After the FCC April Open Meeting, I said:
“We appreciate the hard work of the FCC, NTIA and incumbent federal users to develop a novel approach that makes additional spectrum available for commercial use while protecting important federal missions in the 3.5 GHz band. The FCC concedes it is taking an experimental approach with the 3.5 GHz band, which is why we encourage the FCC to take steps to make it as investment-friendly as possible as well as ensure this spectrum plays a meaningful role in improving the speed and capacity for consumers’ mobile services. To facilitate certainty and deployment in this band, the FCC should give carriers confidence that the spectrum needed will be available when it’s needed, including rejecting calls for opportunistic sharing of priority spectrum, dynamic frequency assignments and technology-specific mandates.
“Promising new technologies like LTE-U can play an important role in meeting consumer demand and making efficient use of valuable spectrum resources, and we are pleased the FCC adopted a technology neutral approach to its rules. We are hopeful that when the FCC issues the Public Notice, it focuses on encouraging and promoting new uses of all bands, and efficient technologies, like LTE-U. As supporters of both Wi-Fi and LTE-U, we would be concerned with any steps the FCC would take that would interject a regulatory agency into standards settings process or attempt to influence that process.
“While there is cause for optimism, it’s still too early to tell whether this experiment will advance the important National Broadband Plan goal of providing 300 MHz of mobile broadband by 2015.”
Earlier today, the FCC voted to free up more spectrum for wireless broadband using an experimental sharing framework in the 3.5 GHz band. Reform of the 3.5 GHz band has been a challenging process, and I commend the FCC, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, incumbent federal users and industry for their hard work in developing an approach that makes additional spectrum available for commercial use while protecting important federal missions in the band.
The federal/commercial sharing model offers promise, and success here could become an important tool in helping to solve the spectrum policy puzzle – how to meet consumers’ growing demand for mobile data services. But while the FCC’s Order is a positive step, key decisions must still be made to ensure this spectrum can play a meaningful role in improving the speed and capacity of consumers’ mobile services.
While the 3.5 GHz band represents an opportunity to deploy wireless broadband services, the FCC’s plan is an ambitious trial with novel spectrum sharing policies and technologies. In significant respects, the FCC’s multi-tiered commercial access regime moves far away from a traditional licensing framework: substantially shorter license terms, three-tiered access, no renewal expectancies and substantially smaller license areas. This approach creates significant uncertainty that may jeopardize investment in the band.
In order to make the significant capital investments to incorporate new bands of spectrum in their networks – and to meet the needs of their users – carriers must have assurance that the spectrum will be available when they need it. This investment and certainty is essential to avoiding the fate of other, less successful Commission spectrum experiments. That’s why the FCC should adopt a framework for the 3.5 GHz band that gives mobile broadband providers confidence in their long-term network planning. Specifically, the FCC should:
- Resist calls to impose dynamic, opportunistic sharing in licensed spectrum once licensees register to commence operations;
- Provide licensees static frequency assignments for the duration of their license term to enable network operators to manage their networks for reliable service; and
- Take a technology-neutral approach to this band that fosters innovative new standards, like LTE-U, and avoid rules that pick winners and losers. Ensure that this band is truly an innovation band.
CTIA supports enabling greater use of the 3.5 GHz band for mobile broadband and looks forward to working with the Commission to advance this experimental framework. While we hope this approach is a success, the road map to continued U.S. mobile leadership will continue to rely on cleared, exclusive-use spectrum below 3 GHz. That’s the time-tested and proven approach that has made the U.S. the global leader in wireless. The FCC’s most recent spectrum auction, the record-breaking $40+ billion auction of AWS-3 spectrum, demonstrated once again the ongoing demand for licensed, exclusive-use spectrum. Given the limited amount of potential spectrum bands for mobile broadband, the FCC should reject calls for additional experiments in new sharing techniques until this 3.5 GHz sharing proof of concept is proven successful.
The valuable airwaves in the 3.5 GHz band have the potential to meaningfully facilitate the build out of mobile broadband networks and spur even more competition in the wireless market. But the proof will be in the performance – and the outcome of the critical decisions that await the FCC. While there is cause for optimism, it’s still too early to tell whether this experiment will advance the important National Broadband Plan goal of providing 300 megahertz of mobile broadband by 2015. The wireless industry is ready to do its part, let’s keep a careful eye on the progress as we go.
CTIA Statement in Response to the House Homeland Security Committee Approval of the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act (H.R. 1731)
After the House Homeland Security Committee’s approval of the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act (H.R. 1731), I said:
“CTIA appreciates the Committee’s deliberative process and willingness to consider input from industry. That process undoubtedly strengthened the bill the Committee reported today. We look forward to continuing to work with Chairman McCaul and his colleagues, and with other stakeholders, as the full House takes up cybersecurity legislation. The objective of that effort should be to produce a framework for meaningful collaboration between public and private entities seeking to enhance the protection of U.S. networks and consumer privacy from foreign and domestic actors seeking to harm American businesses and consumers.”
CTIA filed a lawsuit with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today challenging the FCC’s decision to impose sweeping new net neutrality rules and reclassifying mobile broadband as a common carrier utility.
CTIA Chairman of the Board and CEO of Bluegrass Cellular Ron Smith said:
“With today’s filing, CTIA seeks to protect ...
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