Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
445 12th St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
Released: November 1, 2013
COMMISSION SEEKS COMMENT ON LICENSING MODELS AND TECHNICAL
REQUIREMENTS IN THE 3550-3650 MHz BAND
GN Docket No. 12-354
Comment Date: December 5, 2013
Reply Comment Date: December 20, 2013
By the Commission:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................................. 1
II. BACKGROUND.................................................................................................................................... 4
III. DISCUSSION ........................................................................................................................................ 9
A. Priority Access Tier ....................................................................................................................... 10
1. Open Eligibility for Priority Access Licenses ......................................................................... 11
2. Priority Access Licenses ......................................................................................................... 11
3. Assignment of Priority Access Licenses ................................................................................. 22
B. Band Plan....................................................................................................................................... 28
C. Ensuring Productive Spectrum Use ............................................................................................... 33
D. Localized Critical Access Use ....................................................................................................... 36
E. Technical Issues ............................................................................................................................. 41
1. Technical Implementation of the Revised Framework............................................................ 42
2. Additional Technical Considerations ...................................................................................... 49
F. Extension of Revised Framework to the 3650-3700 MHz Band ................................................... 51
IV. PROCEDURAL MATTERS................................................................................................................ 52
A. Ex Parte
Rules ............................................................................................................................... 52
B. Filing Requirements....................................................................................................................... 53
C. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis........................................................................................... 55
D. Initial Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis..................................................................................... 56
In December 2012, the Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)
seeking comment on a new Citizens Broadband Service in the 3550-3650 MHz band (3.5 GHz Band) for
shared, commercial uses, including small cell networks.1 The NPRM proposed a three-tier, license-by-
rule authorization framework that would facilitate rapid broadband deployment while protecting existing
incumbent users of the 3.5 GHz Band.2 The NPRM solicited comment on all aspects of this proposal,
including the appropriate licensing framework and the potential uses of each service tier and the
Commission has received extensive comment from a wide range of stakeholders in response.3 The
Commission also held a workshop on March 14, 2013 to bring together diverse perspectives on the band
and foster productive discussion on the NPRM.4 Based upon our review of the substantial record before
us, we have determined that it would be in the public interest to solicit further comment on specific
alternative licensing proposals inspired by some of the suggestions made by commenters and workshop
participants to facilitate use of the band for a diverse array of applications.
This Public Notice builds on the NPRM and elaborates on some alternative licensing
concepts described in that document. We refer to these elaborated licensing concepts as the Revised
Framework. The Revised Framework describes an integrated approach to dynamically authorizing access
to the Priority Access and General Authorized Access (GAA) tiers of the 3.5 GHz Band and represents
one logical approach towards implementing the next generation of spectrum management systems in light
of the proposals and alternative proposals set forth in the NPRM, the presentations made at the workshop,
and the record in this proceeding. The Public Notice also includes examples of possible technical
specifications, which could enable multiple networks to coexist in the band within a given geographic
area. We seek detailed comment on the Revised Framework and the possible technical criteria. We
request that commenters provide technical and cost-benefit analyses to support their positions.
Our goal in seeking comment on the Revised Framework is to supplement the record with
focused comment on licensing and authorization concepts for the 3.5 GHz Band. This Public Notice does
not discuss issues related to shared operations with incumbent federal and Fixed Satellite System (FSS)
users, potential out-of-band interference issues, or any potential geographic restrictions on commercial
use of the 3.5 GHz Band. The Commission or Bureaus may release additional public notices to
supplement the record on these or other issues. We also plan to hold a workshop in the near future on the
technical aspects of the Spectrum Access System (SAS), as proposed in the NPRM.5 Accordingly, with
respect to our request for comment here, we encourage commenters to focus on those issues that relate to
the licensing and authorization concepts discussed in the NPRM, as elaborated on in this Public Notice.
Due to unique circumstances in this proceeding, including the issuance of subsequent public notice to
augment the initial NPRM, the development of a novel licensing regime through the SAS, and the need to
coordinate with incumbent federal users of the 3550-3650 MHz band, we believe that the record may
benefit from additional comment on specific rule proposals at a subsequent stage. As a result, we will
propose specific rules through a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking prior to issuing a Report and
Amendment of the Commission's Rules with Regard to Commercial Operations in the 3550-3650 MHz Band,
GN Docket No. 12-354, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
, 27 FCC Rcd 15594 (2012) (NPRM or 3.5 GHz NPRM).
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15612-21, ¶¶ 53-77.
3 See generally
comments filed in Docket No. 12-354.
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau And Office of Engineering and Technology Announce Workshop on
Small Cell and Spectrum Sharing Concepts in the 3.5 GHz NPRM, GN Docket No. 12-354, Public Notice
, 28 FCC
Rcd 442 (2013). Video feed of the workshop, agenda, and all presentations are available at: http://www.fcc.gov/events/35-ghz-workshop
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau And Office of Engineering and Technology Announce Workshop on the
Proposed Spectrum Access System for the 3.5 GHz Band, GN Docket No. 12-354, Public Notice
, __ FCC Rcd __
(Sept. 30, 2013).
As we noted in the NPRM, due to the technical characteristics of the 3.5 GHz Band and
the existence of important incumbent operations in the band in many areas of the country, the band
appears to be an ideal platform to explore innovative approaches to shared spectrum use and small cell
technology.6 Due to the existence of Federal operations in the band, NTIA’s Fast Track Report
recommended, based on some assumptions about deployment of commercial wireless broadband
technology , that new commercial uses of the band occur outside of large “exclusion zones” to protect
government operations.7 Given that the exclusion zones would cover approximately 60 percent of the
U.S. population8 and because of limited signal propagation at 3.5 GHz, the band did not appear to be
well-suited for macrocell deployment. However, as noted in a 2012 Report by the President’s Council of
Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), these very disadvantages could be turned into advantages
if the band were used to explore spectrum sharing and small cell innovation.9 Such a paradigm could
vastly increase the usability of the 3.5 GHz Band for wireless broadband and serve as a model for future
coexistence in other encumbered spectrum bands.
The 3.5 GHz NPRM expands upon the ideas set forth in the PCAST Report in an effort to
further the Commission’s ongoing efforts to address the growing demand for fixed and mobile broadband
capacity by proposing to make an additional 100 megahertz (or up to 150 megahertz under a supplemental
proposal) of spectrum available for shared wireless broadband use. Specifically, the NPRM proposes to
create a new Citizens Broadband Radio Service under Part 95 of the Commission’s rules.10 The proposed
service has two main characteristics, broadly reflecting the recommendations of PCAST.11 First,
technical rules would focus on the use of low-powered small cells to drive increases in broadband
capacity and spectrum reuse. Second, use of the band would be governed by a dynamic SAS, building on
the TV White Spaces database concept.12
The NPRM proposes that the SAS would accommodate three service tiers: (1) Incumbent
Access; (2) Priority Access; and (3) General Authorized Access. Incumbent Access users would include
authorized federal and grandfathered FSS users currently operating in the 3.5 GHz Band.13 These users
would have protection from harmful interference from all other users in the 3.5 GHz Band.14 In the
Priority Access tier, the NPRM proposes that the Commission authorize certain users with critical quality-
of-service needs (such as hospitals, utilities, and public safety entities) to operate with some interference
protection in portions of the 3.5 GHz Band at specific locations.15 Finally, in the GAA tier, users would
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15601-03, ¶¶ 17-25.
NTIA, An Assessment of the Near-Term Viability of Accommodating Wireless Broadband Systems in the
1675-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 3500-3650 MHz, 4200-4220 MHz, and 4380-4400 MHz Bands (rel. October
2010) (Fast Track Report), available at
at 1-6 – 1-7 and Appendix D.
Fast Track Report at 1-6 – 1-7 and Appendix D and 3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15597 and 15601, ¶¶ 6
PCAST, Report to the President: Realizing the Full Potential of Government-Held Spectrum to Spur Economic
Growth (rel. July 20, 2012) (PCAST Report), available at
(PCAST Report) at 16-21, 82-84.
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15615-16, ¶¶ 61-63.
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15612-14, ¶¶ 53-58.
13 See id.
, 27 FCC Rcd at 15616-18, ¶¶ 65-69.
14 See id.
15 See id.,
27 FCC Rcd at 15618-20, ¶¶ 70-74.
be authorized to use the 3.5 GHz Band opportunistically within designated geographic areas. GAA users
would be required to accept interference from Incumbent and Priority Access tier users.16 The NPRM
also includes a supplemental proposal to expand the proposed licensing and authorization model to an
additional adjacent 50 megahertz of spectrum in the 3650-3700 MHz band, making up to 150 megahertz
available for shared wireless broadband access.17
Commenters broadly supported the Commission’s goal to make the 3.5 GHz Band
available for shared commercial broadband use. However, opinions diverged on the appropriate
methodology for authorizing access to the 3.5 GHz Band, especially with regard to the Priority Access
tier. Many commenters argued that the Priority Access tier should not be limited to critical access
facilities as proposed in the NPRM.18 Commenters such as Alcatel-Lucent, the Consumer Electronics
Association (CEA), Google Inc. (Google), and PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association (PCIA)
argued that priority access should be made available to a broader class of users and should not be limited
to critical access users as proposed in the NPRM.19 Wireless providers, such as AT&T Services, Inc.
(AT&T), Verizon Communications, Inc. and Verizon Wireless, Inc. (Verizon), and T-Mobile USA, Inc.
(T-Mobile), encouraged the Commission to adopt rules that would allow commercial wireless providers
to use the band on a quality assured basis to supplement their existing spectrum holdings.20 Others, like
Microsoft and the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition (PISC) have encouraged the Commission to foster
significant GAA use of the band and to limit Priority Access to mission critical services and to indoor or
private campus uses.21 Still others, including Motorola Solutions the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the
Utilities Telecom Council (UTC), and the National Rural Electric Cooperative (NRECA) argued that we
should ensure that utilities, public safety, and other critical service providers have access to the band.22
Commenters also diverged on how rights should be assigned among Priority Access and
GAA users. Some commenters like Microsoft, PISC, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association
(WISPA), and Cantor Fitzgerald Telecom Services, Inc. (Cantor) generally support the Commission’s
three-tiered model.23 Others, including Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), T-Mobile, and Qualcomm argue
16 See id.,
27 FCC Rcd at 15620, ¶¶ 75-76.
17 See id.
, 27 FCC Rcd at 15620-25, ¶¶ 77-92.
18 See, e.g.
, Comments of Alcatel-Lucent Inc. in GN Docket No. 12-354 at 3 (Alcatel-Lucent Comments);
Comments of Consumer Electronics Association.in GN Docket No. 12-354 at 5-6 (CEA Comments); Comments of
AT&T Services Inc. in GN Docket No. 12-354 at 7-9 (AT&T Comments); Comments of Google Inc. in GN Docket
No. 12-354 at 4 (Google Comments); Comments of the Information Technology Industry Council in GN Docket No.
12-354 at 3 (ITT Comments);
Alcatel-Lucent Comments at 3-6; CEA Comments at 5-6; Google Comments at 4; Comments of PCIA in GN
Docket No. 12-354 at 5 (PCIA Comments).
AT&T Comments at 7-9; Comments of T-Mobile USA, Inc. in GN Docket No. 12-354 at 3 and 8-10 (T-
Mobile Comments); Reply Comments of Verizon and Verizon Wireless Inc. in GN Docket No. 12-354 at 7-11
(Verizon Reply Comments).
Comments of Microsoft Corporation in GN Docket No. 12-354 at 9 (Microsoft Comments); Comments of
Public Interest Spectrum Coalition in GN Docket No. 12-354 at 24-30 (PISC Comments).
Comments of UTC, EEI, and NRECA in GN Docket No. 12-354 at 12-14 (Consolidated Utilities Association
Comments); Comments of Motorola Solutions Inc. in GN Docket No. 12-354 at 3 (Motorola Solutions Comments).
Microsoft Comments at 8-10; Letter from AT&T Services, Inc. and Google, Inc. to Chairwoman Mignon
Clyburn, Ex Parte
, GN Docket No. 12-354 (sent August 6, 2013) (AT&T-Google Letter) at 1; Cantor Fitzgerald
Telecom Services, Inc., Ex Parte
, GN Docket No. 12-354 (filed on July 31, 2013) (Cantor Ex Parte
) at 2; PISC
Comments at 13-15; Consolidated Utilities Association Comments at 10-15; Comments of the Wireless Internet
Service Providers Association in GN Docket No. 12-354 at 5-17 (WISPA Comments).
that the Commission should adopt a two-tier licensing model, which would eliminate the GAA tier.24 In
addition, commenters such as Verizon, CTIA – The Wireless Association (CTIA), and T-Mobile argue
for a more traditional licensing approach whereby exclusive access to spectrum, subject to sharing with
incumbent users, would be assigned geographically.25 Recently, AT&T and Google filed a letter broadly
supporting: (1) the Commission’s proposed three-tier licensing approach; (2) broad access to the Priority
Access tier; and (3) the use of flexible, streamlined auction mechanisms to resolve mutually exclusive
applications should auctions be necessary in the band.26
With this Public Notice, we seek comment on some specific variations of the licensing
and technical proposals set forth in the NPRM. The Revised Framework discussed below synthesizes
elements from the NPRM and various commenter proposals into an integrated authorization scheme for
the 3.5 GHz Band. In doing so, we seek to advance the discussion about how new technologies can
facilitate coexistence between different kinds of users with different rights in the band. The Revised
Framework retains the three-tier model proposed in the NPRM but, consistent with alternative
authorization methods raised in the NPRM,27 expands the eligibility criteria for the Priority Access tier
and explores innovative means of assigning exclusive authorizations within the tier. Like the NPRM’s
main proposal, the Revised Framework would leverage the unique capabilities of small cell and SAS
technologies to enable sharing between users in the Priority Access and GAA tiers. Specifically, the
Revised Framework contains the following core concepts:
An SAS to dynamically manage frequency assignments and automatically enforce access to
the Priority Access and GAA tiers;
Open eligibility for Priority Access tier use;
Granular but administratively-streamlined licensing of the Priority Access tier;
Mutually exclusive spectrum rights for Priority Access subject to licensing by auction,
A defined “floor” of GAA spectrum availability, to ensure that GAA access is available
nationwide (subject to Incumbent Access tier use);
Additional GAA access to unused Priority Access bandwidth, as identified and managed by
the SAS, to maximize dynamic use of the unutilized portion of the band and ensure
productive use of the spectrum;
Opportunities for critical infrastructure facilities to obtain targeted priority spectrum use
within specific facilities (such as a building) that meet certain requirements to mitigate the
potential for interference to and from other band users; and
A set of baseline technical standards to prevent harmful interference and ensure productive
use of the spectrum.
We recognize the Revised Framework represents one, but not the only, means of achieving the
Commission’s goals. We therefore seek detailed comment on these concepts as well as technically viable
24 NSN Comments at 12-21; Qualcomm Comments at 4-11; Reply comments of T-Mobile USA, Inc. in GN Docket
No. 12-354 at 3-7.
T-Mobile Comments at 8-10; Verizon Reply Comments at 4 and 6-11; Comments of CTIA in GN Docket No.
12-354 at 12-16 (CTIA Comments).
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15618-19, ¶¶ 70-73.
alternatives to meet our stated objectives. Commenters should identify the various costs and benefits
associated with a particular proposal. Further, to the extent possible, commenters should provide specific
data and information, such as actual or estimated dollar figures for each specific cost or benefit addressed,
including a description of how the data or information was calculated or obtained, and any supporting
documentation or other evidentiary support.
Priority Access Tier
The Revised Framework further develops some alternative proposals contained in the
NPRM with respect to the Priority Access tier. The approach to the Priority Access tier described in the
Revised Framework reflects many commenters’ desire to open the Priority Access tier to a broader class
of potential users.28 At the same time, the Revised Framework retains a significant amount of spectrum
for GAA uses and incorporates innovative features designed to integrate with the unique aspects of the
Citizens Broadband Service and the 3.5 GHz Band. The Revised Framework balances the benefits of
exclusive licensing and open eligibility with the need to preserve GAA spectrum access and promote
productive small cell use of the band. In this section, we describe concepts related to: (1) licensee
qualifications for access to the Priority Access tier; (2) the elements of the Priority Access Licenses
(PALs) which could be used to authorize access to the Priority Access tier; and (3) potential methods for
assigning access to the Priority Access tier when mutually exclusive applications are received. We seek
comment, including costs and benefits, on the revised approach to the Priority Access tier described
Open Eligibility for Priority Access Licenses
The Revised Framework would expand access to the Priority Access tier to a broad class
of potential users. The NPRM proposed limiting Priority Access eligibility to certain “mission critical”
users.29 In the alternative, we also proposed a more open eligibility model.30 In response to the NPRM,
many commenters supported the “open” eligibility alternative.31 Several others endorsed restricted
eligibility, tailored to specific users or industries.32 Under the Revised Framework, any prospective
licensee who meets basic FCC qualifications would be eligible to apply for Priority Access licenses. We
seek detailed comment on this approach, including the potential range of eligible users and any associated
costs and benefits.
Priority Access Licenses
In the NPRM, we asked for comment on the technical licensing and regulatory
ramifications of our proposal for Priority Access users.33 Under the Revised Framework, a set of PALs
would define and control spectrum use in the Priority Access tier. PALs are intended to ensure flexible
and efficient use of the Priority Access tier, given the characteristics of small cell networks and advanced
capabilities of an SAS. We envision a “building block” approach in which relatively granular PALs
could be aggregated – in space, time, and frequency – to meet diverse spectrum needs. We seek specific
comment below on the geographical, temporal, and frequency dimensions of potential PALs and on the
administrability of PALs in the context of the broader Revised Framework.
28 See, e.g.
, Verizon Reply Comments at 4; NSN Comments at 12-18; Qualcomm Comments at 5-11; CTIA
Comments at 12-16; Alcatel-Lucent Comments at 3-6; CEA Comments at 5-6; Google Comments at 4; PCIA
Comments at 5.
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15618-19, ¶¶ 70-73.
30 See id.
, 27 FCC Rcd at 15622-23, ¶¶ 84-85.
31 See, e.g.
Alcatel-Lucent Comments at 3-6; CEA Comments at 5-6; Google Comments at 4; PCIA Comments
Consolidated Utilities Association Comments at 12-14; Motorola Solutions Comments at 3.
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15618, ¶ 71.
. Under the Revised Framework, PALs would have a one year, non-renewable, term
but licensees would be able to aggregate multiple consecutive PALs to obtain multi-year rights to
spectrum within a given geographic area.34 PALs would automatically terminate after one year and
would not be renewed. While shorter than the 10- or 15-year terms typically associated with area-
licensed wireless services, a 1-year term may be more appropriate in this case. First, multiple 1-year
terms could be aggregated together to replicate the predictability of a longer-term license. while providing
much of the flexibility inherent in shorter-term spectrum authorizations. Second, the use of a shorter,
non-renewable license term could simplify the administration of the Priority Access tier by obviating the
need for some administratively-intensive rules that are common to longer-term licenses. These include
renewal, discontinuance, and performance requirements associated with a traditional spectrum license.
Third, shorter terms would allow for a wider variety of innovative uses and encourage consistent and
efficient use of spectrum resources.35 Finally, short term licenses could promote greater fungibility and
liquidity in the secondary market. In light of these factors, we seek comment on the appropriate duration
of PALs and any associated costs and benefits of this or other proposals.
. Our goal is to establish the geographic component of PALs in a way that
allows flexible, micro-targeted network deployments, promoting intensive and efficient use of the
spectrum, but also allowing easy aggregation to accommodate a larger network footprint. Due to their
low power and small size, small cells can provide broadband coverage and capacity in targeted
geographic areas.36 This applies whether small cells are used to offer independent broadband service,
supplemental coverage for a macrocell network, or private network functions.
We envision that PALs would be authorized in a highly localized fashion, such as at the
census tract level. Census tracts may provide an appropriately high level of geographic resolution for
small cell deployments, while also presenting a number of other benefits. Currently, there are over
74,000 census tracts in the United States targeted to an optimum population of 4,000. 37 Census tracts
vary in size depending on the population density of the region, with tracts as small as one square mile or
less in dense urban areas and up to 85,000 square miles in sparsely populated rural regions.38 They
generally nest into counties and other political subdivisions39 and, in turn, into the standardized license
areas commonly used by the Commission (e.g.
, Cellular Market Areas and Economic Areas).40 Census
34 The number of consecutive PALs that could be aggregated at a given time by a single licensee would be capped. See infra
35 We note that such an approach also reflects the PCAST vision of “short-term priority operating rights” for
licensed users. See
PCAST Report at 23. Note that the PCAST refers to a “Secondary Access” tier that is
conceptually the same as the “Priority Access” tier proposed in the NPRM. See
3.5 GHZ NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at
15612, note 129.
3.5 GHZ NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15606-06, ¶¶ 30-32.
United States Census Bureau, Geographic Terms and Concepts – Census
Tract, available at
(last visited September 5, 2013); Some information Calculated
using Geolytics Population estimates 2012 from U.S. Geography obtained from United States Census Bureau, Tiger/Line Shapefiles and Tiger/Line Files
, available at
(Last visited September 5, 2013).
38 The 85,000 square mile census tract is in Alaska. The largest census tract in the continental United States is
approximately 40,000 square miles. Calculated using Geolytics Population estimates 2012 from U.S. Geography
obtained from United States Census Bureau, Tiger/Line Shapefiles and Tiger/Line Files
, available at
(Last visited August 15, 2013).
United States Census Bureau, Geographic Terms and Concepts – Census
Tract, available at
(last visited September 5, 2013).
40 See id.
(“Census tract boundaries generally follow visible and identifiable features. They may follow nonvisible
legal boundaries, such as minor civil division (MCD) or incorporated place boundaries in some states and situations,
to allow for census-tract-to-governmental-unit relationships where the governmental boundaries tend to remain
tracts could be aggregated into those or other larger areas. Census tracts generally align with the borders
of political boundaries (e.g.
, city lines) and often to natural features, which may affect population density
, rivers).41 Census tracts, therefore, may naturally mirror key considerations in small cell deployment
by service providers, such as tracking existing customers, plant, and permits or rights-of-way. In
addition, the inclusion of census tracts in census geospatial databases could ease the incorporation of
geographic and demographic data into an SAS.
We seek comment on considerations regarding the size of the geographic component of
the PALs. Are census tracts an appropriate geographic unit for PALs? If not, what standard geographic
unit would best promote the Commission’s goals? Should other geographic areas (e.g.
, counties, census
block groups) or licensing units (e.g.,
Cellular Market Areas), be used instead? Would a standardized
, 1 kilometer x 1 kilometer or 2 kilometer x 2 kilometer square) overlaid on the United States be
a more appropriate geographic unit? Alternately, could a standardized high-resolution grid be “nested”
within a larger grid or a political boundary such as a county? Commenters should identify any costs or
benefits, including a detailed technical analysis regarding the geographic size of the PALs.
. We identify 10 megahertz unpaired channels as a standard PAL
bandwidth that balances several objectives. First, 10 megahertz channels provide a practically deployable
and scalable bandwidth for high data rate technologies. Second, 10 megahertz channels divide evenly
into either the 100 megahertz (10 channels) available in the 3.5 GHz Band or the 150 megahertz of
spectrum (15 channels) that would be available if the supplemental plan is adopted, providing flexibility
for either proposal. Third, 10 megahertz channels are sufficiently granular to license multiple Priority
Access users in each geographic area, particularly where protection of incumbents limits the amount of
spectrum available for commercial use. Fourth, we expect that 10 megahertz licenses would provide
useful “building blocks” for licensees that might wish to aggregate larger amounts of spectrum in a given
area. We seek comment on the appropriate bandwidth for PALs and, in particular, whether 10 megahertz
blocks appropriately balance the needs of potential Priority Access users and the policy objectives
identified herein. Commenters should identify any costs or benefits, including a detailed technical
analysis of any proposed bandwidth unit.
License Flexibility and Fungibility
. The purpose of the PAL approach is to encourage
flexible use of the 3.5 GHz Band for an array of applications and end users. Such applications could
include not only small cell commercial broadband use, but private networks, non-line of sight backhaul,
and other innovative uses. Spectrum users would need to comply with certain technical criteria, such as
those discussed in section III (e) below, to ensure their effective coexistence. These requirements are
intended to be minimal to encourage diverse spectrum use. We seek comment on how much technical
flexibility is possible in the 3.5 GHz Band given the licensing model proposed in the NPRM and
elaborated upon in the Revised Framework.
. The PAL concept is intended to reduce the complexity associated with
administering and automating licensing processes for a large number of granular licenses by eliminating
the need for a number of regulatory requirements associated with longer term licenses. We seek comment
on the implications of the PAL concept on existing Commission licensing and authorization processes as
well as for the design of an SAS.
We also seek comment on the amount and type of information that would need to be
collected from potential Priority Access licensees. The Communications Act establishes certain
categories of eligibility for license applications, while giving the Commission broad discretion to
(Continued from previous page)
unchanged between censuses. State and county boundaries always are census tract boundaries in the standard
census geographic hierarchy.”).
41 See id.
determine specific eligibility criteria.42 In the auctions context, the Commission typically requires
applicants for spectrum licenses to submit short and long form applications detailing their qualifications
and any supplemental information the Commission deems necessary.43 The Communications Act also
limits foreign ownership of FCC licenses44 and comprehensive ownership information is required for all
license applications, whether or not they are subject to competitive bidding.45 Certain additional
qualifications are prescribed by statute.46
Given our goal of a more fungible and administratively streamlined licensing regime for
the 3.5 GHz Band, we seek comment on the information that must be collected from prospective licensees
in an open eligibility environment. What is the minimum amount of licensee data that must be directly
collected and maintained by the Commission to meet the requirements of the Communications Act? Are
there any legal or other impediments to collection and maintenance of such information by a third party,
such as an SAS operator under Commission supervision? What requirements, such as for information
security, would need to be imposed on such third parties? What processes and standards, and what
Commission review mechanism, should be applied to ensure that licensee information is collected in
accordance with Commission rules and all licensees meet appropriate eligibility requirements?
Assignment of Priority Access Licenses
In the NPRM, the Commission sought comment on a proposed license-by-rule
authorization regime as well as alternative licensing schemes, including auctions for Priority Access tier
use within defined geographic service areas and other assignment methodologies.47 Under the Revised
Framework, the number of applications for Priority Access rights could exceed the number of available
PALs in a given area or timeframe and, in that event, we would need to provide for a means of resolving
mutually exclusive applications. Section 309(j) of the Communications Act generally requires the
Commission to resolve mutually exclusive applications via competitive bidding.48 Given the unique
nature of the PAL-based licensing framework, we see an opportunity with the 3.5 GHz Band to develop
more flexible and dynamic auction mechanisms than we have used thus far for assigning authorizations,
consistent with the requirements of Section 309(j). Such dynamic, flexible auction mechanisms have
been supported by several parties in the record.49 Therefore, we seek comment on approaches to
spectrum assignment and auction that could be used to productively manage use of the Priority Access
tier while allowing SAS authorized opportunistic use of the GAA tier as described in the NPRM.50
47 U.S.C. § 308 (b) (“All applications for station licenses, or modifications or renewals thereof, shall set forth
such facts as the Commission by regulation may prescribe as to the citizenship, character, and financial, technical,
and other qualifications of the applicant to operate the station; the ownership and location of the proposed station
and of the stations, if any, with which it is proposed to communicate; the frequencies and the power desired to be
used; the hours of the day or other periods of time during which it is proposed to operate the station; the purposes for
which the station is to be used; and such other information as it may require.”)
47 C.F.R. § 1.2105.
47 U.S.C. § 310.
47 C.F.R. § 1.2112.
21 U.S.C. § 862; 47 C.F.R. § 1.2001 (Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988).
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15622-23, ¶¶ 83-86.
47 U.S.C. § 309 (j)(1) (“If, consistent with the obligations described in paragraph (6)(E), mutually exclusive
applications are accepted for any initial license or construction permit, then, …the Commission shall grant the
license or permit to a qualified applicant through a system of competitive bidding that meets the requirements of this
49 See, e.g.
, Cantor Ex Parte
; AT&T-Google Letter at 3.
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15620, ¶ 75.
One authorization method that could serve the goals of this Revised Framework would be
a combination of the license-by-rule approach proposed in the NPRM and a more traditional auction
process. Under such an approach, GAA users would be licensed by rule under Part 95, requiring
registration with the SAS for operation as set forth in the NPRM.51 Separate licenses would not be
required for individual GAA users. For Priority Access users, the Commission would not license use by
rule. Instead, on a regular basis (perhaps annually), the Commission would open windows for applications
for available PALs. To accommodate the ability of licensees to aggregate consecutive one-year terms, the
Commission could offer multiple consecutive years of PAL rights simultaneously. At the close of such a
“window,” the Commission would hold an auction to assign PALs where there are mutually exclusive
applications pending. Mutual exclusivity would be triggered when more applications are submitted than
can be accommodated geographically, temporally, or spectrally.
We expect that Priority Access authorizations would be issued on a PAL basis, as defined
above. Licensees would have no renewal expectancy, would automatically terminate at the end of their
one-year terms and would be non-renewable.52 We do not anticipate adopting construction or service
requirements for Priority Access licensees due to the impracticability of enforcing such requirements
across 74,000 or more license areas with, potentially, multiple licensees in each area if we base PALs on
census tracts. However, to encourage deployment and long term network planning, we anticipate
allowing potential licensees to bid for multiple consecutive years of PAL rights in a given geographic area
at a single auction, up to a predetermined cap. Payment for each consecutive PAL could be due annually
prior to the license start date and a license would terminate automatically if the payment is not made.
Additionally, licensees may be permitted to trade future PAL rights via secondary market transactions.
As noted below, we anticipate that annual auctions, combined with microtargeted licensing and annual
pre-payment requirements would sufficiently incentivize construction of network facilities and intensive
spectrum use for a diverse range of uses in the public interest while discouraging warehousing.
We anticipate that this spectrum assignment process would require a greater degree of
automation and, potentially, more third-party participation than the Commission has employed in past
auctions. Given the large number of license areas and relatively short license terms envisioned in the
Revised Framework, more flexible and dynamic auction mechanisms may be required to effectively
manage use of the Priority Access tier. We also foresee an opportunity for third-parties to add value to
the auction process by developing tools to help bidders manage their inventory of PALs and structure bids
in regular auctions. We seek comment on the degree to which such an auction could be automated and
administered by a third party. What kind of auction format would be most appropriate? Should SAS
managers be permitted to administer auction process as well or should these functions be kept separate?
What level of automation would be required to process the volume of applications and bids that such an
auction would entail? To what degree could the Commission assign the responsibility for administering
this type of auction to a qualified third party and, if it did so, what safeguards would be required to ensure
the integrity of the auction process? What lessons can be drawn from prior Commission reliance on third-
parties in auction or other contexts, including selection criteria for and supervision of such third parties?53
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15620, ¶¶ 75-76.
52 Even without a renewal expectancy, a given licensee could acquire additional years of rights to a given PAL in
53 See, e.g.,
47 U.S.C. § 251(e)(10); 47 C.F.R. § 52.12 (oversight of North American Numbering Plan
Administrator); 47 C.F.R. §§ 54.701 et seq.
; Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, Report and Order,
FCC Rcd 8776, 9217-18, ¶¶ 867-69 (1997) (subsequent history omitted) (Universal Service Administrative
Company); Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, Report and Order, Fifth Report and
Order, Fourth Memorandum Opinion and Order, and Order,
19 FCC Rcd 14969, 15070-75, ¶¶ 190-200 (2004)
(Transition Administrator for band reconfiguration); 47 C.F.R. §§ 74.24, 90.35, 90.175, 95.1111 (frequency
coordinators). We would not contemplate reliance upon such third parties for “the performance of inherently
We seek comment on the auction and licensing mechanisms discussed above, including
their economic and technical viability, whether they are consistent with the requirements of Section
309(j), and any other potential legal issues that may arise. Commenters should identify any costs or
benefits associated with the proposal. Would such an approach properly incentivize targeted use of the
Priority Access tier by a diverse group of users? How many consecutive years of PALs should the
Commission offer in a single auction? What, if any, limits should be placed on the aggregation of PALs –
in time, location, or frequency – by a single licensee?
We also seek comment on alternative licensing and authorization mechanisms. For
instance, could a license-by-rule regime encompass both the GAA and Priority Access tiers, as they are
envisioned in the Revised Framework? Are other models preferable? Commenters advocating alternative
assignment models should identify any costs or benefits associated with these approaches and should
include a detailed technical analysis.
We seek comment on a band plan that would balance SAS-authorized opportunistic
access to the GAA tier with targeted exclusive access to the Priority Access tier, as described above.
Under the Revised Framework, a minimum amount of spectrum would be designated for GAA access in
each geographic area, leaving the remaining bandwidth available for assignment to priority access users
on a PAL basis.54 We seek comment on whether a minimum GAA reservation should be defined in terms
a proportional ratio that can scale with the quantity of spectrum available in a given location or time after
protecting incumbent uses, rather than a fixed (megahertz) bandwidth. Would a ratio assigning a
minimum of, for example, 40 or 50 percent of available bandwidth for GAA use further the public interest
or would another ratio be more appropriate? We emphasize that such ratio would constitute the “floor”
for GAA use. Under the Revised Framework, GAA use would be authorized and managed by the SAS,
as proposed in the NPRM.55 In addition, when Priority Access rights have not been issued (e.g., due to
lack of demand) or the spectrum is not actually in use by a Priority Access licensee, the SAS would
automatically make that spectrum available for GAA use locally. Therefore, in any given location, the
quantity of spectrum available for GAA use could exceed the reserved amount – sometimes by a
significant margin. This approach would ensure that the greatest possible portion of the 3.5 GHz Band
would be intensively used.
We seek comment on the public interest benefits of balancing GAA and Priority Access
use in the 3.5 GHz Band in the manner described above. We also acknowledge that, if the supplemental
proposal to include the 3650-3700 MHz band is adopted, an even split between Priority Access and GAA
use would result in a fractional PAL and seek comment on the appropriate ratio to apply in this situation.
We also seek comment on implementation details, including, for example, how the “use-it-or-share-it”
concept described above could be implemented. What does “use” mean in this context? How should it be
measured? How would such dynamically changing rights be enforced? Commenters should identify any
costs and benefits associated with any proposed implementation approach.
We also envision that, in place of a static channel model, the SAS would dynamically
assign specific frequencies within given geographic areas.56 The SAS would assign GAA users and
Priority Access licensees shares of the band but the exact spectral location of a given transmission
(Continued from previous page)
governmental functions,” including “determination of agency policy,” terms for disposition of Government property,
or “approval of Federal licensing actions.” 48 C.F.R. § 7.503 (Federal Acquisition Regulation).
54 A few commenters suggested this concept. See
Google Comments at 7; Comments of Spectrum Bridge, Inc. in
GN Docket No. 12-354 at 9.
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15620, ¶¶ 75-77.
56 The appropriate division of the 3.5 GHz Band as well as various dynamic and static apportionment models were
raised in the 3.5 GHz NPRM. See
3.5 GHz NPRM at ¶ 74.
authorization within the band would not be fixed. For example, a licensee might have Priority Access
rights for a single PAL, as defined above, but the specific frequencies assigned to that user would be
managed by the SAS and could be reassigned from time to time (e.g.
, from 3550-3560 MHz to 3630-3640
MHz). The SAS would assign and maintain appropriate frequency assignments and ensure that lower tier
users do not interfere with higher tier users and to minimize interference among users in the same tier.
Under this approach, we ask whether authorized base stations, handsets, and other user equipment should
be required to be capable of operating across the entire 3.5 GHz Band. How would a requirement to
include capability to operate across the entire band affect equipment design, performance and cost?
We acknowledge that there may be benefits for Priority Access tier licensees and GAA
users to ensuring that contiguous blocks of spectrum are made available for each tier and even individual
licensees with multiple PALs in a given geographic area. We seek comment on whether it would be
technologically feasible and in the public interest to ensure that contiguous spectrum is made available on
a tier-by-tier and licensee-by-licensee basis.
We seek comment on this dynamic approach to frequency assignment. We acknowledge
that this interactive approach would require the SAS to go well beyond the parameters of the current TV
White Spaces databases to manage multiple users on a dynamic, real time or near real time basis. Is this
spectrum management approach feasible using current or developing technologies? Are there any
technical parameters that would need to be codified in Commission rules? How do the public interest
benefits of such an approach compare to a more traditional channel block band plan? Commenters should
identify any costs or benefits and include a detailed technical analysis to support their positions on
dynamic assignment of frequency bands.
Ensuring Productive Spectrum Use
The Revised Framework leverages the unique characteristics of small cells and the
capabilities of modern database technologies to ensure that the 3.5 GHz Band is used intensively for a
wide variety of potential applications. We seek comment on whether the PAL-based allocation model
outlined above could, by assigning priority spectrum rights in a targeted and dynamic fashion, help to
ensure that Priority Access rights are allocated to the parties that would make the most productive use of
quality-assured spectrum within a given geographic area. Moreover, short term licenses with no renewal
expectancy would provide licensees with incentives to make actual and consistent use of the spectrum and
significantly reduce the risk of spectrum warehousing. This paradigm could also obviate the need for
performance and construction requirements that could be especially burdensome and difficult to
administer in the small cell context.
In the Revised Framework, the GAA tier plays an important role in ensuring that the 3.5
GHz Band is used consistently and productively. Ensuring that a significant GAA “floor” is maintained
in all geographic areas where commercial use of the 3.5 GHz Band is permitted, regardless of the number
of Priority Access tier users in the area, should encourage widespread deployment of base stations and
handsets that would operate opportunistically in the band under the control of the SAS. Moreover, under
the Revised Framework, PALs that are not in actual use would be added to the pool of available GAA
spectrum, as determined by the SAS. Thus, the GAA tier could be used to supplement the spectrum
available to active Priority Access users and as a source of spectrum for opportunistic users as determined
by the SAS. These complementary functions should maximize the utility of the 3.5 GHz Band for a
diverse set of applications.
We seek comment on this approach to promoting productive use of the 3.5 GHz Band.
Would the PAL concept provide strong incentives for licensees to productive use their priority rights?
What technical metrics are appropriate to measure “use” in a portion of or the entirety of a PAL? How
can the SAS effectively monitor actual use of the Priority Access tier to determine whether additional
spectrum is available for GAA use?
Localized Critical Access Use
As explained in the NPRM, a variety of critical services in the United States have urgent
current as well as future spectrum needs.57 While there is currently insufficient spectrum available to
efficiently allocate dedicated spectrum bands to all of these users, we continue to believe that the 3.5 GHz
Band can be used to provide localized, protected spectrum to entities with a need for reliable, interference
protected spectrum access throughout much of the country.58 Many parties, including Motorola
Solutions, UTI, EEI, and Microsoft submitted comments supporting such access to the 3.5 GHz Band for
various critical access users.59 Even as we explore methods for expanding access to the Priority Access
tier, we continue to believe that “the high spatial reuse characteristics of low-power 3.5 GHz
transmissions, combined with access management facilitated by the SAS, should allow the 3.5 GHz Band
to be utilized on a shared, licensed basis by a variety of critical users to provide high quality services to
Under the authorization method described above, critical access users would be eligible
to register and, in the case of mutually exclusive applications, bid for access to Priority Access tier PALs.
However, many such facilities (e.g.,
hospitals) generally only need access within specific buildings and
therefore may not require exclusive access to even a full census tract of Priority Access tier spectrum.
Moreover, these users would likely be unable to outbid well capitalized commercial interests for
competitive PALs. As such, we seek comment on whether it would be possible to allow such critical
users to receive interference protections, akin to Priority Access users, within a limited portion (e.g.,
megahertz) of the GAA pool inside the confines of their facilities.
Under this approach, qualified critical access facilities would be eligible to operate indoor
small cell networks on a quality-assured basis. These licensees would be required to register their
networks in the SAS and comply with applicable technical rules, including low power limits.61 In
addition, while the SAS could manage GAA use in the area to provide a measure of protection for critical
access users, such users might also be required to employ interference mitigation techniques to ensure a
properly interference-limited environment. Such techniques could include physical shielding or building
modifications around eligible facilities. Alternatively, there may be standard specifications for building
efficiency or radio frequency (RF) shielding that go beyond those applicable to normal construction that
could provide enough certainty against interference from surrounding Priority Access or GAA use so as
to provide an interference “safe harbor” for those seeking critical access protections.62 We note that some
modern building standards may incorporate materials that result in some degree of RF shielding.
We seek comment on methods to provide quality-assured spectrum for critical access
users. Does the Revised Framework adequately address the needs of such critical access users? Would
the SAS be able to effectively manage spectrum use by a large number of microtargeted facilities? What
interference mitigation techniques should be required to ensure that these facilities do not interfere with or
receive interference from other 3.5 GHz Band users? How would compliance with technical rules and
interference mitigation requirements be managed? What RF emission limits would be appropriate for a
“safe harbor” as described above? Would this plan unacceptably encumber GAA spectrum? We ask that
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15618, ¶ 70.
58 See id.
Consolidated Utilities Association Comments at 12-14; Motorola Solutions Comments at 3; Microsoft
Comments at 9.
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15619, ¶ 73.
61 See infra
Section III (E).
62 For example, users could implement aspects of the building RF shielding specifications set forth in the technical
specifications for sensitive compartment information facilities. See
Office of the National Counterintelligence
Executive, Technical Specifications for Construction and Management of Sensitive Compartmented Information
Facilities, Version 1.2, IC Tech Spec-for ICD/ICS 705 (Apr. 23, 2012), http://www.ncix.gov/publications/policy/docs/Technical_Specifications_for_SCIF_Construction-V1.2.pdf
commenters identify any costs and benefits and provide a detailed technical analysis to support their
We also ask whether this approach should be limited to “critical access” facilities. Could
quality assured, microtargeted indoor networks be employed generally by property owners subject to
appropriate technical and interference mitigation requirements? What types of mitigation techniques
would such buildings need to employ to effectively prevent exterior interference? Could such buildings
coexist in close proximity without unacceptably interfering with one another? Would an SAS be able to
effectively manage a large number of these locations?
While we expect that the SAS would coordinate much of the interaction between
disparate users in the 3.5 GHz Band, some minimal technical requirements will be necessary to ensure
that multiple networks can effectively coexist in the band. As such, we seek comment on certain
technical issues related to implementing the Revised Framework. In responding to questions in this
section, we ask that commenters identify any costs and benefits and provide detailed technical analysis to
support their proposals. We also recognize that these issues may need to be explored in greater depth in
the future and, to that end, we may seek additional comment on specific technical rules in future notices.
Technical Implementation of the Revised Framework
The effectiveness of dynamic spectrum sharing depends on the proper application of
interference mitigation and spectrum management techniques for operating in the shared band. The
Commission addressed some of the technical features of small cells in the NPRM, including allowable
power limits for small cell base stations, and solicited comment on these and other potential technical
rules.63 Below, we seek additional comment on technical rules and assumptions appropriate to
implementing the Revised Framework or variations supported by commenters. We ask that commenters
identify any costs and benefits and provide detailed technical analysis to support their proposals.
Building on the approach taken in the TV White Space proceeding, we expect that the
SAS would manage and configure the use of authorized spectrum and policy related parameters, and
communicate updates regarding spectrum availability and operational requirements to existing and new
users. The SAS could extend the TV White Spaces paradigm with a greater degree of dynamism – by
incorporating information about spectrum utilization from other Citizen’s Broadband users to manage
access to the band on a real-time or near-real time basis. For example, infrastructure nodes, such as base
stations, access points, or core network elements could interact with the SAS and provide end user
devices with operational parameters and recent changes. Given these factors, we seek comment on the
essential high-level requirements for the SAS and the nature of its interactions with the different
technologies and network topologies in the 3.5 GHz Band.
Compared to typical macrocell deployments, small cell networks are generally
characterized by: lower transmit power, lower local RF transmissions, and an ability to operate in a
relatively high interference environment (relative to thermal noise; Interference-over-Thermal (IoT)). In
addition, recent advancements in network self-organization and interference management technologies
are expected to allow for new spectrum sharing paradigms, which are difficult to implement or
impractical in traditional noise-limited environments. Given the variety of possible network deployments
and the wide range of potential network parameters and RF configurations, we anticipate that many of the
parameters of systems operating in the 3.5 GHz Band will be managed by the SAS. However, some
preliminary estimated values for transmission power levels, whether field strength or power flux density
(PFD) limits should be imposed. With regard to the Revised Framework, the key technical considerations
include: (1) base station transmit power; (2) acceptable interference environment; and (3) technical
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15636-39, ¶¶ 128-143.
flexibility. In light of the Revised Framework described here and additional staff analysis, we seek
comment on some preliminary values defining some of these technical parameters and criteria.
Base Station Transmit Power
. As a baseline, we seek comment on limiting small cell
base stations operating in the 3.5 GHz Band to a maximum 24dBm transmit power along with maximum
antenna gain of 6dBi. These values are consistent with the 30dBm EiRP commonly assumed in various
studies for small cell base stations. The maximum operational EiRP of individual base stations might be
reduced by the SAS to prevent interference and promote efficient network operation. In addition, we
assume end user devices to have configurable maximum power levels below typical 23dBm values and
support for some form of power control to ensure effective spectrum sharing.
We seek comment on the power levels which should be considered as a baseline for
spectrum sharing evaluation and if the SAS can regulate the use of such power levels. We also seek
comment on the degree to which power levels in excess of 24 dBm may be appropriate to enable other
use cases, such as the rural coverage case contemplated in our NPRM.64 Should we consider additional
higher and lower base station (e.g.,
eNodeB or Access Point) power classes for operation in the 3.5 GHz
Band to address different network deployments? What values should be assumed for EIRP? Should
power control function and capability at the base station and user device be service rule requirements?
Acceptable Interference Environment.
Another key factor to consider is the acceptable
interference environment in which multiple small cell networks would be able to coexist. The acceptable
interference rise over thermal noise for small deployments has been studied with operational values
around 20dB for picocells and even higher (e.g.
, greater than 40dB) for femtocells.65 A common
understanding of tolerable IoT levels and extending them to estimate maximum acceptable intersystem
co-channel interference and adjacent channel interference appear key to realizing and quantifying the
potential in spectrum sharing. What are appropriate values for IoT given the Revised Framework we
envision for the 3.5 GHz Band? In addressing this question, commenters should focus not only on
interference issues between similar type systems (e.g.
, LTE to LTE), but also on coexistence issues
between disparate systems (e.g.
, LTE to Wi-Fi). Are different considerations necessary for each of these
situations? Can such an approach be integrated with the imposition of some minimal receiver standards
on equipment in the band? How could such policies be implemented and enforced at licensees’
geographic boundary for a single PAL or a collection of aggregated PALs? Similarly, one can estimate
the maximum signal level received from each system in adjacent channels. We seek comment on noise
figures, aggregate and intra and inter-system IoT thresholds, and receiver desensitization with focus on
3.5 GHz Band small cells. In addition, we seek comment on whether an approach based on field strength
or PFD would be more appropriate and easier to administer and comply with. If so, at what location(s)
should such limits be imposed (e.g
., at ground level, at some height above ground)? What additional
consideration is needed if two adjacent systems use different radio access technologies or have no or poor
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15620-22, ¶¶ 77-82.
Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), LTE, Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA),
TDD Home eNode B (HeNB) Radio Frequency (RF) requirements analysis (Release 11), TR 36.922 v11.0.0 (2012-
10), available at http://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_tr/136900_136999/136922/11.00.00_60/tr_136922v110000p.pdf
(last visited August 30, 2013); 3GPP, Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network, Evolved Universal
Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA), Radio Frequency (RF) requirements for LTE Pico Node B (Release 9), TR
36.931 V9.0.0 (2009-12), available at http://www.quintillion.co.jp/3GPP/Specs/36931-900.pdf
(last visited August
30, 2013); 3GPP, LTE, Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA),User Equipment (UE) radio
transmission and reception (Release 11) TS 36.101 version 11.4.0 (2013-04), available at
August 30, 2013); 3GPP, LTE, Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA), Base Station (BS) radio
transmission and reception (Release 11), TS 36.104 v11.4.0 (2013-03), available at
August 30, 2013).
The Revised Framework is designed to flexibly accommodate
different types of end users and a variety of use cases. To what extent could technical rules facilitate the
effective coexistence of disparate technologies and network topologies in the band? Should we also
accommodate point to multipoint radios for wireless backhaul and WISP applications as suggested by
some commenters?66 If so, how would their coexistence with small cells in nearby locations or adjacent
channels be managed? Could spectrum coordination between different networks and technologies be
automated in whole or in part and managed by the SAS? How can the SAS facilitate coexistence of
Additional Technical Considerations
We acknowledge that there may be additional technical considerations beyond those
addressed in the NPRM and this Public Notice that would need to be incorporated into any technical rules
adopted in this proceeding. We seek comment on what additional technical issues may need to be
addressed in this proceeding to promote efficiency and intensive use of the 3.5 GHz Band. We encourage
commenters to address these issues as thoroughly as possible. To the extent we see commenters identify
common issues that require further discussion, we may seek additional comment as appropriate. As noted
above, we envision holding a workshop on the technical aspects of the SAS in the near future. The
Bureaus will solicit further input on SAS requirements in conjunction with that event.
We note that the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council (TAC) has been studying
spectrum interference policy and receiver standards in general, and it recommends that the Commission
consider forming one or more multi-stakeholder groups to study such standards and interference limits
policy at suitable service boundaries, such as those related to the 3.5 GHz band.67 Should the
Commission encourage the formation of one or more groups to investigate interference limit policy for
the 3.5 GHz band? If so, what should be the scope of such a group or groups?68
Extension of Revised Framework to the 3650-3700 MHz Band
The NPRM described the possibility of extending the proposed licensing framework to
the 3650-3700 MHz band.69 Several commenters, including wireless Internet service providers,
commercial carriers, and others commented on the advisability of adopting the supplemental proposal.70
Although our primary objective here is to describe how the Revised Framework would operate in the
context of the 3.5 GHz Band, we also seek comment on whether and how it could be extended to the
3650-3700 MHz band. What, if any, additional considerations would apply if the Revised Framework
BLiNQ Networks, Inc., Ex Parte
, GN Docket No. 12-354 (filed on September 6, 2013); WISPA Comments;
WISPA Comments at 11-14; Comments of WiMAX Forum in GN Docket No. 12-354 at 5-6 (WiMAX Forum
FCC Technological Advisory Council, Receivers and Spectrum Working Group, Interference Limits Policy -
The Use of Harm Claim Thresholds to Improve the Interference Tolerance of Wireless Systems, White Paper
(February 6, 2013), available at
(Last visited August 30,
Office of Engineering and Technology Invites Comments on Technological Advisory Council (TAC) White
Paper and Recommendations for Improving Receiver Performance, Public Notice
, ET Docket No. 13-101, DA 13-
801 (April 22, 2013).
3.5 GHz NPRM, 27 FCC Rcd at 15620-22, ¶¶ 77-82.
70 See, e.g.
, Comments of Cambium Networks LLC in GN Docket No. 12-354 at 3; Google Comments at 11 and 13;
ITT Comments at 5; Motorola Solutions Comments at 4; Comments of the National Association of Broadcasters in
GN Docket No. 12-354 at 3-4; Qualcomm Comments at 19; Comments of the Wireless Internet Service Providers
Association in GN Docket No. 12-354 at 19; Verizon Reply Comments at 3; WiMAX Forum Comments at 7-8.
were to be applied to the 3650-3700 MHz band? What provisions would need to be made for incumbent
operators? How much transition time would be required?
As noted in the NPRM, this proceeding has been designated as a “permit-but-disclose”
proceeding in accordance with the Commission’s ex parte
Comments are due on or before October 31, 2013, and reply comments are due on or
before November 15, 2013. All filings must refer to GN Docket No. 12-354.
Pursuant to sections 1.415(d) and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR §§ 1.415(d),
1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the
first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing
System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings
, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each
filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding,
filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-
class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary
must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325,
Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries
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Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
Our NPRM included as Appendix B an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA).
That IRFA “specifically invite[d] comment on a range of potential technical, legal, and policy aspects of
its proposal,” and noted that “the Commission has not excluded any alternative proposal concerning the
operation of the Citizens Broadband Service from its consideration.” This Public Notice seeks further
comment on some of the proposals and alternatives initially raised in the NPRM. We request
supplemental comments on the IRFA in light of the details and issues raised in the Public Notice. These
comments must be filed in accordance with the same filing deadlines as comments filed in response to
this Public Notice as set forth on the first page of this document and have a separate and distinct heading
designating them as responses to the IRFA.
Initial Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis
Our NPRM included a separate request for comment from the general public and the
Office of Management and Budget on the information collection requirements contained therein, as
required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, and the Small Business
Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198. As noted above, this Public Notice seeks further
comment on some proposals and alternatives initially raised in the NPRM. We invite supplemental
comment on these requirements in light of the details and issues raised in the Public Notice.
Action by the Commission on November 1, 2013 by Chairwoman Clyburn and Commissioners Pai and