Background: For the vast majority of 30 MHz PCS A & PCS B MTA licenses won at
FCC Auction 4 in 1995, the ten-year construction deadline is, as of the writing of
this piece, exactly two years & two days distant. If you are unfamiliar w/ the FCC's
Broadband PCS construction requirements, I have cited below from 47 C.F.R. 24,
the FCC's rules & regulations governing Personal Communications Services (PCS).
Sec. 24.203 Construction requirements.
(a) Licensees of 30 MHz blocks must serve with a signal level sufficient to
provide adequate service to at least one-third of the population in their licensed
area within five years of being licensed and two-thirds of the population in their
licensed area within 10 years of being licensed. Licensees may choose to define
population using the 1990 census or the 2000 census. Failure by any licensee to
meet these requirements will result in forfeiture or non-renewal of the license and
the licensee will be ineligible to regain it.
(It should be noted that the figure of merit that SPCS has selected to define
adequate service is a forward-link RSSI of not less than -103 dBm.)
Of the numerous MTA-unit licenses held by SPCS, fully 30 of 34 have satisfied the
ten-year construction requirement, some as early as two years ago. But four MTAs
remain, w/ two years to meet the ten-year construction requirement or relinquish
the licenses forever. At the time of their five-year construction notifications
three years ago, the four licenses ranged from 35% to 54% POPs coverage. Two
of the licenses have undergone significant buildout since the filing of the five-year
notifications, such that they may have already met or exceeded the ten-year
benchmark, though no notifications have yet been filed w/ the FCC. But two
licenses yet demonstrate noticeable shortcomings in coverage buildout, such that
SPCS &/or its network partners will have to expand adequate service to
approximately 600,000 additional POPs in two sparsely populated western MTAs by
no later than June 23, 2005.
SPCS will of course continue to expand & refine coverage in those areas dictated by
economy, where the bulk of the nation lives & works & plays. But these four
outstanding MTAs may be the last great hinterland buildout SPCS shall be compelled
to complete.
    Five-Year Five-Year   Ten-Year   POPs to Satisfy  
  License Five-Year Construction Construction Ten-Year Construction   Ten-Year  
  & Construction Requirement Notification Construction Requirement Appreciable Buildout Since Construction  
Major Trading Area Call Sign Deadline POPs % POPs % Deadline POPs % Five-Year Notification Requirement Potential Buildout Geographies
Louisville-Lexington-Evansville MTA026 PCS B 6/23/2000 33% 39% 6/23/2005 67% IN: Evansville, I-64 corridor; KY: minimal KY: London, Morehead, I-75 corridor,
  KNLF252   Bowling Green, Owensboro, Paducah   US-62 corridor, Parkway corridors
Little Rock MTA040 PCS B 6/23/2000 33% 39% 6/23/2005 67% AR: Camden, El Dorado, Pine Bluff, minimal AR: Harrison, Jonesboro, Mountain Home,
  KNLF280   Searcy, I-40 corridor   US-62 corridor
Spokane-Billings MTA042 PCS B 6/23/2000 33% 35% 6/23/2005 67% ID: Lewiston, Sandpoint; WA: Pullman, ~ 450,000 MT: Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls,
  KNLF284   I-90 corridor   Helena, Kalispell, Missoula, West Yellowstone,
        I-15 corridor, I-90 corridor
Wichita MTA046 PCS B 6/23/2000 33% 54% 6/23/2005 67% none ~ 150,000 KS: Arkansas City, Dodge City, Garden
  KNLF292       City, Great Bend, Hays, Liberal, Winfield,
          I-70 corridor, US-50 corridor, US-54 corridor