Millimeter Spectrum Auctions Expected to Start This Year

Pai will propose 100 MHz license blocks for the 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz bands “so they can more easily be auctioned together"
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WASHINGTON — The FCC is planning auctions for spectrum in the 24, 28, 37, 39 and 47 GHz bands this year and next.

In a recent blog post, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said a goal of the FCC’s Aug. 2 meeting is to finalize rules for an auction of 28 GHz and 24 GHz airwaves that’s set to begin on Nov. 14. Pai said during the upcoming August meeting that he’ll propose 100 MHz license blocks for the 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz bands “so they can more easily be auctioned together. These are important steps that will help solidify U.S. leadership in 5G.”

Pai also said the Commission aims to make the build-out of 5G networks easier. The Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee was formed to develop expert recommendations on removing barriers that raise the costs and slow the buildout of communications infrastructure. 

“A key focus of the committee was easing access to utility poles, and one of its recommendations was streamlining the process to “make ready” those poles for new attachments. Instead of having multiple parties sequentially prepare poles for a new attacher, as is current practice, the process can be much quicker if a single construction crew does all the make-ready work at once,” Pai wrote. “By making it quicker and cheaper to attach to poles, we can accelerate network buildout and make it easier for new entrants to provide more broadband competition.“

In the US, AT&T and Verizon are both using millimeter wave frequencies to build commercial 5G services later this year. AT&T is promising a standards-based mobile service in 12 markets by year-end, while Verizon is planning to deploy fixed wireless access to provide residential broadband services in three to five markets by the end of 2018, according to rcrwireless.com.

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