In many areas of the country, particularly areas outside of metropolitan areas, no EBS licenses are authorized on some or all of the 20 EBS channels. This EBS “white space” is available for the issuance of new EBS licenses.
Pursuant to rule changes taking place on April 27, 2020, the FCC accepted applications from Tribal entities seeking new EBS overlay licenses serving rural tribal lands during a filing window that opened on February 3, 2020 and closed on September 2, 2020. The FCC received more than 400 applications from Tribal entities, and it has processed and granted many of those applications.
These same rule changes contemplate that the FCC will conduct an auction for overlay licenses for all remaining EBS white space. As of this writing, the rules for and timing of the auction have not been determined. Licenses will be issues for up to three channels (designated as EBS Channels 1, 2 and 3 as noted above) on a county-by-county basis. There are expected to be about 8,300 licenses offered in the auction.