Washington D.C. – The
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took the first steps today to open up
the 2GHz satellite-communications band for use by terrestrial wireless networks
to meet growing demand for mobile data services.
Dish currently owns
2GHz spectrum and wants to create a terrestrial wireless network.
The commission also
voted to investigate whether to require interoperability among different
carriers’ 700MHz 4G LTE networks so that smaller regional 4G LTE carriers could
use the Verizon and AT&T LTE networks for roaming. Regional carriers have
complained that a lack of interoperability not only makes their services less
competitive but also reduces the economies of scale on 700MHz 4G devices.
The FCC will
determine whether 700MHz-network interoperability would create interference
and, if so, whether the interference could be mitigated.
In proposing drafts
regulations to repurpose the 2GHz satellite band for terrestrial use, the FCC
noted that 40MHz of spectrum could be opened up for mobile wireless use. In October
2010, the FCC said growing data demand would require the addition of 300MHz of
mobile spectrum within five years to meet demand. In 2010, the FCC opened up
25MHz of spectrum for mobile use in the 2.3GHz band, and it plans to hold
auctions in which TV broadcasters would hand over up to 120MHz of unused TV spectrum
for mobile use in return for a cut of auction revenue.