WISPA Slams CTIA, T-Mo Proposals to Convert CBRS to 5G-Only Band


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The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association is urging the FCC not to convert the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) into a 5G-only band. Doing so would “frustrate the efforts of entrepreneurial wireless ISPs to bridge the digital divide,” the association tells the Commission in a filing.

The promise of 5G is an insufficient basis for the Commission to preclude other uses, says WISPA, which represents the fixed wireless broadband industry. Proposals by CTIA and T-Mobile 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, according to WISPA.

WISPA supported the CBRS rules adopted two years ago, viewing the band as critical to deploy fixed broadband services in rural areas, where it says wireline solutions are not cost-effective. Encouraged by the FCC, WISPA members made “substantial investments” in equipment that can be used in the 3550-3700 MHz CBRS band. That would be undermined if the CTIA and T-Mobile proposals are adopted, argues WISPA.

“It is clear that the proposals from CTIA and T-Mobile would put the CBRS band out of reach for anyone other than large carriers,” said Mark Radabaugh, chairman of WISPA’s FCC Committee. “Shifting to larger geographic areas for Priority Access Licenses will exacerbate and perpetuate today’s last-mile problem – large mobile carriers will acquire spectrum covering large geographic areas, but only deploy in the portions of those areas where demand and density satisfy their business models.”

WISPA “is concerned these proposals would eliminate the availability of spectrum that can be put to use – quickly and at low cost – for the benefit of underserved American communities and thousands of local small-businesses, without disrupting existing uses,” said Radabaugh.

July 27, 2017

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