Questions Grow Along With Demand for 12 GHz

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Multiple organizations have an interest in the 12 GHz band of spectrum and its availability for future wireless applications as pressure mounts for the FCC to revisit its use.

As DISH finalizes multiple deals with partnerships to help it expand and optimize its 5G network and the acquisition of Boost Mobile, it is also a voice asking for change on the way the FCC has handled the 12 GHz band of spectrum. Joining them in that endeavor is SpaceX, who also would like to see the spectrum band become available but for its wireless operations in the future along with various other organizations including Federated Wireless and WeLink Communications.

Organizations are applying pressure on the FCC to open a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), a public notice focusing on analyzing and answering the questions organizations are presenting to the FCC in the hopes of reaching a different decision about the handling of the 12 GHz band within the United States. The outcry stems from the notion that many organizations believe the FCC should be handling things differently in 2020 rather than following the rules for direct broadcast satellite service (DBS) that were enacted in 2003. DISH has been a voice for change since 2016 when it petitioned the FCC to allow DBS spectrum to be shared with 5G. The timing is important as DISH is required to cover 70% of the United States by 2023 as part of its government-regulated deal to become the fourth major wireless carrier in the country by purchasing Boost Mobile. DISH owns licenses to cover 75% of the country with 12 GHz band as it stands.

But RS Access, the company that owns licenses to cover 15% of the country with 12 GHz band, is skeptical of SpaceX’s intentions and believes that “The Commission can and must first resolve whether it seeks to allocate the 12 GHz band for 5G in support of the Chairman’s stated priority before it proceeds with SpaceX’s proposed license modification,” according to V. Noah Campbell, the founder of RS Access. SpaceX is arguing that the 12 GHz band is essential to their operations and other satellite companies with hundreds of satellites using the band to launch and hundreds more with plans to do so within the upcoming months.

While both companies may be competing for the usage of the same spectrum, what is for certain, is that members of the 5G community and satellite community will be watching what the outcome will be. Parties will be looking for a way to coexist but protect their interests and with 500 MHz at stake and years continuing to pass since it was last reviewed, revisiting the issue may not be a matter of “if” but rather “when”.

Source: Fierce Wireless