FCC Adopts 3.5 GHz Report and Order

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The Federal Communications Commission has adopted a Report and Order that makes modifications to the rules governing the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the 3.5 GHz band. The Commission established rules in 2015 to facilitate shared access between federal and nonfederal use of the 3.5 GHz band. It created a three-tiered framework of users consisting of Incumbents, Priority Access Licenses (PALs), and General Authorized Access (GAA) users.

The Order adopted on October 23 does the following:

  • Changes the size of PAL license areas from census tracts to counties;
  • Extends the PAL license term to ten years and makes these licenses renewable;
  • Establishes end-of-term performance requirements;
  • Ensures seven PALs are available in each license area;
  • Allows the use of bidding credits for rural and Tribal entities;
  • Permits partitioning and disaggregation of PALs;
  • Updates information security requirements to protect registration information; and
  • Facilitates transmission over wider channels while maintaining protections for other services.
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