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O’Rielly Sees Promise in Mid-Band Spectrum

FCC Commissioner lays out pros for this spectrum in blog post

WASHINGTON�As the industry continues to move toward 5G and other next generation wireless networks, the question of where to put them on the spectrum becomes a key debate. A good deal of attention has already been paid to high and low band resources, but FCC Commissioner Michael O�Rielly recently wrote a blog highlighting the potential benefits of using the mid band resources.

In fact, O�Rielly choses to highlight in his post a current proposal that could free spectrum for licensed and unlicensed purposes while protecting or accommodating incumbent licensees; specifically the use of 3.7�4.2 GHz and 6 GHz bands.

�Although others have ideas on what to do with these particular bands, I believe the best option would be to pursue a proposal put forth by a large, ad hoc coalition of equipment manufacturers, wireless providers and unlicensed users,� O�Rielly writes.

The coalition�s proposal recommends that the FCC allocate spectrum that is currently in use for satellite C-Band downlinks (3.7 to 4.2 GHz) for licensed mobile communications and designate 6 GHz spectrum (5.925 to 7.125) for unlicensed spectrum. O�Rielly says that the proposal would free up 1700 MHz of spectrum, 500 MHz for licensed and up to 1.2 GHz for unlicensed purposes.

Some other advantages that the proposal would have, per O�Rielly, is that existing licensees would either be protected or accommodated, and it would replace satellite services in the 3.7�4.2 GHz band that are �a bit past their prime.�

�Utilizing this spectrum would help the Commission meet the insatiable growth of wireless services,� writes the commissioner; studies predict that wireless data service will grow 500% over the next four years and mobile connected devices are predicted to exceed one billion over the same period.

�The commission has the chance to reallocate key bands in a way that would provide needed spectrum for both licensed and unlicensed networks without harming incumbent users,� O�Rielly summarized. �I, for one, believe doing otherwise would put U.S. spectrum leadership in question and threaten the longevity and viability of America�s broad wireless community.�

O�Rielly�s blog post is available on the FCC website.�