Telcos, Cable Fight Over Proposed 3.5 Ghz Changes

The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA) tells the FCC by its count, most of the more than 800 comments filed on proposed changes to the 3.5 GHz band oppose converting the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) into a 5G-only band. The DSA characterizes itself as a group of what it says are “multinationals, small-and medium-sized enterprises, and academic, research, and other organizations” committed to expanding broadband.

The DSA argues telcos large and small, have made investments under the current rules, investments that “may be stranded, and future innovation stifled,” if drastic changes are made. “The Commission should resist arguments to change the current PAL structure to one that would be favorable to only one class of entity – the large nationwide wireless carriers, at the expense of all other entities,” says DSA. It notes Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm, Ruckus Wireless, and others “are well on their way to creating a rich ecosystem of 3.5 GHz LTE devices, with the first 3.5 GHz LTE handset expected to reach the market later this year.”

CTIA and T-Mobile say their proposals would benefit 5G, Inside Towers reported. They seek to lengthen license terms to 10 years and increase license areas by using traditional Partial Economic Areas rather than census tracts. In order to spur investment, T-Mobile also proposes the Commission convert all 150 MHz of spectrum in each CBRS market open to priority access licensing. CBRS is now limited to 70 MHz of PAL per market.

NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, says there may be a middle ground, noting the Commission “should avoid proposals that could mire the proceeding in controversy and delay the delivery of innovative 3.5 GHz services to consumers.” For example, the FCC doesn’t need to auction the entire the entire 3550-3700 MHz band and undermine General Authorized Access (GAA) use in order for 5G services to flourish at 3.5 GHz.

NCTA believes the Commission should seek a compromise on license terms and preserve access to sufficient GAA spectrum in every market. 5G is “a catch-all term for … a variety of high-capacity wireless networking solutions – including many (if not most) that will be fueled by access to mid-band GAA spectrum,” not just traditionally licensed spectrum, according to NCTA. It agrees with Ruckus Wireless that, “5G will require an ‘umbrella’ of technologies, deployers, and operators,” and it’s only with “diverse deployment types that the densification, latency, reliability, and positioning accuracy goals of 5G will be obtained.”

August 11, 2017     

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