FCC Votes to Create new Citizens Broadband Radio Service

New America's Michael Calabrese Available for Comment
Press Release
April 17, 2015

This morning, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 5-0 to create a new Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). For the first time, the FCC has opened a lightly-used Federal government band, used primarily for Navy radar, for shared use by both licensed and unlicensed users. The FCC Report & Order represents the initial implementation of a proposal for widespread spectrum sharing of underused Federal bands made in July 2012 by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

"Today's bipartisan FCC vote to create a Citizens Broadband Service is a historic step that lays the foundation for spectrum sharing,” said Michael Calabrese, Director of New America’s Wireless Future Project. “While exclusive licensing will persist for many years, there is little left to be cleared for traditional auctions. There is, however, a potential spectrum superhighway of grossly underused federal and satellite spectrum that needs to be opened for low-power sharing by both unlicensed users and by priority access licensees who pay for interference protection. The Commission should move quickly to extend this new Citizens Broadband Service to other similar bands with immense fallow capacity, thereby ushering in a new era of wireless broadband abundance."

New America's Wireless Future Project originally proposed opening this band for small cell, unlicensed spectrum sharing in 2011. Calabrese served as an invited expert to the PCAST and assisted with its report recommending the 3.5 GHz band for initial implementation of dynamic spectrum sharing of underutilized Federal bands. The CBRS approved today allows for short-term "priority access licenses" on a portion of the band (up to 70 megahertz) and unlicensed use across the band's entire 150 megahertz (3550-3700 MHz) to the extent spectrum is not in use by Federal incumbents or licensees.

Michael Calabrese is available for commentary and analysis: calabrese@newamerica.org. To schedule an interview, please contact Jenny Mallamo, Media Relations Associate, at (202) 596-3368 or mallamo@newamerica.org.

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