FCC keen to repurpose 2.5GHz EBS band for 5G

11 May 2018

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to consider updating the framework for licensing Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum in the 2496MHz-2690MHz (2.5GHz) band. The watchdog notes that this band constitutes the single largest band of contiguous spectrum below 3GHz, and as such, is prime spectrum for next-generation mobile services such as 5G.

According to the FCC, EBS spectrum currently lies fallow across approximately 50% of the US, primarily in rural areas. Moreover, access to this spectrum has been strictly limited since 1995, and current licensees are subject to outdated regulations. The NPRM proposes to modernise and rationalise the spectrum band to allow for more flexible use.

TeleGeography notes that there are two types of 2.5GHz licence in the US: Broadband Radio Services (BRS) concessions and EBS concessions. The former is technically the commercial version of the licence; these licences can be owned by commercial companies and bought and sold at will. The latter can only be owned by educational or religious organisations, although they can be leased for use by commercial entities.

United States, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)