Oceus files with FCC to share spectrum for U.S military’s 4G LTE use

Yesterday, Oceus Networks filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on rules for the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands {“1755-1780 MHz NPRM”} in support of providing the U.S. military limited, shared access to frequencies to enable tactical use of 4G LTE. In our experience adapting 4G LTE technology for the U.S. military, commercial spectrum access is a necessary ingredient for more widespread use of commercial wireless technology by government users. An appropriate spectrum sharing framework can facilitate this access without harming commercial operations as well as further U.S. spectrum sharing policies.

In line with a June 2013 Presidential Memorandum entitled Expanding America’s Leadership in Wireless Innovation for the FCC to identify “spectrum allocated for nonfederal uses that can be made available to agencies, on a shared or exclusive basis,” the FCC sought comment “on whether Federal users should be able to access the AWS-3 band(s), including spectrum not presently allocated for Federal use (e.g., 2155-2180 MHz), on Federal lands or properties that are generally unnerved by commercial wireless networks.” In doing so, the FCC highlighted shared use of spectrum that facilitated ‘“commercial-off-the-shelf” (“COTS”) communication technologies to support important government missions, including military uses”.

Oceus Networks’ filing expresses strong support for shared access to frequencies that will be used by a commercial ecosystem of chipsets and devices. The current global standard for high-speed wireless communications, 4G LTE, is backed by global equipment suppliers and wireless operators worldwide who spend billions annually in research and development and to construct and operate networks. The current capabilities of 4G LTE, and those that will come as the technology evolves, can meet certain military tactical communications needs. The military will have the option of more easily leveraging LTE’s advanced capabilities and attractive pricing made available through commercial economies of scale if granted access to commercial frequencies.

Oceus Networks applauds the FCC’s proposal to consider access to the current federal band 1755-1780 MHz and its non-Federal pair, the 2155-2180 MHz band, for use by the DoD on remote bases and training ranges. Access to commercial LTE frequencies is needed to support the warfighters’ need domestically ‘to train as they fight’ before tactical systems are deployed overseas. Limiting shared access geographically to bases and training ranges that are in remote, rural areas with low population densities will have minimal impact to commercial operations. Giving DoD access to these frequencies where they otherwise are not utilized would make efficient use of spectrum in areas of the country where spectrum may otherwise lay fallow.