CTIA wants to oversee spectrum sharing in the 3.5 GHz band

CTIA said it wants to be a database administrator for the new Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the 3.5 GHz band, despite the association's concerns about how the FCC's new rules around the band might interfere with licensed operations in nearby bands.

"The Commission has done much work to detail the requirements necessary for the SAS, ESC, and CBRS Devices to coordinate the most efficient uses of designated frequencies. We are committed to working with the FCC and federal agencies to ensure this experiment in spectrum sharing is a success," CTIA said in its filing to become a database administrator. "While many details on how such operations will work remain unclear, the wireless industry stands ready to partner with the Commission to see if this novel type of spectrum sharing is viable and can benefit U.S. consumers."

Specifically, CTIA said it is submitting a proposal to develop and manage an independent Spectrum Access System (SAS) and Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) for the 3.5 GHz band. Such an administrator would essentially keep track of used and unused spectrum, housing the information for operators and others to access as they deploy services in the 3.5 GHz band.

CTIA's interest in becoming an administrator for the band is notable considering the association has long petitioned the FCC for more licensed spectrum that its members, including AT&T and Verizon, can use for their wireless networks.

Moreover, CTIA recently voiced concerns about the rules the FCC issued for the 3.5 GHz band in April. "CTIA and the wireless industry have supported the FCC's efforts to make 3.5 GHz band spectrum available to advance an experimental three-tiered spectrum sharing framework," CTIA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Scott Bergmann said in a statement in reaction to the FCC's new rules. "While some of the FCC's decisions will improve certain technical aspects of the service rules, the FCC failed to put into place appropriate incentives and protections for licensed users and risks undermining the success of its spectrum sharing model."

Added Bergmann: "Given these continued challenges, we do not think it is prudent to expand this sharing experiment to other bands until the successful auction and operation of all three 3.5 GHz tiers."

The FCC's rules for the 3.5 GHz band essentially make 150 MHz available for mobile broadband and other commercial uses. The FCC's decision to adopt new spectrum sharing tools and policies for the 3.5 GHz band comes after the NTIA several years ago identified the band as suitable for shared use between government and commercial interests, provided existing incumbents, including the Department of Defense (DoD) and fixed satellite services, were given protection. The three-tiered access framework for the 3.5 GHz band includes an Incumbent Access tier, Priority Access tier and General Authorized Access tier. The three tiers are to be coordinated through a dynamic Spectrum Access System (SAS).

The concept of a spectrum database administrator isn't new. The FCC implemented a similar setup for TV white space spectrum (TVWS). Spectrum Bridge, iconectiv (formerly Telcordia Technologies), Key Bridge Global and Google have been approved as database administrators for that band.

For more:
- see this CTIA filing

Related articles:
CTIA not thrilled with how 3.5 GHz decision came out
FCC puts final rules in place for spectrum sharing in 3.5 GHz band
Madden: Shared spectrum and wholesale wireless

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