Associations to FCC: Start the 12 GHz Conversation and Double 5G
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 26, 2020) – Today in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission), trade groups including CCA, CCIA and INCOMPAS joined with consumer and public interest groups New America’s Open Technology Institute and Public Knowledge to ask the FCC to start an important conversation on the opportunities created by expanding the use of spectrum in the 12 GHz Band.
The 12 GHz band, which is utilized by the private sector and does not interfere with governmental use, has tremendous potential to meet growing wireless demand and dramatically increase the nation’s 5G reach, faster. By permitting two-way mobile uses, and higher power limits, the FCC would boost fixed broadband and mobile 5G services through improved speeds and capacity for phones and the Internet of Things applications.
Letter signatories encouraged the FCC to launch a notice of proposed rulemaking that will begin an open conversation. The letter states: “By granting flexibility in this band, the Commission could more than double the nationwide mid-band spectrum available for 5G mobile and fixed broadband deployment and further close the digital divide.”
Arguing that current rules governing the use for 12 GHz spectrum are obsolete and burdensome, the group believes action on spectrum bands that benefits competition and consumers is consistent with the FCC’s mission and goals.
CCA President & CEO Steven K. Berry said, “At a time when consumers and businesses are relying on mobile broadband services more than ever before, the Commission should be looking at every opportunity to free up as much valuable spectrum as possible for commercial wireless use. The 12 GHz spectrum offers a real opportunity for the Commission to realize its goals for expanding mobile broadband and reaching 5G. There is broad support for the FCC to move forward with conversations on the 12 GHz band, which will benefit consumers and the economy and help close the digital divide.”
Computer & Communications Industry Association President Matt Schruers said, “As remote work and education increase demand for high speed Internet, we must find new ways to meet the need for more spectrum. It’s time for the FCC to move the ball forward on considering how to utilize the 12 GHz spectrum for two-way, mobile and fixed 5G wireless broadband services.”
INCOMPAS CEO Chip Pickering said, “We need an all-of-the-above strategy for creating more broadband competition and faster deployment of 5G. It’s time for the FCC to kick start the 12 GHz conversation, get every argument out in the open, so consumers and innovators may learn the benefits and opportunities created by expanding access to two-way spectrum.”
Public Knowledge, Senior Vice President Please Harold Feld added: "This spectrum is far too valuable to lie fallow. On the one hand, the FCC should recognize that the current licensees have diligently used the spectrum under existing rules and deserve the opportunity to expand their development of the spectrum. At the same time, the Commission should consider how these enhanced benefits to the licensees will confer enhanced benefits to the public interest. This is precisely the sort of consideration that requires a rulemaking to fully develop the record. However the Commission ultimately strikes the balance, one thing is certain: The public does not benefit from the status quo. The FCC should move as quickly as possible to begin a new proceeding to expand the use of this spectrum to ensure the benefits of 5G reach all Americans."
Michael Calabrese, director of the Wireless Future Program at New America, stated: “With consumer demand for wireless data doubling every few years, the FCC must continue to promote more intensive use of underutilized spectrum. This band can support both high-capacity fixed and mobile 5G wireless broadband services. Public interest advocates have long supported a rulemaking to consider how changing the rules that restrict use of this incredibly valuable 500 megahertz of spectrum can best serve the public interest. Both current licensees and consumers are likely to benefit if the FCC opens a proceeding to get input on how to put this spectrum to its highest and best use.”