FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel Tuesday circulated among her colleagues a draft Order that would make much-needed mid-band spectrum available for 5G. If adopted at the Commission’s March 17 Open Meeting, 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band would be made available for auction and 5G deployment.
She also shared a notice to seek comment on procedures for this auction (Auction 110); Bidding would begin in early October of this year.
“We need to deliver the 5G that the American people were promised. That means a 5G that is fast, secure, resilient, and—most importantly—available across the country,” said Rosenworcel. “This important auction is a crucial step toward making that a reality. I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this proposal.”
The proposed new rules, if adopted, would allocate 3.45-3.55 GHz for flexible-use service. It would establish a framework for coordinating federal and non-federal use, as well as technical, licensing, and competitive bidding rules. Lastly, it would complete the move of non-federal radiolocation operators to the 2.9-3.0 GHz band and sunset amateur use in 3.3-3.5 GHz.
Last year’s Consolidated Appropriations Act included a provision, the Beat CHINA for 5G Act of 2020, that required the FCC to begin a system of competitive bidding for licenses in the 3.45 GHz band by the end of this year. The proposal positions the agency to meet this obligation. It would also help fulfill Congress’s directive in the MOBILE NOW Act for the Commission to work with NTIA to evaluate the feasibility of allowing commercial use in the 3.1-3.55 GHz band.