FCC Opening up the 12 GHz Band for Satellite and Terrestrial Wireless Services

FCC Opening up the 12 GHz Band for Satellite and Terrestrial Wireless Services

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken a holistic approach to expand the use of over 1 GHz of prime mid-band spectrum in the 12 GHz band by ensuring stable spectrum access for current and next-generation satellite service while also empowering advanced terrestrial wireless services. The FCC adopted rules to preserve spectrum between 12.2-12.7 GHz for current and future satellite services. The FCC also proposed policies that position the 12.7-13.25 GHz band to support flexible terrestrial wireless use, including 6G wireless services.

In the 12.2 GHz band, the FCC ensures the present and future for satellite services, which are relied upon by millions of people across the country, by declining to authorize two-way, high- powered terrestrial mobile use due to a significant risk of harmful interference to existing and emergent services, particularly in the growing satellite broadband market. The Commission sought comment on other potential changes to expand the efficient use of the band, including for terrestrial fixed use or unlicensed use.

In the 12.7 GHz band, the FCC proposed to repurpose some or the entire band for mobile broadband or other expanded use. The Commission sought comment on options for grandfathering, relocating, and/or repacking incumbent non-federal licensees, as well as on alternative approaches that would use sharing methodologies among incumbents and new entrants.

This approach will pave the way for advanced satellite and terrestrial services to access spectrum resources to support consumer needs, helping to connect everyone everywhere to advance wireless services and supercharge the American economy.

Action by the Commission May 18, 2023 by Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 23-36). Chairwoman Rosenworcel, Commissioners Carr, Starks, and Simington approving. Chairwoman Rosenworcel, Commissioners Starks and Simington issuing separate statements.

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