FCC Asks for More Input on Proposals to Repurpose C-band

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The FCC seeks more comments on C-band proposals for flexible use of the 3.7-4.2 GHz Band. The agency previously asked for public input on auction-based and market-based proposals to repurpose all or part of the band, as well as a hybrid scheme to combine elements of various transition mechanisms.

The Commission also sought more public input on other issues essential to the introduction of new terrestrial wireless services in the band, including protection criteria to protect current users, technical and licensing rules, and appropriate methods for transitioning or protecting existing Fixed Satellite Service and Fixed Service operators.

Commenters proposed auction-based approaches and other transition mechanisms to introduce new flexible-use licensing. They espoused different views on repurposing methodologies, Fixed Satellite Service earth station protection criteria and technical rules.

Now, the FCC seeks more input on recent proposals filed by a coalition comprised of ACA Connects – America’s Communications Association, the Competitive Carriers Association, Charter Communications; a second plan from AT&T; and a third by the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, Google, and Microsoft. The agency is asking for specifics on appropriate interference thresholds and protection criteria. The agency wants to know how protection criteria should be calculated and implemented to achieve both in-band and adjacent band Fixed Satellite Service protections through coordination or other protection mechanisms.

The C-Band Alliance previously proposed a plan that members say is the fastest way to repurpose the spectrum. Peter Pitsch, CBA Head of Advocacy and Government Relations, said in a statement: “We remain confident that the complete record will confirm that the CBA proposal best gets spectrum in the hands of wireless operators quickly, with a fully-committed schedule, while protecting valuable television services used by 120 million American households. No other proposal is able to clear significant spectrum in such a reliable and fast manner.”

Of the WISPA/Google/Microsoft C-band co-channel sharing study, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association said, it believes the data confirms that non-harmful shared access by both satellite earth stations and fixed point-to-multipoint (P2MP) wireless services can safely occur in the C-band. “More specifically, the study conservatively concludes that through a combination of geographic separation and earth station-aware coordination, more than 80 million Americans could receive point-to-multipoint services in the band. This has tremendous implications for decreasing the digital divide, especially in rural areas where earth stations are fewer and more dispersed.”

The group says that should its proposal be chosen, rural Americans would see new, near-gigabit speed broadband services “virtually overnight.” Comments on all the further studies are due August 7 to Docket 18-122.   

July 23, 2019

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