Cities and Counties Scrap Over Spectrum

Several counties and municipalities oppose any sharing of the 6 GHz band used by their microwave systems. Los Angeles County, CA, the City and County of Denver, CO, Kansas City, MO, Ozaukee County, WI and the Government Wireless Technology & Communications Association jointly told the Commission they’re worried about interference with their public safety systems which consist of numerous tower sites.

They’ve been through two forced relocations to accommodate carrier interests, including the 800 MHz re-band and the 2 GHz relocation to create PCS spectrum. “At a certain point the needs of public safety must take precedence,” they tell the agency in filed comments, as the FCC is reviewing whether mid-range bands (3.7-4.1 GHz, 5.925- 6.425 GHz and 6.425-7125 GHz) are appropriate for flexible use. “Interference from mobile devices is notoriously difficult to locate for mitigation. Increasing the opportunities for mobile interference within the band is an unnecessarily high risk,” state the counties and cities.  

AT&T, a major licensee in the 6 GHz microwave bands and the FirstNet mobile broadband communications network partner, agrees. “The 6 GHz microwave bands are not suitable candidates for either shared mobile use or for relocation—these bands are densely populated and serve societally beneficial requirements that cannot technically be satisfied using other microwave bands or alternative transmission technologies,” the carrier tells the agency.

Carriers like T-Mobile are pushing for the change, telling the FCC more spectrum is needed for 5G. Qualcomm says the 6 GHz band can support next generation wireless interfaces and unlicensed broadband operations will protect 6 GHz incumbents from harmful interference.

Initial comments were due October 2, in the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry, on ways to expand use of next-gen services in mid-band spectrum between 3.7 and 24 GHz. Replies are due November 1.

October 5, 2017                 

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