Google is seeking permission from the FCC to conduct experiments in the 3.5 GHz band in up to 24 U.S. areas, including San Francisco, Boulder, Colorado and Provo, Utah.
First reported by Business Insider, the application said (PDF) the end user devices (EUDs) operating under the requested authorization will be used by Google’s employees, contractors and, possibly, under close supervision, by “trusted testers” selected by Google on a volunteer basis and without payment. No commercial operations are going to be conducted under the proposal.
Business Insider noted that Google Fiber's original plan involved running high-bandwidth fiber-optic cable directly to each home that its network would serve, but that process has so far proved to be expensive and slow-moving. Since it announced the acquisition of point-to-point wireless internet company Webpass, the Google Fiber team has started turning more of its attention to using a new approach pairing existing fiber with its own wireless technology.
A Google spokesperson said the company is working to test the viability of a wireless network that relies on newly available spectrum, but did not provide further details. “The project is in early stages today, but we hope this technology can one day help deliver more abundant internet access to consumers,” the spokesperson said in a statement provided to FierceWirelessTech.
Google also wants to conduct narrowband propagation testing in the 3550-3575 MHz range and noted that extensive propagation testing has been conducted in the band under its existing experimental authorization in the densely populated areas of Arlington, Virginia, and Mountain View, California, with no reports of interference. Google said it chose the 3550-3575 MHz portion as it is removed by at least 75 MHz from the nearest adjacent-band allocation.
By way of background, Google noted in its heavily redacted public version of the application that it has been a leader in using databases to free up available spectrum, and it is one of the companies working to develop a sharing system in the 3.5 GHz band.
Earlier this year, the FCC finalized the regulatory structure for the 3550-3700 GHz (3.5 GHz) band, which it calls the Citizens Broadband Radio Service band. The rule will make 150 megahertz of spectrum available for a variety of uses.
Parties were invited to file proposals to become certified Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrators and Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) operators. Eight parties responded, including Google, Federated Wireless, CTIA, Comsearch, Amdocs, Keybridge, Sony and iPosi.
SAS is a key component of sharing in the 3.5 GHz band, using database technology to protect federal government users of spectrum. Google said the instant experimental authorization that it seeks is required to advance technologies in the 3.5 GHz band. Specifically, the authorization will allow Google to continue its experimentation with propagation and in other undisclosed areas.
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