The Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan is up, and, as expected, it recommends that a wireless band close by the Sirius XM band get 20MHz of spectrum for use to deploy wireless broadband services, probably WiMAX style.
“Recommendation 5.8.1: The FCC should make 20 megahertz available for mobile broadband use in the 2.3 GHz Wireless Communications Service (WCS ) band, while protecting neighboring federal, non-federal Aeronautical Mobile Telemetry (AMT ) and satellite radio operations.”
The FCC established the WCS band in 1997. Back then it set up rules to protect broadcasts in the nearby Satellite Digital Audio Radio (SDARS) zone. But now:
“Certain WCS technical rules, particularly the out-of-band emission (OOBE) limits, largely preclude the provision of mobile broadband services in the spectrum. Based on an extensive record, the FCC should revise certain technical rules, including the WCS OOBE limits, to enable robust mobile broadband use of the 2.3 GHz WCS spectrum, while protecting federal, non-federal AMT and satellite radio operations in the neighboring SDARS band.”
The document doesn’t explain how the FCC will propose to do this. As we’ve reported, earlier this month, the agency suggested a non-interference plan to a meeting of Sirius and WCS engineers. Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin told the agency he was “extremely disturbed” about the proposal upon learning of its details. And since Sirius XM fans got wind of this news, they’ve been deluging the FCC’s database with protests.
But the Commission is clearly determined to get WCS the spectrum it needs, somehow. It’s part of the agency’s plan to get 500 megahertz of license space available for broadband within the next decade, “of which 300 megahertz between 225 MHz and 3.7 GHz should be made newly available for mobile use within five years.”
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