The FCC considers applications for and issues paging geographic area authorizations in the Paging and Radiotelephone Service in accordance with the rules in this section. Each paging geographic area authorization contains conditions requiring compliance with paragraphs (h) and (i) of this section.
(a)Channels. The FCC may issue a paging geographic area authorization for any channel listed in § 22.531 of this part or for any channel pair listed in § 22.561 of this part.
(b)Paging geographic areas. The paging geographic areas are as follows:
(1) The Nationwide paging geographic area comprises the District of Columbia and all States, Territories and possessions of the United States of America.
(2) Major Economic Areas (MEAs) and Economic Areas (EAs) are defined below. EAs are defined by the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. See Final Redefinition of the MEA Economic Areas, 60 FR 13114 (March 10, 1995). MEAs are based on EAs. In addition to the Department of Commerce's 172 EAs, the FCC shall separately license Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, and American Samoa, which have been assigned FCC-created EA numbers 173-175, respectively, and MEA numbers 49-51, respectively.
(3) The 51 MEAs are composed of one or more EAs as defined in the following table:
2 (New York City)
18-19, 21-26, 41-42, 46.
27-28, 37-40, 43.
10 (Tampa-St. Petersburg-Orlando)
59-60, 63, 104-105, 108.
64-66, 68, 97, 101.
20 (Minneapolis-St. Paul)
106-107, 109-114, 116.
21 (Des Moines-Quad Cities)
100, 102-103, 117.
47, 69-70, 72.
36, 74, 78-79.
27 (New Orleans-Baton Rouge)
28 (Little Rock)
29 (Kansas City)
93, 99, 123.
30 (St. Louis)
94, 96, 98.
32 (Dallas-Fort Worth)
88-89, 127-130, 135, 137-138.
37 (Oklahoma City)
38 (San Antonio)
39 (El Paso-Albuquerque)
136, 139, 155-157.
42 (Salt Lake City)
43 (San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose)
44 (Los Angeles-San Diego)
49 (Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands)
50 (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands)
51 (American Samoa)
(c)Availability. The FCC may determine whether to issue a paging geographic area authorization for any specific channel or channel pair in any specific paging geographic area. The FCC may replace existing site specific authorizations for facilities on a channel or channel pair located in a paging geographic area with a paging geographic area authorization for that channel or channel pair, if in its sole discretion, the FCC determines that the public interest would be served by such replacement.
(d)Filing windows. The FCC accepts applications for paging geographic area authorizations only during filing windows. The FCC issues Public Notices announcing in advance the dates of the filing windows, and the specific paging geographic areas and channels for which applications may be accepted.
(e)One grant per geographic area. The FCC may grant one and only one application for a paging geographic area authorization for any specific channel or channel pair in any specific paging geographic area defined in paragraph (b) of this section. Selection from among mutually exclusive applications for a paging geographic area authorization will be made in accordance with the procedures in §§ 22.131 and 22.200 through 22.299. If after the selection process but prior to filing a “long form” application, a successful bidder decides to partition the paging geographic area, the FCC may require and accept multiple “long form” applications from the consortium members.
(f)Exclusive right to expand. During the term of a paging geographic area authorization, the FCC does not accept, from anyone other than the paging geographic area licensee, any major application for authorization to operate a facility that would serve unserved area within the paging geographic area specified in that paging geographic area authorization, on the channel specified in that paging geographic area authorization, unless any extension of the interfering contour of the proposed facility falls:
(1) Within the composite interfering contour of another licensee; or,
(2) Into unserved area and the paging geographic area licensee consents to such extension.
(g)Subsequent applications not accepted. During the term of a paging geographic area authorization, the FCC does not accept any application for authorization relating to a facility that is or would be located within the paging geographic area specified in that paging geographic area authorization, on the channel specified in that paging geographic area authorization, except in the following situations:
(1) FCC grant of an application authorizing the construction of the facility could have a significant environmental effect as defined by § 1.1307 of this chapter. See§ 22.115(a)(5).
(2) Specific international coordination procedures are required, prior to assignment of a channel to the facility, pursuant to a treaty or other agreement between the United States government and the government of Canada or Mexico. See§ 22.169.
(3) The paging geographic area licensee or another licensee of a system within the paging geographic area applies to assign its authorization or for FCC consent to a transfer of control.
(h)Adjacent geographic area coordination required. Before constructing a facility for which the interfering contour (as defined in § 22.537 or § 22.567 of this part, as appropriate for the channel involved) would extend into another paging geographic area, a paging geographic area licensee must obtain the consent of the relevant co-channel paging geographic area licensee, if any, into whose area the interfering contour would extend. Licensees are expected to cooperate fully and in good faith attempt to resolve potential interference problems before bringing matters to the FCC. In the event that there is no co-channel paging geographic area licensee from whom to obtain consent in the area into which the interfering contour would extend, the facility may be constructed and operated subject to the condition that, at such time as the FCC issues a paging geographic area authorization for that adjacent geographic area, either consent must be obtained or the facility modified or eliminated such that the interfering contour no longer extends into the adjacent geographic area.
(i)Protection of existing service. All facilities constructed and operated pursuant to a paging geographic area authorization must provide co-channel interference protection in accordance with § 22.537 or § 22.567, as appropriate for the channel involved, to all authorized co-channel facilities of exclusive licensees within the paging geographic area. Non-exclusive licensees on the thirty-five exclusive 929 MHz channels are not entitled to exclusive status, and will continue to operate under the sharing arrangements established with the exclusive licensees and other non-exclusive licensees that were in effect prior to February 19, 1997. MEA, EA, and nationwide geographic area licensees have the right to share with non-exclusive licensees on the thirty-five exclusive 929 MHz channels on a non-interfering basis.
(j)Site location restriction. The transmitting antenna of each facility constructed and operated pursuant to a paging geographic area authorization must be located within the paging geographic area specified in the authorization.
(k)Coverage requirements. Failure by an MEA or EA licensee to meet either the coverage requirements in paragraphs (k)(1) and (k)(2) of this section, or alternatively, the substantial service requirement in paragraph (k)(3) of this section, will result in automatic termination of authorizations for those facilities that were not authorized, constructed, and operating at the time the geographic area authorization was granted. MEA and EA licensees have the burden of showing when their facilities were authorized, constructed, and operating, and should retain necessary records of these sites until coverage requirements are fulfilled. For the purpose of this paragraph, to “cover” area means to include geographic area within the composite of the service contour(s) determined by the methods of §§ 22.537 or 22.567 as appropriate for the particular channel involved. Licensees may determine the population of geographic areas included within their service contours using either the 1990 census or the 2000 census, but not both.
(1) No later than three years after the initial grant of an MEA or EA geographic area authorization, the licensee must construct or otherwise acquire and operate sufficient facilities to cover one third of the population in the paging geographic area. The licensee must notify the FCC at the end of the three-year period pursuant to § 1.946 of this chapter, either that it has satisfied this requirement or that it plans to satisfy the alternative requirement to provide substantial service in accordance with paragraph (k)(3) of this section.
(2) No later than five years after the initial grant of an MEA or EA geographic area authorization, the licensee must construct or otherwise acquire and operate sufficient facilities to cover two thirds of the population in the paging geographic area. The licensee must notify the FCC at the end of the five year period pursuant to § 1.946 of this chapter, either that it has satisfied this requirement or that it has satisfied the alternative requirement to provide substantial service in accordance with paragraph (k)(3) of this section.
(3) As an alternative to the coverage requirements of paragraphs (k)(1) and (k)(2) of this section, the paging geographic area licensee may demonstrate that, no later than five years after the initial grant of its paging geographic area authorization, it provides substantial service to the paging geographic area. “Substantial service” means service that is sound, favorable, and substantially above a level of mediocre service that would barely warrant renewal.