The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC’s” or “Commission’s”) vote at its open meeting on October 23, 2018 on a Report and Order regarding the 3550-3700 MHz band (“3.5 GHz Band”) was split along party lines. This was hardly surprising given the criticism of the original order in 2015 by the then-Republican minority. As the now-Republican majority approved changes sought by the commercial mobile industry to the Priority Access License (“PAL”) rules, the lone Democratic Commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel dissented. Spectrum in and around the 3.5 GHz range is often touted as a lynchpin for initial 5G deployment internationally. The FCC, in response, seeks to promote greater investment in the band, by 5G proponents in particular by making PALs, which are to be auctioned, more attractive to commercial mobile service providers. The Order hopes to accomplish this by, among other things, increasing the size of PAL license areas from census tracts to counties, and extending license terms from three to ten years with a renewal expectancy. Commissioner Rosenworcel casts the action as a missed opportunity for spectrum policy that promotes innovation by favoring instead the same old, same old.

Continue Reading FCC Adopts 3.5 GHz Band PAL Licensing Changes

At its August 2017 Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) unanimously adopted an Order on Reconsideration and Second Report and Order (“Order”) outlining a process to challenge the FCC’s determinations of which areas will receive financial support in the upcoming second phase of the Mobility Fund.  The Mobility Fund provides financial support to wireless service providers to maintain and extend mobile broadband and voice services in rural and other underserved areas.  As we previously reported, the FCC plans to give out over $4.5 billion in Mobility Fund Phase II financial support over the next ten years to expand 4G LTE coverage across the country.  The Order generally mirrors the discussion draft released last month, except that parties now have more time to submit challenges.  While the FCC plans to provide additional details about the challenge process over the next year, carriers interested in participating in the Mobility Fund Phase II should review the Order carefully and consider their challenge strategies.

Continue Reading August 2017 FCC Meeting Recap: FCC Adopts Challenge Process for Billions in Mobility Fund Phase II Support

Earlier today, October 22, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to explore new regulatory frameworks, including flexible licensing schemes, for mobile and fixed wireless broadband in several frequency bands above 24 GHz.  The NPRM seeks comment on proposed rules that would allow these frequencies to support new technology developments, such as 5G, small cell, and wi-fi applications.

Continue Reading New FCC Rulemaking Explores Flexible Wireless Operations Above 24 GHz

commlaw_monitorThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) is slated to consider adoption of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) exploring increased use of spectrum bands above 24 GHz, including for mobile broadband, at  its next Open Meeting on October 22.  Late last week, Chairman Tom Wheeler blogged that the NPRM, the next step in the Commission’s Spectrum Frontiers proceeding, “proposes a framework for flexible spectrum use rules for bands above 24 GHz.”

Continue Reading FCC Poised to Consider Expanded Use of Spectrum Bands Above 24 GHz