The FCC is Reconsidering Use of 12.2-12.7 GhZ for 5G Internet As DISH & SpaceX Fight Over the Spectrum




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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering preventing the use of 12.2 – 12.7 GHz for 5G mobile providers. On April 26th, 2023, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced her agenda to discuss the future of 5G during their upcoming open meeting to discuss fixed-wireless use on May 18th. 

She states that “the FCC’s restrictive technical rules for the 60 GHz band have been holding back” a new wave of innovations across various wireless technologies. She proposes the FCC consider new rules which would allow wireless providers to “expand the permissible uses for short-range radars in this band while making sure new operations can coexist” with services already using the 60 GHz spectrum. 

The forum, which will be hosted by the National Science Foundation, will also discuss optimizing services across the spectrum from 6G to satellite. It is said to be perhaps one of the most complex proposals presented to the FCC for consideration. 

“The Commission has been studying how best to use more than 1 gigahertz of mid-band spectrum from 12.2 GHz to 13.25 GHz. To resolve these questions, the Commission will vote on an Order that would preserve the 12.2-12.7 GHz band as a home for next-generation satellite broadband operations by rejecting proposals to introduce ubiquitous, high-power mobile operations in the band. At the same time, we propose further investigation of expanded terrestrial fixed use or unlicensed use in this 500 megahertz band. Moving up to the 12.7-13.25 GHz band, we propose repurposing some or all 550 megahertz of this spectrum for new mobile broadband or other expanded use.”

This comes as DISH and SpaceX have both been fighting to use this spectrum for their internet services. SpaceX wants to use it for Starlink and DISH wants to use it for its 5G internet service.

Sources state that companies have been pressuring the FCC to allow satellite and terrestrial 5G services to share the lower 12 GHz band, although there is concern the Commission likely won’t permit terrestrial mobile use. Mobile and internet companies are firm in their stance that a new era of technological advancements should be accompanied by a new set of regulations and rights.

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