New Americas benchmark on spectrum licence conditions, including for coverage 03 April 18

Most countries in the Americas include coverage obligations in their latest spectrum licence awards. In some countries, the coverage requirements are set out in detail with a specific rollout schedule, including for roads and rural areas, whereas other countries set more generic obligations based on covering a percentage of the population.

A range of other obligations can be included as spectrum licence conditions, including: mandated wholesale access; obligations to pay for the costs of migrating users and to mitigate against interference with other licensees; and requiring licensees to grant subsidised access and equipment to specific user groups.

In the United States, coverage obligations are linked to the “use it or lose it” principle, which aims to prevent spectrum hoarding or anti-competitive behaviour, while fostering economic activity in local areas. The FCC usually sets interim and final targets that require the licensee to cover a certain percentage of the population in each licence area. If these targets are not met, the licence term can be reduced and the spectrum licence reclaimed by the FCC, which will make it available to other potential users.

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