FCC Grants Conditional Waiver for SAS Administrators in 3.5 GHz Band

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The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) and the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) have granted a conditional waiver for spectrum access system administrators (SAS) to protect federal operations in the 3550-3700 MHz band (3.5 GHz Band) to facilitate rapid access to the band by a wider variety of devices. Pursuant to the FCC’s rules, SASs may only authorize lower power (Category A) Citizens Broadband Service Devices (CBSDs) to operate in the band outside of exclusion zones and may not authorize the use of any higher-power (Category B) CBSDs before certification and deployment of environmental sensing capability (ESC) operators. WTB and OET granted a conditional waiver to allow SAS administrators to use an alternative protection methodology developed by NTIA based on dynamic protection areas (DPAs) to authorize both Category A and Category B CBSDs across the entire 3.5 GHz Band prior to ESC deployment and certification while still protecting federal operations against interference in activated DPAs. This limited waiver applies only to DPA-enabled SASs; any SAS that is not DPA-enabled will be required to comply with the existing rules including the enforcement of all exclusion zones and restrictions on Category B CBSD operations in the 3.5 GHz Band.

 

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