FCC to approve 110GHz of new spectrum for mobile services

The FCC is today holding an open meeting at which it will “consider” – in effect is likely to approve – a Report and Order that proposes opening up a total of 11GHz of spectrum for mobile services.

The proposal is for bands to be made available at the 28 GHz (27.5-28.35 GHz), 37 GHz (37-38.6 GHz), and 39 GHz (38.6-40 GHz) bands, and an unlicensed band at 64-71 GHz.

Here’s how that looks:

  • The proposal for licensed use in the 28 GHz, 37 GHz and 39 GHz bands makes available 3.85 GHz of licensed, flexible use spectrum. It provides 200MHz block sizes, license areas (Partial Economic Areas), technical rules, and operability across the exclusively licensed portion of the 37 GHz band and the 39 GHz band to make 2.4 GHz of spectrum available. There are  two 425 MHz blocks for the 28 GHz band.
  • Unlicensed use in the 64-71 GHz band makes available 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum which, when combined with the existing high-band unlicensed spectrum (57-64 GHz), doubles the amount of high-band unlicensed spectrum to 14 GHz of contiguous unlicensed spectrum (57-71 GHz). That 14 GHz band will be 15 times as much as all unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum in lower bands.
  • Shared access in the 37-37.6 GHz band: Makes available 600 MHz of spectrum for dynamic shared access between different commercial users, and commercial and federal users.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told a House subcommittee hearing held on Tuesday 12 July, “I truly believe the decision we make Thursday could be most important decision this commission makes this year.”

To achieve this there will need to be some footwork in terms of making sure that existing services in and around those frequencies are affected as little as possible. To that end there are proposals to amend rules and allocations for fixed wireless, Government and satellite services. The chief aim here is to have more flexible arrangements in these bands.

There is also a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, leaving open the possibility for new items to be, er, ruled opon.

The Further Notice proposes additional bands for consideration at: 24-25 GHz,
32 GHz, 42 GHz, 48 GHz, 51 GHz, 70 GHz and 80 GHz.

The consideration of these higher bands accords in some way with a consultation currently being held by the FCC’s UK counterpart Ofcom. Ofcom is consulting on a review of fixed wireless spectrum, and is also considering much higher bands even than 80GHz.


You can follow the FCC meeting here from 10.30am ET and of course Inside5G will cover any unexpected or important results.