Originally published: July 15, 2010
Last updated: February 22, 2011 - 12:33pm
The Federal Communications Commission took steps to make additional spectrum available for new investment in mobile broadband networks by promoting flexible use and removing barriers, while ensuring robust mobile satellite service capabilities.
Mobile broadband is emerging as one of America's most dynamic, innovative and economically viable communications platforms. The National Broadband Plan calls for an additional 500 MHz of spectrum for broadband services. This proceeding will help make 90 megahertz of prime spectrum available for mobile broadband deployment and unleash private sector investment and innovation - opening the door to new mobile networks, devices and technologies. Specifically, the Commission explores spectrum allocated to the Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) in three bands -- the 2 GHz band, Big LEO band, and L-band.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) outlines two proposals that would remove regulatory barriers to terrestrial (i.e. land-based) use and promote additional investments in the MSS bands, while retaining sufficient market-wide MSS capability. First, it proposes to add co-primary fixed and mobile allocations to the 2 GHz band. This allocation modification sets the stage for more flexible uses of the band by terrestrial services. Second, it proposes to expand existing secondary market policies and rules to address transactions involving the use of MSS bands for terrestrial services. This would create greater predictability in bands licensed for terrestrial mobile broadband service.
The Notice of Inquiry (NOI) requests comment on further steps the Commission can take to increase the value, utilization, innovation, and investment in MSS spectrum. It builds upon the proposals in the NPRM and addresses, in part, the recommendations of the National Broadband Plan for increasing terrestrial deployment in the MSS bands. The NOI inquires about ways to create opportunities for more expansive and efficient use of the 2 GHz band for stand-alone terrestrial uses. It also asks, if the value of the spectrum increases, what actions the FCC should take to further the overall public interest. The NOI further requests comment on other ways to promote innovation and investment throughout all three of the MSS bands while also ensuring market-wide mobile satellite capability to serve important needs like disaster response and recovery efforts, rural access for consumers and businesses across America, and various government uses.