WCAI looks to 3.65GHz band for wireless broadband

These days spectrum at all frequencies is highly attractive. We’re talking an air-grab of monumental proportions.

The Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI) has launched an effort for its members to utilize the 3.65GHz band for wireless broadband services. There are a number of regulatory and technical challenges standing in the way of widespread adoption, however.

Initially, the 3.65GHz band was offered up as a way for small, independent, rural operators to have easy access to affordable licensed spectrum, while offering broadband connectivity in underserved areas. Many 3.65GHz operators instead have their sights set on the more lucrative urban and suburban markets, although they face competition from wired and wireless operators.

Last week, the WCAI announced the formation of the 3.65GHz Working Group to develop a synchronization protocol to establish coordination guidelines and fix interference problems among operators in the band. The group will also promote coordination between suppliers and operators, and address regulatory issues.

The WCAI said the 3650MHz-3700MHz (3.65GHz) band represents a cost-effective opportunity for operators in the United States to deliver wireless broadband services. The spectrum is nonexclusive, but does require base station registration and a filing fee for the spectrum by each provider. Since becoming available from the FCC in 2005, more than 1100 operators nationwide have applied for or received a license to operate in these lightly licensed frequencies. The band has not yet reached a critical mass of deployment, so the potential for growth is there.

Since the release of the 3.65GHz band by the FCC in 2007, operators of all sizes have deployed WiMAX and other broadband services.