United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Sep 24, 2023

§ 337.
Allocation and assignment of new public safety services licenses and commercial licenses
In general
Not later than January 1, 1998, the Commission shall allocate the electromagnetic spectrum between 746 megahertz and 806 megahertz, inclusive, as follows:
34 megahertz of that spectrum for public safety services according to the terms and conditions established by the Commission, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce and the Attorney General; and
26 megahertz of that spectrum for commercial use to be assigned by competitive bidding pursuant to section 309(j) of this title.

The Commission shall commence assignment of licenses for public safety services created pursuant to subsection (a) no later than September 30, 1998.

Licensing of unused frequencies for public safety services
Use of unused channels for public safety services
Upon application by an entity seeking to provide public safety services, the Commission shall waive any requirement of this chapter or its regulations implementing this chapter (other than its regulations regarding harmful interference) to the extent necessary to permit the use of unassigned frequencies for the provision of public safety services by such entity. An application shall be granted under this subsection if the Commission finds that—
no other spectrum allocated to public safety services is immediately available to satisfy the requested public safety service use;
the requested use is technically feasible without causing harmful interference to other spectrum users entitled to protection from such interference under the Commission’s regulations;
the use of the unassigned frequency for the provision of public safety services is consistent with other allocations for the provision of such services in the geographic area for which the application is made;
the unassigned frequency was allocated for its present use not less than 2 years prior to the date on which the application is granted; and
granting such application is consistent with the public interest.

Paragraph (1) shall apply to any application to provide public safety services that is pending or filed on or after August 5, 1997.

Conditions on licenses
In establishing service rules with respect to licenses granted pursuant to this section, the Commission—
shall establish interference limits at the boundaries of the spectrum block and service area;
shall establish any additional technical restrictions necessary to protect full-service analog television service and digital television service during a transition to digital television service;
may permit public safety services licensees and commercial licensees—
to aggregate multiple licenses to create larger spectrum blocks and service areas; and
to disaggregate or partition licenses to create smaller spectrum blocks or service areas; and
shall establish rules insuring that public safety services licensees using spectrum reallocated pursuant to subsection (a)(1) shall not be subject to harmful interference from television broadcast licensees.
Removal and relocation of incumbent broadcast licensees
Channels 52 to 69

Any full-power television station licensee that holds a television broadcast license to operate between 698 and 806 megahertz may not operate at that frequency after June 12, 2009.

Incumbent qualifying low-power stations

After making any allocation or assignment under this section, the Commission shall seek to assure, consistent with the Commission’s plan for allotments for digital television service, that each qualifying low-power television station is assigned a frequency below 698 megahertz to permit the continued operation of such station.

For purposes of this section:
Public safety services
The term “public safety services” means services—
the sole or principal purpose of which is to protect the safety of life, health, or property;
that are provided—
by State or local government entities; or
by nongovernmental organizations that are authorized by a governmental entity whose primary mission is the provision of such services; and
that are not made commercially available to the public by the provider.
Qualifying low-power television stations
A station is a qualifying low-power television station if, during the 90 days preceding August 5, 1997
such station broadcast a minimum of 18 hours per day;
such station broadcast an average of at least 3 hours per week of programming that was produced within the market area served by such station; and
such station was in compliance with the requirements applicable to low-power television stations.
(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title III, § 337, as added Pub. L. 105–33, title III, § 3004, Aug. 5, 1997, 111 Stat. 266; amended Pub. L. 106–79, title VIII, § 8124(a), Oct. 25, 1999, 113 Stat. 1262; Pub. L. 106–113, div. B, § 1000(a)(5) [title II, § 213(a)(1), (d)], Nov. 29, 1999, 113 Stat. 1536, 1501A–295, 1501A–297; Pub. L. 109–171, title III, § 3002(c)(1), Feb. 8, 2006, 120 Stat. 21; Pub. L. 111–4, § 2(b)(3), Feb. 11, 2009, 123 Stat. 112; Pub. L. 112–96, title VI, § 6101(b), Feb. 22, 2012, 126 Stat. 205.)
cite as: 47 USC 337