FCC proposes enhanced broadband competition incentive program to close digital divide

Aiming at closing the digital divide, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed an enhanced competition incentive program to encourage licensees to offer opportunities for small carriers and Tribal Nations to obtain spectrum via lease, partition, or disaggregation. The program would also be available to an array of entities interested in providing wireless service in rural areas. The FCC further highlighted that this is its latest action to close the digital divide and make further progress on Congress’ goals in the MOBILE NOW Act to promote diversity of spectrum access and availability of rural service. The newly proposed program offers three primary benefits to participants:

  1. A five-year extension of the license terms for all parties to a qualifying transaction;
  2. A one-year extension of construction deadlines for all parties to a qualifying transaction in a partition and/or disaggregation, and to the lessor in a qualifying lease; and
  3. Alternate construction requirements for partition and disaggregation in rural-focused transactions.