CBRS Alliance gears up for initial commercial deployments

A chart of the three-tier shared-spectrum scheme for the 3.5 GHz band. The FCC announced that it will begin accepting initial commercial deployment proposals in the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Services band. (CBRS Alliance)

The FCC announced on July 27 that it will begin accepting initial commercial deployment proposals in the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS) band. In the public notice, the FCC has outlined the parameters and guidance for initial deployments, which it will be accepting until Sept. 10, 2018.

The announcement was lauded by the CBRS Alliance as the culmination of over two years of collaboration and cooperation across a number of organizations, including NTIA, Wireless Innovation Forum, ITS, and FCC and Department of Defense government groups.

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With commercial deployments on the horizon, CBRS Alliance President Dave Wright said the organization is bolstering its OnGo CBRS certification program and growing its authorized test labs. Last month, the organization announced it had approved eight test labs for LTE-based solutions in the CBRS band. A number of devices have already been submitted for certification, and a handful are now awaiting FCC approval.

“Looking forward, the Alliance will ensure that we are fully prepared to make the best use of the ICD opportunity to prove out the various systems, interfaces, and programs that will make full commercial service a reality as quickly as possible,” Wright said in an Aug. 8 blog post on the organization’s website. That includes making sure the requisite supporting programs, such as the Certified Professional Installer program, will be ready for the initial commercial deployments. Wright added that the Alliance will focus on commercialization during its next board meeting in October.  

The FCC has conditionally approved a group of Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrators, including Google, Sony, Amdocs, CommScope, Federated Wireless and Key Bridge. But the FCC is still reviewing the final rules for the tiered priority scheme, amid a lack of consensus between diverse stakeholders that want access to the spectrum for things such as private LTE networks, fixed wireless broadband services and future 5G services.

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Last month, Boingo launched a private LTE network on the 3.5 GHz band at Dallas Love Field Airport, with the help of Federated Wireless as the SAS, and Ruckus Wireless providing the devices. And Altice is currently testing equipment for the CBRS band for complementary capacity to its MVNO plans.

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