FCC Proposes Expanding Access to 70/80/90 GHz Spectrum Bands

Agency Seeks Comment on Rule Changes to Promote Innovative and More Efficient Use of the 70/80/90 GHz Bands

WASHINGTON, June 9, 2020—The Federal Communications Commission voted today to initiate a proceeding to make more efficient use of additional millimeter-band spectrum resources, including for the provision of wireless backhaul for 5G and the deployment of broadband services to aircraft and ships.

In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission explores new and innovative commercial uses of the 71–76 GHz, 81–86 GHz, 92–94 GHz, and 94.1–95 GHz bands, collectively known as the 70/80/90 GHz bands.  These 70/80/90 GHz bands are unused or underused in large parts of the country with current use of the spectrum primarily concentrated along a few high-traffic routes.  

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment on various proposals for expanded use of the 70/80/90 GHz bands for a myriad of innovative services by commercial industry, while protecting incumbent users of the band including federal users.  The item approved today proposes changes to the Commission’s antenna rules for the 70/80/90 GHz bands that would allow for smaller antennas in these bands.  This could lower costs, facilitate network densification, and help support the provision of backhaul for emerging 5G services.  The item also seeks comment on amending existing rules or establishing new rules that would allow for the use of the 70/80/90 GHz bands for the delivery of broadband internet access aboard aircraft in flight and ships at sea.   

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