Showing posts with label FCC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FCC. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

FCC qualifies bidders for $16B Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

 The FCC has qualified 386 applicants to bid in the upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction. 


Qualified bidders will compete to receive up to $16 billion over ten years to provide broadband to wholly unserved areas, with priority given to bids for higher speeds (up to 1 Gbps) and lower latency.

“With today’s announcement, we are taking one of the last steps before ringing the opening bell for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, our biggest and boldest step yet to bridge the digital divide for over 10 million unserved consumers across rural America,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “The unprecedented interest in this auction is due in large part to key decisions by the FCC, including providing substantial funding and promoting technological neutrality toward potential bidding participants, as well as our staff’s extensive work to spread awareness of the program and ensure the broadest participation in a competitive auction that will deliver real benefits to rural Americans across the country.” 


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

FCC seeks to facilitate 5G in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band

 The FCC is seeking to make 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band available for 5G deployment across the contiguous United States.  

The FCC adopted new rules for, and proposed additional changes to, the broader 3.3-3.55 GHz band. Specifically, the adopted rules remove the secondary, non-federal allocations from the 3.3-3.55 GHz band.  The Report and Order relocates non-federal radiolocation licensees to the 2.9-3.0 GHz band, allowing them to continue operating there on a secondary basis to federal operations.  It also allows amateur licensees to individually determine appropriate alternative spectrum from existing available spectrum allocations.

The FCC is also proposing to allocate the 3.45-3.55 GHz spectrum band for flexible-use service.  It seeks comment on an appropriate regime to coordinate non-federal and federal use and proposes a band plan, as well as technical, licensing, and competitive bidding rules for the band.  Lastly, it seeks comment on details regarding the processes for relocating non-federal radiolocation operators to the 2.9-3.0 GHz band and sunsetting amateur use in the 3.3-3.5 GHz band.


U.S. to open 3.45-3.55 GHz mid-band spectrum for 5G

The Trump administration announced that 100 megahertz of contiguous, coast-to-coast mid-band spectrum will be made available for commercial 5G deployment.

The action, which will be taken by the FCC in collaboration with the Department of Defense, targets the 3.45-3.55 GHz band.

“I commend the President and Department of Defense for today’s announcement that the 3.45-3.55 GHz band will be made available for commercial 5G deployment.  This is a key milestone in securing United States leadership in 5G.  I also would like to thank FCC staff for their work to help create a framework that will promote 5G service in this important band.  Together with the spectrum being made available for 5G in the C-band as well as the 3.5 GHz band, we are now on track to have a 530-megahertz swath of mid-band spectrum available for 5G from 3.45 to 3.98 GHz.  The FCC looks forward to moving quickly to adopt service rules for the 3.45 GHz b 

FCC adopts new rules for 4940-4990 MHz band

 The FCC adopted rules permitting expanded use of 50 megahertz of mid-band spectrum in the 4.9 GHz (4940-4990 MHz) band that is currently underused.  

Under the new rules, states are allowed to lease this spectrum to third parties to boost wireless broadband, improve critical infrastructure monitoring, and facilitate public safety use cases.  This will allow individual states to use the spectrum to best meet their unique needs.  

In the 18 years since the FCC designated the 4.9 GHz band for public safety use, only about 3.5% of all potential licensees have taken advantage of this spectrum opportunity, and this spectrum remains largely unused outside major metropolitan areas.  

http://www.fcc.gov

Thursday, September 10, 2020

FCC Forum on 5G Open RAN - Monday, Sept 14, 10:30 EST

The FCC will host a Forum on 5G Open Radio Access Networks on Monday, September 14, 2020. 

Among the speakers on the agenda for the forum are: 

10:30AM-10:45AM (EST): Welcome Remarks 

FCC Chairman Ajit V. Pai 

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo 

10:50AM-11:30AM: Introduction to Open, Interoperable, and Virtualized Networks

FCC Chairman Ajit V. Pai, moderator 

  • Tareq Amin (Rakuten) 
  • Caroline Chan (Intel) 
  • Sachin Katti (VMware) 
  • Thierry Maupilé (Altiostar) 

11:45AM-12:45PM: Benefits of Deployment/Driving Innovation 

Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Associate Bureau Chief Charles Mathias and Office of the Chairman Policy Advisor Evan Swarztrauber, moderators 

  • Cristiano Amon (Qualcomm) 
  • Peter Gammel (GlobalFoundries) 
  • Diane Rinaldo (Open RAN Policy Coalition) 
  • John Roese (Dell) 
  • Mariam Sorond (CableLabs) 
  • Soma Velayutham (NVIDIA) 

1:40PM-2:50PM: Lessons from the Field: Where Do We Go from Here? 

FCC Chairman Ajit V. Pai, moderator  

  • Kaitki Agarwal (Parallel Wireless) 
  • John Baker (Mavenir) 
  • Stephen Bye (DISH) 
  • Craig Farrell (IBM) 
  • Marie-Paule Odini (HPE) 
  • Mathew Oommen (JIO)
  • Marcus Weldon (Nokia) 

3:00PM-5:00PM: Technical Deep Dive 

FCC Chief Technology Officer Monisha Ghosh, moderator 

  • Mihai Banu (Blue Danube) 
  • Charles Clancy (MITRE) 
  • Cheryl Davis (Oracle) 
  • Ashutosh Dutta (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Abhimanyu Gosain (Northeastern University) 
  • James Kimery (Spirent) 
  • Ivan Seskar (Rutgers University) 
  • Jacobus Van der Merwe (University of Utah) 


http://www.fcc.gov/live


FCC chairman pitches 3.45-3.55 GHz band for 5G

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has circulated a petition to his fellow commissioners to make the 3.45-3.55 GHz band available for commercial use throughout the contiguous United States. 

“We are moving forward quickly, in coordination with the Executive Branch, to ensure that this mid-band spectrum is available for commercial 5G deployment.  This is another major step forward in advancing American leadership in 5G and producing benefits for America’s wireless consumers,” said Chairman Pai.  “Our 5G FAST Plan is in full swing.  With this 3.45 GHz band proposal, the upcoming C-band auction of 280 megahertz of spectrum, and the recently completed auction for Priority Access Licenses in the 3.5 GHz band, the Commission is on track to make a wide swath of 530 megahertz of continuous mid-band spectrum available for 5G.  Combined with our work to make low- and high-band spectrum available for flexible use as well as our successful efforts to expedite the deployment of wireless infrastructure and fiber, we are establishing a strong foundation for wireless innovation and investment.  I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this important item at our monthly meeting.”

Monday, September 7, 2020

FCC: Cost to replace Huawei and ZTE is $1.8 billion

The FCC estimates it will cost $1.837 billion to remove and replace Huawei and ZTE equipment from U.S. telecommunications networks that receive support from the federal Universal Service Fund.

“It is a top priority of our nation and this Commission to promote the security of our country’s communications networks.  That’s why we sought comprehensive information from U.S. carriers about equipment and services from untrusted vendors that have already been installed in our networks.  Today’s announcement marks a critical milestone in our ongoing commitment to secure our networks,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “By identifying the presence of insecure equipment and services in our networks, we can now work to ensure that these networks—especially those of small and rural carriers—rely on infrastructure from trusted vendors.  I once again strongly urge Congress to appropriate funding to reimburse carriers for replacing any equipment or services determined to be a national security threat so that we can protect our networks and the myriad parts of our economy and society that rely upon them.”

The list of eligible telecommunications carriers with existing Huawei and ZTE equipment and services:


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Verizon is biggest winner in 3.5 GHz spectrum auction

The FCC posted the winning bidders in its recently completed auction of 70 megahertz of Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the 3550-3650 MHz band (Auction 105).

Auction 105 gross proceeds reached $4,585,663,345, with net proceeds totaling $4,543,232,339.  A total of 228 bidders won 20,625 of 22,631, or more than 91.1%, of available licenses. 


The full auction results are posted here: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-1009A2.pdf

Thursday, August 27, 2020

FCC grants OneWeb permission for 2,000 satellite constellation

The FCC granted OneWeb with market access in the 37.5-42 GHz (space-to-Earth), 47.2-50.2 GHz (Earth-to-space), and 50.4-51.4 GHz (Earth-to-space) frequency bands, subject to sharing conditions and other requirements, for a proposed 2,000-satellite non-geostationary-satellite orbit (NGSO) broadband constellation.

OneWeb proposes to add a V-band payload to the 720 satellite Ku/Ka-band constellation previously approved by the Commission and proposes 1,280 additional V-band satellites operating at a nominal altitude of 8,500 km.  The OneWeb constellation will be authorized by the United Kingdom.

One condition of the grant is that OneWeb must submit a plan within six months for decommissioning and debris mitigation for its MEO satellites.

  • In July 2020, the UK government (through the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global Limited were confirmed as buyers of the OneWeb business through a court-supervised sales process. The deal is aimed at ensuring sufficient funding for the deployment of the OneWeb system. Bharti Airtel, is the third largest mobile operator in the world, with over 425 million customers. Bharti Airtel has its own extensive mobile broadband networks and enterprise business, which will act as the testing ground for all OneWeb products, services, and applications. Bharti will contribute significant contract value to OneWeb through its presence across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, where the terrain necessitates the use of satellite-based connectivity, providing a near-term anchor customer for large-scale global deployment of OneWeb’s services. 
https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-grants-oneweb-us-market-access-expanded-ngso-constellation


OneWeb looks to increase its constellation up to 48,000 satellites

OneWeb, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, is now asking the FCC for permission to increase the size of its planned constellation up to 48,000 LEO satellites.

OneWeb said a larger constellation will allow for greater flexibility to meet soaring global connectivity demands.

To date, OneWeb has successfully launched 74 satellites and developed a significant portion of its ground network.

In August 2019, OneWeb met the requirements of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and succeeded in bringing into use its global priority spectrum rights in the Ku- and Ka-band.

Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb said: "We have always believed that LEO satellites must be part of converged broadband network strategies to enable forward-thinking governments and businesses to deliver much-needed reliable connectivity, create more pathways to 5G and connect to the IoT future everywhere on earth. This significant increase in the size of the OneWeb constellation enables long-term flexibility and ensures we will be ready for the demand, future growth, and technology changes to come."

OneWeb files for Chapter 11

OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a federal court in New York. The company said uncertainty due to the COVID-19 crisis derailed advanced negotiations might have fully funded the company through its deployment and commercial launch.

OneWeb said it intends to use these proceedings to pursue a sale of its business in order to maximize the value of the company.

So far, OneWeb has launched 74 satellites as part of its constellation, secured valuable global spectrum, begun development on a range of user terminals for a variety of customer markets, has half of its 44 ground stations completed or in development, and performed successful demonstrations of its system with broadband speeds in excess of 400 Mbps and latency of 32 ms. In addition, OneWeb’s commercial team has seen significant early global demand for OneWeb’s high-speed, low-latency connectivity services from governments and leaders in the automotive, maritime, enterprise, and aviation industries.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

FCC raises $4.5 billion in first 5G mid-band spectrum auction

The FCC completed its auction of Priority Access Licenses in the 3550-3650 MHz band. Gross proceeds reached $4,585,663,345, and bidders won 20,625 of 22,631, or more than 91.1%, of available licenses.

“This is a banner day for American leadership in 5G and for American consumers.  The 3.5 GHz auction has concluded, and I can say unequivocally:  It was a resounding success,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “The strong demand for licenses was the direct result of this Commission’s reforms to the rules for the 3.5 GHz band—reforms that would not have been possible without the leadership and hard work of my colleague, Commissioner Mike O’Rielly.  This auction has been a key part of our 5G FAST Plan and our ongoing push to make more mid-band spectrum available for 5G.  I look forward to this important spectrum being put to use quickly to provide service to the American people.  And I look forward to the Commission making available 280 more megahertz of mid-band spectrum for 5G in the C-band auction beginning on December 8.”

The FCC will release a public notice in a few days providing detailed auction results, including the names of Auction 105 winning bidders, and announcing deadlines for payments and the filing of long-form applications, as well as other post-auction procedures needed for the prompt issuance of licenses. 

https://www.fcc.gov/auction/105

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

FCC prevails in court challenge to accelerated 5G cell deployments

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sided with the FCC in upholding the vast majority of three orders to accelerate the deployment of wireless and wireline broadband infrastructure. In the cases, local and state governments were seeking to FCC rules that streamline the installation of 5G infrastructure over the objection of local authorities.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai states: “Today’s decision is a massive victory for U.S. leadership in 5G, our nation’s economy, and American consumers.  The court rightly affirmed the FCC’s efforts to ensure that infrastructure deployment critical to 5G—a key part of our 5G FAST Plan—is not impeded by exorbitant fees imposed by state and local governments, undue delays in local permitting, and unreasonable barriers to pole access.  The wind is at our backs:  With the FCC’s infrastructure policies now ratified by the court, along with pathbreaking spectrum auctions concluded, ongoing, and to come, America is well-positioned to extend its global lead in 5G and American consumers will benefit from the next generation of wireless technologies and services."

FCC acts to streamline 5G upgrades by limiting local review

The FCC is clarifying rules regarding state and local government review of modifications to existing wireless infrastructure.  The action is expected to expedite the rollout of 5G networks by limiting state and local government review of certain requests to modify wireless transmission equipment on existing structures.

Specifically, the Declaratory Ruling adopted today clarifies the Commission’s 2014 rules with regard to when the 60-day shot clock for local review begins.  The ruling also clarifies how certain aspects of proposed modifications – height increases, equipment cabinet additions, and impact on concealment elements and aesthetic conditions – affect eligibility for streamlined review under section 6409(a).  In addition, today’s action clarifies that, under the Commission’s rules on environmental and historic preservation review,  FCC applicants do not need to submit environmental assessments based only on potential impacts to historic properties when parties have entered into a memorandum of agreement to mitigate effects on those properties. 

Monday, August 10, 2020

U.S. to open 3.45-3.55 GHz mid-band spectrum for 5G

The Trump administration announced that 100 megahertz of contiguous, coast-to-coast mid-band spectrum will be made available for commercial 5G deployment.

The action, which will be taken by the FCC in collaboration with the Department of Defense, targets the 3.45-3.55 GHz band.

“I commend the President and Department of Defense for today’s announcement that the 3.45-3.55 GHz band will be made available for commercial 5G deployment.  This is a key milestone in securing United States leadership in 5G.  I also would like to thank FCC staff for their work to help create a framework that will promote 5G service in this important band.  Together with the spectrum being made available for 5G in the C-band as well as the 3.5 GHz band, we are now on track to have a 530-megahertz swath of mid-band spectrum available for 5G from 3.45 to 3.98 GHz.  The FCC looks forward to moving quickly to adopt service rules for the 3.45 GHz band and then hold an auction to bring this prime mid-band spectrum to market.”

Thursday, August 6, 2020

FCC sets bidding rules for December's auction of C-band spectrum

The FCC established final application and bidding procedures for the auction of 280 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for 5G and other advanced wireless services.

December's C-band auction will offer 5,684 new flexible-use overlay licenses based on Partial Economic Areas (PEAs) for spectrum in the 3.7–3.98 GHz band.  This spectrum holds the potential to be prime spectrum for 5G services, and the procedures adopted today will ensure the assignment to auction winners of contiguous spectrum blocks allowing wide channel bandwidths that support 5G deployment. 

In February, the FCC adopted rules for the C-band (3.7-4.2 GHz), which allocated the lower 280 megahertz (3.7-3.98 GHz band) for flexible terrestrial wireless services (with a 20-megahertz guard band (3.98-4.0 GHz)) and required existing satellite operators to repack their operations from the band’s entire 500 megahertz into the upper 200 megahertz (4.0-4.2 GHz).  Bidding in the auction, which is designated as Auction 107, will begin on December 8, 2020.

FCC approves C-Band spectrum rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted to approve new rules to accelerate the auction and transfer of a wide swath of 3.5 GHz spectrum from the satellite industry for new uses, including 5G.

The 280 megahertz of mid-band spectrum will be made available via a public auction.

Within the 3.7-4.2 GHz band, the FCC has is allocating the 3.7-4.0 GHz portion of the band for mobile use and 280 megahertz (3.7-3.98 GHz band) will be auctioned by the FCC for wireless services in the contiguous United States.  Another 20 megahertz (3.98-4.0 GHz) will serve as a guard band while existing satellite operations will be repacked into the upper 200 megahertz of the band (4.0-4.2 GHz).

Satellite operators will be able to receive accelerated relocation payments of $9.7 billion if they meet accelerated clearing milestones.

FCC expects to conduct an auction beginning on December 8, 2020.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai writes: "With respect to this principle of revenue for the federal government, it’s important to make a couple of points about accelerated relocation payments.  First, they will be made by wireless carriers, not the FCC and not the American taxpayer.  And second, to the extent they impact the proceeds of the auction at all, they are likely to increase those proceeds.  That’s because without a strong incentive for satellite operators to cooperate, it will take years longer to clear this spectrum, dramatically reducing the value of this spectrum opportunity to wireless bidders.  It’s like repainting your house before you sell it; yes, there are costs to doing that, but the costs are more than offset by the higher sales price.  And our conservative approach here means the costs of accelerated relocation are easily outweighed by the benefits to the Treasury (not to mention the public at large)..."

Monday, July 20, 2020

FCC to support infrastructure rules protecting historic properties

The FCC announced an agreement with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) to support wireless infrastructure builds while continuing to protect historic properties.

The agreement amends the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas (Collocation NPA) that the FCC, ACHP, and NCSHPO entered into in 2001.  The Collocation NPA establishes streamlined reviews for infrastructure projects covered by that agreement.

The amendment updates the review process for collocation (or adding wireless equipment at existing tower sites).  Previously, a collocation project that involved any excavation outside of the current tower site would not qualify for the streamlined review process established by the Collocation NPA.  That conflicted with the streamlined review process that applies when providers are taking down and replacing a wireless structure—a process that allows for deployment and excavation up to 30 feet outside of the existing site.  Today’s amendment resolves that inconsistency by bringing the Collocation NPA into conformance with the tower replacement review.

“This is a vitally important agreement to ensure our infrastructure policies can meet the challenges and opportunities of 5G,” said Commissioner Brendan Carr, who has led the Commission’s wireless infrastructure modernization efforts.  “It represents a commonsense approach to encouraging collocations where tower replacements are not necessary.  The FCC team and our partners at ACHP and NCSHPO worked closely, and I want to extend my thanks and appreciation for the time and good-faith efforts that enabled us to reach this agreement.”

Thursday, July 16, 2020

FCC to build a list of equipment seen to pose national security risk

The FCC began integrating portions of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, which was enacted in March 2020, into its existing supply chain rulemaking proceeding. 

The FCC has already acted to ban USF support for equipment and services produced or provided by companies that pose a national security threat, namely Huawei and ZTE. 

The accompanying Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks public comment on implementing various aspects of the Secure Networks Act, including proposals to: (1) create and maintain the list of covered communications equipment and services required by the statute; (2) ban the use of federal subsidies, including USF funding, for any communications equipment or services placed on this list; (3) require all providers of advanced communications services to report on whether they use any covered communications equipment or services; and (4) prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in the reimbursement program that is required by the statute to remove and replace insecure equipment. 

Last month, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau formally designated Huawei Technologies Company and ZTE Corporation and their parents, affiliates, and subsidiaries as covered companies for purposes of the agency’s November 2019 ban.  As a result of those designations, money from the FCC’s $8.3 billion a year USF may no longer be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify, or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by these two suppliers.

FCC expands rules for Z-axis location data in emergency calls

The FCC is expanding its efforts to help first responders quickly locate people who call 911 from wireless phones in multi-story buildings.

The Commission’s Enhanced 911 rules require wireless providers to transmit to 911 call centers information on the location of wireless 911 calls.  And they obligate wireless providers to meet an increasingly stringent series of location accuracy benchmarks in accordance with a timetable, including providing the caller’s dispatchable location (such as the street address and apartment number) or coordinate-based vertical (“z-axis”) location. 

In November 2019, the Commission established the z-axis location accuracy metric as plus or minus three meters relative to the handset for 80 percent of indoor wireless 911 calls.  Nationwide wireless providers must meet April 2021 and April 2023 deadlines for deploying z-axis technology, which must comply with the metric for accuracy, in the top 25 and 50 markets, respectively. 

In this action, the FCC affirmed the 2021 and 2023 z-axis requirements, rejecting a proposal to weaken them.  The Commission added a new requirement that nationwide wireless providers deploy z-axis technology nationwide by April 2025, while affording non-nationwide wireless providers an additional year (i.e., until April 2026) to do so within their service areas.  To give wireless providers additional flexibility in meeting these requirements while still advancing critical public safety objectives, the Commission allowed providers to deploy technologies that focus on multi-story buildings, where vertical location information is most vital to first responders.  The Commission also required wireless providers, beginning in January 2022, to provide dispatchable location with wireless 911 calls when it is technically feasible and cost-effective to do so, which will promote consistency in the Commission’s 911 rules across technology platforms. 


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

FCC designates Huawei and ZTE as National Security Threats

The FCC officially designated Huawei and ZTE, as well as their parents, affiliates, and subsidiaries, as national security threats.

As a result of the designation, money from the FCC’s $8.3 billion a year Universal Service Fund may no longer be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify, or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by either company. 

“With today’s Orders, and based on the overwhelming weight of evidence, the Bureau has designated Huawei and ZTE as national security risks to America’s communications networks—and to our 5G future,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “Both companies have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus, and both companies are broadly subject to Chinese law obligating them to cooperate with the country’s intelligence services.  The Bureau also took into account the findings and actions of Congress, the Executive Branch, the intelligence community, our allies, and communications service providers in other countries.  We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure.  Today’s action will also protect the FCC’s Universal Service Fund—money that comes from fees paid by American consumers and businesses on their phone bills—from being used to underwrite these suppliers, which threaten our national security.”


  • In November 2019, the FCC unanimously adopted a ban on the use of universal service support to purchase, obtain, or maintain any equipment or services produced or provided by companies posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain.  


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

FCC acts to streamline 5G upgrades by limiting local review

The FCC is clarifying rules regarding state and local government review of modifications to existing wireless infrastructure.  The action is expected to expedite the rollout of 5G networks by limiting state and local government review of certain requests to modify wireless transmission equipment on existing structures.

Specifically, the Declaratory Ruling adopted today clarifies the Commission’s 2014 rules with regard to when the 60-day shot clock for local review begins.  The ruling also clarifies how certain aspects of proposed modifications – height increases, equipment cabinet additions, and impact on concealment elements and aesthetic conditions – affect eligibility for streamlined review under section 6409(a).  In addition, today’s action clarifies that, under the Commission’s rules on environmental and historic preservation review,  FCC applicants do not need to submit environmental assessments based only on potential impacts to historic properties when parties have entered into a memorandum of agreement to mitigate effects on those properties. 

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai states: "Promoting American leadership in 5G wireless technology has been one of my top priorities since becoming Chairman.  To that end, the FCC has been executing my 5G FAST plan, which includes three key components: pushing more spectrum into the marketplace, making it easier to deploy wireless infrastructure, and modernizing outdated regulations to expedite the deployment of fiber for wireless backhaul....Of course, in addition to pushing more spectrum into the marketplace, a key component of the Commission’s 5G FAST strategy has been updating our wireless infrastructure policies to encourage private-sector investment in the physical building blocks of 5G networks.  And today’s Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking does just that."

FCC Commisssioner writes: "If we want to see infrastructure expand broadly and equitably across this country it takes federal and state and local authorities working together to do so.  History proves this is true.  And in these historic times this agency should not be ramrodding this effort through without listening to cities and towns across the country.  They called for a bit more time.  But the Federal Communications Commission hung up.  I dissent." 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Intelsat opts into FCC accelerated C-band clearing plan

Intelsat filed a written commitment with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to accelerate clearing of the U.S. C-band spectrum. Intelsat completed the filing in advance of the FCC’s May 29 deadline.

“Intelsat has been connecting Americans with technology for more than half a century. Our expertise, innovation, and technology investments have played a critical role in driving America’s economic and national security edge for the last five decades”

In March, the FCC finalized its Expanding Flexible Use of the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz Band order, which requires the lower 280 megahertz of the 3.7 to 4.2 gigahertz C-band spectrum, plus a 20 megahertz guard band, to be cleared and repurposed for use by 5G services, by relocating existing satellite services to the upper part of the band.

“As the foundational architects of satellite technology and leading experts of integrated communications technologies, Intelsat is committed to advancing – at an accelerated pace – America’s position in the race to 5G. With decades-deep institutional knowledge of the U.S. C-band, we understand what’s required to successfully and quickly transition current users, while maintaining high-quality, uninterrupted broadcast to more than 100 million American homes and businesses,” said Intelsat Chief Executive Officer Stephen Spengler.

“Intelsat has been connecting Americans with technology for more than half a century. Our expertise, innovation, and technology investments have played a critical role in driving America’s economic and national security edge for the last five decades,” continued Spengler. “We embrace America’s drive to adopt 5G and recognize the important role that Intelsat will play in accelerating the clearing of the C-Band spectrum to ensure the U.S. maintains its leadership in 5G and other advanced telecommunications technologies for decades to come.”

FCC approves C-Band spectrum rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted to approve new rules to accelerate the auction and transfer of a wide swath of 3.5 GHz spectrum from the satellite industry for new uses, including 5G.

The 280 megahertz of mid-band spectrum will be made available via a public auction.

Within the 3.7-4.2 GHz band, the FCC has is allocating the 3.7-4.0 GHz portion of the band for mobile use and 280 megahertz (3.7-3.98 GHz band) will be auctioned by the FCC for wireless services in the contiguous United States.  Another 20 megahertz (3.98-4.0 GHz) will serve as a guard band while existing satellite operations will be repacked into the upper 200 megahertz of the band (4.0-4.2 GHz).

Satellite operators will be able to receive accelerated relocation payments of $9.7 billion if they meet accelerated clearing milestones.

FCC expects to conduct an auction beginning on December 8, 2020.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

FCC opens some 900 MHz spectrum

The FCC will make six megahertz of 900 MHz band spectrum available for wireless broadband technologies and services.  The 900 MHz band is currently designated for narrowband land mobile radio communications and primarily used by land transportation, utility, manufacturing, and petrochemical companies. 

The six megahertz will be available for broadband licenses on a county-by-county basis while reserving the remaining four megahertz of spectrum for continued narrowband operations.
provide crucial services to the American public.

Specifically, the Commission approved a Report and Order, an Order of Proposed Modification, and two Orders that realign the band and establish a transition mechanism based primarily on negotiations between prospective broadband licensees and existing narrowband incumbent licensees.  The item also establishes rules to prevent broadband applicants from receiving windfalls and includes application requirements and operating and technical rules applicable to the new 900 MHz broadband licenses.

In addition, the item would modify the Association of American Railroads’ existing nationwide ribbon license in the 900 MHz band to facilitate the transition of the band without disruptions to railroads’ operations, and to enable significant railroad safety upgrades.

As part of today’s action, the Commission also announces a partial lifting of the 900 MHz application freeze to permit existing licensees to file applications to relocate their narrowband operations as part of a transition plan.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai writes: "900 MHz users are enthusiastic about the possibilities that reliable broadband will open for them.  Broadband access will enable industries to leverage technologies for applications like private LTE networks—next-generation networks that can enable Voice over LTE, grid resiliency and monitoring, wildfire mitigation, enhanced cybersecurity, and more.  Utilities are eager to use broadband to modernize the electric grid.  Southern California Edison, a utility in a state hard-hit by fires in recent years, predicts that broadband will enable innovative monitoring technologies that will help utilities detect and extinguish fires caused by downed power lines." 

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Keep Americans Connected Pledge extended through June 30

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced an extension of the Keep Americans Connected Pledge through June 30.

The Keep Americans Connected Pledge includes:

  • not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
  • waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
  • open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

“Hundreds of providers have stepped up to the plate to keep Americans connected to communications services in this time of need,” said Chairman Pai. “This includes the largest and some of the smallest providers across the country. I salute them for making broadband available to Americans who increasingly rely on it for work, school, healthcare, and communicating with loved ones. And given our nation’s current situation, I’m urging these companies to extend these important offerings—uninterrupted service, waiving of late fees, and continued availability of Wi-Fi hotspots—until June 30. Companies representing the vast majority of broadband and telephone subscriptions have already agreed to this extension. I thank them for stepping up to the plate once again during this national emergency, and I encourage others to do so as well.”