Addressing the need for sub-6 GHz spectrum for 5G, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing flexible use for 500 MHz of mid-band spectrum between 3.7 and 4.2 GHz.

Approved July 12 (2018), the order requires Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) earth stations operating in the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz band to certify the accuracy of their existing registration and license information. The NPRM will collect information to assist the commission's understanding of how the band is being used.

The FCC is seeking to allocate spectrum for new wireless uses while treating existing users fairly. The order proposes to add a mobile allocation to the 500 MHz band and seeks comments on ways to allocate part or all of the band for "flexible use." The FCC also seeks comments on allowing point-to-multipoint fixed use in some portion of the band on a shared basis, while protecting incumbent users from harmful interference.

This action follows a 2017 Notice of Inquiry to evaluate whether various spectrum bands between 3.7 and 24 GHz could be allocated for flexible uses.

The order was approved by FCC chairman Ajit Pai and commissioners Michael O’Rielly, Brendan Carr and Jessica Rosenworcel.

Download the NPRM from the FCC website.