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FCC Pushes Along Efforts to Make Changes to C Band

Commission adopts items that begin the process of collecting information about giving mobile operators access to midband spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission is moving ahead on its efforts to make more C Band spectrum available to additional users.

At its July Open Meeting, the commission adopted an Order and a separate Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will begin the process of collecting information about earth stations and space stations operating in the band as well as potentially add a mobile allocation to the 3.7–4.2 GHz band.

The reason: the United States is behind when it comes to making midband spectrum available for next-generation 5G networks, said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

[Read: FCC Gives C Band Earth Station Filers Another 90 Days]

“Now the good news,” she said. “With today’s rulemaking and order we are doing something about it. We explore a variety of mechanisms for clearing the 3.7–4.2 GHz band for 5G use. And if we make headway here, we can start to reclaim lost leadership in spectrum that is critical for success in 5G networks.”

Rosenworcel acknowledged that these frequencies are currently being used by television and radio broadcasters and cable operators to deliver programming to more than 100 million American households. She said future discussions must take this into account.

Specifically, the order will require fixed satellite service earth stations operating in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band to certify the accuracy of registration and will collect additional information from space station licensees on their operations in the band. The commission will use this information to evaluate the most efficient way to drive the deployment of midband spectrum for mobile services and more intensive fixed services.

The notice proposes to add a mobile allocation to all 500 megahertz in the band and seeks comment on various proposals for transitioning part or all of the band for flexible use, working up from 3.7 GHz. The notice also seeks comment on allowing more intensive point-to-multipoint fixed use in some portion of the band on a shared basis. It also seeks comment on service and technical rules that would enable efficient and intensive use by any new services in the band.

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