CBRS Alliance marks progress on ESC networks for commercial readiness

ESC networks are being deployed along the U.S. coasts to protect the government's use of 3.5 GHz spectrum. (Pixabay)

The CBRS Alliance marked further progress on the road to commercial readiness for the Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS) band, noting the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) confirmed coverage plans by CommScope, Federated Wireless and Google for their respective Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) networks.

In a public notice issued Monday, the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) and Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) announced the approval of the ESC deployment and coverage plans for CommScope, Federated and Google, saying the three companies are authorized to operate their ESC sensors in certain dynamic protection areas (DPAs).

The FCC said the final approval came after close consultation with the National Telecommunications and Information Association and the Department of Defense (DoD), whose participation has been crucial in bringing the unique spectrum sharing model to fruition in the 3.5 GHz band.


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“Today we are one step closer to fully realizing the massive potential of commercial OnGo deployments in the CBRS band,” said Alan Ewing, executive director of the CBRS Alliance, in a statement. “ESC coverage is a key component that will allow for high availability of CBRS spectrum along the country’s coastal regions, where more than 50% of U.S. residents live, while fully protecting important government operations. This process is built on unprecedented collaboration between the FCC, DoD, NTIA, WInnForum, and the more than 135 members of the CBRS Alliance.”

RELATED: Google, CommScope get official OK for CBRS Environmental Sensing Capability system

As the alliance explained, the 3.5 GHz CBRS band is used by the DoD primarily for shipborne radar. To ensure that the DoD has continued access to the band, ESC networks are being deployed along the U.S. coasts, protecting the government’s use of the spectrum. When an ESC sensor detects a protected radar transmission, it informs a Spectrum Access System (SAS), which activates a protection zone and dynamically reassigns users in the area to other parts of the band as needed.

It’s been a long path to commercial service for these three entities. According to the alliance, full commercial CBRS service is now expected to begin in or before September.

RELATED: Federated Wireless completes ESC network for CBRS

“FCC final approval of our redundant ESC network today moves us one step closer to the start of nationwide commercial deployments,” Federated Wireless CEO Iyad Tarazi said in a statement. “Our customers and partners are looking forward to service initiation and to being able to clearly demonstrate the benefits of shared spectrum CBRS services in real-world deployments.”


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