By Rashid Bhatti | September 18, 2019
This blog was originally posted on CBRS Alliance’s website on Sept. 16, 2019.
The CBRS Alliance knows how to throw a party. On Wednesday, September 18, the CBRS Alliance is hosting the OnGo™ Commercial Service Launch Event. It’s a well-deserved celebration of cooperation, hard work, and meticulous planning on the part of many in the public and private sectors. The event will be held at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the heart of the nation’s capital with many of the top regulatory officials and industry business leaders attending.
Almost four years after the inception of Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) by the FCC, the new ecosystem is finally ready for primetime. The FCC Public Notice published today declares Amdocs, CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google, and Sony can now start managing access to shared spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, signaling the start of commercial services. Read the Alliance’s formal statement celebrating this milestone, here. The launch event on Wednesday will be a public declaration of this historic milestone – the first time ever that a wide swath of spectrum assigned for federal use will be made available for sharing with the private sector.
Getting to this point has not been without trials and tribulations, and a major celebration is well in order. The public-private partnership and industry collaboration exhibited during the process is unprecedented in the wireless industry, and selecting Washington, D.C. for the celebration is very appropriate for this reason. While the U.S. Congress, FCC, Department of Defense (DoD), and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) wanted to ensure that this unique new way of sharing spectrum didn’t cause any security or interference issues, they also understood that our nation’s need for more spectrum is critical for advanced wireless communications and CBRS would provide the much-needed relief. This is why the regulators did not just highlight the challenges and risks, they worked closely with the industry in finding solutions. The CBRS Alliance provided the crucial framework for all the stakeholders to come together and maintain the momentum and energy all the way to the finish line. Hats off to all the subject matter experts, organizers and leadership of the Alliance who worked tirelessly to make something possible that was doubted by many from the very start.
Although the OnGo™ launch party is designed to commemorate the incredible team effort that led to a successful outcome, there is a second reason to celebrate. The best is yet to come in the form of new use cases and technological advances that easy access to spectrum will spawn throughout the country and across many industries. With 150 MHz of new spectrum available not just to mobile carriers, but also to enterprises, municipalities, and broadband service providers, it is very likely that OnGo™ will revolutionize wireless communications as we know it. Midband spectrum is widely recognized as ideal for offering next generation wireless services, as recently highlighted by FCC Chairman Pai: “The 3.5 GHz band is prime spectrum for 5G services.” This innovative approach to making spectrum accessible to all through sharing and the exemplary collaboration between public and private sectors will open innumerable new possibilities, first in the United States and then around the world. Let’s go!
About the Author
Rashid Bhatti is a business leader in the mobile wireless industry with over 20 years of experience in business development, strategy, and program management. Currently as part of Comsearch’s business development team, Rashid is playing a key role in the effort to launch CommScope’s Spectrum Access System (SAS) and Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) services. Prior to CommScope, Rashid has held various leadership positions in the wireless industry in business development, program management, marketing and sales operations. Rashid has a bachelor of science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University.