WISPA Urges Commission to Adopt 3.45-3.55 GHz Rules Akin to CBRS Model

Washington, DC, November 20, 2020 – WISPA filed comments today urging the Commission to adopt rules that foster the development of the 3.45-3.55 GHz band for commercial use.  Chief among these proposals would be the creation of an open auction process and technical rules more akin to the CBRS model, which we believe will ultimately yield greater uptake of fixed wireless broadband, especially in rural and underserved areas.
WISPA wholeheartedly endorses the Commission’s general proposals in the FNPRM to open the 3.45-3.55 GHz band to flexible use wireless services.  In the association’s view, a core component of realizing these efforts should be licensing and technical rules which more closely align with those in the adjacent 3.55-3.70 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (“CBRS”), rather than those in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band as proposed in the FNPRM.
“Although WISPA is pleased that the Commission is taking steps to make an additional 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum available for commercial use, we have concerns that certain proposals will concentrate licenses in the hands of a few large companies at the exclusion of smaller providers seeking access to mid-band spectrum to bridge the digital divide,” noted Louis Peraertz, VP of Policy for WISPA.
“Smaller license blocks and license areas, along with spectrum access rules such as those used in CBRS, which permit ‘license by rule’ GAA-like use and opportunistic use where areas are unserved by a licensee, will promote more efficient and intensive employment of this spectrum,” added Peraertz.  “Applying the CBRS licensing and technical rules to the 3.45-3.55 GHz band also would create a contiguous swath of 250 megahertz of mid-band spectrum under a single, uniform regulatory regime which will promote spectrum access for large and small companies, trigger greater investment and stimulate technology and equipment innovation.  As we saw with the tremendous success of the CBRS rules and auction, this type of spectrum management can be more adaptable to changing technology and market conditions, better bringing hard to reach and serve areas of America online.” 
A copy of the filing can be obtained here.
WISPA’s 1000 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 millions of residential and business customers, often in exclusively rural areas.

Mike Wendy