FCC Takes Final Step to Okay ESC for CBRS Band Deployments


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The CBRS Alliance, an industry organization focused on driving the development, commercialization, and adoption of OnGo™ shared spectrum solutions, marked a critical step in the path toward commercializing the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band. The FCC this week confirmed coverage plans by CommScope, Federated Wireless, and Google for their respective Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) networks. The action sanctions adequate coverage of the Dynamic Protection Areas (DPAs) that will be protected by the ESC sensor networks.

Today, the 3.5 GHz CBRS band is used by the Department of Defense (DoD), primarily for shipborne radar. To ensure the DoD has continued access to the band, ESC networks are being deployed along the U.S. coasts, protecting the incumbent’s use of the spectrum. When an ESC sensor detects a protected radar transmission, it informs a Spectrum Access System (SAS), which activates a protection zone and dynamically reassigns users in the area to other parts of the band. As commercial services over shared spectrum are poised for rollout, approved ESC operators will ensure that incumbent band users are protected while helping to maximize availability of CBRS spectrum across coastal areas.

The FCC required ESC operators to provide sensor installation details demonstrating sufficient DPA coverage. The protected DPAs, which are ocean areas where the DoD operates, create neighborhoods that extend inland from the coastline and may be activated or deactivated as necessary to protect DoD radar systems. CBRS Alliance members CommScope, Federated Wireless and Google will deploy their ESC networks to adequately sense DoD activity in the DPAs in preparation for full commercial service, now estimated to begin on or before this September.

“We are one step closer to fully realizing the massive potential of commercial OnGo deployments in the CBRS band,” said Alan Ewing, executive director of the CBRS Alliance. “ESC coverage is a key component that will allow for high availability of CBRS spectrum along the country’s coastal regions, where more than 50 percent of U.S. residents live, while fully protecting important government operations.”

August 1, 2019     

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