Monday, October 28, 2013

FCC Supports Lower 700 MHz Band Agreement

The FCC endorsed a voluntary industry agreement that will establish interoperable LTE service in the Lower 700 MHz band and adopted and an Order that modifies the technical rules of the D and E blocks.

The FCC said its new rules remove the likelihood of harm caused by attendant power levels while continuing to allow high-value uses of the D and E blocks.

The order also proposes to modify AT&T's B and C block licenses to incorporate the commitments of AT&T and makes changes in construction requirements and deadlines for various E Block licensees in the Lower 700 MHz band.

The Lower 700 MHz interoperability agreement was brokered by several wireless providers, along with the Competitive Carriers Association.  The FCC expects it will give consumers more choice in using their devices with large and small carriers alike and will promote widespread deployment of mobile broadband services, especially in rural areas.

In September 2013, the FCC and mobile operators announced an agreement that resolves handset interoperability issues in the lower 700 MHz bands.  At the time, the FCC's Acting Chairwoman, Mignon Clyburn issued the following statement:

"After many frustrating years, wireless carriers have finally reached a voluntary industry solution that will resolve the lack of interoperability in the lower 700 MHz band in the most efficient manner. This is a big win for consumers, especially in rural areas, who will see more competition and more choices. Also, by making it easier for small wireless carriers to compete, today's interoperability solution will spur private investment, job creation, and the development of innovative new services and devices.  "That's why for the past few years, I have been consistent in pushing for a final resolution to this issue. Thank you to all the parties - AT&T, The Interoperability Alliance, The Competitive Carriers Association, DISH, and the consumer advocacy groups - who came to the table and worked collaboratively with FCC staff to hammer out a solution that benefits all consumers."