The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) collaborated with the nation’s government and military to free up more mid-band spectrum, a significant development opening the door for an additional 72 million people to access wireless internet services.

Changes agreed to an aggregate interference model by the FCC, the NTIA and Department of the Navy (DoN) for 3.5GHz CBRS spectrum will provide uninterrupted access to the mid-band frequency while ensuring vital military communications are not interfered with.

The FCC referred to the CBRS spectrum as a “critical swathe”, explaining in a statement rules forged in 2015 allowed the frequency to be shared between the Department of Defence and commercial users, albeit with the military given priority.

FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel said the amendment to the sharing framework expands the availability of “reliable spectrum access” while ensuring government users “remain protected”.

DoN CIO Jane Overslaugh Rathbun explained having ready access to the spectrum is essential to maintaining the Navy’s fighting capabilities, something Alan Davidson, NTIA administrator and assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information, said was assured by the “win-win” agreement.

The amended framework essentially involves reducing the size of protected zones covering US coastlines and government facilities, bringing the total number of people able to access unencumbered CBRS spectrum to 240 million.

Spectrum Access System administrators will be clear to apply to amend their dynamic management following testing.