At Freedom Technologies, Inc., we constantly monitor the world of telecommunications and technology and keep our finger on the pulse of Government and Industry. We track key federal agency dockets, attend industry panel discussions and congressional hearings, and offer analysis on developments as they happen in real time.
Major Policy Initiatives
Since the widespread success of spectrum technologies, more and more stakeholders have entered the field. Spectrum is a finite resource, and the best spectrum is “mid-band” spectrum. This has led Congress, the FCC, and the Executive branch to call for commercialization of mid-band spectrum.
The 3.5 GHz (3550 MHz – 3700 MHz) band, also called Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), was largely underused save for key federal equities and was thus targeted for commercialization. Rules were adopted enabling a three-tiered licensing structure, to be managed by specially designated regional Spectrum Access Systems. In some ares, the band is monitored by an Environmental Sensing Capability, listening for incumbent users. The technological challenge of the 3.5 GHz band could surface next-generation spectrum management and sharing techniques.
FCC Dockets: GN 15-319 (3.5 GHz SAS and ESC Applications, created 12/16/15), GN 17-258 (Promoting Investment in the 3550-3700 MHz Band, created 9/29/17).
Executive Actions: Presidential Memorandum on Developing a Sustainable Spectrum Strategy for America’s Future (Oct. 25, 2018). National Spectrum Strategy (Forthcoming).
A significant part of the 5G movement is access to spectrum. This requires the FCC to regularly consider changing licensing rules and working with federal spectrum users to free up spectrum. “Mid-Band” spectrum is highly desirable, but, there are many equities currently using those bands. Recent spectrum developments include investigating how to utilize never before commercialized spectrum bands, above 24 GHz, some of which were auctioned earlier this year, or possibly even above 95 GHz. Unlicensed spectrum is a uniquely valuable asset, and the FCC is currently considering expanding unlicensed uses into 6 GHz.
FCC Dockets: GN 14-177 (Spectrum Bands above 24 GHz, created 10/14/14), GN 17-183 (Docket Established for Mid-Band Spectrum Exploration NOI, created 7/12/17), ET 18-295 (Unlicensed Use of the 6 GHz Band, created 10/1/18), ET 18-21 (Use of Spectrum Bands Above 95 GHz For Innovative Radio Services, created 1/31/18).
Legislation: RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018 (as included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018).
The FCC manages the nation’s satellite communications. Space is growing crowded, as more and more satellites are being launched into orbit. With falling launch prices, advanced satellite technology, and an Executive branch pushing for more space commerce governance, commercial space is rising in stock. The FCC has been tasked with revamping satellite regulations toward greater commercial activity in space, such as novel issues like federal to non-federal satellite communications, and reclassification of satellites based on size and ability.
FCC Dockets: EB 13-115 (Amendment of Part 2 of the Commission’s Rules for Federal Earth Stations Communicating with Non-Federal Fixed Satellite Service Space Stations, created 5/6/13), IB 18-86 (In the Matter of Streamlining Licensing Procedures for Small Satellites, created 3/23/18), IB 16-408 (Update to Parts 2 and 25 Concerning Non-geostationary, Fixed-Satellite Service Systems and Related Matters, created 12/15/16).