Washington — September 30, 2020 — The Federal Communications Commission today proposed to make 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band available for 5G deployment across the contiguous United States. The Commission also adopted rules for, and proposed additional changes to, the broader 3.3-3.55 GHz band. This item marks an important step toward satisfying Congress’s directive in the MOBILE NOW Act to make new spectrum available for flexible use and to work with NTIA to evaluate the feasibility of allowing commercial use in the 3.1-3.55 GHz band. It is also a critical step forward in the Commission’s efforts to free up more spectrum for the commercial marketplace under its comprehensive 5G FAST Plan.
The adopted rules remove the secondary, non-federal allocations from the 3.3-3.55 GHz band. The Report and Order relocates non-federal radiolocation licensees to the 2.9-3.0 GHz band, allowing them to continue operating there on a secondary basis to federal operations. It also allows amateur licensees to individually determine appropriate alternative spectrum from existing available spectrum allocations.
In the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking also adopted today, the Commission proposes allocating the 3.45-3.55 GHz spectrum band for flexible-use service. It seeks comment on an appropriate regime to coordinate non-federal and federal use and proposes a band plan, as well as technical, licensing, and competitive bidding rules for the band. Lastly, it seeks comment on details regarding the processes for relocating non-federal radiolocation operators to the 2.9-3.0 GHz band and sunsetting amateur use in the 3.3-3.5 GHz band.
Today’s item follows last month’s announcement by the White House and Department of Defense that 100 megahertz of contiguous mid-band spectrum would be made available in the 3450-3550 MHz band for 5G commercial use while simultaneously minimizing impact to DoD operations.
With this 3.45 GHz band item, the upcoming December C-band auction of 280 megahertz of spectrum, and the recently completed auction for Priority Access Licenses in the 3.5 GHz band, the Commission is on track to make a wide swath of 530 megahertz of continuous mid-band spectrum available for 5G. Combined with the Commission’s work to make low- and high-band spectrum available for flexible use as well as its successful efforts to expedite the deployment of wireless infrastructure and fiber, the FCC is establishing a strong foundation for wireless innovation and investment and helping the United States lead the world in 5G.