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Saturday, April 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

FCC Plans New|Broadband Service

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Federal Communications Commission has proposed creating a new Citizens Broadband Service in the 3550-3650 MHz (3.5 GHz) band, which is currently being used for military and satellite operations.

The proposed new use of the band would allow for more efficient use of the radio spectrum, allowing spectrum sharing and use by small cells or wireless broadband systems. An accompanying supplemental proposal seeks to integrate the 3650-3700 MHz band within the proposed Citizens Broadband Service, thereby encompassing a total of 150 megahertz of contiguous spectrum. It would be available for innovative mobile and fixed wireless broadband services, but would not disrupt mission-critical incumbent systems, such as those used by the U.S. Department of Defense and Fixed Satellite Service users, the FCC says.

The proposal broadly reflects recommendations made in a recent report by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The report was made as a result of the high demand for wireless broadband capacity, which is growing at a much quicker pace than the availability of new spectrum. The FCC and the president have a plan to double the amount of available spectrum, although some experts say the nation's wireless capacity needs to increase a thousand-fold by 2020 to accommodate anticipated demand, according to the proposed rule.

The PCAST report identifies two ways of accommodating demand: First, an increase in small cell network use can multiply wireless capacity within existing spectrum resources. Second, increased spectrum sharing can end the "stovepiping" effect of large swaths of spectrum set aside for important, but localized, government and non-government uses.

The FCC will accept comments on the proposal until Feb. 20 and reply comments until March 22.

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