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FCC to convert 90MHz more spectrum to cellular data

updated 02:40 pm EDT, Fri June 18, 2010

FCC to grab mobile satellite bands for cell use

The FCC on Friday outlined a strategy to switch 90MHz of wireless spectrum over to cellular Internet access. Spectrum Task Force members at the FCC hope to take up a portion of the mobile satellite service band that had largely gone unused. Flipping the space should provide more bandwidth without cutting into mobile satellite use across the country.

The expansion is part of a larger strategy in the FCC's National Broadband Plan to overcome what it terms a spectrum gap between availability and demand. As part of the plan, it has proposed switching 500MHz of spectrum to long-range data use and has already taken action on some of its promises, such as clearing Harbinger's 4G plans and negotiating for 35MHz of weather balloon bands.

Cellular access, unlike landlines, is especially sensitive to bandwidth issues as there is often only a limited amount of usable frequency before running into interference. TV and radio broadcasters have sometimes objected to the FCC's moves, though, as they risk taking away valuable channel space.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. YangZone

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2000


    Valuable channel space?

    and electric cars are going to interfere with buggy whip sales...

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004


    Why is it so hard in the US?

    Why is it so damn hard to have two or more national carriers sharing the same frequency bands in the US when Canada, Asia, the UK and Continental Europe seem to have no problem having multiple GSM carries sharing the same bands?

    There should be no reason for T-Mobile to have to use AWS instead of one of the standard UMTS bands for their 3G service.

  1. Fast iBook

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003


    300+ million reasons.......

    There are more people in the US than any 2 european countries combined, and the population density os focused along coastlines, rivers, and other geographical areas suited for commerce, trade and a water supply. The largest allotment of spectrum is used between boston and virginia beach, and parts of the barrier islands of NC, SC, GA and FL. Spectrum allotments are also very tricky in the large suburban/semi urban sprawl that occupies much of ohio, indiana, illinois and western pennsylvania. You have to have a certain distance between where the same frequencies are used, or else you get a lot of noise from the weaker signal.

    Japan for example is a bit different, because their cell sizes are very small, so there are more that can cover more people over a more concentrated population area such as tokyo, the cell sizes in the US range from 2 miles across with the taller tower locations, to just under a quarter mile with building mounted equipment. My town has about 5 towers with many antenna sets per tower.

    Changing usage and population patterns as well as increased demand make cell site placement tricky in the us, there's also the NIMBY factor.

    - A

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