At its meeting in Denver last week, the CBRS Alliance elected CTIA to its board of directors—and while that kind of thing might sound ho-hum in some circles, it’s notable given the alliance represents a diverse set of interests that haven’t always seen eye to eye.
CTIA will be represented on the board by Vice President for Spectrum Planning Paul Anuszkiewicz, who brings 30 years of technology planning, network engineering and operational experience to the CBRS Alliance. Anuszkiewicz’s election took place during the organization’s all-members meeting in Denver on April 19. He also serves as a member of the Wireless Innovation Forum (WinnForum), which worked diligently on creating technical specifications related to 3.5 GHz CBRS in the U.S.
There has been talk that the FCC may revisit the rules for 3.5 GHz and wireless operators had argued that they’d like to see larger geographic areas for the to-be-licensed areas and longer terms for the licenses. But in an interview with FierceWirelessTech, Anuszkiewicz didn’t linger on those concerns.
CTIA came into the FCC’s proceeding a couple years ago and talked about what its members wanted to see in reply comments and throughout the proceeding. “Our membership is quite diverse,” Anuszkiewicz said, with carrier members and supplier members, and much of that same kind of diversity is reflected in the CBRS Alliance. “I wouldn’t care to speculate where we are at in that process” and what FCC Chairman Ajit Pai might be contemplating.
However, when it comes to the CBRS Alliance and what that represents, “I’m super excited” to work with the people on the board who are energized about making the 3.5 GHz ecosystem a success, Anuszkiewicz said. “I’ve been working on this over two years now, and I’m beginning to see it become real.”
The other exciting aspect is there’s 150 megahertz that the FCC is making available to be used commercially, he noted, and everybody in the ecosystem can play in this band; they just have to decide what part of the band they want to play in and what makes sense for their business.
The CBRS Alliance is now up to 47 members and a lot of the carrier members for the past year were unable to talk with one another due to the quiet period around the 600 MHz auction; that quiet period ends Thursday.
Given the new administration, the FCC is busy with a lot of things, but some groups are urging the commission to expedite the framework around the CBRS auction procedures for Priority Access Licenses (PALs) and certify the Spectrum Access System (SAS) and Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) networks as soon as possible to get things rolling for the CBRS band.
CBRS Alliance members have been doing a lot of work behind the scenes over the last year in order to get the ecosystem ready for when all the other pieces fall into place. Alphabet's Access Technologies, Federated Wireless, Nokia, Qualcomm, Intel and Ruckus Wireless are the founding sponsor members of the alliance; Ericsson later joined also as a sponsor member.
All eyes now are on keeping the momentum and proving to the market that things are coming to fruition, especially in terms of getting devices—like base stations and access points—certified in 2017, according to CBRS Alliance President Michael Peeters, who serves as VP Head of Innovation Portfolio Management at Nokia but spoke to FierceWirelessTech as a representative of the alliance.
“Our plan, and we still are very not just being optimistic but realistic that we can get this in 2017, is to have a full certified device program” by the end of the third quarter, Peeters said, which means the first devices could be coming in the fourth quarter, and if not fully commercialized, at least certified by the end of 2017.
The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the Office of Engineering and Technology established a deadline for a second wave of proposals from prospective SAS administrators and ESC operators and those applications are due by May 31.