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FCC Proposes Innovative Small Cell Use in 3.5 GHz Band

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Released: December 12, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
445 12th Street, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

December 12, 2012
Cecilia Sulhoff, 202-418-0587


Washington, D.C.—The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today proposed to make
available 100 megahertz of shared spectrum in the 3.5 GHz Band (3550-3650 MHz) using small cell and
database technologies. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) broadly reflects the innovative
thinking of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which issued a
report this summer recommending spectrum sharing and small cell use in the 3.5 GHz Band. It also
builds upon the FCC’s previous work to free up spectrum by promoting spectrum sharing and enabling
innovative licensing techniques.
The proposal lays the groundwork for the widespread deployment of small cell technologies
across 100 megahertz of spectrum, and would spur significant innovation in wireless technologies and
applications throughout the economy, while protecting incumbent users in the band.
The proposal envisions three tiers of users, each with different levels of rights and protections in
the 3.5 GHz Band. The first tier, Incumbent Access, would include authorized federal users and
grandfathered fixed satellite service licensees. These incumbents would be afforded protection from all
other users in the 3.5 GHz Band. The second tier, Protected Access, would include critical use facilities,
such as hospitals, utilities, government facilities, and public safety entities that would be afforded quality-
assured access to a portion of the 3.5 GHz Band in certain designated locations. The third tier, General
Authorized Access, would include all other users – including the general public – that would have the
ability to operate in the 3.5 GHz Band subject to protections for Incumbent Access and Protected Access
users. A spectrum access system, incorporating a geo-location enabled dynamic database, would govern
access to the 3.5 GHz Band.
Action by the Commission December 12, 2012, by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 12-
148) Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners McDowell, Clyburn, Rosenworcel and Pai. Separate
statements issued by Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners McDowell, Clyburn, Rosenworcel and Pai.
For further information, contact Paul Powell: 202-418-1613;
News and information about the Federal Communications Commission is available at

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