In a letter delivered to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Tuesday, a bipartisan group of six lawmakers called on the FCC to explore spectrum sharing opportunities in the 10 GHz band that would “provide another avenue for consumers and innovators to tap into the Internet economy.”

Tuesday’s letter was signed by Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY), co-chairs of the Federal Spectrum Working Group.  Additional signatories include Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Bob Latta (R-OH) and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).   The letter lends support to efforts by the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) and Wi-Fi technology firm Mimosa Networks to promote changes to the FCC’s rules that would reallocate the 10 GHz band for fixed wireless broadband services.   Responding to a 2013 rulemaking petition filed by Mimosa, the FCC sought comment last year on Mimosa’s proposal to allocate the 10.0-10.5 GHz band for such services.  Arguing that the 10.0-10.5 GHz band is particularly well suited for long-distance, high-capacity fixed broadband links, Mimosa told the FCC that implementation of dynamic frequency selection restrictions in that band would facilitate sharing and prevent harmful interference to incumbent radiolocation and amateur radio incumbents.  

Writing to Wheeler, the lawmakers agreed that the 10 GHz band “could be used for expanding Wi-Fi capabilities to bring Internet access to more Americans” and “could also provide an opportunity to expand affordable, high-speed Internet access to Americans living in urban and rural communities.”  While acknowledging “the importance of ensuring that the introduction of broadband technology can coexist with incumbent systems without causing harmful interference,” the lawmakers asked the FCC “explore viable solutions in the 10 GHz band,” stressing: “we must ensure the capacity of our nation’s airwaves keeps pace with demand.”  As WISPA President Chuck Hogg said, “our industry is greatly encouraged by the letter issued by the United States Congress,” an executive of Mimosa told reporters, “we look forward to continuing to work with the FCC toward a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to share use of the 10 GHz band.”