On the Road Again
One way we can expand connectivity is promoting more efficient and productive use of underused spectrum. This month, we tackle mid-band spectrum in the 2.5 GHz range. Significant portions of the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum in this band currently lie fallow across approximately one-half of the United States, mostly in rural areas. And we haven’t granted new access to the entire 114 MHz of spectrum in this band for over 20 years. In other words, a scarce public resource that could be used to connect millions of Americans for a long time hasn’t been put to the best use, if it’s even been used at all. At a time when we are seeking to lead the world in 5G and connect every American with digital opportunity, that’s not acceptable. We can’t afford to leave this large band of spectrum behind. That’s why we will vote at our May 10 meeting on a proposal to allow more efficient and effective use of this band. Specifically, I’m proposing provide greater flexibility to current EBS licensees to freely use and transfer their spectrum. We would consider new opportunities for educational entities and Tribal Nations to gain access to this spectrum on a first-come, first-served basis in places where they have a local presence and can best serve their communities. And we would open up the remaining 2.5 GHz spectrum for auction to anyone, including commercial entities, on a flexible-use basis.
Other items on the agenda:
- I’ll ask Commissioners to consider streamlining or eliminating rules that require broadcasters to physically display or maintain their licenses and related information in specific locations
- The FCC will consider ways to mitigate any interference caused by the expanded use of FM translators
On the Road Again