CII Groups Push FCC Commissioner on Local Licenses for CBRS
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 | Comments

A group of industry organizations continued to make their case for the need for the FCC to retain at least two priority access licenses (PAL) on a census tract basis in every market in the 3.65 GHz band.

Representatives from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Coalition that included Southern Linc, General Electric, Motorola Solutions, Edison Electric Institute, the American Petroleum Institute (API), and the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) met with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr’s legal advisor to explain that critical infrastructure industries (CII) entities rely on self-provisioned wireless networks to meet their mission-critical communications needs.

This means that industrial and CII entities must also have economically viable access to spectrum to support the targeted, localized deployment of advanced wireless networks and equipment. The IIoT representatives urged Carr to accept a compromise proposal submitted to the FCC May 29. The groups said virtually every stakeholder in the Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS) proceeding other than the large mobile carriers supported the proposal.

The IIoT Coalition representatives stated that the industrial and CII sectors have already made substantial investments in networks that operate in the 3.65 GHz band, much of it in expectation of the promised opportunities of the CBRS band and the FCC’s assurances that its rules would not compromise those operations and strand those investments. The representatives said CII entities are prepared to bid aggressively for PALs in the CBRS band and to make significant investments to deploy and operate systems in the band, but that the size of the license area has to make economic sense. If PALs were to be made available only on the basis of large geographic areas such as cellular market areas (CMAs) or even counties, an entity seeking to operate in a limited geographic area would be compelled to submit the highest bid for a PAL that covers a substantially larger area, thus foreclosing the PAL as an economically viable option.

“Conversely, maintaining at least some census tract-based PALs in every market would promote targeted, efficient use of the spectrum and encourage network investment and deployment not just by industrial and CII entities but by a wide variety of other users as well, and will encourage ongoing innovation and investment in new services, technologies, and use cases that meet important commercial and public interest needs,” an ex parte letter said.

The groups also referred to a report submitted by economist Paul Milgrom concluding that the FCC can successfully manage a census tract auction. “To the extent that time may be needed to address software design issues associated with a PAL auction involving census tracts, the IIoT Coalition representatives have expressed their willingness to accept the time necessary to make at least two PALs in every market available through auction on a census tract basis,” the letter said.

The full letter is here.

The group, formerly the CBRS Coalition, outlined more details on its proposal in May.

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