Federated Wireless CEO Iyad Tarazi expressed confidence that extensive development work for the US Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) won’t be wasted despite expected changes to the rules governing the 3.5GHz band.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in October approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to revise its rules for the shared band, including a shift to longer licence terms, larger areas and availability of Priority Access Licences (PAL) for a larger portion of the 150MHz swath of spectrum.
But Tarazi told Mobile World Live the existence of General Authorised Access (GAA) licenses will ensure none of the CBRS development work up to this point will be wasted.
“The rules for the 80MHz of GAA spectrum have been set, and large trials are underway in preparation for launching commercial GAA services in 2018,” Tarazi commented. “In fact, until PAL license auctions occur, the entire 150MHz of spectrum is available for GAA when not in use by incumbents.”
Tarazi added a software-defined approach to spectrum management will help companies like Federated Wireless more quickly adapt to any rule changes that are adopted (Federated is a cloud-based vendor working in this space).
Critics – including tech giants Google and Microsoft; and smaller, rural operators – raised concerns that changing the CBRS band plan will effectively push out all but a handful of large operators who can afford to buy PALs.
However, Tarazi reported the FCC has been “very active in engaging with all parties across the industry” and indicated he’s confident that the Commission will “land somewhere that makes sense for all parties involved”.