The mmWave Coalition (mmWC) appreciates the FCC’s relatively quick action on queuing up spectrum bands above 95 GHz, but it’s advocating that several issues be addressed in the proceeding, including licensed spectrum for fixed and mobile use, before the FCC gets too far ahead of itself.
At its meeting next week, the commission will consider a First Report and Order that would adopt rules to make 21.2 GHz of spectrum above 95 GHz available for unlicensed operations. It would also create a new class of experimental licenses for the 95 GHz to 3 THz spectrum range.
But while the order recognizes that spectrum bands above 95 GHz are “potentially suitable for licensed use,” it doesn’t adequately address the need for licensed spectrum, according to the coalition, whose members include Nokia, NYU Wireless, Keysight Technologies and others.
“While we welcome the availability of unlicensed spectrum in the Draft R&O, we request that the Commission also address the need for licensed spectrum which were included in the NPRM and addressed in our comments as well as in the comments of others,” the mmWC told the commission (PDF). “In today’s spectrum environments, licensed and unlicensed spectrum and new allocations for them exist side by side and are complementary.”
The immediate need for licensed spectrum is for point-to-point applications for cellular backhaul and fixed communications systems and do not need area licensing as mobile applications do, the coalition said, adding: “However, we also foresee the eventual use of these spectrum bands for mobile use under appropriate service rules for responsible sharing with fixed users.”
In its draft First Report and Order, the FCC noted that the record in this particular proceeding is marked by an enthusiasm for the possibilities that the spectrum above 95 GHz holds for short-range applications but also includes “expressions of caution to ensure that we do not diminish the important scientific research that takes place in these frequencies.
“Taking this record into account, this First Report and Order focuses exclusively on uses that, by their nature, are only permitted to operate on a non-interference basis within the band: experimental operations and unlicensed use,” the draft R&O said. “By providing new experimental licensing opportunities and making spectrum available for unlicensed use, we are taking the appropriate first steps towards developing the bands above 95 GHz. We expect to gain knowledge from real world operation that will inform the Commission’s future consideration of more expansive use, including nonexperimental licensed uses, in these spectrum bands.”
The mmWave Coalition is also advocating for RF safety rules above 100 GHz and for at least one large contiguous block of spectrum of 20 GHz or more, especially for Fixed Service links, to supplement the large use of fiber-optics technology for both mobile backhaul and fixed communications systems.
The First R&O on spectrum above 95 GHz is the first item on the FCC’s March 15 meeting agenda.