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The FCC will set aside 100 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band (3550-3650 MHz) for small cells. By using database technologies of unlicensed whites spaces, the FCC believes it will spur innovation throughout the economy, while protecting incumbent users in the band.

The spectrum is now used by Naval radar systems. But the federal spectrum has been off limits even hundreds of miles inland, even though there was no chance of interference.

The proposed new spectrum rules follow the recommendations of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) which said spectrum sharing could provide thousands of times the current capacity by reducing inefficiencies.

The Whitehouse PCAST spectrum report (pdf) promotes expanded spectrum-sharing technologies, originally developed for unused “white space” tv frequencies.

According to the report, some 1000 MHz of federal spectrum, especially in bands above 2.7 GHz, may be shared using the same WS interrogation technology.

The new “notice of proposed rulemaking,” was passed Wednesday by the FCC.

The proposal envisions three tiers of users, each with different levels of rights and protections:

  • 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.

Although the spectrum might be free of charge at first, eventually, depending on the level of demand, a pricing system could be implemented. In theory, this could allow a wireless carrier to pay for priority access in rare cases of extremely high demand.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says the United States is winning the Bandwidth race:

“The apps economy was a $10 billion market at the end of last year, and app revenues are projected to grow to $46 billion by 2016. In just the last few years the apps economy has created nearly 500,000 U.S. jobs. And from 2009 to 2011, annual investment in wireless networks increased approximately 25% to more than $25 billion, including billions to build out 4G LTE.

Cheaper, faster, better urban broadband might be enabled with inexpensive microcells on streetlights. Licensed, unlicensed, and shared. Spectrum crisis solved.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Spectrum War: Unlicensed, Shared and Auctioned, White Spaces: Nationwide by Mid January, FCC: TV Auction in 2014, Incentive Auctions: Going Nuclear, AT&T Fears FCC’s Incentive Auction Plans, FCC Moves on TV Frequency Auction, Google and Microsoft Want UK White Space?, Microsoft Announced Narrow Channel Whitespace, FCC Authorizes White Space Service in Wilmington, FCC Gets Unlicensed White Spaces in Payroll Tax Bill, White Space Show Down, Genachowski Lobbies for Unlicensed White Spaces, Universal Service Reform Passed, Microsoft Announced Narrow Channel Whitespace, FCC Authorizes White Space Service in Wilmington, White Space Legislation Goes Dark, White Space War, FCC Limits Dish on LTE Terrestrial Spectrum, Dish: On the Move, FCC Dishes Dirt, Talks Up 3.5 GHz, FCC Approves 2.3 GHz for AT&T, AT&T Likely to Get 2.3 GHz, Sprint’s Dish Compromise, Nexus 4 Deals for Voice/Data, MetroPCS Merges with T-Mobile USA,

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