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FCC Proposes Changes to Rules Governing the 3.1 - 3.55 GHz Band

On December 12, 2019, the FCC proposed several revisions to the rules regarding the 3.1 – 3.55 GHz band, including the relocation of incumbent non-federal users and the removal of existing non-federal secondary radiolocation and amateur allocations in this band. These revisions would pave the way for the progression of 5G by making this spectrum available for advanced commercial services as well as its current users.

Demand is growing for mid-band spectrum. The MOBILE NOW Act was passed in 2017 in an effort to develop next-generation 5G wireless broadband by making room for commercial use in existing available spectrum. Under this act, the FCC is required to work with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to determine whether the 3.1 - 3.55 GHz band can be shared between federal incumbents and commercial wireless services. To do this, the FCC would potentially make as much as 250 MHz of spectrum available for use.

Yet, not everyone agrees with the proposed changes. The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) has formally opposed the FCC’s proposal. ARRL, a non-profit organization, serves as the National Association for Amateur Radio, and as such, does not wish for its members to be denied access to the 3.1 – 3.55 GHz band.

In its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC requests comment on relocation options for incumbent non-federal users, citing the 3.1 – 3.3 GHz band as a potential option. You can view the official release here.

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