Google, Federated, CommScope get OK for ESCs in CBRS band

Navy ship
ESCs may only be used in conjunction with a fully certified Spectrum Access System. (Pixabay)

The Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) community can tick off one more achievement for the books. The FCC has given its seal of approval to the Environmental Sensing Capabilities (ESCs) of Google, Federated Wireless and CommScope for use in the 3550-3650 MHz portion of the 3.5 GHz band.

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) and Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) made the announcement on Monday.

ESCs may only be used in conjunction with a fully certified Spectrum Access System (SAS) and within the geographic areas covered by their approved ESC sensor registrations, so it’s not quite time to pop the champagne. But once those approvals are in place, ESCs may be used to detect the presence of federal incumbent radar transmissions in the 3550-3650 MHz portion of the 3.5 GHz band within their approved geographic areas, according to the FCC.

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Google and CommScope are each providing their own separate SAS administration services but last year announced they were combining resources to jointly operate an ESC network for the CBRS 3.5 GHz band.

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

“SASs have been in lab testing for a few months and should be wrapped up in a few weeks,” said Mark Gibson, director of Comsearch Business Development at CommScope, in a statement provided to FierceWirelessTech. “Once SASs have completed testing, we’ll receive reports from the test lab, which will immediately be sent to the FCC and [Department of Defense] for review. After the test reports are reviewed, the FCC will issue another Public Notice that opens the Initial Commercial Deployment window.”

Federated Wireless has been busy the past several years establishing itself in the SAS/ESC business. In the FCC's 2015 Report and Order for the CBRS band, it was established that the FCC’s WTB/OET would work in close consultation with the Department of Defense and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to oversee the review, certification and approval of multiple ESCs.

“We are thrilled to meet this major milestone in advance of offering Initial Commercial Services (ICD) this summer,” said Federated Wireless CTO Kurt Schaubach in a statement. “The ICD period will serve as the final field verification phase of SAS Certification, followed by full commercial service expected in the fall.”

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