Yesterday’s FCC decision to make 150 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band available for shared use may be the impetus for service providers to deploy more carrier-grade small cell and fixed wireless broadband service networks in certain parts of the country. The agency approved a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking setting forth proposed rules for a new spectrum sharing regime. Under this spectrum sharing regime, service providers will have access (on a shared basis) to spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band that is best suited for carrier-grade small cell and fixed wireless broadband networks. This proposal reflects another significant step towards implementation of the spectrum sharing principles articulated in the 2012 report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (the so-called “PCAST” report). Through the use of a three-tiered access and sharing model comprised of federal and non-federal incumbents the FCC intends to facilitate spectrum sharing between different users and uses of the spectrum.

Additional details are available in our DWT Alert, or by contacting DWT attorneys.