6-8/2017 Regulatory Updates


Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), 3550-3700 MHz Band

  • FCC received comments (July 24) and replies (August 8) on rulemaking petitions from CTIA and T-Mobile to modify the CBRS rules.
    • The petitions requested a longer license term of 10 years (vs. 3 years), a renewal expectation at the end of the license term, and larger geographic license sizes based on partial economic areas (PEAs) instead of census tracts.
    • T-Mobile also requested that the entire band be auctioned for PALs instead of reserving some spectrum to promote GAA, and asked for relaxed out-of-band emission and increased transmitter power limits.
    • Proposals had support primarily from larger carriers but were broadly opposed by WISPs and others.
    • FCC will have to decide whether to go forward to propose rule changes based on these petitions.
  • “Second Wave” proposals to be SAS administrators and ESC operators were received from Rivada Networks and Nokia, and proposals to be SAS administrators were received from Fairspectrum and RED Technologies, by the May 31 deadline.

At the August 3 meeting, the FCC adopted a Notice of Inquiry on Expanding Flexible Use in Mid-band Spectrum Between 3.7 and 24 GHz (“Mid-band NOI”)

  • Priority is to focus first on most viable repurposing proposals in exclusive non-federal bands.
  • Comments requested on using the 3.7-4.2 GHz band for broadband fixed point-to-multipoint or mobile broadband services and how to share with incumbent FSS earth stations.
  • Comments requested on unlicensed use of the 5.925-7.125 GHz band, perhaps using geolocation and a database to protect FS receivers.
  • Comments due October 2 and replies November 1.

The FCC received comments (August 7) and replies (August 22) on a rulemaking petition from Broadband Access Coalition to authorize fixed point-to-multipoint services in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band under Part 101

  • Proposed modification of earth station coordination and licensing practices, reservation of base station service areas by frequency coordination, and automated frequency coordination.
  • Broad support from WISPs and individuals supporting rural broadband access.
  • Supported by NSMA and FWCC.
  • Opposed by satellite industry and earth station licensees.

The Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Viable Electromagnetic Spectrum Act (AIRWAVES) Act was introduced in the US Senate on August 1, 2017

  • Would require FCC to set auction dates for CBRS and Spectrum Frontiers bands.
  • Would require NTIA to identify any 7-8 GHz frequencies that could support unlicensed usage.
  • Mirrors Mid-band NOI on requirements for 3.7-4.2 GHz and 5.925-7.125 GHz bands.