CBRS Licensees Want FCC to Leave Rules Intact

By Leslie Stimson, Washington Bureau Chief, Inside Towers

UPDATE The City and the Port of Los Angeles agree with New York City when it comes to the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) rules for the 3.5 GHz band. They want the Commission to leave them substantially the same.

The current licensing framework for the 3550-3700 MHz band, in place since 2015, “is generating substantial interest and investment, while the Commission’s proposed changes are unwarranted,” the City tells the FCC in filed comments. “In particular, the 3.5 GHz band’s smaller license areas and shorter license terms, among other characteristics, must be preserved.”

In 2016, reacting to a proposal by CTIA and T-Mobile, the agency sought comment on their proposals to lengthen license terms to 10 years and increase license areas by using traditional Partial Economic areas rather than the current census tracts. In order to spur investment and greater certainty for the band, T-Mobile also proposed the Commission convert all 150 MHz of spectrum in each CBRS market open to priority access licensing. CBRS is now limited to 70 MHz of PAL per market. Reply comments to 17-258, “Promoting Investment in the 3550-3700 MHz Band” were due January 29.

New York, Los Angeles and the Port, among others, said; “The Commission’s proposals would result in the concentration of licenses among the largest, most established incumbent providers.” A group of nearly 170 companies now operating in the CBRS band agrees. The companies represent connected agriculture, manufacturers dependent on the industrial Internet of Things (IioT), rural broadband providers and communities, as well as hotels and venues.

 

“Each of the companies and industries represented by the signatories below has a vision of a better, more connected, and more efficient future that we are trying to unleash, and each of these visions requires rules that support wireless innovation beyond the ‘big four’ cellular companies,” say the group of CBRS licensees, which include companies like Eastern Carolina Broadband, Rural Texas Broadband and WIFI Midwest. “We believe that this wireless, hyper-connected future — commonly referred to as 5G — will be technologically diverse and championed by numerous innovative, non-traditional commercial participants in wireless. It should not be confined to the specific business model preferred by the big four carriers.”

Published February 6, 2018

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