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Spectrum

Companies Clash Over Spectrum Sharing in 12 GHz Spectrum Band

Satellite service provider Dish, which is open to 12 GHz for mobile, recently signed a network sharing deal with AT&T.

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July 19, 2021—While some experts believe that the 12 GHz spectrum band is a natural space for 5G to expand into, others remain unconvinced that doing so would not interrupt incumbent usage.

Broadband Breakfast convened a panel of experts on July 14 as part of its Broadband Breakfast Live Online event on “Spectrum for 5G, LEOs and the Future of the 12 GigaHertz (GHz) Band.”

Though the 12 GHz band has been used up to this point for low-earth orbit satellite networks, there has recently been debate over converting some of the band for terrestrial mobile use—a move that has frustrated some incumbents who assert that terrestrial mobile use would interfere with satellite services.

Eric Graham, the director of government and regulatory engagement for satellite provider OneWeb, described the effort to expand usage of the 12 GHz band as uncertain at best, arguing that new mobile devices operating in the band would create harmful and unpredictable interference.

“We use a very low level of power in the [non-geostationary-satellite orbit, fixed-satellite service] world,” Graham explained. “By the time the satellite signal reaches Earth from 1,200 kilometers away, that signal is very weak, and a terrestrial mobile device—your smartphone or other device—will wipe out that signal to the user terminal.”

According to Graham, there was a consensus at the conclusion of the reply comment round on this issue at the FCC. “Everyone had agreed that it was impossible for terrestrial mobile to coexist with the incumbents.” He stated that it has only been within the last year that proponents of expanding access to the band “found a way to create a study that purports to support coexistence.”

The argument for flexible use

Not everyone was convinced of Graham’s position, however. Co-founder and CEO of RS Access Noah Campbell argued that coexistence is not only possible but is vital to 5G deployment in the U.S. RS Access penned the first technical feasibility study that they argue proves that the 12 GHz band could host both mobile terrestrial devices and satellite services.

Cambell pointed out that the 12 GHz band is unique because it represents a significant swath of spectrum (500 MHz), despite only being licensed for one way service.

“In the context of 2021’s technology landscape that is absolutely insane,” he said. “[The FCC] would never license a frequency that way ever again. So, these are antiquated rules that really do not make sense from a technology standpoint, and do not make sense from a usage standpoint.”

Jeffrey Blum shared Cambell’s assessment of the 12 GHz. As the executive vice president for external and legislative affairs for Dish Network, Blum indicated Dish’s willingness to work with incumbents in the band.

“We do not want to fight, we want to share,” he said. Dish itself is a 12 GHz incumbent and has been operating satellites in the band since 1995 for over eight-million subscribers.

“We would not want to do anything at all to jeopardize our eight-million subscribers. We are confident that [[non-geostationary-satellite orbit, direct broadcast satellite], and mobile terrestrial uses can coexist.”

In fact, on the day of the live event, Dish announced a 10-year, $5-billion network sharing deal with AT&T to bolster its fledgling 5G network, according to a regulatory filing.

The deal would see AT&T provide support for Dish’s Boost Mobile by providing it with voice and messaging services. To do this, AT&T would be able to use bands of spectrum to which Dish holds licenses—both for their own use and Boost Mobile’s.

If the rules are successfully changed by the FCC, this would include the 12 GHz band.

Dish was able to obtain mobile wireless assets as part of a regulatory deal to approve the T-Mobile-Sprint merger that was completed last year.

In June, Dish announced a deal with Dell Technologies to launch the 5G network based on open radio access network and cloud technologies. Dish began accepting sign-ups for its 5G network that month.

Blum also struck back against the press’s title of the “Battle of the Billionaires.” He stated that DISH does not view the situation that way, and that this effort should only be viewed as a method to update outdated rules.

He pointed to all the technological advancements that have been made since the rules were originally established and, coupled with the need for the U.S. to lead 5G deployment, “the importance of 5G and 5G leadership to our country is essential,” Blum said.

The FCC still must make a decision regarding the 12 GHz band. Though Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has historically been supportive of spectrum sharing initiatives, she has not yet publicly indicated whether she would support such an initiative in the 12 GHz band.

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the July 14, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “Spectrum for 5G, Low-Earth Orbit Satellites and Sharing the 12 GigaHertz (GHz) Band”

The 12 GigaHertz (GHz) band of radio frequency spectrum has emerged as a flashpoint in the debate over 5G services versus satellite technologies. Proponents of spectrum sharing believe now is the time to open up the 12 GHz band for more intensive broadband uses. But some satellite services are very much opposed. And the Federal Communications Commission is currently considering the arguments. Come to the July 14 session of Broadband Breakfast for a roundtable discussion on the future of the 12 GHz band.

See “Satellite Operators and Broadband Entrants Vie for Primacy as FCC Debates the 12 GigaHertz Band

Panelists:

  • Eric Graham, Director of Government and Regulatory Engagement for North America, OneWeb
  • V. Noah Campbell, Co-founder and CEO, RS Access, LLC
  • Jeffrey Blum, Executive Vice President, External and Legislative Affairs, DISH
  • Other panelists have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher of Broadband Breakfast

Eric Graham joined OneWeb in 2019 and is the Director of Government and Regulatory Engagement for North America, with a focus primarily on the United States and Canada. Prior to joining OneWeb, Eric spent 12 years in the terrestrial telecommunications industry (wireless and fiber) as Senior Vice President for Strategic Relations with C Spire. He has appeared as a witness before several committees of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives, participated in numerous Federal Communications Commission panels and working groups, and has been a delegate at meetings of various international standard setting groups around the world.

V. Noah Campbell founded RS Access in 2018 to acquire spectrum in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band in the United States and to operate wireless networks serving a wide variety of constituents throughout our markets, which comprise approximately 15% of the US population. RS Access’ service is designed to ensure that customers can affordably acquire MVDDS point-to-multipoint connections to augment existing network architectures. Campbell, a wireless industry entrepreneur, also founded Radio Spectrum Group, LLC and MSD Capital, L.P.

Jeff Blum serves as DISH’s Executive Vice President, External & Legislative Affairs, overseeing public policy, regulatory and government affairs in Washington, D.C. He has been with DISH since 2005. Before coming to DISH, Jeff was a partner at the Los Angeles firm of Davis Wright Tremaine, where his practice focused on copyright, First Amendment and anti-piracy litigation. He currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association (SBCA) as well as serving on the boards of INCOMPAS, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG).

Drew Clark, Editor and Publisher of Broadband Breakfast, also serves as Of Counsel to The CommLaw Group. He has helped fiber-based and fixed wireless providers negotiate telecom leases and fiber IRUs, litigate to operate in the public right of way, and argue regulatory classifications before federal and state authorities. In addition to representing public and private providers on broadband issues, Drew is actively involved in issues surrounding interconnected Voice-over-Internet-Protocol service, spectrum licenses, robocalling including STIR/SHAKEN, and the provision of video franchises and “over-the-top” copyrighted content.

Panelist resources:

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

Reporter Ben Kahn is a graduate of University of Baltimore and the National Journalism Center. His work has appeared in Broadband Breakfast, Washington Jewish Week, and The Center Square, among other publications. He primarily covers Big Tech and spectrum policy.

Spectrum

It Will Take Multiple Strategies to Provide Enough Spectrum for Nascent Technologies, Expert Says

Rysavy argued that it would take an “all of the above” approach to meet the coming need for spectrum.

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Photo of Peter Rysavy (left) from January 2018 by the Internet Education Foundation used with permission

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2022 – Spectrum sharing can provide unique opportunities for needed bandwidth, but it is not an end-all-be-all solution, and the U.S. cannot afford to turn down any strategies freeing up more spectrum, a spectrum expert said Wednesday during a Georgetown University event.

Spectrum sharing often refers to dynamic spectrum sharing, a process whereby an operator uses a radio band that is already being used by an incumbent operator. The incumbent may not use the band all the time, and thus the incumbent can allow the secondary operator to use the band when the incumbent does not need it.

During an event hosted by the university’s Center for Business and Public Policy, Rysavy Research CEO Peter Rysavy said that while this process can have useful applications, its utility is not limitless.

Rysavy explained that spectrum sharing solutions have only been developed to address specific scenarios for specific systems. “We do not today have any spectrum sharing solution that is general purpose – that can be applied to arbitrary systems,” he said.

This specialized and complex nature makes spectrum sharing solutions makes them not only more expensive, but also take longer to deploy.

Rysavy advocated for what he referred to as an “all of the above approach,” whereby spectrum sharing, licensed, and unlicensed spectrum strategies are utilized to address the U.S.’s growing need for broadband as 5G services continue to expand.

He referred to several killer applications for 5G, such as home broadband, augmented reality, and the metaverse that will be completely dependent on 5G infrastructure.

“We are really reaching the limits of physics as far as how efficient the technology is,” Rysavy said. “There are other things you can do on the edges, but there is only so far you can go with technology.”

Rysavy explained that growing physical infrastructure – such as increasing the number of small cell signal boosters – is not sufficient in resolving the need for bandwidth. “Ultimately, you do have to keep adding more spectrum into the equation – there is just no other way around it.”

Though Rysavy noted that wireless cannot compete with fiber in terms of bandwidth, he stated that it should not be viewed as a “wireless versus fiber” situation.

“The way to look at it is that we are extending fiber through the environment and close to the endpoint all the time,” he said. “The question then is just ‘how do we connect that last 100 yards?’”

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Spectrum

Rosenworcel Proposes Funding Infrastructure and 911 Transition with Spectrum Auction Money

The FCC’s chairwoman spoke on the future of spectrum during a Tuesday CTIA event on 5G’s climate impacts.

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Photo of FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel by T.J. York

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2022 – Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on Tuesday proposed using funds raised in upcoming spectrum auctions held by the commission to fund infrastructure projects and the transition to a next-generation 911 system.

The proposal came as part of a list of potential future areas of focus on spectrum from the commission during Rosenworcel’s session at wireless trade association CTIA’s 2022 5G Summit focusing on 5G’s impacts on climate.

Rosenworcel has stated in the past that she would like spectrum auction proceeds to go towards updating the national 911 system.

Proposed upgrades include allowing 911 callers to send first responders photos, videos and text messages rather than just calls. A bill also exists in Congress to upgrade 911, the Next-Generation 911 Act, authorizing federal grants to go towards the upgrades.

In March the FCC announced that in July it would auction 2.5 GHz band licenses for 5G services.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., also speaking at Tuesday’s event, added to the calls for upgrades to the national 911 system.

Rosenworcel also spoke about the possibility of legislation targeting mid-band spectrum and development of next-gen wireless networks, work on updates to the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act that governs allocation of spectrum to the commercial sector, as well as a greater focus on receiver performance and procurement practices rather than just examining transmitters.

She emphasized that the commission is always actively working on spectrum policy through the Affordable Connectivity Program, the freeing up of spectrum with a particular focus on mid band, advocating for a national spectrum plan, and broadband data collection via the provisions of the Broadband DATA Act. She stated that the commission is actively involved with National Telecommunications and Information Administration head Alan Davidson on freeing up spectrum.

Additional speakers at Tuesday’s event included director of the White House’s National Economic Council Brian Deese, who noted that in the coming weeks and months there will be many more announcements on broadband funding from the administration on money to come from new and existing sources, and Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky.

Guthrie voiced frustration with government agencies not designated authority on spectrum over the role they took in public debates on spectrum policy, largely related to the Federal Aviation Administration’s influence over cellular providers to make concessions on their rollout of 5G over safety concerns earlier this year.

“And we must always continue to address inter-agency coordination issues,” said Guthrie.

He stated the necessity of these agencies communicating concerns to the NTIA and FCC rather than directly involving themselves in policy discussions.

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Spectrum

In a Move to Aid Spectrum Efficiency, FCC Begins Inquiry on Receiver Interference Standards

The FCC makes advancements towards more efficient spectrum use throughout the country.

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Photo of Public Knowledge Policy Counsel Kathleen Burke from the advocacy group

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2022 — The Federal Communication Commission on Thursday voted to press forward on a proceeding designed to make spectrum transmissions in the United States much more efficient.

“By enabling more efficient use will facilitate the introduction of new and innovative wireless services that will benefit the American public,” said Paul Murray, associate chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology at the FCC, who introduced an inquiry titled, “Promoting Efficient Use of Spectrum through Improved Receiver Interference Immunity Performance.”

Receiver interference immunity performance refers to the ability of a radiofrequency receiver (as opposed to a transmitter) to reject interference. Typically, the agency focuses its rules on the transmitter side of radio systems.

But, the FCC said, “receivers and receiver interference immunity performance play an increasingly critical role in enabling more efficient spectrum use,” age agency noted in its fact sheet circulated prior to the meeting.

In it, the FCC highlighted how, increasingly, “the receiver interference immunity performance associated with incumbent services operating in spectral proximity to new users or services has been a major consideration.”

For example, the ability of incumbent service receivers to reject signals outside their intended band has been relevant to the timing and scope of the introduction of new services, such as the Ligado and the 3.7 GigaHertz (GHz) band proceedings, the agency noted. There, the FCC adopted operating conditions and rules to enable the introduction of new operations into frequency bands with various incumbent users operating under different service allocations in the same band, adjacent band, or other spectrally proximate frequency bands.

“If our telecommunications system is going to meet the modern needs of our nation, every aspect needs to operate efficiently,” said Kathleen Burke, policy counsel at Public Knowledge. She endorsed the agency’s beginning the proceeding.

Emergency alerts strengthened

During the meeting the commission also approved for the public to comment on proposals that will strengthen wireless emergency alerts. “This pandemic has made crystal clear how important it is to have good data in an emergency.   Accurate information is essential if we want to know what we need to do next.  That is also true with Wireless Emergency Alerts.  If we want to know where to go with this system next, we need to better understand it. That is why today we seek comments on how we can develop better data about the effectiveness of Wireless Emergency Alerts,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

Rosenworcel also that Chief of Staff Travis Litman will be leaving the office and will be replaced by Narda Jones.

“We also welcome the uncommonly talented Narda Jones to the agency. She’s my new chief of staff,” Rosenworcel said. She comes to us from the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House.”

The FCC’s next Open Commission Meeting will be held on May 19.

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