FCC proposes new spectrum opportunities for feds alongside massive increase


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A proposed Federal Communications Commission plan would make it more efficient for federal agencies to share spectrum with the private sector, according to an FCC factsheet released Thursday.

If passed, the ruling would open up 10.85 gigahertz of high-band spectrum, providing organizations more access to high-speed and efficient wireless networks. The 11 GHz spectrum band has about 4 times as much spectrum as is currently available for commercial wireless networks, an FCC official said.

The proposed changes are part of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s Spectrum Frontier proceeding, which he announced June 20 and showed to his staff later that week. The FCC will vote on the proposal July 14.

“I am confident we will adopt rules that will enable satellite, terrestrial, and federal operations to co-exist and thrive,” Wheeler said Monday in a speech at the National Press Club.

[Read more: Wheeler: The future of spectrum lies in high band]

The FCC would also provide a sub-band from 37 to 37.6 GHz dedicated for the federal and non-federal entities to share spectrum equally. This would “ensure that federal operations are protected and can grow,” the factsheet said.

In this specific band, federal agencies will not be removed. The band would also provide “dynamic spectrum,” which allows agencies to easily access networks from different locations, FCC officials said. For example, the Department of Defense would be able to access its spectrum band from outside its own military base.

Meanwhile, the National Telecommunications and Information Association is working to meet a presidential referendum to open up 500 GHz of spectrum by 2020. According to a 2016 progress report, NTIA has opened 245 MHz of spectrum so far. 

Contact the reporter on this story via email: Jeremy.Snow@FedScoop.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeremyM_Snow. Sign up for the Daily Scoop — all the federal IT news you need in your inbox every morning — here: fdscp.com/sign-me-on.

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emerging technology, Government IT News, mobile and wireless, mobility, oversight, Regulations & Oversight, Tech, Wireless Networks
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