On October 2, 2020, the Commission released the Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“R&O” and “FNPRM”) in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band proceeding (WT Docket No. 19-348). This item was adopted at the September Open Meeting.
The adopted R&O incorporates the following relevant changes from the circulated draft version:
- The Commission directs the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“Bureau”) and the Office of Engineering and Technology (“OET”) to continue to work with federal partners to examine ways to allow commercial wireless service to share use of the remainder of the 3.1-3.55 GHz band, and specifically to make 100 megahertz of spectrum available between 3.35 GHz and 3.45 GHz for commercial use at the same power levels proposed for the 3.45-3.55 GHz band throughout the contiguous United States (¶ 19).
- The Commission recognizes aerospace and defense licensees’ concerns related to their ability to conduct experimental testing in band. The Commission clarifies that it expects future users to negotiate in good faith with applicants for experimental authorizations and that OET will continue to mediate disputes between parties. The Commission also adds that it seeks comment on this particular process (¶ 21).
The adopted FNPRM incorporates the following relevant changes from the circulated draft version:
- The Commission seeks comment on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) report which identified the 3.45-3.55 GHz band as feasible for sharing with commercial services. The Commission also seeks comment on whether commercial wireless operations are feasible below 3.45 GHz and, whether it is possible to reallocate the 100 megahertz of spectrum between 3.35 GHz and 3.45 GHz for commercial wireless service at the same power levels that proposed for the 3.45-3.55 GHz band throughout the contiguous United States. The Commission asks whether clearing this spectrum for exclusive commercial use is feasible, what the timeline for such clearing would be, and whether limited sharing through geographic coordination zones could expedite making this spectrum available for commercial use (¶ 44).
- The Commission seeks comment on whether to implement a process for sharing of sensitive and classified information between federal and commercial operators, and whether this process could be based on the procedures used in the AWS-3 proceeding (¶ 46).
- The Commission seeks comment on whether relocating Department of Defense (“DoD”) operations out of the 3.45-3.55 GHz band will impact commercial access to other spectrum bands (¶ 52).
- The Commission seeks comment on whether asymmetrical EIRP limits between 3.45-3.55 GHz and CBRS operations could result in interference to PALs or General Authorized Access users in the lower 50 megahertz of the CBRS band, or otherwise impact Environmental Sensing Capability Sensors in the CBRS band (¶ 73).
- The Commission proposes additional requirements beyond the upper and lower band edges so that base stations meet the same two-step limits consistent with the OOBE limits specified for the CBRS (¶ 78).
- The Commission proposes that if a licensee fails to meet the first performance benchmark, the licensee’s second benchmark and license term would be reduced by two years. If a licensee fails to meet the second performance benchmark, its authorization for each license area in which it fails to meet the performance requirement shall terminate automatically without Commission action (¶ 104).
Comments on the FNPRM are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
Reply comments are due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register (please note, this is a change from the 60 day deadline listed in the draft FNPRM).
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