AT&T® Raises Concerns to FCC about Census Tract Licensing in CBRS Bandwidth

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AT&T® officials recently paid a visit to FCC headquarters and expressed their concerns about census tracts. AT&T® told the commission that it should permit license for 3.5 GHz CBRS in larger geographic areas. As per an FCC filing, executives of the best internet service provider met the independent agency’s officials to share cost constraints and concerns of laying out Radio Access Network with census tracts serving as “baseline license size”.

The present FCC rules necessitate census tracts but the commission is thinking about changing the issuing of licenses to relatively small geographic areas. AT&T® said that they entrusted CommScope to analyze practical impacts of FCC’s CBRS rules concerning interference protection given the geographic sizes. CommScope is into infrastructure solutions for telecommunications networks. Their findings indicate that in order to cover bordering areas of census tracts, license holders or major carriers should limit power and roll out Citizens Broadband Service Devices than what may be required in actual.

As per AT&T®, the size of small census tracts in urban geographic areas can cause network deployment concerns given the requirement to tweak power in order to protect nearby licensees. As a result of that, ISPs will not be able to roll out networks that operate at 47 dBm/10 MHz power but would have to deploy very compact networks instead. AT&T® responded that license sizes that are larger than existing census tracts, like those based on PEAs, would allow network deployments at higher power than said requirement for coverage and thereby may restrict the impact of adjacent areas.

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Partial Economic Areas license size is what Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association has been favoring. Yet again, a census tract is exactly what minor carriers, as well as companies in utility/electric industry, require. Some of such companies including General Electric told FCC that with the census tract licensing in CBRS bandwidth, they expect to bit strongly at auctions to get FCC-reserved spectrum access that falls in line with their own geographically targeted network deployment plans.

That is because with their interference protected 3.5 GHz spectrum industry players can self-provision IIoT connectivity over TDD-LTE networks that are geographically targeted. Essentially, such companies will be capable of designing network deployment systems that fall in line with their railroad systems, grids and so forth.

Utility industry players explained to FCC that if it adopts PEA licensing, it would not be economically rational for them to try to outbid wireless providers to get licenses covering areas beyond their geographically targeted, regionalized facilities. Instead, they argue that using self-provisioned license spectrum is comparatively a viable option instead of trying to obtain services from telecom carriers or MNVOs.