gigabit wifi spectrum

Dish and Directv are the latest opponents to issue dueling data about the impact of a proposed rule change for the 12 GHz spectrum band. A proceeding at the FCC is studying opening up 12 GHz spectrum for two-way 5G use.

Both companies currently use 12 GHz spectrum for direct broadcast satellite (DBS) video service, but Dish and others advocate a rule change for the band that would enable the band to also be used for mobile and potentially fixed wireless services.

Directv commissioned satellite and space systems consulting firm SAVID LLC to study the impact of the potential rule change on Directv service. According to the study, which Directv filed with the FCC on July 18, mobile service in the band would create harmful interference for Directv subscribers in urban, suburban and rural environments.

Accordingly, the study advises the FCC to terminate the proceeding exploring the potential rule change.

In response, Dish made its own filing with the FCC yesterday, offering a rebuttal of the SAVID study. According to Dish, SAVID made unreasonable assumptions in its analysis.

“In reality, interference into DBS dishes from higher-power terrestrial services is almost entirely avoidable, and reasonable concerns are solvable with cooperation between the nation’s two DBS operators,” Dish said.

Both Dish and Directv reference a 2016 study from a former chief engineer of the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau that found that terrestrial 5G service and satellite TV could coexist in the 12 GHz band. But while Directv challenges the assumptions made in the 2016 study, Dish cites the 2016 study as evidence in support of the proposed rule change.

Previous Dueling Data

Directv isn’t the only current user of the 12 GHz band that has challenged the proposed rule change. SpaceX, which uses the band to support its satellite broadband service, has submitted a study to the FCC that found that the proposed rule change would interfere with that service.

The 5Gfor12GHz Coalition, a group advocating for the rule change, challenged the SpaceX filing, arguing that it was based on faulty assumptions. The coalition has over 30 members, including Dish.

It will be up to the FCC to determine whose analysis and assumptions are correct and whose are not. There is a lot riding on the outcome and to date, the commission has offered no clues about which way it is leaning on this crucial decision.

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