The FCC adopted a Report and Order “Promoting Investment in the 3550-3700 MHz Band” today pushing the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) one step further to becoming reality. Some say that CBRS is a watershed moment that may impact how the FCC delivers spectrum in the future.
The CBRS initiative is part of an extended effort at the Commission to develop spectrum sharing technology and regulation. Comsearch has experience in the TV white space band, which endeavored to create sharing on spectrum used by TV stations, Mark Gibson, business development director, ComSearch.
While the effort has been deemed unsuccessful, Comsearch learned lessons from it that it can use in CBRS, according to Gibson. The FCC is already considering methodologies to share the 6 GHz band with the incumbent fixed, mobile, and satellite services.
As the FCC allocates spectrum for 5G, it will no doubt encounter frequencies that are already partially encumbered with other users, which will be expensive and time-intensive to move. Successful spectrum sharing could speed the U.S. progress toward 5G deployment.
“Success in the CBRS band could have a profound effect on how spectrum allocations,” Gibson said. “We strongly believe the wave of the future will be to share spectrum so you don’t necessarily have to relocate incumbents.”
Use Cases Abound for CBRS
The CBRS Alliance is tracking several major use cases, including mobile use by wireless operators and cable operators and fixed use by mobile, cable and WISP operators.
“We see interest from all the major MNOs. They see a real opportunity for using the band to provide residential or business broadband,” Dave Wright, president, CBRS Alliance told AGL eDigest. “There are a lot of private wireless opportunities, including industrial, port, rail yard, power plant, logistics handling, hospitality, health care and property management.”
One opportunity that may be the largest provided by CBRS over the long term is neutral-host solutions, according to Wright.
“To take an in-building system that a venue has installed for internal communications and make it available to subscribers of commercial operators. This could be the solution that makes DAS a mass-market solution. We are talking about deploying small cells at prices that are more analogous to Wi-Fi from a price standpoint. You can use system for your own wireless communications or open it up to the subscribers of the MNO subscribers.”
Google, CommScope Partner on CBRS Technology
Across the industry partnerships are being formed that are important in bringing the radio service to fruition.
Google and CommScope, which owns Comsearch, which will each provide independent Spectrum Access Systems (SAS) services, have joined to develop, deploy and operate an Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) network. The ESC is a network of environmental sensors that is needed to monitor ship-board Navy radar operations on aircraft carriers so the connected SAS systems can reconfigure spectrum allocations for nearby CBRS devices to operate without interfering with naval activity.
The exclusive agreement with Google means Comsearch can deploy its ESC at half the cost of developing its own sensing technology, according to Gibson. “The most important thing to us is it helps us keep the costs down. It gets us to market quicker. It is a strong message to the industry that there is a strong commitment from two major players to this space.”
The ESC sensing will control the indoor 1-watt EIRP Category A devices, as well the Category B devices that operate outdoors at up to 4 watts EIRP. The sensors used by the ESC will be strategically located in dynamic protection areas near the coasts in areas frequented by the Navy, possibly attached to cell towers.