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NTIA Sends Letter to FCC on Spectrum Frontiers Proceeding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
April 11, 2019

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Today, NTIA sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission ahead of a scheduled Commission vote on a report and order in a proceeding to make more spectrum available for advanced communications services, including 5G and satellite broadband. NTIA applauds the Commission for teeing up action that will help advance important U.S. economic and national security objectives.

The letter clarifies the coordination process for the Department of Defense (DOD) to add sites in the Upper 37 GHz band, which is allocated on a co-primary basis for both federal and non-federal use. The letter also notes, the Commission, NTIA, and DOD are collaborating to finalize the sharing mechanisms for the lower 37 GHz band in the near future; and supports the Commission’s deferral of issues concerning potential future terrestrial use of the 50.4-52.6 GHz bands given ongoing international technical studies and discussions on how to protect critical passive services in adjacent bands.

Expressing concern over DOD operations that support national defense and homeland security, the letter urges the Commission to reject pleas by potential bidders to change the nature of the existing allocations in the Upper 37 GHz band.  The letter lays out a process for accommodating the military’s limited needs in this portion of the 37 GHz band, and warns that an overly restrictive coordination process could have an adverse effect on the development of new applications and next-generation technologies.

The 50.2-50.4 GHz is a calibration band for space-based weather and atmospheric measurements, used for prediction of severe weather, among other things. It’s especially vital that the U.S. ensure that any neighboring mobile systems do not cause interference into this crucial band, nor to 52.6-54.25 GHz. While the Commission is proposing limited action in this spectrum range, NTIA said the agency will need to remain mindful of the need to protect these vital government spaced-based assets.