The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) and the Office of Engineering and Technology have certified the spectrum access systems (SAS) operated by Amdocs, CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google and Sony to begin initial commercial deployments (ICD) in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) at 3.5 GHz.
In order to use the CBRS, which represents 150 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, a network must employ a SAS and dynamically manage that spectrum use through an Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) network to avoid interfering with incumbent Navy radar users.
In November 2018, ITS Labs began testing the systems submitted by Amdocs, CommScope, Federated, Google, and Sony. ITS completed its laboratory testing on May 3, 2019, and subsequently provided the respective SAS Administrators with SAS laboratory test reports, which Amdocs, CommScope, Federated, Google, and Sony submitted for the Commission’s review in July 2019.
ICD is the final step in the development of the OnGo ecosystem and launch of commercial services in the 3.5 GHz CBRS band.
“ICD realizes the vision for the innovative shared spectrum model, introducing new commercial services while protecting existing federal users,” according to press release by the CBRS Alliance “The success of this model is being closely monitored by regulatory and industry players across the globe, as it promises the availability of valuable wireless spectrum that is often underutilized.”
In 2015, the FCC adopted rules for shared commercial use of the 3.5 GHz band and directed the WTB/OET—in consultation with the Department of Defense and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) — to oversee the review, certification, and approval of SAS in the 3.5 GHz band.
“It can take decades for new spectrum to become available for commercial use using traditional methods, but the 150 MHz that make up the CBRS band has become commercially available in only six years, due in part to the close public-private partnership between industry players and government agencies,” the CBRS Alliance said.