Chairman Pai proposes more critical mid-band spectrum for 5G

WASHINGTON—Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai today shared with his colleagues a draft proposal which would take decisive steps toward making the 3.45-3.55 GHz band available for commercial use throughout the contiguous United States. This item will be on the agenda of the FCC’s September 30 Open Meeting and, if adopted, would position this 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for commercial 5G use.

“We are moving forward quickly, in coordination with the Executive Branch, to ensure that this mid-band spectrum is available for commercial 5G deployment. This is another major step forward in advancing American leadership in 5G and producing benefits for America’s wireless consumers,” said Chairman Pai. “Our 5G FAST Plan is in full swing. With this 3.45 GHz band proposal, the upcoming C-band auction of 280 megahertz of spectrum, and the recently completed auction for Priority Access Licenses in the 3.5 GHz band, the Commission is on track to make a wide swath of 530 megahertz of continuous mid-band spectrum available for 5G. Combined with our work to make low- and high-band spectrum available for flexible use as well as our successful efforts to expedite the deployment of wireless infrastructure and fiber, we are establishing a strong foundation for wireless innovation and investment. I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this important item at our monthly meeting.”

If adopted, the item would be an important step toward satisfying Congress’s directive in the MOBILE NOW Act to make new spectrum available for flexible use and to work with NTIA to evaluate the feasibility of allowing commercial use in this band. The item includes a Report and Order that would remove the secondary, non-federal allocations from the 3.3-3.55 GHz band, as the Commission proposed to do late last year. The item also includes a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on proposed changes to the rules governing the band to enable commercial use and coordination between federal and non-federal users. This Further Notice follows the August 10 announcement by the White House and the Department of Defense (DoD) that they had determined that DoD operations in the band could accommodate commercial 5G operations.

The draft proposal will be publicly released on September 9, 2020.

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