Thursday, October 1, 2020

In Party Line Vote, FCC to Enable States to Lease 4.9 GHZ to Utilities, Others

 In a meeting rife with disagreements and connectivity snafus, the FCC Wednesday adopted rules permitting expanded use of 50 megahertz of mid-band spectrum in the 4.9 GHz (4940-4990 MHz) band. The agency majority says the band used by public safety agencies is underused. However scores of fire, police and medical representatives told the Commission the change threatens the public, especially during a pandemic.

Under the new rules, states could lease the spectrum to third parties such as utilities, FirstNet and commercial operators to boost wireless broadband, improve critical infrastructure monitoring, and facilitate public safety use cases. The band has been dedicated for public safety use for 18 years; however, only about 3.5 percent of all potential licensees use it this way because of restrictions, according to Chairman Ajit Pai.

He called the current rules governing the 4.9 GHz band flawed: “The Commission’s rules put the spectrum in a silo which led to a limited amount of niche specific equipment available for use in the band. The story of the 4.9 GHz band became one of spectrum haves, primarily in large cities such as New York City, Los Angeles and Seattle and have-nots, namely the 96.5 percent of potential licensees that have not obtained licenses for the 4.9 GHz spectrum, particularly the smaller and rural jurisdictions that cannot afford to deploy in that band.” Continue Reading


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