Examples of Re-farming: US and Japan

United States – FCC: 800 MHz Band Reconfiguration

The FCC decided in 2004 to reallocate the 800 MHz spectrum band (821-824 and 866-868 MHz) in order to solve interference problems between commercial cellular operators and public safety users. Sprint Nextel is required by the FCC to pay the reasonable costs associated with migrating various public transit authorities across the US such that in the end public safety users will have comparable facilities to those they use today, and will have suffered no more than minimal disruption to their activities as a result of the move to the new frequencies. Sprint Nextel established a fund in excess of $2.0B for the purpose of paying for transitional costs.

Japan – Radio Department, Telecommunications Bureau

Amendment to the Radio Law in 2002 institutionalized the scheme for conducting surveys and evaluation on actual radio spectrum usage and publicizing the results. The survey conducted by the Ministry of Public Management and Post and Telecom (MPMPT) every year is to cover one of three sections of the radio spectrum, such that in a three-year timeframe, the surveys will have covered all of the radio spectrum.

MPMPT evaluates the extent of efficiency in radio spectrum usage based on the survey results through seeking public comments, and publicizes the results.
The Radio Regulatory Council recommends that MPMPT formulate a re-farming plan, as appropriate, taking into consideration such evaluations, in order to meet demands for other radio systems such as mobile communication systems and wireless LANs.

Should re-farming need to be completed in a short term, e.g. 3 years from the formulation of a frequency refarming plan, incumbent licensees will be forced to dismantle radio facilities that the licensees purchased and constructed in the past, and to purchase and construct alternative facilities. The MPMPT conducts studies on compensation schemes for incumbent licensees for re-farming costs such as a portion of the remaining book value and the dismantling cost of the radio facilities, etc.

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