TR Daily 12 GHz NPRM Advocates Welcome FCC Action
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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

12 GHz NPRM Advocates Welcome FCC Action

Advocates of a notice of proposed rulemaking exploring whether the FCC should permit terrestrial flexible use (including mobile services) in the 12.2-12.7 gigahertz band praised the Commission’s unanimous adoption of the item ahead of today’s FCC meeting (TR Daily, Jan. 12).

"By adopting the 12 GHz NPRM, the FCC has taken an important step forward in evaluating the rules governing the 12 GHz band to better align with today's 5G world," said Jeff Blum, executive vice president-external and legislative affairs for Dish Network Corp. "DISH, along with other 12 GHz license holders, public interest groups and trade associations, supports the review of these antiquated rules, and we thank the Commission for initiating this important process. The 12 GHz band represents 500 megahertz of spectrum that is suited for terrestrial, two-way 5G use cases, while being able to protect DBS operations. We look forward to working with the Commission throughout this process to determine the best use of the band to further close the digital divide and advance our nation’s position in the race to 5G."

V. Noah Campbell, co-founder and chief executive officer of RS Access, which is backed by Dell Technologies, Inc., founder, Chairman, and CEO Michael Dell, said, "We applaud the unanimous and bipartisan support for initiating a 12 GHz Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and look forward to working with each of the commissioners to expand American 5G capabilities. An open FCC rulemaking to consider reform of the band is long overdue and an essential first step to vastly accelerating 5G deployment throughout the United States. This process gives the Commission—and the public—an opportunity to assess the benefits of modernizing outdated legacy restrictions on the 12 GHz band written in 2002. The combination of favorable propagation characteristics and potential for deep channels make 12 GHz frequencies well-suited for next-generation wireless services."

"Expanding the 12 GHz band has the potential to make valuable mid-band spectrum available for applications that can help close the digital divide and deliver broadband in rural and Tribal areas," said Kathleen Burke, policy counsel at Public Knowledge. "First and foremost, we agree that the Commission’s rules need to protect satellite as the primary use of the 12 GHz band. But, we also believe that there are other terrestrial uses of this band that will not harmfully interfere with satellite providers. We need to strike a balance and ensure that our nation’s spectrum is efficiently allocated, and this NPRM does just that. Moreover, we are confident that technical solutions exist to allow unlicensed and opportunistic use of the 12 GHz band without interfering with existing users."

"Our public interest coalition is pleased to see the Commission moving ahead to seek comment on how to make more intensive use of this contiguous 500 megahertz. It’s clear the band is very underutilized and that a greater degree of spectrum sharing is possible, yet there are important satellite services that need to be protected," said Michael Calabrese, director of the Wireless Futures Program at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. "Among the potential uses we will advocate is low-power unlicensed sharing and the potential coordination of opportunistic access to unused spectrum in rural and underserved areas where WISPs and other operators to boost fixed wireless services that narrow the digital divide."

Chip Pickering, CEO of Incompas, said, "We are pleased to see the FCC has united in support for the 12 GHz NPRM, launching an important conversation about expanding broadband competition and unleashing a better 5G future in the United States. The bipartisan, unanimous FCC vote will benefit our nation, encouraging innovators to bring new ideas forward and give consumers more choice as additional providers seek to compete in the 5G arena. We want to thank Chairman Ajit Pai and the entire FCC for their openness and support for a public conversation on 12 GHz. We look forward to working with the FCC on this important endeavor."

Opponents of the rulemaking had no comment today or did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokesperson for AT&T, Inc., said the carrier wants to read the adopted NPRM. USTelecom had no immediate comment. Intelsat S.A. declined to comment, while Space Exploration Holdings LLC (SpaceX), SES S.A., and OneWeb did not respond to requests for comment.

During a call with reporters this afternoon, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stressed that the NPRM adopted by the Commission was "neutral." It has no tentative conclusions.

During another call with reporters, Commissioner Brendan Carr said he suggested edits to ensure that the agency moves "in a balanced way given the various policy considerations, technical considerations." —Paul Kirby, [email protected]

MainStory: FCC FederalNews SpectrumAllocation Satellites WirelessDeployment

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