FCC targets MSS spectrum for mobile broadband


FCCThe television band is a prominent target for spectrum repurposing to meet the demand for mobile broadband, and now it has company on the spectrum dartboard. The FCC is seeking 40 MHz from that allocated to the Mobile Satellite Service in the 2 GHz band. All three sitting commissioners backed the plan.

The FCC stated, “This proposal would carry out a recommendation in the National Broadband Plan that the Commission enable the provision of stand-alone terrestrial services in this spectrum. The proposed rules are designed to provide for flexible use of this spectrum, to encourage innovation and investment in mobile broadband, and to provide a stable regulatory environment in which broadband deployment can develop in the 2 GHz band.  The notice directly follows on last year’s 2 GHz Band Co-Allocation Order, in which the Commission laid the predicate for full terrestrial use of this band.”

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski noted that a key part of the proceeding is loosening the use to which the spectrum swathe can be put – at the moment, it is strictly earmarked for satellite use.

Commissioner Robert McDowell applauded the idea. “The Commission has a checkered past of micromanaging spectrum use only to find years later that technical innovation and market demands have evolved past the government’s myopic view. Exploring ways to allow for dynamic uses of valuable frequencies while preventing harmful interference to other licensees and users is a laudable goal. Our notice of proposed rulemaking liberating the 2 GHz Band, rebranded today as ‘AWS-4,’ for possible terrestrial broadband use is a step in the right direction.  I commend Chairman Genachowski for bringing forward this comprehensive, deregulatory and broadly-applicable proposal.”

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn was also supportive, and looked at the proceeding as a possible vehicle for improving diversity among the FCC’s universe of licensees. She said, “I am interested in hearing from the commenters if the small business bidding credits, proposed in the NPRM, are sufficient to facilitate new entities entering the mobile wireless service industry.  I also encourage parties to tell me what service rules for this spectrum could have the greatest beneficial impact on rural service.”