News - July 7, 2021

INCOMPAS, CCIA Urge FCC to Follow the Record, Technical Analysis Revealing Significant Economic, Public Interest Benefits of Maximizing 12 GHz Spectrum Band for 5G

In joint reply comments filed with the Commission, INCOMPAS and CCIA highlight strong data demonstrating that opening up the 500 MHz of critical mid-band spectrum would not undermine use of the 12 GHz band

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 7, 2021 – INCOMPAS and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) today filed joint public reply comments urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to follow the robust record supporting expanding the 12 GHz spectrum band for new or expanded terrestrial mobile use. As the data clearly shows, the Commission’s action to open up this key mid-band spectrum would accelerate mobile market competition, bolster the economy, and strengthen America’s 5G edge. Importantly, the evidence reveals that this action would in no way undermine the utilization of the 12 GHz spectrum band for satellite services and would protect incumbents from interference.

“The record before the Commission not only provides assurances that the 12 GHz band can be expanded for 5G without causing interference to incumbents, but it also illustrates the imperative need to take this action for the benefit of our nation and consumers,” INCOMPAS CEO Chip Pickering said. “By bringing these outdated rules in line with today’s realities, the FCC can achieve the win-win we need now and put this critical spectrum to its best and highest use. We can and we must do better than the status quo. We urge the Commission to follow the facts and substantial technical analyses in the record and act without delay.”

As noted in the joint comments, a recent engineering study submitted by RS Access and an updated study on Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) by DISH were the only technical analyses entered into the record during the comment period. Together these studies show that the FCC can expand the use of the 12 GHz band while promoting coexistence among the three services allocated to the band on a co-primary basis – DBS, Fixed Satellite Service limited to non-geostationary orbit systems (“NGSO FSS”) and Multi-Channel Video and Data Distribution Services MVDDS. As the most prominent user of the band, DISH’s support for modernizing these rules clearly demonstrates that any concerns of interference with DBS services are not valid. Users can rest assured that their services will not be impacted by this much-needed action to open up the 12 GHz band.

“The FCC should act swiftly to update its rules, which would benefit American consumers and businesses across the country, as evidenced by the record,” CCIA President Matt Schruers said. “By taking this action – which has broad support across industry, trade associations, public interest groups, communications providers and MVDDS licensees – the Commission can boost access, affordability and choice for families at every corner of the nation. We must seize this important opportunity to maximize this underutilized band, allowing us to meet increasing demand for 5G and strengthening the U.S. economy at a time when we need it most.”

While some have called for the FCC to clear the band of incumbents and auction new rights, this action is not substantiated by the facts, law, or policy. Further, auctioning these rights would lead to unnecessary and extensive delays to bringing 5G to market, at a time when America currently ranks 13th in terms of available spectrum and must be doing everything it can to solidify its global leadership over China. The FCC should consider the public interest, national security, and economic benefits at stake, reject any calls for an auction in this band, and act swiftly to unleash the power of 12 GHz for 5G.

INCOMPAS and CCIA filed the joint reply comments publicly in the open FCC dockets: WT Docket No. 20-443, Expanding Flexible Use of the 12.2-12.7 GHz Band, and GN Docket No. 17-183, Expanding Flexible Use in Mid-Band Spectrum Between 3.7-4.2 GHz.