The ongoing debate over interoperability issues in the Lower 700MHz band has meant that certain licensees will now have more time to construct their Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, Fierce Wireless reports, citing the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. The watchdog will extend its interim construction deadline by six months – until 13 December 2013 – for all active Lower 700MHz band A-block licensees that have an interim four-year construction benchmark deadline falling prior to the revised deadline.
Prior to the deadline extension, the commission required all A-block licensees with spectrum in the 698MHz-704MHz and 728MHz-734MHz bands to provide signal coverage and offer service over to least 35% of the geographic area covered by their licence no later than 13 June 2013, or within four years of the issuance of their initial concession – if this occurred after 13 June 2009. The FCC commented: ‘The commission is reviewing the issues raised in the 700MHz Interoperability proceeding, and we find it is in the public interest to briefly extend the construction deadline for the Lower A-block licensees’. However, the regulator noted that it is not taking any action with respect to the Interim Construction Benchmark Deadline for Lower B-block licensees, and all requests for extension or waiver of the Interim Construction Benchmark Deadline filed by Lower B Block licensees will remain pending.