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FCC Says No to 5G in Lower 12 GHz Band, Yes to 6G in Upper 12 GHz

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May 18, 2023, 3:39 PM   by Rich Brome

The FCC has adopted new rules governing the 12 GHz band that rule out using the lower half for cellular service, while specifically setting aside the upper half for cellular service. The lower 12 Ghz band, spanning 12.2 – 12.7 GHz, is currently used for satellite services such as SpaceX's Starlink service. Dish and RS Access had wanted to use this band for terrestrial 5G service as well, claiming it would not interfere. SpaceX insisted that its own tests showed interference would be significant. The FCC today sided with SpaceX, finding that there was "a significant risk of harmful interference". For the upper half, spanning 12.7 – 13.25 GHz, the FCC will move forward with a process to make this band available for flexible terrestrial wireless service, "including 6G wireless services." Incumbent non-federal licensees may need to be relocated or adopt a sharing system. The Commission is seeking comment on the best way to accomplish that.

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