FCC Considering Many Options for Licensing 2155-2175 MHz AWS Band

September 21, 2007
There are many ways new 2155-2175 MHz Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum could be allocated and regulated and, based on the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FCC 07-164) released Wednesday, the FCC is willing to consider most of them.

Unlike other AWS bands, this band consists of 20 MHz of unpaired spectrum. While this could make it difficult for base and mobile transmitters to share the same spectrum, the FCC is willing to consider technology that would allow combined mobile/base use.

The FCC is also considering making the band “downlink only,” allowing only base station transmitters. This would make it easier to avoid interference, both to other users and to adjacent spectrum licensees and would be consistent with the unsymmetrical nature of most Internet use—much more downlink data bandwidth is needed than uplink bandwidth.

Limiting use, however, would limit the potential participants in an auction to companies that have spectrum for the uplink side. The FCC requests comments on which of the many approaches it outlines would work best.

In addition to these operational issues, the FCC is considering the best way to allocate the spectrum. Possibilities include a nationwide license for the entire 20 MHz block of spectrum, multiple smaller blocks of spectrum, and licenses covering only limited geographic areas of different sizes.

It is possible that all or part of this spectrum could end up being used for broadcasting video to portable devices, especially if the FCC adopts a “downlink only” band plan.

Details are in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FCC 07-164). If you don’t want to wade through the 86-page document, a summary is available in the FCC News Release FCC Seeks Comment on Service Rules for the 2155-2175 MHz Advanced Wireless Services Band.

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