EWA Asks FCC to Provide Critical Infrastructure Access to 4.9 GHz Band
Tuesday, June 08, 2021 | Comments

The Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) filed an ex parte letter urging the FCC to provide business-critical entities access to the 4.9 GHz band noting that the record at the FCC already supports primary critical infrastructure industry (CII) access to this band.

Allowing CII primary access to the 4.9 GHz band would provide these users with a spectrum tool to support high-capacity broadband requirements free from the internet, the alliance said.

“CII entities deliver vital services to the American public and require secure, reliable, robust systems utilizing state-of-the-art broadband technology,” the EWA said. “While commercial systems are appropriate for certain of their applications, and narrowband systems continue to address other requirements, recent events have highlighted their need for private broadband networks that are not tied to the internet. No system can be entirely immune from the possibility of being hacked, but the recent colonial pipeline situation and the many other cybersecurity incidents in recent years have shone a bright light on the vulnerability of systems that can be accessed through the internet.”

In September, the FCC approved rules that would allow states to lease spectrum in the 4.9 GHz band to business and critical infrastructure entities. That band was previously dedicated to public safety and several public-safety organizations have filed requests for reconsideration of the rules. The FCC recently granted a request of a stay of the implementation of the rules while the petitions for reconsideration move forward.

“The FCC’s decision to assign 4.9 GHz spectrum management responsibility to the states and to authorize leasing of the spectrum would have provided one approach whereby CII and other eligible entities might have secured operating rights,” EWA said. “EWA supported that spectrum access opportunity. However, the recently adopted stay of that decision now provides an opportunity for the commission to consider other approaches that might yield appropriate and expanded usage of the band.”

In its filing, EWA noted that the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) had endorsed CII access to two 5-megahertz channels on a shared, co-primary basis with public-safety agencies several years ago in its proposed national plan for the band. EWA urged the commission to ensure that its final rules support the opportunity for critical infrastructure to access this critical band.

Find the full ex parte letter here.

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