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FCC Seeks Input on 2 GHz Broadband

In April, 2011, the FCC added co-primary Fixed and Mobile allocations to the 2 GHz mobile satellite service (MSS) bands at 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2220 MHz. In Public Notice DA 11-929 the FCC's Spectrum Task Force invited "technical input on approaches to encourage the growth of terrestrial broadband services in the 2 GHz spectrum range that is allocated for fixed and mobile use."

The notice said the Commission is looking for information on creating "a cohesive approach" for maximizing the mobile broadband potential in this area of the spectrum.

"Specifically, we encourage focus on bands co-allocated for Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) at 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz ('2 GHz MSS band' or 'S Band'), as well as bands, or portions of bands, designated for Advanced Wireless Service (AWS), including: AWS-2 upper 'H' block spectrum at 1995-2000 MHz; AWS-2 paired 'J' block spectrum at 2020-2025 MHz and 2175-2180 MHz; and AWS-3 spectrum at 2155-2175 MHz."

Terrestrial wireless broadband operation in the AWS-2 paired "J" block spectrum at 2020-2025 MHz could have an impact on ENG receive sites operating in the 2 GHz broadcast auxiliary services (BAS) band. If high power base stations are allowed to operate in this band, the interference potential is high, but could be mitigated by locating base stations away from BAS receive sites. If the band is used for lower power portable devices, the impact on BAS would be reduced, although there could still be interference problems if receive sites are located in an area accessible to the general public using 2 GHz devices.

In order to receive protection from interference, BAS TV pickup receive site locations must be included in the BAS license.

The FCC suggested two approaches for reallocating the spectrum from MSS for terrestrial broadband. One would be a voluntary incentive auction. The other would be voluntary return of MSS spectrum rights in exchange for receiving Part 27 terrestrial rights in the remaining 2 GHz MSS spectrum.

The FCC offered three potential terrestrial spectrum concepts for the 2 GHz band:

  • •Provide 40 MHz by reallocating spectrum at 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz;
  • •Expand the bands to 2000-2025 MHz and 2175-2200 MHz by taking some of the AWS-2 "J" block spectrum for a total of 50 MHz;
  • •Provide 60 MHz by extending into the AWS-2 "H" block and AWS-3 spectrum. The two bands would be 1995-2025MHz and 2170-2200 MHz.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.