Florida Utility Encourages FCC to Allow Critical Infrastructure to Use 4.9 GHz
Tuesday, September 27, 2022 | Comments

Florida Power and Light (FPL) encouraged the FCC to allow critical infrastructure entities to operate in the 4.9 GHz band on a secondary basis.

FPL made the comments during a meeting with a member of FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr’s staff. It detailed the meeting in an ex parte filing with the FCC.

The utility said that it discussed how critical infrastructure is complementary to the mission of public-safety and therefore should be given access to the 4.9 GHz band on a secondary basis as a way to promote spectrum efficiency and promote the public interest without causing interference to existing users.

Additionally, FPL said the FCC should life its restriction on airborne mobile operations in the band, because eliminating that restriction could introduce new uses cases, such as operations by crewed and uncrewed aircraft systems.

The representatives of FPL also said that the FCC should not allow commercial mobile operators to use the band. Finally, FPL said if the FCC decides a nationwide band manager is needed to coordinate band operations, it should create a “competitively neutral process based on objective criteria” to select that manager.

The 4.9 GHz band was dedicated to public-safety use in the early 2000s. The FCC has been looking at finding ways to improve usage of the band, which it believes it is underused. The commission proposed and approved a framework in which states could lease spectrum in the band to non-public-safety entities but vacated that framework after backlash from public-safety and other organizations. The FCC then released a new proceeding seeking to improve use of the band while retaining public safety’s priority in the band.

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