The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) streamlined rules related to the regulatory treatment of mobile services in different bands, shifting to regulate licensees based on the services they provide rather than the spectrum band used.
Specifically, the FCC eliminated “an outdated and incomplete list” defining commercial mobile radio services from its Part 20 rule, which governs regulatory classification and treatment of mobile services in different spectrum bands. The commission also scrapped “unnecessary filings” covering licensees seeking to use spectrum for private mobile radio services and harmonised licensing rules across spectrum bands.
Rather than presuming certain spectrum bands will be used for commercial or private services, FCC chairman Ajit Pai (pictured) explained the commission will now allow licensees to identify the nature and treatment of their mobile services based on how they are actually using their spectrum. The changes will not alter the underlying obligations for commercial and private services, Pai noted.
“With today’s order, we eliminate unnecessary rules that make no sense with today’s flexible use approach to licensing,” Pai said, adding the changes were “as common-sense and good-government a measure as you get”.
However, commissioner Mignon Clyburn (pictured, left) argued the shift “removes important procedural safeguards” which would help parties prove a company’s mobile broadband service should be classified as a commercial service and regulated as such. When coupled with the recent rollback of net neutrality regulations, the changes could “have many unsavoury implications for the future of competition policy”, she warned.