FCC Reveals Possible Uses for Reallocated 2 GHz Spectrum

I’ve previously reported on CTIA's proposal to reallocate 15 MHz of the 2 GHz Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) band to wireless broadband. In this week's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Order on Reconsideration (FCC 13-102) regarding service rules and licensing for the 1.7 GHz and 2 GHz bands, the FCC proposes allocating new spectrum for AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) that it has termed AWS-3. The AWS-3 proposal encompasses spectrum in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 2020-2025 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands. The 2020-2025 MHz band, which is adjacent to the 2 GHz broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) band, is being proposed for mobile/uplink use.

The use of 2020-2025 MHz should not pose a problem for broadcast ENG users. The NPRM notes, “in the AWS-4 proceeding, the Engineers for the Integrity of Broadcast Auxiliary Services Spectrum (“EIBASS”) stated that it did not object to a 43 +10 log10 (P) dB OOBE [out of band emission] attenuation factor above 2025 MHz from low power, mobile type devices.” The FCC proposes to use that factor for AWS-3.

A bit more troubling is the section “Other Bands, including 2025-2110 MHz and 5150-5250 MHz.” It states, “Throughout this notice, we seek comment on potential changes to Federal and non- Federal uses in several different bands. For instance, in section III.C.2 above, we seek comment on CTIA’s proposal for commercial use of the 2095-2110 MHz band. NTIA notes that the Department of Defense has identified the 2025-2110 MHz band as the preferred option to relocate most of its operations...”

The document continues: “More recently, NTIA transmitted a proposal from DoD that would require increased federal access to the 2025-2110 MHz band, but not the 5150-5250 MHz band. We therefore seek comment on any changes to the Table of Frequency Allocations that would be necessary to effectuate these and any other band reconfiguration concepts identified in this notice or proposed alternatives.”

DoD already has some operations in the 2 GHz BAS band that have raised concerns about interference, and it looks as if we'll likely be seeing more potential for DoD interference and possible restrictions on use of the band near certain military installations.

Under the CTIA proposal, broadcasters would completely lose the top 15 MHz of the 2 GHz BAS band. It would be ironic if the sharing of the band with the military ends up preserving the top 15 MHz of the band for BAS.

Doug Lung

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.