FCC Adopts Updated CBRS Rules With County-Level Licenses
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 | Comments

The FCC adopted a report and order that modifies the rules governing the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the 3.5 GHz band.

This action will promote additional investment and encourage broader deployment in the band, ensure that our rules for this service keep up with technological advancements, and help to maintain U.S. leadership in the deployment of next-generation services, including 5G, the commission said. The commission established rules in 2015 to facilitate shared access between federal and non-federal use of the 3.5 GHz band. The commission created a three-tiered framework of users consisting of Incumbents, priority access licenses (PALs), and general authorized access (GAA) users.

The FCC said the modified rules leave that core sharing framework in place, and make targeted updates to the licensing and technical rules that will encourage more efficient and intensive use of the band.

The new order changes the size of PAL license areas from census tracts to counties. Industry groups had requested the FCC leave census tract licenses.

The new rules also extend the PAL license term to 10 years and make these licenses renewable and establish end-of-term performance requirements. The rules also ensure seven PALs are available in each license area and allows rural and tribal entities to use bidding credits for the upcoming auction. The FCC also permits partitioning and disaggregation of PAL and updated information security requirements to protect registration information. Finally, the updated rules facilitate transmission over wider channels while maintaining protections for other services, the commission said.

“The targeted rule changes adopted today by the commission represent a reasonable compromise that will increase the economic viability of services using PALs while preserving opportunities for innovation across all tiers of CBRS users,” said Cinnamon Rogers, Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) senior vice president of government affairs. “The 3.5 GHz band represents a win-win opportunity to make vital mid-band spectrum available for next-generation services while also promoting innovation through the use of small cells and new spectrum sharing techniques.”

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