The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC or Commission) Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) have issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the Commission’s upcoming report on the bidirectional sharing of non-federal spectrum, which the agency is required to submit to Congress pursuant to the Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services (RAY BAUM’S) Act of 2018.
Under the RAY BAUM’s Act, the FCC, in collaboration with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), is required to submit by September 23, 2019, a report that examines aspects of providing federal entities with flexible access to non-federal spectrum on a shared basis (referred to as “bidirectional sharing”) across a range of short-, mid-, and long-range time frames, including for intermittent purposes like emergency use. The Act also requires the Commission to seek public comment on the feasibility and problems associated with this bidirectional sharing requirement. Thus, the Commission is now seeking public input, inviting parties to comment on: (a) the regulatory certainty that commercial spectrum users and federal entities need to make longer-term investment decisions for shared access to be viable and (b) the barriers to voluntary commercial arrangements in which non-federal users could provide access to federal entities.
Comments are due on or before May 31, 2019, with reply comments due on or before June 17, 2019.