As pro and con comments streamed into the FCC about potential changes to the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS) band, Federated Wireless urged the commission to act expeditiously and support final certifications for Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrators and Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) operators by no later than June 30, 2018.
Federated Wireless is one of the companies aiming to provide SAS services and has been an active participant in the CBRS ecosystem since the get-go. The FCC initially approved rules for CBRS in 2015 but issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking last year seeking comments about potential changes to the rules.
While a lot of stakeholders are weighing in on the Priority Access License (PAL) changes, Federated said it sees an even greater urgency to ensure the launch of General Authorized Access (GAA) service in 2018.
“The Commission must support, and not stand in the way of, the tremendous momentum that has built for CBRS,” Federated Wireless said in its Dec. 28 filing.
Federated Wireless itself has conducted more than 30 technical trials and has a number of important field trials underway with various CBRS stakeholders, including Charter, Verizon, American Tower and Arris/Ruckus Wireless. Federated Wireless and its partners are also testing CBRS equipment compatibility with eight different OEM vendors.
Through the trials, Federated Wireless said it has more than 200 Citizens Broadband Service Devices on the air and connected to its SAS—and it’s already processing more than 18,000 spectrum grant requests per week.
Federated Wireless said it agrees with the commission in that the ability to partition and disaggregate a PAL will be an effective way to improve spectral efficiency and facilitate targeted network deployments, particularly if the commission adopts a longer license term or larger license area for PALs.
Included in the Spectrum Controller that Federated is making available is a component known as the ESC Network, a nationwide redundant network of sensors that identify and protect the federal agencies already using the 3.5 GHz band to make sure defense and government communications aren’t impacted by commercial users. Most of the sensors are being positioned on rooftops along the nation's coastline with a line of sight to the coast so they can listen for radar.
Google, which is also aiming to provide SAS services, has been a critic of the FCC's proposed changes to the CBRS rules and said in its filing that it’s opposed to radically expanding the geographic size of the license areas, which is something wireless operators are asking for.
Google is also opposed to calls to hide from public view CBRS registration data that do not reveal competitively sensitive information, saying that restricting public access further would not serve any legitimate competitive purpose and would hamper potential GAA users’ efforts to identify locations and frequencies that are most likely to be available and interference-free.