The Federal Communications Commission this week extended the comment period connected with rules to establish Citizen Broadband Radio Service in the 3.5-3.6 GHz bands. The comment period has been extended from Aug. 1 out to Aug. 15, with the FCC noting the move will “allow parties to more thoroughly address the complex technical, legal and policy issues raised” in the initial formal notice of proposed rulemaking.
The FCC initially announced plans for that spectrum in 2012, which included freeing up 100 megahertz of spectrum for small cell use. Earlier this year, the FCC updated the plans to include 150 megahertz of spectrum between the 3550-3700 MHz bands. That proposal looked to provide a “three-tiered access and sharing model comprised of federal and non-federal incumbents, priority access licensees and general authorized access users.” Access would be under a flexible model taking advantage of technology to reduce interference between users.
That proposal drew questions from a number of entities, though Verizon Wireless earlier this month announced plans to begin field trials in that band with spectrum-sharing technology.
The 3.5 GHz band is now in the hands of the Department of Defense for use in certain radar installations, as well as by “non-federal fixed satellite service earth stations for receive-only, space-to-earth operations and feeder links.” The somewhat limited propagation characteristics of the 3.5 GHz band are thought to be a good fit for the dense deployment plans for small cells and would likely limit interference with current users.
Other policy news
–The FCC late last week announced members to its Technological Advisory Council’s Working Group on Mobile Device Theft Prevention, following up on a previous call by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to develop industry-wide recommendations to mitigate “increasing theft of mobile devices.”
The group includes 38 people from across the wireless technology space. Dennis Roberson, chairman of the TAC, is tasked with overseeing the commission; and Brian Daly, director of core network and government/regulatory standards at AT&T, and Robert Kubik, director of communications policy and regulatory affairs at Samsung, chairing the commission.
“I am pleased that these recognized leaders have committed to assist the commission in developing policies and recommendations that will advance the goal of stopping the theft of mobile devices and thereby better protect consumers,” noted FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler.
Wireless trade association CTIA earlier this year announced an initiative with mobile operators and device makers to create standards for smartphone software designed to deter thieves by enabling remote deactivation of handsets. The Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment states that devices manufactured after July 2015 for sale in the United States will include access to “kill switch” software. The software can be pre-loaded onto the device, but it can also be available in the cloud for users to download if they choose to do so.
That voluntary initiative was proposed just prior to California’s state legislatures voting down a cellphone “kill switch” bill that would have required carriers to be sure that all phones sold in the state included a remote deactivation feature.
The FCC had previously stated that nationwide, one-third of all robberies involve smartphones.
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