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Table of Contents - April 19, 2019

Pai Announces Plans to Create Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, Commence Next Auction Dec. 10

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced on April 12 his intent to ask his fellow Commissioners to establish the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to inject $20.4 billion into broadband networks in rural areas over the next decade to extend broadband services to up to 4 million homes and small businesses. The plan immediately drew questions from his Democratic colleagues and some others, although it was praised by a number of industry entities and their allies.

Mr. Pai also announced that he plans to start the FCC's third auction of millimeter-wave band spectrum - which will include licenses for the 37 gigahertz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands - on Dec. 10. The FCC on April 12 adopted a public notice seeking comments on procedures for an incentive auction of the spectrum (see separate story).

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FCC Adopts Order Addressing 37 GHz, 50 GHz Bands

The FCC has adopted a fifth report and order establishing a process to enable the military to access spectrum in the 37.6-38.6 gigahertz band when the 37-37.6 GHz band is not sufficient. The order in GN docket 14-177 also permits fixed-satellite earth stations to be individually licensed in the 50 GHz band.

The order was adopted on April 12 in GN docket 14-177 over the partial dissent of the Democratic Commissioners, who said they wanted the agency to delay action on providing the military access to the 37.6-38.6 GHz band. Republican Commissioner Mike O'Rielly made clear he was not entirely pleased with the way the item turned out, but he said he was glad that some edits were made.

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