FCC Expected to Approve 13 GHz NOI Largely as Circulated
A draft notice of inquiry exploring the future of 13 GHz spectrum is expected to be approved Thursday largely as circulated by Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel (see 2210060062). Only CTIA filed comments in 22-352, the docket created for the proceeding. FCC officials said outreach to the commission and discussion of the item among the offices have been minimal, which they said is typical for an NOI.
Industry probably doesn’t see much need to weigh in on a draft NOI, said Jonathan Cannon, R Street fellow-technology and innovation and a former acting adviser to Commissioner Nathan Simington. “Once the NOI is out there may be more engagement, and meetings about ensuring best use of the spectrum,” Cannon said: “The FCC seems to be taking their time, and making sure they make the right decision with these bands. I don't think there's any reason for a pause at this early stage.”
“The 12.7 GHz proceeding is still in an early stage and seems to have come up out of nowhere” and it makes sense for the FCC to “ask broad, preliminary questions with an NOI at this point,” emailed Joe Kane, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation director-broadband and spectrum policy. “They seem to be teeing up a lot of potential options, including a full suite of sharing ideas which will have to be squared with our existing technical capabilities,” he said.
“It does signal that the FCC thinks this band could be used more productively and increasing the flexibility of bands is always welcome,” Kane said: “It will be interesting to see whether the level of interest, both from incumbents and potential entrants, is as heated as in the lower 12 GHz proceeding or if perhaps 12.7 GHz is an alternative if the lower band does not result in all that terrestrial petitioners hope for. Or perhaps they're gearing up to make ultra wide-channels all the way from 12.2-13.2 GHz. There's a lot of ways it could go at this point.”
“More spectrum is better than less,” said Recon Analytics’ Roger Entner. “Here the commission can demonstrate how it is working on getting more spectrum in the hands of commercial providers,” he said.
“We can expect increased public discussion ... in due course,” emailed Seth Cooper, Free State Foundation director-policy studies. “The commission's proceeding hopefully will yield useful information, particularly if the agency requires incumbent users in the … band to submit information about current uses of their spectrum allocations,” he said: “The commission seems to recognize that information awareness is a vital first step for any future commercial mobile wireless use of the spectrum and for responsibly addressing incumbents' operations.”
In the only substantial filing in the proceeding, CTIA last week encouraged the FCC to examine the potential for high power, exclusive use licensing (see 2210200049). But CTIA also noted the band is widely used, including by the TV Broadband Auxiliary Service (BAS) and Cable Antenna Relay Service (CARS). “According to Commission records, there are a total of 1936 terrestrial service call signs, 453 mobile TV pickup stations, 27 call signs for Fixed Satellite Service space stations and 43 call signs for FSS earth stations operating in the 13 GHz band,” the group said.
“The Commission should be commended for exploring whether incumbent services could potentially be accommodated in different media or spectrum bands without any loss of functionality,” CTIA said: “For example, LiveU has several LTE and 5G-based products that could be utilized by broadcasters (both BAS and CARS licensees) for their existing 13 GHz mobile TV pickup communications.”
The NOI emphasis is on sharing models. “We seek detailed proposals for innovative and effective approaches to promote coexistence or sharing between potential new entrants and existing users,” the draft says: “What methods of sharing could suit the ecosystem of the band and best minimize the potential for harmful interference between existing and potential licensees? We invite comment whether there are new technological advancements, including recent or anticipated equipment features or other alternative technologies, that could facilitate mobile broadband or other expanded use and minimize the potential for harmful interference with incumbent operations?”