Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has another six months or so – 180 days, to be more exact – to conduct tests at 72-74 and 82-84 GHz in California thanks to a Special Temporary Authorization (STA) granted by the FCC.
Much of Google's application for the extension was redacted due to the confidential treatment that Google requested. Google said the STA extension is needed for continued development of its secret project in a carefully controlled environment. The tests are being conducted mostly in Mountain View, where Google is headquartered. Google's previous STA covered Jan. 6, 2016, to July 6, 2016.
Google said its continued operations in the 70 and 80 GHz bands will be conducted without harmful interference to other authorized users, and it has registered its links with an authorized third-party database manager.
Other than that, not a whole lot can be gleaned from the documents. Google has been conducting mystery tests in several different bands around the country.
Wireless industry consultant Steve Crowley said this particular application and grant doesn't appear to have anything to do with tests in the air, given the mostly fixed designations and antenna heights close to the ground. He's guessing that it's probably something more in the way of radio propagation testing rather than testing of a potential service, and he said it probably doesn't involve automotive radar, which Google has tested before in the 76-77 GHz range.
Other STAs Google obtained appeared to be related to Project Loon. Back in March, the FCC gave Google the go-ahead to conduct nationwide airborne and terrestrial millimeter wave testing. That grant was effective through April 1, 2018, and covered frequencies 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz.
Google has argued in previous FCC filings related to the FCC's Spectrum Frontiers proceeding that the high-frequency bands could be useful for offering broadband access via airborne platforms such as high-altitude balloons or unmanned aerial vehicles where deployment of terrestrial networks is not economical.
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