recommended reading

FCC proposes ‘super Wi-Fi’ commercial use of military radar band

Djordje Radivojevic/

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday proposed opening up 100 MHz of Defense Department spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band for commercial “citizens broadband service” use while at the same time ensuring protection for military radars that operate in the band.

The FCC action followed a recommendation in July by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology that use of the military spectrum could support development of a “super Wi-Fi system” across the country.

The 100 MHz of spectrum from the 3550-3650 MHz band the FCC proposes to allocate for commercial use would be subject to licensing in three tiers, a different approach than the current unlicensed 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi bands, FCC said.

The first tier would include authorized federal users and grandfathered fixed satellite systems, guaranteed protection from interference by all other users in the band. Federal systems that would be guaranteed protection include Navy shipboard radars, carrier-based air traffic control systems and Army and Marine systems located around the country.

The next tier includes “critical use facilities” such as hospitals and public safety agencies that require quality assured access to the new spectrum. The final tier, General Authorized Access, would include all other users, including the general public, FCC said.

 “Exclusion zones” would be established to protect military systems from interference. Interference between users in the second two tiers would be reduced by small, low-powered cell sites with limited geographic range. A spectrum access system, incorporating a geo-location database, would govern access to the 3.5 GHz band, FCC said.

Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said, “Small cells are key elements of next-generation mobile networks, providing additional coverage in underserved areas and additional capacity where macro networks are overburdened, and improving the user experience for consumers and businesses. In the future, millions more small cells will be deployed, adding capacity and sucking up data demand.”

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel agreed. “Small cells can expand connectivity and facilitate more efficient use of existing frequencies,” she said. “They can cover areas that cannot be reached using macro cell services and at the same time do not present the same interference risk.”

The broad exclusion zones to protect military systems could shut out access to the 3.5 GHz band for 60 percent of the country’s population, including the Northeast corridor from New York to Boston, urban areas on both coasts of Florida, and Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, Dallas, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Denver, Commissioner Ajit Pai said.

Pai said, “I hope that small cells will enable us to have much smaller exclusion zones” to enable wider spread use of the 3.5 GHz spectrum.

(Image via imageZebra/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.