Yesterday, 242 U.S. fixed wireless internet service providers sent a letter to the FCC in support of opening 500 MHz of the 10 GHz band to commercial use. And the ISPs also voiced their support of spectrum sharing.

The letter throws the ISP’s support behind a Petition for Rulemaking filed in October by the Coordinated Sharing Coalition. The petition asks the FCC to make spectrum in the 10-10.5 GHz band licensed on a non-exclusive basis for commercial point-to-point communications

But perhaps what’s more interesting is the ISPs’ support of spectrum sharing, which has become a hot topic in the U.S., lately.

We’re not just talking about the 10-10.5 GHz where spectrum sharing could be employed.

Richard Bernhardt, senior director for Spectrum and Industry at the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) said “many bands” are under consideration for spectrum sharing.

Currently, an Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC) system is being formulated for the 6 GHz band for standard-power outdoor use. And ultimately, the AFC system could be used for other bands, as well, including the 10 GHz.

Bernhardt said the AFC system is more flexible than the spectrum access administrator (SAS) system set up for CBRS spectrum. “Unlike CBRS where the SAS controls what you operate every 5 minutes, in this case an inquiry only happens once every 24 hours,” said Bernhardt. In addition, the AFC system does not have command and control over the radio. He said AFC is looser than CBRS because in the 6 GHz band there are only commercial interests. Whereas, the SAS system makes sure that commercial interests don’t interfere with the Department of Defense (DoD) in the rare instances when the DoD needs to use CBRS spectrum.

In November the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) conditionally approved 13 proposed AFC database systems to develop operations for the 6 GHz band. The next phase involves testing in lab and public settings.

Besides the prospect of spectrum sharing via AFC in the 6 GHz band and perhaps in the 10 GHz band, there’s also support for more use of the CBRS sharing model. Earlier this week WISPA sent a letter to lawmakers, urging them to support the CBRS sharing model for future spectrum bands such as 3.1-3.45 GHz.

Bernhardt says the future of spectrum sharing in the U.S. looks optimistic. 

Vernita Harris, who is the director for Electromagnetic Spectrum Enterprise Policy & Programs with the Department of Defense, recently wrote on LinkedIn. “I am proud of DoD’s role in establishing the sharing framework in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) and look forward to continuing to build on our early success with industry and our interagency partners. In the words of Hon. John Sherman: “[s]pectrum sharing must be our watchword going forward” for the United States to maintain both its global market leadership and the capabilities of our armed forces.”

Just to emphasize: Harris is with the Department of Defense. This is the group that might object to spectrum sharing on the grounds that it would interfere with national security. And Harris is saying she’s proud of the CBRS sharing framework.

“DoD remains committed to engaging in a whole-of-nation approach to spectrum sharing to ensure not only our economic prosperity, but also our public safety, nation defense, and general welfare,” wrote Harris in a blog.

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