WISPA and Diverse Coalition of Allies Unite on CBRS Spectrum Proposal
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Washington, DC – A large, diverse coalition representing thousands of companies and organizations – including the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) – today proposed a compromise approach to the licensing of Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service spectrum band (CBRS, 3550-3700 MHz).
In a joint letter submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the CBRS Coalition said “an extraordinarily wide-ranging group of stakeholders with different spectrum use cases has come together in support of a straightforward, balanced compromise framework” that will make the CBRS band “a catalyst for U.S. technology and innovation leadership (including 5G), U.S. economic and job growth, and modernizing the nation’s infrastructure.”
To ensure that all stakeholders have an opportunity to obtain PALs at auction, the CBRS Coalition urges the FCC to adopt a “hybrid” licensing framework with the following elements:
• In every U.S. county, there should be five county-based CBRS PALs available at auction;
• In every U.S. census tract, there should be two census-tract-based CBRS PALs available at auction;
• The license term for all PALs should be seven years; and
• PALs should be renewable based on performance criteria.
The signatories include 11 companies (Cox Communications, Exelon, FedEx Corporate Services, Frontier Communications, General Electric, Motorola, pdv Wireless, Southern Linc, Transit Wireless, Union Pacific, and Windstream Holdings); eight associations representing hundreds of members each (Edison Electric Institute, Enterprise Wireless Alliance, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, Rural Wireless Association (RWA), Utilities Technology Council (UTC), and WISPA; and the nation’s largest port authority, the Port of Los Angeles.
The coalition is inviting support from additional companies, associations, and local authorities. A variety of public interest groups are expected to back the proposal as well.
The coalition says the availability of five county-based licenses in every U.S. county will meet the needs of commercial mobile wireless carriers, cable companies, and other broadband providers that desire larger license areas. Meanwhile, the availability of two licenses in every census tract nationwide is essential to meeting the minimum spectrum needs of industrial and critical-infrastructure entities, broadband operators serving rural areas, enterprise solution providers, commercial real estate interests, and other parties with geographically-targeted CBRS deployment plans.
WISPA has been a leading advocate of maintaining the current licensing rules, which were designed to make it easier for local entrepreneurs to close the rural broadband gap, while also spurring a variety of other local, innovative use cases.
However, last October, under pressure from the mobile wireless industry, the FCC agreed to reopen the rules, and since then commission members have asked stakeholders to forge a new CBRS framework.
“While we wish the FCC would keep the current rules in place, this compromise is still a valuable step forward for our members and for America,” said WISPA President Claude Aiken. “It preserves small business access to the CBRS band, which will spur investment, innovation, and jobs in our industry; and it is still the single most important thing the federal government can do to accelerate the deployment of broadband services and choices for the 24 million Americans who lack them today.”
Aiken added, “We still oppose auctioning PALs at the larger Partial Economic Area (PEA) or Cellular Market Area levels, because it would eliminate our members’ ability to participate in the CBRS auction.”
Breyana Franklin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-495-3700
WISPA is a membership-driven trade association that promotes the development and advancement of the fixed wireless Internet service provider industry. WISPA has over 800 members that support WISPA’s advocacy, education and other collaborative industry initiatives. For more information, visit www.wispa.org.