FCC Opens Up More 5G Spectrum Frontiers

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The FCC has voted to adopt a Second Order and Report and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking opening up more spectrum above 24 GHz for wireless broadband as part of its ongoing “Spectrum Frontiers” initiative. The FCC has allocated an additional 1700 megahertz of millimeter wave (mmW) spectrum available for terrestrial 5G wireless use. The Order left intact previously adopted spectrum allocations from last year for Upper Microwave Flexible Use in the 28 GHz, 37 GHz and 39 GHz bands, and unlicensed use between 64 GHz and 71 GHz.

Additionally, the FCC’s Order:

  • maintains spectrum in the 48.2-50.2 GHz and 40-42 GHz bands for satellite use;
  • incentivizes site satellite earth stations in less populated areas while continuing to limit the potential for interference of satellite operations to mobile wireless use in these bands;
  • declines to cap the amount of spectrum in the 24 GHz and 47 GHz bands that a bidder can acquire at auction and proposes to scrap an existing cap on how much spectrum in the 28 GHz, 37 GHz and 39 GHz bands can be won at auction (the order did not indicate the timing of such auctions);
  • proposes to allow more flexible Fixed-Satellite Service use between 24.75GHz and 25.25 GHz; and
  • seeks comment on another option for terrestrial mmW licensees to meet performance obligations, which could accommodate Internet of Things (IoT) deployments and other innovative services.

 

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