What’s the standing of federal spectrum transitions?


A newly launched progress report goes over the state of federal customers’ transitions out of auctioned bands starting from AWS-1 to CBRS and extra midband spectrum at 3.45-3.55 GHz.

The annual Industrial Spectrum Enhancement Act report for 2021 was launched earlier this month by the Division of Commerce and the Nationwide Telecommunications and Data Administration (NTIA). For a few of these federal customers, closing transition out of the band is taking a decade or extra, plus tens of millions of {dollars} per 12 months in ongoing bills to relocate operations and obtain “comparable functionality” to their earlier operations.

The report replace covers spectrum auctioned way back to AWS-1 in 2006, and it not solely updates the transition efforts of federal customers, it lays out the cumulative quantities spent on transferring out of the band and attaining comparable functionality afterwards.

These numbers have real-world implications for future spectrum planning and auctions, as a result of they provide a glimpse into the precise quantity of money and time that it takes to clear a band. Some bands, it’s clear, are far dearer and time-consuming to clear or share than others, significantly as time goes on. For the reason that federal authorities is the bigger holder and person of spectrum, the willingness and functionality of current customers to maneuver or change operations within the band (and the federal authorities’s means to cowl the prices, and even probably present incentives for them to take action) is extra essential than ever as industrial community operators, new and current satellite tv for pc customers and extra gamers jockey for more and more congested spectrum and take a look at to determine how they’re going to ship not solely the promise of 5G, however set up future 6G programs that may also want giant quantities of spectrum.

The report up to date the standing of the next bands:

-For AWS-1 at 1.710-1.755 GHz, a dozen federal companies have accomplished their transition off that spectrum, however the Division of Power “continues to expend funds towards attaining comparable functionality” 17 years after the AWS-1 public sale, the report mentioned. That spend totaled $5.7 million in fiscal 12 months 2021, and the whole cumulative prices have been $1.36 billion.

-The 2015 AWS-3 public sale replace covers two areas of the band. At 1.695-1.710 GHz, there are nonetheless 5 federal companies which have indefinite sharing preparations within the band and obtained $33.7 million final 12 months from the Spectrum Relocation Fund, with the cumulative outlay for that portion of the band being $254.3 million.

In the meantime, at 1.755-1.780 GHz, the report says that two federal companies are nonetheless transitioning their spectrum use, and 9 companies are nonetheless spending cash on attaining comparable capabilities (one other eight companies have achieved each). For the fiscal 12 months 2021, that meant $440 million in relocation spending—and the Division of Justice was additionally accredited for a further $293 million to finish its transition. The cumulative price has been $2.27 billion, and the unique NTIA price estimates for relocation and sharing had been greater than $4.5 billion.

The report says that full transition by the remaining companies is predicted in 2025.

-Extra just lately, spending and annual evaluation has begun for federal customers of the Residents Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) shared band at 3.55-3.65 GHz. Practically $19 million was spent within the 2021 fiscal 12 months on the operations of 5 Division of Protection companies who share that band. The entire anticipated price for relocation and sharing on a comparable-capability foundation is barely greater than $98 million, and the report says that each one affected companies have already accomplished the transition to the sharing of the band.

-Whereas the 3.45-3.55 GHz public sale didn’t happen till October 2021 and the official transition out of the band has but to start, 5 DoD companies have already obtained round $67 million in pre-auction planning funds, plus one other $15.34 million in transition-related outlays. NTIA has estimated that the whole relocation and sharing prices for the band are $13.43 billion; the public sale raised greater than $22.5 billion in gross proceeds.

Entry the complete progress report right here. Learn extra about limitations on industrial operations, coordination zones and sharing with federal customers in this piece.

Searching for extra info on 5G spectrum and RF points in 4G/5G networks? Try our latest webinar that includes Anritsu and LitePoint, and obtain the free accompanying editorial particular report.


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