A funny thing happened on the way to opening up 500 MHz for fixed and mobile wireless broadband. Reality reared its head, revealing just how challenging it can be to free up spectrum that is already being used for other purposes and hand it over to the wireless industry.
Winners in the upcoming AWS-3 auction may find themselves confronting years of spectrum-coordination challenges as they work to finesse their way through incumbent relocation and frequency-sharing issues, according to Chris Hardy, general manager of CommScope subsidiary Comsearch.
The FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) are jointly soliciting comments regarding plans to set up a public-private partnership aimed at creating an urban test city where dynamic spectrum sharing could be demonstrated and evaluated.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he will soon introduce legislation to reallocate up to 200 MHz of spectrum held by the government for commercial wireless use, establish a new spectrum auctions starting in 2018, and make it easier for federal agencies to relinquish their airwaves.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) pledged in a blog post to continue engaging federal and industry stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition of the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz AWS-3 bands. The agency also said it will also work with these stakeholders and the FCC to develop "sharing options to accommodate new and innovative broadband applications and devices in the 3.5 GHz and 5 GHz bands."
The First Responders Network Authority (FirstNet) announced the hiring of its first CTO. Named to the position is Ali Afrashteh, who has been working as a consultant but previously held executive positions with Clearwire, Sprint, Nextel Communications and PCS PrimeCo.
Oceus Networks has told the FCC that a bi-directional sharing framework providing military access to the paired 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz bands could fulfill training requirements on remote bases and ranges with limited impact to auction revenues.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation aimed at incentivizing federal agencies to relinquish their spectrum holdings or share with other agencies in a bill modeled after the FCC's planned broadcast TV spectrum incentive auctions.
The Department of Defense and the broadcasting industry struck a deal that will clear the way for the FCC to auction the 1755-1780 MHz band as part of the AWS-3 auction, a move long sought by the CTIA and wireless carriers clamoring for more airwaves.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is pushing the CTIA to amend its policies so that carriers would be more proactive in allowing consumers to unlock their phones. Wheeler said the CTIA and the wireless industry should act by year-end or expect the FCC to issue regulations on the issue.