FCC Eliminates Audit, Financial Requirements to Spur 800 MHz Rebanding
Thursday, May 14, 2020 | Comments

The FCC accelerated the conclusion of the commission’s 800 MHz rebanding program, eliminating certain audit and financial reconciliation requirements that have been part of the program since its inception but are no longer necessary as rebanding nears completion, the commission said.

The commission first proposed the eliminations last year.

Under the changes, the Transition Administrator (TA) is no longer required to furnish the FCC with an annual audit or conduct other financial reconciliation of Sprint’s rebanding expenditures. The record is uncontradicted that these requirements are no longer necessary because Sprint satisfied its anti-windfall obligation, the FCC said.

In addition, the TA is no longer required to review and approve amendments to licensee frequency reconfiguration agreements (FRAs) with respect to cost creditability. Sprint agrees that there are likely to be few if any more FRA amendments now that virtually all incumbent licensees have completed physical rebanding of their systems. Moreover, even if new amendments are occasionally necessary going forward because Sprint has satisfied the anti-windfall requirement, there is no longer any programmatic need or benefit to having the TA review these amendments for cost creditability purposes or approve them.

However, the TA will continue its tracking, reporting, analytical and mediation functions as needed to facilitate the rebanding program's goals and assure its successful conclusion. In particular, the TA will continue to ascertain the overall cost to Sprint of the payments it has agreed to make under FRA amendments, to the extent that such cost may affect the TA’s recommendations to the commission regarding reductions in the amount of the letter of credit.

The TA will continue to be responsible for reviewing the sufficiency of the letter of credit that the commission has required Sprint to maintain throughout the program as financial security for its rebanding performance. This responsibility also extends to review of any subsequent letter of credit that may be proposed as a consequence of Sprint’s completed acquisition by T-Mobile.

The FCC said the TA is still responsible for reviewing amendments on an ad hoc basis while performing its duties regarding mediation and for reviewing any non-payment-related FRA amendments, such as changes in the replacement frequencies assigned to a licensee.

The full order is here.

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