FCC Approves Environmental Sensing Capabilities for the 3.5 GHz Band

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The Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) and Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) have issued a Public Notice approving the Environmental Sensing Capabilities (ESCs) of CommScope, Federated Wireless, Inc. (Federated), and Google (collectively, the Applicants) for use in the 3550-3650 MHz portion of the 3.5 GHz Band.  The announcement follows an almost three-year approval and review process that involved various FCC offices, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS), and will now allow the Applicants to operate ESCs in highly specific areas, which will be determined pursuant to WTB’s and OET’s review and approval of the Applicants’ coverage plan.

In order to operate their ESCs commercially, the Applicants must ensure that their ESCs: (1) are able to communicate with at least one Spectrum Access System (SAS) that has been approved for commercial deployment by the Commission; and (2) operate only in geographic areas covered by the specific sensors described in their coverage plan.  The Applicants’ operation of ESCs in these geographic areas is also premised on the Applicants’ strict compliance with all technical specifications, and the Applicants’ failure to comply with these specifications (or any other compliance obligation) could result in revocation or suspension of the Applicants’ ESC operator certification.

WTB and OET will provide approval of the Applicants’ ESC sensor registration and coverage plans (and thereby the specific areas in which the Applicants’ ESCs may operate) via notice filed in GN Docket No. 15-319.

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