ViaSat says it will continue working with FCC, mobile stakeholders on 28 GHz

ViaSat, which had argued for greater satellite protections prior to the FCC's unanimous passage of the historic Spectrum Frontiers order last week, said it believes the order provides an approach that gives satellite operators the ability to operate and expand alongside terrestrial wireless networks.

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ViaSat-1 rendering (Source: ViaSat)

ViaSat's interpretation of the order – all 278 pages of which was released late Thursday – is significant given the concerns it registered pre-vote about proposals to effectively make new mobile wireless operators the "gatekeepers" over continued satellite use of the 28 GHz band. The satellite company's July 1 presentation to the commission in particular garnered support from other satellite industry players who worried that the Spectrum Frontiers order would be detrimental to the future of the satellite industry.

In a statement provided to FierceWirelessTech, ViaSat said the FCC order recognized the need for additional study of technical sharing issues and that ViaSat will continue working with the commission and other stakeholders to address those concerns.

That falls in line with what FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said when asked during a press conference about the red flags the satellite industry raised ahead of the vote: There were dueling studies back and forth on the issues, which were insufficient to go one way or another. "We are going to continue the efforts to study the issue, and if it's necessary to re-examine it, we will," he said.

When asked by FierceWirelessTech specifically about the 28 GHz band, ViaSat said it expected the FCC to "continue their due diligence to create a competitive framework that allows satellite and terrestrial to coexist and grow. As noted in the 7/14 hearing, clarity is still needed about the specifications of the 5G technology, timeframe and opportunity and we will have to see how that plays out over the coming years."

Separately, "we are confident in satellite's ability today to continue delivering high-quality broadband internet to U.S. households from city centers to the most remote and hardest-to-serve areas and to millions of devices on passenger aircraft," ViaSat said. "In fact, today satellite broadband is available nationwide with download speeds up to 25 Mbps, with even higher speeds to be offered in 2017 with the launch of the ViaSat-2 satellite."

Prior to Thursday's vote, ViaSat had asked the commission to make sure any decision it made would be based on an accurate understanding of the history of the 28 GHz band and settled law, saying the co-primary allocation to satellite at 28 GHz had not changed in 40-plus years.

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