FCC Authorizes Commercial Deployment in 3.5 GHz CBRS Band

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The FCC certified four Spectrum Access System (SAS) Administrators on Monday. The action paves the way for full commercial operations in the 3.55-3.7 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band. 

To ensure the U.S. Navy has continued access to the band for radar systems, Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) networks have been deployed along the U.S. coasts.

The ESC networks inform the SAS administrators to activate a protection zone and dynamically reassign users in the area to other parts of the band. The spectrum will be available for others when not needed by the government.

Monday, the FCC approved SAS administrators CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google, and Sony for commercial deployments in the 3.55-3.7 GHz band. Monday’s move allows use of this mid-band spectrum for commercial deployments such as broadband connectivity and 5G.  

“The FCC has made it a priority to free up mid-band spectrum for advanced wireless services like 5G,” said Pai. “As with all of our efforts to execute on the 5G FAST plan, we’re pushing to get next-generation wireless services deployed in the 3.5 GHz band as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

His colleague, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, worked on the issue. He called Monday’s news “a huge accomplishment” for everyone involved.

The Department of Defense said the move is significant. DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said the DOD worked with the FCC, NTIA and industry to ensure its critical operations would be protected while enabling new commercial uses. “Collectively, we were able to creatively address the engineering and security challenges associated with military and commercial spectrum sharing. We look to build upon those successes going forward,” said Deasy.

Federated Wireless says it has 25 commercial customers offering services and another 50 in development. Company CEO Iyad Tarazi called the move a milestone. “2020 will be an extremely active year for all of us who have worked so hard to bring the promise of CBRS to reality, and we are fully committed to working closely with all of the customer segments that stand to benefit from the new business and service models being developed and deployed.” 

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