The FCC is poised to reject a proposal it has been considering for several years that would have made spectrum between 12.2-12.7 GHz available for mobile use. But the commission is also taking steps to make spectrum in the adjacent 12.7-13.25 GHz band available for mobile or other new uses.

The commission plans to vote later this month on an order confirming the rejection of the mobile use proposal for the lower portion of the band and on two notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) detailing plans the FCC is considering for the lower and upper portions of the band – plans that could offer opportunities for fixed and mobile providers.

According to drafts of the notices that were made public late last week, the commission plans to invite comment on whether to allow two-way fixed wireless communications in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band. In addition, the commission is considering making spectrum in the 12.7-13.25 GHz band available on a licensed basis to mobile network operators.

The 12.2-12.7 GHz Band

The proposal that the FCC is getting set to reject would have allowed two-way mobile operations in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band. Currently the spectrum is restricted to one-way communications and is used by satellite providers, including Dish.

Dish, headed by billionaire Charlie Ergen, and some other license holders asked the FCC to allow two-way communications to support terrestrial mobile service, arguing that the spectrum could be shared with satellite operators without interfering with satellite operations. Dish had hoped to use the spectrum to support its mobile service plans.  But some satellite operators, including SpaceX, headed by billionaire Elon Musk, argued that the two types of services could not co-exist in the band.

The FCC apparently is getting set to rule in favor of SpaceX. As a fact sheet accompanying the draft order explains, the order finds that authorizing two-way mobile operations would impose a significant risk of harmful interference to existing services in the band.

The commission apparently hasn’t ruled out the possibility of allowing two-way fixed wireless communications in the band, however. The NPRM about the 12.2-12.7 GHz band seeks comment on whether to allow two-way point-to-point and/or point-to-multipoint operations in the band.

Also under consideration: unlicensed use and an indoor-only underlay.

The 12.7-13.25 GHz Band

According to the draft NPRM about the 12.7-13.25 GHz band, the FCC is considering moving incumbent users to a portion of the band. Those users include broadcasters who use the spectrum for auxiliary services and cable television relay services.

Remaining portions of the spectrum would be made available for mobile use via 10-year licenses for 100 MHz blocks of spectrum issued on a partial economic area (PEA) basis, according to a proposal included in the NPRM and about which the commission seeks comment.

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One thought on “Billionaire Vs. Billionaire Saga Set to End: Here’s What’s in the 12 GHz Drafts

  1. Dish Network has contributed to the development and growth of the telecommunications industry, it has expanded access to high-quality entertainment and information for consumers. I hope this is not a price war between the two giants?

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