FCC Plans 3.45-3.55 GHz Auction for October

FCC seal
(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON—The FCC is prepping for another spectrum auction to help with the development of 5G, this time for the 3.45-3.55 GHz band. FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has shared a draft Order with her colleagues and plans for a vote at the March Open Commission meeting.

If adopted, the 100 MHz making up the 3.45-3.55 GHz band would be put up for auction for the express purpose of continuing to support 5G development across the U.S. In addition, Rosenworcel shared a proposed Public Notice seeking comments on procedures for the auction, which would have a tentative start date of early October.

The 3.45-3.55 GHz band is predominantly used for federal government radiolocation. However, sports and entertainment events have used portions of it as other areas of the spectrum have become crowded or unusable.

The proposed new rules allocate the 3.45-3.55 GHz band for flexible-use service. It would establish a framework for coordination of non-federal and federal use and establish a band plan,  as well as technical, licensing and competitive bidding rules for the band. It would also complete the relocation of non-federal radioloaction operators to the 2.9-3.0 GHz band and the sunset of amateur use in the 3.3-3.5 GHz band.

Last year’s Consolidated Appropriations Act featured a provision—Beat CHINA for 5G Act of 2020—that required the FCC to commence competitive bidding of licenses in the 3.45 GHz band by the end of 2021. This order would meet that requirement.

“We need to deliver the 5G that the American people were promised,” said Rosenworcel. “That means a 5G that is fast, secure, resilient, and—most importantly—available across the country.  This important auction is a crucial step toward making that a reality.  I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this proposal.”

The public draft of the proposed order, as well as the agenda and other drafts for the March 17 Open Commission Meeting, will be available on the FCC website as of Feb. 23.