5G spectrum squatting case ends in $100M FCC fine

Straight Path Spectrum allegedly didn't use now-prized 39GHz licenses for services as the FCC required

The FCC has fined a company US$100 million for not using licenses to spectrum that is now considered promising for future 5G networks.

Straight Path Spectrum agreed on Wednesday to pay the civil penalty, surrender most of its licenses, and sell the rest, among other conditions in a consent decree with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Straight Path Spectrum holds licenses in the 28GHz and 39GHz bands, both of which are identified for use in the next generation of cellular networks, the FCC said. It received the licenses in 2013 and 2014 on the condition that it use them to provide services.

In November 2015, an anonymous report alleged that Straight Path never built several of the 39GHz systems it had told the FCC were completed. Straight Path hired the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to conduct an independent investigation. The firm found that a significant amount of equipment was set up for only a short time and never used in a permanent network, even though the company said it had been.

Straight Path may not have to pay the whole $100 million. It needs to pay the first $15 million up front, but the other $85 million is suspended pending Straight Path’s transfer or assignment of the licenses in the next 12 months. If the company sells any of the licenses, it will owe 20 percent of the proceeds as an additional penalty.

To make sure spectrum serves the public, the FCC requires anyone who licenses frequencies to use them. It sets out various timelines to allow for the development and deployment of the networks.

The 28GHz and 39GHz bands have been used for wireless backhaul between cell sites and wired backbone networks. But recent advances in “millimeter-wave” radio technology are turning these frequencies into prime candidates for delivering cellular service themselves. Wide bands of very high spectrum could be key to 5G networks that would provide multi-gigabit mobile service.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?