Starry, the startup headed by former Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia, is asking the FCC to consider its proposal for potential spectrum sharing in the 37 GHz band, building on the foundation the FCC laid for the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS).
Starry co-founder and CEO Kanojia, as well as Starry CTO Joseph Lipowski, VP of Operations J. David Cann, and SVP of Communications & Government Relations Virginia Lam Abrams met with FCC staff and advisors to Chairman Tom Wheeler on May 3. During the meetings, Starry executives discussed Starry's millimeter wave broadband technology, experiences in the field and Starry's perspectives on potential spectrum sharing for the 37 GHz band.
Starry announced the launch of its technology in January, when it described plans to use millimeter waves as an alternative to fixed wireless broadband. By using OFDM modulation coupled with MIMO as a foundation, along with active phased array RF front ends, Starry's architecture allows it to leverage OFDM radio technology, including MU-MIMO, across multiple spectrum bands. The company plans to launch its first beta in the greater Boston area this summer.
Starry's 37 GHz sharing approach would adapt rules from CBRS, specifically regulations establishing the Spectrum Access System (SAS), Priority Access Licenses (PALs) and geolocation. It would also extend, with real time, a beacon-based prioritized slotted reservation system inspired by 802.11 with control by access points. In addition, it would guarantee some bandwidth to PALs and General Authorized Access (GAA), provide priority to PALs for shared use and permit GAAs to use underutilized spectrum as available.
Structured as such, Starry says its proposal would enable PALs to aggregate 600 MHz - 800 MHz channel bandwidths and leave room for FCC, TDD and 2x TDD.
"Starry believes that in order for new entrants to succeed, it is critical that the Commission create a level of certainty that would enable significant investment in these high frequency bands and create an environment where new entrants and new technologies can thrive," the company said in its ex parte filing.
Not everyone was pleased with how the 3.5 GHz rules turned out when the FCC voted on them at its April open meeting. Commissioner Michael O'Rielly, who dissented in part, said the PALs assignment mechanism is fundamentally flawed and pointed out that numerous wireless providers don't support the short license terms. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who voted for the rules, acknowledged that some parties wished some parts of the 3.5 GHz order were different, but she said unconventional approaches need to be embraced in order to deliver on the promise of unlocking much-needed additional spectrum.
CTIA says it will continue to work with the commission to determine the model's viability and if there are benefits for U.S. consumers, but it doesn't want to see the 3.5 GHz sharing experiment extended to other bands until the successful auction and operation of all three 3.5 GHz tiers.
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