NTIA, DOD look at sharing out federal spectrum for commercial 5G

cell tower Stock photo ID: 122758183 By Christian Delber 

The government announced plans to study the possibility of sharing or clearing a 100 megahertz swath of spectrum for high-speed mobile broadband.

David Redl, administrator of the National Telecommunications and Industry Administration, said in a Feb. 26 blog post that 100 MHz in the 3450-3550 MHz band, used by the Department of Defense for military radar, could be a key asset in expanding the U.S. broadband spectrum inventory.

Under the Spectrum Pipeline Act, passed in 2015 with the budget bill, agencies can seek funding for studies related to relinquishing or sharing spectrum for commercial use.

The engineering study announced by Redl will examine whether the spectrum can be shared for mobile broadband, "without harming critical government operations."

The Federal Communications Commission has already set rules for the adjacent 3550-3700 MHz mid-spectrum band for its planned Citizens Broadband Radio Service.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai hailed the move as "great news" for next-generation commercial wireless services. "Altogether, this could unleash a contiguous block of hundreds of megahertz of valuable spectrum for new technologies and services, including 5G," he said.

The news hit the same day Pai announced plans to tee up the 3.7 to 4.2 gigahertz band for terrestrial commercial use and to auction off spectrum in the 28 GHz and 24 GHz bands. Pai made those announcements in a speech at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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