Google files for experimental license to test in 2.5 GHz band in California

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is seeking an experimental license from the FCC to perform tests in the 2.5 GHz band near its California headquarters, supplementing experiments already done in the 3.5 GHz band in Kansas City.

Not much else is revealed in the filing, the public version of which is heavily redacted for confidentiality reasons. Google argues that if the information were to be made public, it would cause significant commercial, economic and competitive harm.

Google says its proposed operations will not cause harmful interference to other users of the 2.5 GHz band. If it receives any complaints about interference, it promises notify -- a redacted entity or entities -- immediately and cease operations on the leased transmission capacity until issues are resolved.

Google's latest filing seeks to conduct the tests on frequencies between 2502 and 2513 MHz in Redwood City and San Bruno, Calif., over the course of 24 months. Google was granted a special temporary authorization (STA) to expand testing in the 3.5 GHz band in Kansas City, Kansas, last September.

While it's unknown what exactly Google is testing, wireless industry consulting engineer Steve Crowley notes that the FCC sent an email to Google requesting more information – specifically, who will be the users of the equipment requested in the application. If Google's response is made public, that might provide more clues.

The technical contact listed on the application is wireless system technologist Tibor Boros, who previously worked at Intel and ArrayComm.

The FCC years ago divided the 2.5 GHz band into two radio services, Educational Broadband Service (EBS) and Broadband Radio Service (BRS). Sprint (NYSE: S) holds the majority of 2.5 GHz BRS spectrum, while Google is seeking an experimental license to use EBS spectrum.

Google has applied for and received many experimental licenses over the past years. Last month, the FCC gave the company the go-ahead to conduct nationwide airborne and terrestrial millimeter wave testing, granting it an experimental license that had sparked informal objections from commenters registering their concerns about health effects and interference.

That grant is effective March 17, 2016, through April 1, 2018, and covers frequencies 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz for testing of both airborne and terrestrial transmitters. The FCC says the grant is conditioned on not causing any harmful interference to other commission-authorized operations and Google must abide by FCC RF safety standards.

For more:
- see these two filings

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