Facebook: US should make spectrum above 95 GHz available

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Image: Facebook

Acknowledging its mission to make the world more connected, Facebook told the FCC that it should make more spectrum bands available – including above 95 GHz – and encourage spectrum sharing in more bands, including the 37 GHz band, as well as through broader use-or-share-it performance requirements in millimeter wave bands.

As part of the Spectrum Frontiers rulemaking it passed in July, the FCC asked for additional comment on several matters, including the authorization of fixed and mobile use in millimeter wave bands. It also sought comment specifically on use of bands above 95 GHz. Many of those comments started posting in recent days as the deadline was Sept. 30.

Connecting unserved and underserved areas of the United States and the world requires a variety of technical solutions, Facebook noted. In dense, urban areas, wireless terrestrial systems can support end users and backhaul links. In less dense areas, where broadband infrastructure must be deployed over large areas, the optimal solution might be using high altitude solar-powered unmanned aircraft to provide backhaul-type links to terrestrial aggregation points. In remote, sparsely populated areas, satellite services might be the best way to connect.

But the commission’s current radio service rules end at 95 GHz, and the only commercial authorizations available are through Part 5 experimental licenses, inhibiting market entry for innovative technology and applications above 95 GHz, Facebook said. The academic community is starting to explore systems above 95 GHz to meet the demand for data while maintaining or decreasing direct current power consumption. By identifying spectrum bands and proceeding to create service rules for such higher bands, the commission "can open doors to real innovation, just as it did with the 60 GHz band years ago."

As for more sharing of spectrum, Facebook noted the sharing that’s occurring or due to occur in the TV White Spaces and 3.5 GHz band. Besides maximizing spectrum use across a variety of users, the use of sharing technologies could help balance the needs of mobile network operators seeking to invest in wide-area network infrastructure as well as the needs of other platforms, “all while keeping these bands open to the innovation that is yet to come,” Facebook said. Moreover, as the commission has noted, millimeter wave bands can facilitate extensive frequency reuse in the same geographic area, making these bands particularly suited to sharing technologies.

Specifically, Facebook said it supports the commission’s proposal to use sharing technologies to facilitate co-equal sharing in the lower segment of the 37 GHz band between federal and non-federal fixed and mobile users, and it supports the use of sharing technologies that would coordinate tiers of users in the 37 GHz band. It also supports the commission’s proposal to bring shared access into the upper part of the 37 GHz band through a use-it-or-share-it performance requirement.

In contrast, CTIA has argued that implementing a use-it-or-share-it requirement in millimeter wave spectrum is unnecessary. The way CTIA sees it, the commission has already made a substantial amount of millimeter wave spectrum available for experimentation with sharing techniques.

“Put simply, the Commission should refrain from adopting an unproven sharing-intensive framework in the millimeter wave bands,” CTIA said. “Instead, the Commission should allow its proven and successful exclusive use licensing framework to facilitate the development and deployment of 5G.”

For more:
- see this Facebook filing (PDF)
- see this CTIA filing (PDF)

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