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5.9 GHz band up for sale?

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w6bi's picture
5.9 GHz band up for sale?

Chairman Pai is at it again:

From the article:  Washington, DC, November 20, 2019 – WISPA commends FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for finding a creative way to resolve the underutilization of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band.  For 20 years, the band has been allocated for car safety technology known as DSRC.  Unfortunately, little progress has been made in the development of DSRC technologies, while demand for more unlicensed spectrum has exploded.  Today, Chairman Pai announced that he will circulate a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which would allocate 45 megahertz of spectrum for commercial unlicensed use.  Since it will be contiguous with other unlicensed spectrum, this could enable wireless internet service providers to offer faster services to their current customers and expand their service footprints.  This could also allow rural Americans to benefit from high bandwidth applications which the new generation of Wi-Fi technologies – powered by the Wi-Fi 6 protocol – would unleash.  


WISPA’s approximately 800 members are composed of fixed Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) and the industry that supports fixed wireless broadband, including equipment suppliers, support services, and other components needed to run a successful business. Our members, and WISPs, in general, provide broadband access to over 4 million residential and business customers, often in exclusively rural areas.

Apparently DSRC is 5.850-5.925 GHz. This is where we're building our amateur radio network.      How do we respond?

Orv W6BI

K9CQB's picture
This really worries me.

I don't think the FCC or industry knows that we are operating there at 5900MHz (smack dab on CH 180). As we are growing out our 5.9GHz network, I hope we can keep channels 174-184. We really need them.
-Damon K9CQB

5.85 - 5.92 GHz under threat

I wish I could share in words the expressions I see when I tell other hams about the opportunity we have in AREDN, how we can share sites with WISPs and other unlicensed Part 15 spectrum users without worry of interference using commodity equipment and how we don't need huge dishes to do it because we still have a low noise floor. Ecstatic excitement is one way to put it.

What do we do about this? Individually contact the ARRL, and as an organization join with the ARRL in a statement and notify the individual FCC Commissioners that this spectrum is important to supporting our purpose of emergency communications, and is one of the present guarantees we have of being able to share sites with deployed WISPs by using our licensed spectrum located outside of spectrum currently shared with Part 15 users.

The Congress and Commission have allowed a situation to develop whereby we are unable to make money to support our purposes and as a matter of practice we cannot share sites with WISPs because the WISP and unlicensed spectrum users dictate that the site manager make the several entire band of Part 15 bands available or coordinate between unlicensed frequency use on the site between paying tenants and we now have to rely on our licensed and less-shared spectrum as a result of site access supported by local efforts and in-kind donations.

There is already existing contention in shared spectrum where WISPs are present that make 902-928 MHz hard to use or impossible to colocate for the purposes of amateur radio repeaters and data communication. 2410 - 2450 MHz has similar concerns for the same reasons, and we are force to make do with 2390-2410 as a result if we are going to share a site with a rent-paying Part 15 unlicensed spectrum user. Wireless ISPs are as hungry for spectrum as the mobile telephony companies, without the advantage of being able to run 10 watts into a panel antenna.

Certainly we have a license and that supercedes the unlicensed spectrum user, but since we depend on similar commodity equipment to build and deploy our networks we run into resistance since we depend on similar link budgets provided by that commidity equipment. In short, either we find some way to make money to pay for sites, large dish antennas and amplifiers so that we can establish data links over the noise (at the detriment to the Part 15 user, who will no doubt oppose our use of the site), or we head this off at the pass right now by swaying the commission, which at this time is heavily biased toward any business interest. This directly relates to the ability to deploy a working ham network (unlike FirstNet) and the future of Amateur Radio, where we are just now barely scratching the surface of digital and microwave communications at speeds faster than a 1990s telephone modem.

We've already all but lost the fight for 902-928 MHz, which has turned into a garbage band for all manner of RF emitting communicators such as the Part 15 WISPs and LoraWAN, as well as others. We can't blindly capitulate our shared spectrum to an industry which directly threatens our ability to build and deploy infrastructure which we are just now starting to achieve to support our trifecta of Winlink, DMR, and D-star as well as 44net, Allstar, and remote-controlled stations.

KU7PDX's picture
The loss of 3 GHz...

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