Group of Industry Organizations Suggests Framework for 4.9 GHz Band
Monday, August 29, 2022 | Comments

In an ex parte filing with the FCC, a group of six industry organizations suggested a framework for the future of the 4.9 GHz band.

In the early 2000s, the band was allocated for dedicated public-safety use, but for several years, the FCC has been looking at ways to increase use of what it describes as an underused band. Last year, the FCC adopted rules that would allow states to license portions of the band to non-public-safety entities. That decision led to backlash from public safety and led to the FCC vacating those rules. The FCC now has an ongoing proceeding exploring how use of the band can be increased while maintain public safety’s use of the band.

“These organizations represent entities providing the public safety and other critical services whose interests the FCC committed to advance in the next stage of this proceeding,” the ex parte letter said. “They have come together to present this plan for a regulatory approach that will achieve the FCC’s objectives, including preserving public safety primacy in this important band.”

Key elements of the plan are:
• The FCC should create a not-for-profit entity that would serve as the organizing entity for the band and would be responsible for development of a 4.9 GHz utilization strategy and policies. That entity would be directed by representatives from the industry organizations, as well as other organizations invited to participate.
• The framework would create an environment to support different use cases including fixed, microwave, robotics, Wi-Fi and uncrewed aerial systems (UAS). The band plan would identify band segments for such uses, as well as permissible minimum and maximum areas of operation, registration/licensing terms and other relevant criteria.
• The entity would also assist in the development of a 4.9 GHz database by securing information about current 4.9 GHz utilization and providing information, through the registration/licensing process, on new users of the band.
• The framework would promote access to the band for all eligible parties on a first come, first served and non-discriminatory basis.
• Develop a registration and application process that frequency advisory committees (FACS) can use for the band.

The organizations that signed the letter were the American Petroleum Institute (API), Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA), Forestry Conservation Communications Association, International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA), National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) and the Utilities Technology Council (UTC).

Find the full letter here.

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