Three D.C.-based telecom trade groups that count nascent mobile provider Dish Network among their members called on the FCC to start a conversation about the potential to use satellite spectrum within the 12 GHz band to support 5G. Trade groups including the Competitive Carriers Association, the Computer & Communications Industry Association and INCOMPAS joined consumer and public interest groups New America’s Open Technology Institute and Public Knowledge in the effort.
The 12 GHz band is used by the private sector and has “tremendous potential” to meet growing wireless demand and dramatically increase the nation’s 5G reach, faster, according to the groups. By permitting two-way mobile uses, and higher power limits, the FCC would boost fixed broadband and mobile 5G services through improved speeds and capacity for phones and the Internet of Things applications, they claim.
The groups encouraged the FCC to open a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to begin a conversation. “By granting flexibility in this band, the Commission could more than double the nationwide mid-band spectrum available for 5G mobile and fixed broadband deployment and further close the digital divide,” the groups state in a letter.
Arguing that current rules governing the use for 12 GHz spectrum are obsolete and burdensome, the group believes action on spectrum bands that benefits competition and consumers is consistent with the FCC’s mission and goals.
“At a time when consumers and businesses are relying on mobile broadband services more than ever before, the Commission should be looking at every opportunity to free up as much valuable spectrum as possible for commercial wireless use,” said CCA President/CEO Steve Berry. “The 12 GHz spectrum offers a real opportunity for the Commission to realize its goals for expanding mobile broadband and reaching 5G. There is broad support for the FCC to move forward with conversations on the 12 GHz band, which will benefit consumers and the economy and help close the digital divide.”