- New sharing framework for the 24GHz band
- Plan to permit 5G in the 37GHz band
- To consider the 26GHz and 42GHz bands for 5G
- Commissioners have mixed views about the new actions
The US telecoms and media regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, has taken steps to make additional high-band mmWave spectrum available for 5G, which it argues is “critical to continued US wireless leadership”. My making more spectrum available for commercial use, it hopes to contribute to economic growth, job creation, public safety and the even loftier aspiration of “global competitiveness”.
The new rules laid out by the FCC are as follows:
- adopting an operability requirement for the entire 24GHz band
- a sharing framework to allow use of a portion of the 24GHz band for terrestrial wireless operations and Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) earth stations
- a band plan for the Lower 37GHz band
- spectrum aggregation rules applicable to certain bands
- denied petitions for geographic area licensing in the lower 37GHz band
- denied petitions to allocate the 42GHz band for satellite use
- seeks comment on making 2.75GHz of additional spectrum in the 26GHz and 42GHz bands available for 5G
- starts coordination mechanisms for shared use of the lower 37GHz band between Federal and non-Federal users
- solicits feedback on potential rules for FSS use of the 50GHz band for earth stations.
All the above is in addition to the forthcoming 28GHz spectrum auction, due to begin in November. The FCC says it will also continue to work on access to additional low-band, mid-band, and high-band spectrum.
Of course, this being the politically partisan FCC, there wasn’t unanimous agreement. Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Brendan Carr approved the whole deal; Michael O’Rielly approved in part and concurred in part; and Jessica Rosenworcel approved in part and dissented in part. How we miss Commissioner Mignon Clyburn…
Naturally, each Commissioner decided to issue their own formal statements, so we have thoughtfully collected together their most pertinent comments, saving you the trouble of raiding their own guarded information silos to discover their views.
- “Like Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly constructing their own bunkbeds in the 2008 cultural milestone Step Brothers, our goal is to create ‘so much space’ for ‘so many activities!’,” said Chairman Pai, who obviously felt the need to lighten the mood. Incidentally, that movie grossed a modest $100 million at the US box office. Last year’s spectrum Incentive Auction grossed a rather more eye-popping $19 billion…
- “We’re also pursuing infrastructure policies vital for densified 5G networks, from updating our wireless infrastructure rules to encouraging the massive fibre deployments needed for backhaul,” added Pai, returning to more serious matters.
- “By reducing red tape, we can flip the business case for thousands of communities – ones that otherwise might miss out on 5G,” said Carr. “And we are currently looking at additional infrastructure reforms that can enable greater deployments.”
- “The FCC is timidly moving to auction mmWave bands one by one instead of boldly all together,” said Rosenworcel. “Today’s action falls short.”
- “As our national providers seek to grow bigger and fewer in number, it is important we take steps now to avoid undue aggregation of spectrum in these new markets,” added Rosenworcel.
- “I am deeply troubled by the portions of the item that discuss post-auction and secondary market case-by-case spectrum aggregation review,” said O’Reilly. “There is still no evidence of the wireless industry ever ‘warehousing’ spectrum. I was hoping that we would finally put an end to this charade.”
Original Press Release:
FCC takes next steps to make high-band Spectrum Frontiers available for 5G
WASHINGTON, June 7, 2018—The Federal Communications Commission today took steps to make additional high-band spectrum available for advanced wireless services. These actions are building blocks of the nation’s 5G future and critical to continued U.S. wireless leadership. Pushing more spectrum into the marketplace for the next generation of wireless connectivity will contribute to economic growth, job creation, public safety, and our nation’s global competitiveness.
Specifically, the item adopted today sets forth additional rules for previously identified millimeter wave spectrum bands designated for flexible use. These include adopting an operability requirement for the entire 24 GHz band, a sharing framework to allow use of a portion of the 24 GHz band for terrestrial wireless operations and Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) earth stations, a band plan for the Lower 37 GHz band, and spectrum aggregation rules applicable to certain bands.
In addition, the Commission denies petitions for reconsideration asking for geographic area licensing in the Lower 37 GHz band and asking to allocate the 42 GHz band for satellite use in order to provide additional certainty in moving forward with other innovative uses for these bands.
Finally, the item seeks comment on making 2.75 GHz of additional spectrum in the 26 GHz and 42 GHz bands available for next-generation wireless services, tees up coordination mechanisms to facilitate shared use of the Lower 37 GHz band between Federal and non-Federal users, and among non-Federal users, and solicits feedback on potential rules for FSS use of the 50 GHz band for a limited number of earth stations.
The Commission takes these actions in response to the growing demand for spectrum-based services and to facilitate the development of 5G. The Commission will continue to take steps to facilitate access to additional low-band, mid-band, and high-band spectrum for the benefit of American consumers, including holding spectrum auctions, beginning with the 28 GHz band auction scheduled to begin in November.
Action by the Commission June 7, 2018 by Third Report and Order, Memorandum Opinion and Order, and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 18-73). Chairman Pai, and Commissioner Carr approving. Commissioner O’Rielly approving in part and concurring in part. Commissioner Rosenworcel approving in part and dissenting in part. Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, and Rosenworcel issuing separate statements.
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