Wireless internet access, cell phones, and thousands of other technologies rely on the availability of spectrum. The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released an NPRM in January 2021 seeking comment on how to most effectively open up the 12 GHz spectrum band for wider use. 

On May 7, 2021, Next Century Cities joined with public interest allies in a filing led by the Open Technology Institute and Public Knowledge. It urges the FCC to increase access to 12 GHz spectrum in the following ways:

  • The FCC should expand spectrum use rights for existing licensees to promote competition and provide new capacity for WiFi uses. 
  • Adopting policies that encourage rapid deployment and shared access can help mitigate concerns about failure to build-out or invest after spectrum has been allotted. 
  • By authorizing unlicensed and opportunistic access, the agency will bolster broadband access and affordability. 

The FCC’s willingness to implement new, robust spectrum sharing rules could have far reaching positive impacts. Specifically, the 12 GHz spectrum band can help expand service in communities that remain unconnected or underserved by providing fixed satellite service with more bandwidth or via fixed wireless access. Finally, the use of unlicensed low power spectrum in the 12 GHz band could support gigabit WiFi for in-home use. 

Read the filing here