DoD RFI asks about possibility of owning and operating its own domestic 5G networks
In a newly published Request for Information, the Department of Defense is asking for insights on how it could operate its own domestic 5G networks and use Dynamic Spectrum Sharing across its spectrum holdings to both achieve its own goals and accelerate U.S. 5G deployments.
The RFI asks for “innovative solutions and alternative approaches to enable DSS within the Department’s currently allocated spectrum with the goal of accelerating spectrum sharing decisions and 5G deployment, and the “intent is to ensure the greatest effective and efficient use of the Department of Defense’s spectrum for training, readiness, and lethality.” The DoD wants “information regarding all methods and approaches, and feasibility, to best develop and deploy DSS across a broad range of capabilities and for future understanding of how spectrum may be utilized in both 5G and innovative technologies.”
The RFI also seeks information on the “best methods for sharing spectrum with both military and civilian users.”
Some of the questions that DoD is asking in the RFI include:
-How could DoD own and operate 5G networks for its domestic operations? What are the potential issues with DoD owning and operating independent networks for its 5G operations?
– While the Department has made available the 3.45-3.55 GHz spectrum band for 5G, are there new technologies or innovative methods as to how additional mid-band spectrum currently allocated to DoD can be made available for 5G faster?
– What are other innovative ideas as to how 5G can share spectrum with high-powered airborne, ground-based and ship-based radar operations at 3.1-3.55 GHz?
– Are there other spectrum bands that can be made available to share quickly in the low- and high-band spectrum ranges?
– What types of technologies exist, or are anticipated, that will allow civilian users to share spectrum faster?
– Are there potential national security concerns or issues with DoD sharing with commercial 5G?
– How would DSS work with existing commercial spectrum bands?
– Could multiple DSS technical solutions coexist and under what conditions?
The agency also noted that typically, when federal spectrum has been allocated, federal operations have been required to either relocate to other bands or more recently, to share the spectrum (as in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service). DoD also wants to know if it should consider spectrum leasing as an alternative to reallocation, how that could be implemented and what revenue-sharing might look like under such an arrangement.
New approaches to spectrum sharing were a focus of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s three-year Spectrum Collaboration Challenge, which culminated in a final event at Mobile World Congress Los Angeles last October. Related research has continued at one of several 5G testbeds across the United States, with DoD investing $2.7 million to focus on exploring more granular spectrum-sharing strategies within the CBRS band. The agency is already dabbling in the use of commercial 5G networks, with a number of 5G test sites around the country; Verizon announced in July that it would be providing 5G service at the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California, which will serve as a “living lab” for military and defense use of 5G, including autonomous transport.
The deadline for white papers in response to the DoD’s new RFI is October 19.
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