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C Band Under Close Inspection at July Meeting

Commission to gather more info through order and notice of proposed rulemaking

It was spelled out clearly in a blog post written by the chairman himself. “[At] our July meeting, the FCC will take another step to ensure that America continues to lead the world in mobile innovation,” said Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission when referring to the commission’s efforts to promote U.S. leadership in the next generation of wireless technology.

That means the FCC is hotly pursuing a spectrum strategy that “calls for making low-band, midband and high-band airwaves available for flexible use,” the chairman wrote, alluding to the commission’s previous decisions to finalize rules for use of the 24 GHz band and to free up more spectrum for wireless use in both the 26 GHz and 42 GHz bands.

Up next: potentially making more intensive use of midband spectrum from 3.7 to 4.2 GHz, commonly known as the C Band, which is used by radio operators for broadcasting programming and storing content.

[Read: What’s on the Docket for the July FCC Meeting]

At the July Open Meeting, the commission plans to vote on an Order and on an Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that requests more feedback on the viability of transitioning some or all of the 3.7–4.2 GHz band to terrestrial fixed and mobile broadband services.

The order up for discussion on July 12 would collect additional information about earth stations and space stations operating in the band to allow the commission to make decisions about future use of the band.

The proposed notice has a slightly different objective. Among other goals, it seeks comment on incumbent use in the band, requests input on appropriate protections for existing satellite operators and seeks comment on various proposals for expanding flexible use in the band — including transitioning use of the band through a market-based mechanism or an auction of some type.

“When the commission convenes for its next meeting on July 12, four teams will remain in contention for the World Cup championship,” Pai wrote in his blog post. “We don’t know which four teams those will be, although we do know that the United States, unfortunately, won’t be one of them. But when it comes to 5G, it’s imperative that we remain at the front of the pack. That’s why the FCC is focused on winning the 5G future through smart spectrum and infrastructure policies and why we’ll advance American leadership in 5G at our July meeting,” he said.

The draft of the order and the notice can be found here.

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