact concerning qualifications.
In making a decision pursuant to section 303(c) of this title to assign a band of frequencies to a use for which licenses or permits will be issued pursuant to this subsection, and in prescribing regulations pursuant to paragraph (4)(C) of this subsection, the Commission may not base a finding of public interest, convenience, and necessity on the expectation of Federal revenues from the use of a system of competitive bidding under this subsection.
In prescribing regulations pursuant to paragraph (4)(A) of this subsection, the Commission may not base a finding of public interest, convenience, and necessity solely or predominantly on the expectation of Federal revenues from the use of a system of competitive bidding under this subsection.
Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to prevent the Commission from continuing to consider consumer demand for spectrum-based services.
Except as provided in subparagraphs (B), (D), (E), (F), and (G), all proceeds from the use of a competitive bidding system under this subsection shall be deposited in the Treasury in accordance with chapter 33 of title 31.
Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), the salaries and expenses account of the Commission shall retain as an offsetting collection such sums as may be necessary from such proceeds for the costs of developing and implementing the program required by this subsection. Such offsetting collections shall be available for obligation subject to the terms and conditions of the receiving appropriations account, and shall be deposited in such accounts on a quarterly basis. Such offsetting collections are authorized to remain available until expended.
Except as provided in clause (ii), cash proceeds attributable to the auction of any eligible frequencies described in section 113(g)(2) of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Organization Act (47 U.S.C. 923(g)(2)) shall be deposited in the Spectrum Relocation Fund established under section 118 of such Act [47 U.S.C. 928], and shall be available in accordance with that section.
Notwithstanding subparagraph (A) and except as provided in subparagraph (B), in the case of proceeds (including deposits and upfront payments from successful bidders) attributable to the auction of eligible frequencies described in paragraph (2) of section 113(g) of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Organization Act [47 U.S.C. 923(g)] that are required to be auctioned by section 1451(b)(1)(B) of this title, such portion of such proceeds as is necessary to cover the relocation or sharing costs (as defined in paragraph (3) of such section 113(g)) of Federal entities relocated from such eligible frequencies shall be deposited in the Spectrum Relocation Fund. The remainder of such proceeds shall be deposited in the Public Safety Trust Fund established by section 1457(a)(1) of this title.
There is established in the Treasury of the United States a fund to be known as the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Fund.
Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), the proceeds (including deposits and upfront payments from successful bidders) from the use of a competitive bidding system under this subsection with respect to recovered analog spectrum shall be deposited in the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Fund.
For purposes of clause (i), the term “recovered analog spectrum” has the meaning provided in paragraph (15)(C)(vi).
Notwithstanding subparagraph (A) and except as provided in subparagraphs (B) and (D)(ii), the proceeds (including deposits and upfront payments from successful bidders) from the use of a system of competitive bidding under this subsection pursuant to section 1451(b)(1)(B) of this title shall be deposited in the Public Safety Trust Fund established by section 1457(a)(1) of this title.
Notwithstanding subparagraph (A) and except as provided in subparagraph (B), the Commission may encourage a licensee to relinquish voluntarily some or all of its licensed spectrum usage rights in order to permit the assignment of new initial licenses subject to flexible-use service rules by sharing with such licensee a portion, based on the value of the relinquished rights as determined in the reverse auction required by clause (ii)(I), of the proceeds (including deposits and upfront payments from successful bidders) from the use of a competitive bidding system under this subsection.
At least 3 months before any incentive auction conducted under this subparagraph, the Chairman of the Commission, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, shall notify the appropriate committees of Congress of the methodology for calculating the amounts that will be shared with licensees under clause (i).
The authority of the Commission to grant a license or permit under this subsection shall expire
Notwithstanding paragraph (6)(G), the Commission shall not award licenses pursuant to a preferential treatment accorded by the Commission to persons who make significant contributions to the development of a new telecommunications service or technology, except in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph.
The Commission shall require such person to pay the sum required by subparagraph (B) in a lump sum or in guaranteed installment payments, with or without royalty payments, over a period of not more than 5 years.
The authority of the Commission to provide preferential treatment in licensing procedures (by precluding the filing of mutually exclusive applications) to persons who make significant contributions to the development of a new service or to the development of new technologies that substantially enhance an existing service shall expire on
This paragraph shall be effective on
A full-power television broadcast license that authorizes analog television service may not be renewed to authorize such service for a period that extends beyond
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.
Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the Commission shall not commence or conduct auctions 31 and 44 on
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
Notwithstanding subparagraph (B), the auction of the C-block and D-block licenses described in clause (i) shall be commenced no earlier than
Notwithstanding subparagraph (B), the Commission shall conduct the auction of the licenses for recovered analog spectrum by commencing the bidding not later than
Within one month after
The Commission shall revise the regulations prescribed under paragraph (4)(F) of this subsection to prescribe methods by which the total cash proceeds from any auction of eligible frequencies described in section 113(g)(2) of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Organization Act (47 U.S.C. 923(g)(2)) shall at least equal 110 percent of the total estimated relocation or sharing costs provided to the Commission pursuant to section 113(g)(4) of such Act.
The Commission shall not conclude any auction of eligible frequencies described in section 113(g)(2) of such Act [47 U.S.C. 923(g)(2)] if the total cash proceeds attributable to such spectrum are less than 110 percent of the total estimated relocation or sharing costs provided to the Commission pursuant to section 113(g)(4) of such Act. If the Commission is unable to conclude an auction for the foregoing reason, the Commission shall cancel the auction, return within 45 days after the auction cancellation date any deposits from participating bidders held in escrow, and absolve such bidders from any obligation to the United States to bid in any subsequent reauction of such spectrum.
In any auction conducted under the regulations required by subparagraph (A), the Commission may grant a license assigned for the use of eligible frequencies prior to the termination of an eligible Federal entity’s authorization. However, the Commission shall condition such license by requiring that the licensee cannot cause harmful interference to such Federal entity until such entity’s authorization has been terminated by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Nothing in subparagraph (A) affects any authority the Commission has to adopt and enforce rules of general applicability, including rules concerning spectrum aggregation that promote competition.
If any licensee of a broadcast station fails to meet the requirements of this subsection, the Commission may deny the application for renewal in accordance with paragraph (3), or grant such application on terms and conditions as are appropriate, including renewal for a term less than the maximum otherwise permitted.
In making the determinations specified in paragraph (1) or (2), the Commission shall not consider whether the public interest, convenience, and necessity might be served by the grant of a license to a person other than the renewal applicant.