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Utilities, WISPs Want Broader Use of 4.9 GHz Band

Electric utilities, wireless ISPs and others asked the FCC to allow broader use of the 4.9 GHz band, beyond public safety agencies, in comments on an FCC Further NPRM (see 2305160065). Utilities said the FCC limiting use to critical infrastructure…

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industry (CII) entities can protect public safety users. CII companies “have a record of co-existence with public safety licensees in other bands,” the Edison Electric Institute said: “To foster local control, public safety entities should directly lease 4.9 GHz spectrum to CII entities, and where public safety entities do not need 4.9 GHz spectrum, CII entities should be able to obtain primary licenses in the band.” The FCC should develop criteria for public safety licensees to work directly with CII companies on preemption, EEI said in docket 07-100. “The Commission has long acknowledged that the 4.9 GHz band is underutilized,” said Florida Power & Light. CII entities “use spectrum in ways that complement traditional public safety users, especially in response to emergencies and natural disasters,” the utility said. The American Petroleum Institute, the Enterprise Wireless Alliance and the Utilities Technology Council jointly said CII and enterprise users are the most likely users of the band beyond public safety agencies. They said it's “telling that no national or regional commercial carrier or organization representing such operators has filed comments indicating an interest in leasing 4.9 GHz spectrum under the conditions, including public safety protections, adopted by the FCC.” The FCC should "reject any argument that there is not a need for access to the 4.9 GHz band by commercial users, that commercial use of the 4.9 GHz band would interfere with public safety operations, and that the public interest would be served by expanding eligibility to certain users while excluding commercial interests,” the Wireless ISP Association said. WISPA proposed use of a dynamic spectrum coordination system to allow public safety to preempt other users. That model will “ensure reliable and immediate preemption and will provide non-public safety users with confidence that they will be able to access the 4.9 GHz band with sufficient certainty that they will only be preempted when technically necessary,” WISPs said. WISPA also opposed a petition by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials asking the FCC to reconsider part of revised rules for the spectrum (see 2303300060): “AASHTO’s Petition, which among other things requests that the Commission continue to prohibit non-public safety use of the band, provides no adequate basis for reconsideration under the Commission’s Rules and should be denied.”