Rosenworcel Proposes Framework to Open Spectrum in 3.45 – 3.55 GHz Band
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 | Comments

FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel shared a draft order with the rest of the commission that would make mid-band spectrum available for 5G. If adopted at the commission’s March 17 open meeting, the order would make 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum in the 3.45 – 3.55 GHz band available for auction and 5G deployment across the contiguous United States.

Rosenworcel also proposed a public notice seeking comment on procedures for this auction (Auction 110), in which bidding would begin in early October 2021.

“The promise of 5G means new and improved services and applications for consumers and businesses alike,” said Rosenworcel. “This means not only faster download speeds but also enabling digital tools we can’t even imagine yet. We need to deliver the 5G that the American people were promised. That means a 5G that is fast, secure, resilient and, most importantly, available across the country. This important auction is a crucial step toward making that a reality. I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this proposal.”

The proposed new rules, if adopted, would allocate the 3.45 – 3.55 GHz spectrum band for flexible-use service. They would establish a framework for coordination of non-federal and federal use and establish a band plan, as well as technical, licensing and competitive bidding rules for the band. The rules would also complete the relocation of non-federal radiolocation operators to the 2.9 – 3 GHz band and the sunset of amateur use in the 3.3 – 3.5 GHz band.

Last year’s Consolidated Appropriations Act included a provision, the Beat CHINA for 5G Act of 2020, which required the Commission to commence a system of competitive bidding for licenses in the 3.45 GHz band by the end of this year. The proposal positions the agency to meet this obligation. In addition, this proposal would be an important step in fulfilling Congress’s directive in the MOBILE NOW Act for the FCC to work with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to evaluate the feasibility of allowing commercial use in the 3.1 – 3.55 GHz band.

“I am proud of the legwork the FCC and our partners across the federal government have put in to open this 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum, and I am pleased that the commission will now vote on the steps needed to auction off these airwave next week,” said FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr. “I look forward to reviewing the draft decision and working with my colleagues to ensure that it maximizes opportunities for 5G in the U.S., including by authorizing full-power commercial operations.”

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