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FCC Chair Floats 3.5 GHz Sharing Proposal

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Mar 27, 2015, 4:32 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC is moving forward with plans to free up a portion of the 3.5GHz band for wireless broadband use. The agency has been exploring the idea of sharing the airwaves with the incumbent users, including the military, and wants to make 150MHz of the spectrum available for wireless purposes. Chairman Tom Wheeler today circulated a draft Report and Order proposing to create a new Citizens Broadband Radio Service. The idea is to use a three-tiered sharing paradigm. In a segment called General Authorized Access, any FCC-certified device would be able to access the spectrum as long as it doesn't cause interference. In the Priority Access tier, users would have to acquire "short-duration licenses" at auction. Any service provided in the Priority Access would have to protect GAA users. Existing government users would stand at the top of the three tiers. They use the spectrum for satellite and radar, and will be protected from the two lower tiers. The tiers will be managed by something called the Spectrum Access System, which uses cloud computing technology to visualize and control what entities are using the spectrum in which locations. "I look forward to my fellow Commissioners' feedback on the draft Report and Order," said Wheeler. "I think it provides a peek of the future, and that future is very exciting indeed."

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