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FCC proposes clearing 40MHz of MSS spectrum for mobile broadband use

The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry March 21, 2012, aimed at freeing up 40MHz of spectrum in the 2GHz band currently assigned to Mobile Satellite Service for mobile broadband use.

The spectrum includes the 2000MHz to 2020MHz band and 2180MHz to 2200MHz bands, which the commission refers to AWS-4 (Advanced Wireless Service-4) in the notice.

The notice proposes to free up spectrum by allowing flexible use of the MSS spectrum and removing regulatory barriers, said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. “The specific barriers we propose to remove are rules that have limited this spectrum to satellite use. This effort is part of the Commission’s broad commitment to allow flexible use of spectrum,” he said.

The National Broadband Plan, first made public two years ago, proposed that the commission remove regulatory barriers to flexible use of this spectrum. This proposal would enable the provision of stand-alone terrestrial services in this spectrum. The notice follows on last year’s 2GHz Band Co-Allocation Order.

In the Notice of Inquiry, the commission seeks comment on potential ways to free up additional spectrum to address the increased demand for mobile broadband spectrum.

“Removing outdated rules to free up spectrum is one of many the commission has been and will continue to use,” said Genachowski.
Of special interest to broadcasters is potential interference with operations above 2025MHz. The AWS-4 uplink band is 5MHz from the 2025MHz to 2110MHz band, which includes broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) and cable television service (CARS) operations, the notice said.

“Although the ATC rules originally limited the mobile emissions to 70+10*log10(P) above 2025MHz, in 2009, the commission waived the Part 25 ATC rule and instead applied the 43+10*log10(P) standard,” it said.

“As the interference potential between these bands has not changed significantly since then, we propose that no additional attenuation beyond 43+10*log10(P) dB is needed to protect operations above 2025MHz,” it said. The FCC is seeking comment on this approach and asks commenters to “quantify the costs and benefits of this proposal and any proposed alternative approaches.”