FCC Adopts Above 24 GHz Fifth Report and Order

On April 15, 2019, the Commission released the Fifth Report and Order (“R&O”) in the Use of Spectrum Bands Above 24 GHz for Mobile Radio Services proceeding, which was adopted in the April Open Meeting (GN Docket No. 14-177). The R&O aims to make millimeter wave (“mmW”) spectrum at or above 24 GHz available for 5G, Internet of Things, and other spectrum-based services by: 1) establishing rules to allow Fixed-Satellite Service (“FSS”) to operate in the 50.4-51.4 GHz band; and 2) establishing a shared operations process in the Upper 37 GHz for the Department of Defense (“DoD”).

The adopted R&O includes two signification additions in relation to Federal Sites in the 37-38.6 GHz band. These inclusions to the adopted item are as follows:

  • NTIA has identified one additional Federal site in the upper 37 GHz band beyond the 14 military sites and three scientific sites identified in the Commission’s rules. NTIA requests a small coordination zone around Edwards Air Force Base to the south of Federal facilities in China Lake, California. It also requests the conversion into a single area of the four overlapping coordination zones currently listed in the Table under the China Lake site.
  • The adopted R&O adds a requirement to include a justification along with requests for military access to the Upper 37 GHz band, and the Commission will then determine, with the DoD and NTIA, whether the request for access can be accommodated without creating a significant risk of harmful interference to planned or current deployments by potentially affecting non-federal licenses. NTIA will provide military departments with any new or revised frequency assignments.
    • This process is limited to specific locations, i.e., military bases and ranges, limits requests solely for the purpose of defense applications or national security, and only in those instances where the DoD can justify that its proposed operations cannot be accommodated in the Lower 37 GHz band.

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