FCC Proposes to Open C-Band to Other Uses, Sharing Should Be Comprehensively AddressedThe following statement may be attributed to Louis Peraertz, VP of Policy for WISPA:
Washington, DC, February 6, 2020 – WISPA is heartened by today’s announcement from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, calling to liberalize the C-band for other commercial providers. It recognizes that the band is grossly underutilized and must see more efficient use, especially in our spectrum-constrained world. We are encouraged by this – that the band is not held as inviolable, locked into use by any single group of occupants.
The Commission noted when it started this NPRM proceeding in 2018 that “fixed wireless services provide an additional opportunity to connect rural communities and to offer competitive wireless alternatives in urban areas” via the C-Band. After extolling the technical benefits of that band, the Commission sought comment on allowing point-to-multipoint fixed wireless services to share the band with satellite earth stations which would remain in the upper portion of the band. This sharing has been proven. Satellite earth stations have coexisted with point-to-point fixed wireless services for decades. It is also a potent way to open the remainder of the band to fixed wireless providers and other competitive innovators. Doing so could virtually overnight bring faster broadband to 80 million Americans, many of whom live in rural areas. That is why the record in this proceeding has more than 250 entities supporting this sharing proposal.
We urge the Commission to comprehensively address fixed wireless service sharing in the upper portion of the C-Band that is not repurposed for commercial mobile licenses. Employing such technology will help boost competitive alternatives, get more out of the band, and close the stubborn rural and other digital divides – all important goals of the FCC and congressional policymakers.
WISPA’s approximately 850 members are composed of fixed Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) and the industry that supports fixed wireless broadband, including equipment suppliers, support services, and other components needed to run a successful business. Our members, and WISPs, in general, provide broadband access to over 6 million residential and business customers, often in exclusively rural areas.