More Spectrum for 5G, More Fiber for Rural America

Reclamation of at least 370 MHz of the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz C-Band spectrum for “5G” uses is what Ross Lieberman, SVP of Government Affairs for ACA Connects, indicates would be made available under their plan submitted to the FCC.  In the above interview, Lieberman describes the ACA Connects proposal (PDF), which was jointly developed by the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), and Charter Communications, Inc. (Charter).

An important element of what the FCC terms the ACA Connects Coalition proposal is that existing video would be moved from satellites to existing or new fiber optic facilities.  This would have the added bonus of bringing mid-mile fiber to rural communities that are otherwise thinly connected to the Internet. By freeing up the downlink bandwidth, the uplink bandwidth would also be available, which is a goal of an October FCC NPRM for the 5.925-7.125 GHz (6 GHz) band (see this link for a related article).

Lieberman also touts the added benefit of FCC run auction for the freed-up spectrum would bring up to $29B in revenue to the U.S. Treasury.

The FCC is asking for comments to the ACA Connects Coalition plan, as well as plans from AT&T and Google/Microsoft/WISPA, by August 7th, with reply comments by August 14th.

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One response to “More Spectrum for 5G, More Fiber for Rural America”

  1. Ken Pyle Avatar
    Ken Pyle

    Instead of an auction, extending the CBRS licensing mechanism, that is already being used for frequencies just below this band or creating a dynamic spectrum management approach, such as what is being considered in the 6 GHz band ( should be considered by the FCC as a way of allocating spectrum.

    The advantage to this approach is that the licensing becomes much more granular and available on an as needed basis, so it will go to where it is needed and will less likely to be banked (e.g. Dish’s spectrum holdings). The downside to such an approach is that it might not drive as much revenue to the Treasury as quickly (assuming that there was revenue associated on a per license basis).

    And this might be an opportunity to look for ways to generate revenue in other ways, such as a one-time license fee tacked onto to, say, a MAC address. In some ways, this would be similar to the fee that the British put on televisions (see this article

    For example, a one percent fee on the estimated $200B in smartphone & other consumer electronic sales would yield $2B annual revenue. Maybe there would be an additional fee on CBRS base station equipment, as well.

    The biggest flaws to this approach would be political (e.g. the CES industry would argue against a new “tax”) and it wouldn’t provide enough upfront money to clear the spectrum. Still, now is the time to consider an approach that wouldn’t have been practically possible in the days before the Internet.

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