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WiMAX Forum and Utility Industry Caution FCC Against Incorporating 3.65 GHz Spectrum Into New Citizens Broadband Radio Service Plan

Incumbents Urge Expansion Over Time, Based on Preliminary Testing in Real Market Conditions

CLACKAMAS, OR -- (Marketwired) -- 06/26/14 -- The WiMAX Forum®, the global body that certifies and promotes the compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless products based on IEEE Standard 802.16, is urging the Federal Communications Commission not to include the 3.65-3.7 GHz spectrum band when it adopts the anticipated 3.55-3.65 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) regulatory plan later this year.

"There are over 2,000 registrants currently in the 3.65 GHz FCC database, with over 100 Utilities as incumbent operators in this band," said Declan Byrne, President of the WiMAX Forum. "The FCC is embarking on an innovative, but untested plan for spectrum sharing through dynamic spectrum management and the auctioning of one-year licenses for the 3.55 -3.65 GHz CBRS band. Incumbent users in the 3.65 GHz band salute the FCC for this creativity and for wisely recognizing that additional spectrum is needed, particularly for small cell applications. However, the FCC has suggested including an additional 50 MHz from the 3.65 GHz band, which is replete with incumbent operators, in this radical new plan. This is simply a bad idea, at least until the proposed new rules and processes are implemented and tested in real market conditions."

Incumbents in the 3.65 GHz band include critical infrastructure operators such as Utilities and Oil and Gas companies, alongside hundreds of small Wireless Internet Service Providers mainly serving rural America. The GAO Inspector General, Adam Trzeciak, recently cautioned the Federal Government from over-reaching into multi-year and high-risk technology projects.

"The great irony here of course is that the Federal Government itself, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), funded a significant amount of the current 3.65 GHz networks. Now, with this proposal, they seek to change the rules midstream," Mr. Byrne added. "Incorporating 3.65 GHz into the new CBRS regime threatens to stall innovation and network expansion in the 3.65 GHz band. Doing so runs counter to good Federal policy of encouraging broadband expansion into underserved Rural America, and might deter new investment into Smart Grids in this band," Mr. Byrne noted. "We simply advise caution from proceeding too rapidly into untested waters. Sandbox the innovation to the 3.55-3.65 GHz band, where such a novel approach is clearly necessary. There is time down the road to expand the CBRS with the additional 3.65 GHz spectrum if the new rules and processes work out," concluded Mr. Byrne.

The WiMAX Forum, alongside like-minded organizations and with the support of incumbent operators and users of the 3.65 GHz band, is actively participating in the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, GN Docket No. 12-354, https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/06/02/2014-11732/commission-seeks-comment-on-shared-commercial-operations-in-the-3550-3650-mhz-band, associated with this issue.

Interested parties should contact Mr. Declan Byrne directly via email ([email protected]) to learn more about this effort or to seek ways to provide comment to the Federal Communications Communication.

About the WiMAX Forum

The WiMAX Forum is an industry-led, not-for-profit organization that certifies and promotes the compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless products based upon IEEE Standard 802.16. The WiMAX Forum's primary goal is to accelerate the adoption, deployment and expansion of WiMAX technologies across the globe while facilitating roaming agreements, sharing best practices within our membership and certifying products. WiMAX Forum Certified® products are interoperable and support broadband fixed, nomadic, portable and mobile services. The WiMAX Forum works closely with service providers and regulators to ensure that WiMAX Forum Certified systems meet customer and government requirements. For more information, visit www.wimaxforum.org.

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