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FCC Pitches Shared Spectrum for Small Cells

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today proposed to make available 100 megahertz of shared spectrum in the 3.5 GHz Band (3550-3650 MHz) using small cell and database technologies. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) broadly reflects the innovative thinking of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which issued a report this summer recommending spectrum sharing and small cell use in the 3.5 GHz Band. It also builds upon the FCC’s previous work to free up spectrum by promoting spectrum sharing and enabling innovative licensing techniques.

The proposal lays the groundwork for the widespread deployment of small cell technologies across 100 megahertz of spectrum, and would spur significant innovation in wireless technologies and applications throughout the economy, while protecting incumbent users in the band.

The proposal envisions three tiers of users, each with different levels of rights and protections in the 3.5 GHz Band. The first tier, Incumbent Access, would include authorized federal users and grandfathered fixed satellite service licensees. These incumbents would be afforded protection from all other users in the 3.5 GHz Band. The second tier, Protected Access, would include critical use facilities, such as hospitals, utilities, government facilities, and public safety entities that would be afforded quality-assured access to a portion of the 3.5 GHz Band in certain designated locations. The third tier, General Authorized Access, would include all other users – including the general public – that would have the ability to operate in the 3.5 GHz Band subject to protections for Incumbent Access and Protected Access users. A spectrum access system, incorporating a geo-location enabled dynamic database, would govern access to the 3.5 GHz Band.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

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