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Commission Hosts 600 MHz Band Plan Workshop

by: Ruth Milkman, Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

May 7, 2013

The FCC hosted a public workshop Friday as part of its LEARN program.  The workshop focused on how best to structure the 600 MHz wireless band plan in the upcoming incentive auction.  In proposing a band plan, the Commission focused on five key policy goals: utility, certainty, interchangeability, quantity, and interoperability.  The workshop focused on tradeoffs of elements within these goals to achieve balance.

At the workshop, FCC staff moderated a highly informative discussion among stakeholders representing a wide range of interests, including television broadcasters, licensed mobile broadband providers, device and component manufacturers, and other interested parties. 

Friday’s discussion indicated support for many of the band plan elements proposed in our Incentive Auction NPRM.  We also received valuable input regarding some of the more challenging issues associated with developing the 600 MHz band plan.  In particular, we had very productive technical discussions on intermodulation and harmonics interference, mobile antenna issues, filter pass band issues, and how to accommodate technical flexibility in the band.  

The workshop provided the Commission with additional insights on stakeholders’ views with respect to the band plan.  Specifically, the discussion helped us to better gauge the relative significance of certain technical issues.  For example, most panelists seemed to agree that harmonics interference was a lesser concern than other issues raised in the record.  Another matter on which FCC staff gained more insight was how participants weigh the amount of spectrum that may be repurposed against the increased technical challenges associated with larger amounts of spectrum.  Recognizing that technology continues to advance, most panelists agreed that we should try to develop a band plan framework that facilitates repurposing the maximum amount of available spectrum for mobile broadband.

The FCC is committed to an open process to ensure that all concerns are considered as we move through this complex proceeding.  Friday’s workshop was the fourth workshop in the LEARN series and part of the FCC’s continuing mission to engage stakeholders and provide opportunities for input and education. 

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