FCC Fines Straight Path $100 Million for Squatting on 5G Spectrum

Posted by at 10:38 am on January 12, 2017

The FCC has fined Straight Path Communications $100 million for failing to deploy wireless service in accordance with spectrum license requirements.

Straight Path is sitting on some 1,000 licenses for spectrum in the 39 GHz band, which will eventually be used for 5G. The company renewed its licenses several years ago by submitting falsified documentation that claimed it had installed wireless systems that were in fact never built.

“Squatting on spectrum licenses without any meaningful effort to put them to good use in a timely manner is fundamentally inconsistent with the public good,” said Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “Wireless spectrum is a scarce public resource. We expect every person or company that receives a spectrum license to put it to productive use.”

After an investigation, the FCC concluded that Straight Path has not made any real attempt to put its spectrum holdings to use. According to the Consent Decree, Straight Path has agreed to pay a $100 million fine as well as surrender 196 of its 39 GHz spectrum licenses immediately. Straight Path has to sell the remaining spectrum licenses within one year and give 20% of the proceeds to the U.S. Treasury as an additional civil penalty.

 

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