Telecom Alert–October 29, 2018: 3.5 CBRS Rules; 6 GHz Band NPRM; White House Spectrum Memo; 800 MHz, PLMR Spectrum Rules; 911 NPRM in Federal Register; Datacasting Success in Simulated School Shooting; FCC Denies Colorado Request for Clarification
FCC Finalizes 3.5 GHz CBRS Band Rules
On October 23, the FCC adopted a Report and Order in the 3.5 GHz band Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) proceeding. The action makes several targeted modifications to rules governing the CBRS band, including extending license terms to 10 years, adding renewability, and increasing the size of Priority Access License (PAL) areas from census tracts to counties. In her dissenting statement, Commissioner Rosenworcel calls the Order a “messy compromise” that favors existing business models over rural opportunities, and notes interest in the original CBRS band proposals attracted entities other than carriers, including critical infrastructure.
FCC Proposes Unlicensed Use of 6 GHz Band
On October 23, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to find ways to make up to 1200 MHz of spectrum available for use by unlicensed devices in the 6 GHz band (5.925-7.125 GHz) without interfering with existing licensed uses of the band. The NPRM proposes unlicensed use by devices with automated frequency coordination systems. The FCC notes that unlicensed use in the 6 GHz band may also complement new licensed 5G services by allowing providers to offer a full range of services to consumers. Comments and Reply Comments will be due 60 and 90 days after Federal Register publication, respectively.
White House Issues Spectrum Policy Memo
President Trump released a Presidential Memorandum last week on “Developing a Sustainable Spectrum Strategy for America’s Future.” The memo focuses on creating flexible, predictable access to meet today’s growing spectrum demand, and the importance of expanding the country’s leading advancement of 5G technologies. In addition to advancing the National Security Strategy of 2017, the memo establishes reporting procedures for federal agencies and a Spectrum Policy Taskforce to work with the NTIA in implementing these policies. Within 270 days, the Secretary of Commerce, working through NTIA, must submit recommendations to the President.
Updated Rules for 800 MHz and PLMR Spectrum
Last week, the FCC adopted a Report and Order and Order to update its policies regarding the 800 MHz band and other private land mobile radio (PLMR) spectrum. The action allocates the 800 MHz interstitial channels for licensing, provides other new UHF spectrum capacity, eliminates unnecessary restrictions on PLMR users, and expands Conditional Temporary Authority to the 800 MHz band.
911 NPRM Published in Federal Register
The FCC’s NPRM regarding 911 calls was published in the Federal Register last week. The NPRM seeks to implement Kari’s law and a provision of RAY BAUM’s Act regarding “dispatchable location”. The NPRM also seeks to consolidate the Commission’s 911 rules into a single rule part. Publication in the Federal Register sets the comment cycle, with Comments and Reply Comments due on December 10, 2018 and January 9, 2019, respectively.
Datacasting Successfully Neutralizes Simulated School Shooting
In Monroe, Indiana, US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), in collaboration with the Integrated Public Safety Commission and local public safety entities, sponsored an exercise to demonstrate the power of datacasting to identify and neutralize threats. The partnership of federal and state entities simulated a school shooting at Adams Central Community Schools. Datacasting, which employs public television infrastructure and spectrum, was used to share live video, school blueprints, and other information regarding the simulated school shooting with first responders and public safety officials. America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), the national organization representing more than 300 stations and a KH Client, has been a strategic partner with the Department of Homeland Security for the past two years in promoting the benefits of datacasting.
FCC Denies Colorado Petition for Clarification
In July, the Colorado Public Safety Broadband Governing Body (CPSBGB) filed Comments in the Commission’s docket regarding Procedures for Commission Review of State Opt-Out Requests seeking clarification on interoperability requirements between FirstNet and wireless carriers. Last week, the Commission adopted an Order dismissing the Request for Clarification without prejudice. The reasoning for dismissing the request is that addressing interoperability issues is an ongoing process and this process may address CPSBGB’s request for clarification, making the Request for Clarification premature.