FCC Grants Federated Wireless CBRS ESC Waiver Request for Hurricane Relief
Friday, September 23, 2022 | Comments

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) conditionally granted an emergency request from Federated Wireless to waive sections of the rules governing the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) to help with relief from Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico.

Specifically, Federated Wireless asked for waiver of the requirement that it use environmental sensing capabilities (ESC) to detect and protect incumbent federal wireless users in the band. Federated Wireless asked for the waiver as it said that its ESC sensors in the area had lost power and their backup generators will soon lose power. Because of current conditions in the territory, it is impossible to refuel the generators, Federated Wireless. The company said a waiver will allow it to provide uninterrupted service to CBRS devices (CBSD) that provide “critical broadband, voice and data service to thousands of customers in Puerto Rico.”

The FCC acknowledged the difficulties in keeping the ESC sensors operational at this point and granted the request with conditions.

“While the ESC sensors are currently operating on backup power, the generators are expected to run out of fuel shortly and refueling the backup generators will be difficult or impossible under current conditions,” the FCC said. “In addition, backhaul at the ESC generators has been unreliable as the petition’s backhaul providers work to stabilize their networks.”

The conditions on the waiver include:
• That it only applies to times when the ESC sensors cannot communicate with Federated’s wireless spectrum access system (SAS) due to a power outage or backhaul outage
• The waiver will either expire on October 6 or when commercial power and backhaul service is restored, whichever happens earlier.
• Federated must provide confirmation to the FCC, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Navy within three business days when power and backhaul is restored to the ESC sensors.
• Any request to extend the waiver must include a description of steps the company has taken to reactivate the ESCs and the remaining steps needed to reactivate the ESC

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