FCC Proposes Carving Out Some of 1675-1680 MHz Band for Wireless

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The FCC proposed to reallocate spectrum in the 1675-1680 MHz band for shared use between incumbent federal users and new, non-federal flexible-use wireless operations.

The 1675-1680 MHz band is now used for weather forecasting. But for several years spanning two administrations, the President’s budget proposals have called for this band to be auctioned for flexible use, subject to sharing arrangements with federal weather satellites. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted Thursday, takes the FCC’s first step toward accomplishing that task.

“Our goal is to free up more spectrum for wireless broadband while also including safeguards to ensure that any new commercial operations don’t result in harmful interference to incumbent federal operators,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. His colleague, Commissioner Brendan Carr added: “The 5 MHz before us is a small sliver of spectrum, to be sure. But if it’s combined with adjacent and nearby channels, we could have a 40 MHz block that offers high-throughput at great distance.”

It proposes to reallocate the 1675-1680 MHz band on a co-primary basis for terrestrial fixed and mobile (except aeronautical mobile) use on a shared basis with existing federal users, and it seeks comment on appropriate service and technical rules for the band.

The Commission also seeks comment on how to implement a sharing framework that would create opportunities for commercial operations in this band while also protecting incumbent federal users.  

The National Association of Tower Erectors praised the action. “NATE believes this shared use approach is a flexible and balanced way to ensure that commercial industry is able to utilize some of this valuable spectrum while at the same time protecting incumbent federal users operating in this band,” said NATE Executive Director Todd Schlekeway.

“Industry access to spectrum ultimately equates to more deployment opportunities for NATE member companies. In fact, spectrum access and policy will be a significant component of the Association’s agenda during next week’s inaugural NATE Member Congressional Fly-In Event in Washington, D.C.,” added Schlekeway.

May 10, 2019

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