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DoD will share 3.5 GHz wireless band with industry

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Thanks to collaboration among federal agencies and industry, a 3.5 GHz radio band previously used primarily by the Department of Defense (DoD) is now available for commercial use.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced in late January that the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band was approved for full-scale commercial deployment. Google, Sony, Federated Wireless, and CommScope have been named administrators of this final leg of the technology transfer process, which began in 2013.

Federal agencies including the FCC, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS), and Department of Defense, along with the Wireless Innovation Forum and the CBRS Alliance industry organization, have come together to foster commercial usage of the 3.5 GHz band. The CBRS Alliance manages the use of OnGo wireless network technology, which was developed specifically to work within the 3.5 GHz band.

To ensure that the DoD has continued access to the band, which it uses mostly for shipborne radar systems, Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) networks have been deployed along the U.S. coast. If the band is being used by the DoD, the ESC networks inform the industry administrators to activate a protection zone and reassign users in the area to other parts of the band.

“The authorization of Full Commercial Deployments in the CBRS band is a significant milestone in our nation’s management and utilization of a vital resource, the radio frequency spectrum,” said Dana Deasy, Chief Information Officer for the DoD. “The Defense Department worked closely with our federal partners at the NTIA and FCC, and with industry, to ensure that our mission critical operations would be protected while enabling new commercial uses. Collectively, we were able to creatively address the engineering and security challenges associated with military and commercial spectrum sharing.”

The FCC announcement will expand the market for wireless communications and 5G services in the United States. The CBRS band is estimated to directly contribute as much as $15.6 billion to the U.S. economy, while its actual value to consumers is estimated to be as much as $260 billion. Consumers now have access to improved wireless connectivity through OnGo-compatible mobile devices that are on the market today. These include the Google Pixel 4, Motorola’s 5G Moto Mod, Samsung Galaxy S10, Apple iPhone 11, LG G8 ThinQ, and OnePlus 7 Pro.

Read the CBRS Alliance press release in full here: https://www.cbrsalliance.org/news/fcc-authorizes-full-commercial-deploym...

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