The FCC Votes To Open Usage Of The 3.5GHz Spectrum As Part Of Advanced Spectrum Sharing

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Over the last couple of years the FCC has been laying out rules and working to start using a new frequency band, and just this week the FCC reportedly voted to begin the process for using the 3.5GHz spectrum they call the Innovation band. It has been warded this name because of the fact that it has the potential to be a suitable frequency for potential future uses that are unknown at the moment, meaning there may be new technology that comes about in the future that could use the 3.5GHz spectrum. As for what the FCC plans to use it for now, it'll be adopted into uses for commercial purposes as well as mobile broadband.

The use of the band will be part of an initiative for the FCC's plans of spectrum sharing, a tactic that is reported to potentially assist wireless broadband systems share spectrum with military radars without negatively affecting federal missions. Not all are happy about the prospect of spectrum sharing though, as was voiced during the time of the vote about adopting the 3.5GHz spectrum for these purposes. Some, companies like AT&T included, are skeptical about the use of advanced spectrum sharing technology because they're worried that LTE assisted access might affect WiFi. In light of this AT&T has openly stated they won't deploy or don't plan on deploying LTE assisted access until they know it won't affect WiFi users.

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The FCC details the 3.5GHz spectrum as having three different tiers, each with its own level of access and specific alterations. The first level is described as a general authorized access tier where commercial users getting access to the spectrum at this level would pay nothing to access it. The second tier, which is referred to as a PAL or a Priority Access License, can bid in an auction on short term licenses which can afford them interference free use from those on the GAA level. The last tier which is the highest is meant for incumbent federal and commercial radar, as well as satellite. Spectrum talk may not be the most exciting when it comes to technology, but some believe it will be a huge benefit in the ways of innovation and open up for new investments in mobile broadband, and in the long run give better value to the consumer.