FCC proposes public-private spectrum sharing using small cell and database technologies


To address the growing demand for radiofrequency spectrum, the Federal Communications Commission has proposed a new three-tiered plan to share 100 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 gigahertz band between commercial and government users, according to an FCC statement.

Under the FCC's new proposed rules, the 3550-3650 MHz band, which is currently used for Navy radar operations and covers 60 percent of the American population, would be shared by leveraging small cell technologies.

The FCC's proposal is in lockstep with a report (.pdf) issued in July by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which recommended spectrum sharing and small cell use in the 3.5 GHz band.  The commission's notice (.pdf) of proposed rulemaking calls for three tiers of users, each having their own rights and protections, with a spectrum access system that includes a geo-location enabled dynamic database governing access to the 3.5 GHz band.

The first tier, Incumbent Access, would include authorized government and military users. The second tier, Protected Access, would include critical use facilities, such as hospitals, utilities, government facilities, and public safety entities. And, the third tier, General Authorized Access, would include all other users including the general public.

In a blog posting on the White House website, Tom Power, deputy chief technology officer for telecommunications at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, called the FCC's proposed new rules for public-private spectrum sharing an innovative model that is "crucial to maintaining America's leadership in the development and use of advanced wireless technologies."

CTIA, the trade association representing the wireless industry, was more measured in its response to the FCC's proposed new rules. "While this spectrum is not part of the 300 MHz that the FCC has identified for allocation for mobile flexible use before 2015, we are interested to see how the proceeding develops," said CTIA's Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Guttman-McCabe in a written statement.

For more:
-read FCC press release
-download PCAST report (.pdf)
-read Tom Power's blog

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