FCC’s Pai Touts Increased Spectrum Access in CBRS, 6 GHz, TV White Spaces at DSA
Thursday, November 05, 2020 | Comments

During a speech at the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance’s (DSA) virtual Global Summit, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai touted the commission’s work to free up more space for wireless growth and development in multiple spectrum bands, as well as its work to develop more advanced spectrum sharing techniques.

“When we talk about spectrum policy innovation in 2020, dynamic spectrum sharing rests at the cutting edge,” Pai said. “It’s become a powerful tool for squeezing the most value out of high-quality spectrum and meeting the growing demand for wireless services.”

Pai said that the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum has proven to be a great experiment for spectrum sharing. The FCC auctioned the spectrum earlier this year.

“But when the campaign began to open up the 3.5 GHz band for commercial use, it wasn’t about 5G at all,” Pai said. “It was more of an experiment. Federal users occupied much of the band. And, even though they made little use of its across much of the country, if they had it, nobody else could use it. For years, the FCC tried to square this circle.

“And then in 2012, we decided to test a theory: a sharing regime that would allow different services to flourish,” Pai said. “In 2015, this sharing regime began taking shape. The FCC voted to create a dynamic, three-tiered, hierarchical framework to coordinate federal and non-federal use. Incumbents, such as federal users, comprised the highest tier and would receive protection from all other users. They would be followed by priority access licenses, PALs, on the second tier and general authorized access, or GAA, on the third tier.”

Pai noted that the CBRS auction was successful in auctioning off more than 20,000 licenses — the most ever for an auction — and generating $4.5 billion in net proceeds form 228 winning bidders.

“Of course, the auction is only part of what’s so exciting about the 3.5 GHz band,” said Pai. “Earlier this year, the FCC authorized several SAS (spectrum access system) administrators for full commercial deployments in the band. As a result, 150 megahertz of GAA spectrum is available right now. Anybody can use it for licensed-by-rule operations. Already, we’ve seen thousands of deployments, with use cases ranging from transforming the communications system for Dallas Love Field airport to rolling out new fixed wireless services in rural America. And notably, none of these operations have caused any significant complaints from incumbents about harmful interference.”

Pai also highlighted the 6 GHz band as an area in which the commission was experimenting on spectrum sharing. Earlier this year, the commission passed rules that allowed unlicensed use of the 6 GHz band. That decision was met with much opposition from public safety and critical infrastructure entities, who argued that the decision would lead to interference to critical communications. Several entities have filed oppositions to the decision in federal appeals courts.

“The 6 GHz band has long been populated by microwave services that are used to support utilities, public safety, broadcasters and wireless backhaul,” Pai said. “Each of these services an important function that we need to protect. At the same time, the 6 GHz band has also been described by a leading industry expert ‘without a doubt the biggest opportunity in Wi-Fi, and probably in wireless, in a generation.’ At the FCC we’ve been trying to balance these interests. And thanks in part to dynamic sharing, we have, recently scoring a huge win for consumers and innovators.”

Pai argued that with the decision, the FCC made 1,200 megahertz available for unlicensed use and increased the amount of mid-band spectrum available for Wi-Fi five times, and had taken necessary steps to protect incumbents from interference.

In their court filings, public safety and critical infrastructure entities have argued that the coordination system has not been fully tested and there is no guarantee that it fully prevent any interference.

“And we’re doing all of this while protecting incumbent services from harmful interference,” Pai said. “Our automated frequency coordination systems will only allow new standard-power operations in areas that will not cause harmful interference.”

Would you like to comment on this story? Find our comments system below.

Post a comment
Name: *
Email: *
Title: *
Comment: *


No Comments Submitted Yet

Be the first by using the form above to submit a comment!


March 2021

4 - 4
Webinar: FirstNet — Apps Help Agencies Meet the Changing Demands as Incidents Unfold


9 - 9
Webinar: Data Security for a Remote Work Environment in 2021 and Beyond


June 2021

21 - 25
UTC Telecom and Technology Conference
Portland, Oregon

August 2021

15 - 18
APCO Conference and Expo
San Antonio, Texas

More Events >

Site Navigation