EWA Pursues Expanded 900 MHz Broadband Initiative

February 29, 2024

The Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) and enterprise allies, including Ameren Services Company, Anterix, Inc., Evergy, Inc., Lower Colorado River Authority, Portland General Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern Communications Services, Inc., Utility Broadband Alliance, and Xcel Energy Services, Inc., filed a Petition for Rulemaking (PRM) with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposing to modify the  FCC rules to enable a 5/5 MHz broadband solution for use within private wireless networks in the 896-901/935-940 MHz band (“900 MHz Band”).   

The proposed rule changes will support the demand for wide-area, private, and secure wireless broadband networks for business enterprise entities, which includes critical infrastructure, creating an option for additional capacity in the future to support their delivery of critical services to the American Public.  EWA President Robin Cohen stated that “the fundamental principle of the  proposed rules is that the process is entirely voluntary for narrowband incumbents, and they would continue to receive protection rights while this private broadband opportunity is initiated.”   

The rule changes proposed in the PRM to implement the 5/5 MHz broadband opportunity include: 

  • A 5/5 MHz authorization for the Expanded 900 MHz Broadband Segment would be available upon initial application or as an application to expand a 3/3 MHz license in the 900 MHz broadband segment. 
  •  All incumbent relocations from the 900 MHz narrowband segments would be entirely voluntary; the mandatory relocation provisions would not apply to incumbent frequencies outside the current 3/3 900 MHz broadband segment. 
  • Incumbent interference protection rules would remain the same.   
  •  All technical rules applicable to 900 MHz broadband systems would remain the same. 
  •  The performance requirements for broadband systems would remain the same. 
  • As with the current rules, the licensee of an authorization for an Expanded 900 MHz Broadband Segment could be required to make an anti-windfall payment to the U.S. Treasury. 

The FCC’s 2020 decision authorizing 3/3 MHz private enterprise broadband operations was a landmark step in recognizing broadband technology's essential role in all segments of the American economy. Like the commercial broadband marketplace, once private networks are deployed, additional use cases and end points are likely to grow continuously, suggesting that additional capacity will be a welcome evolution. Creating a 5/5 MHz opportunity either as an extension of a 3/3 MHz system in response to new use cases, capacity demands, or as an initial broadband commitment would support the growing needs of broadband solutions for private enterprise entities.   

About EWA

The Enterprise Wireless Alliance is the leading national trade association and advocate for business enterprises, private carrier operators, equipment manufacturers, and service providers that support the private wireless industry. A frequency advisory committee certified by the Federal Communications Commission, EWA provides its members and clients with consulting services, frequency coordination, license preparation, spectrum management and associated business intelligence services. EWA is the market leader in Business/Industrial Land Transportation frequency coordination services and assists a significant percentage of public safety customers with their spectrum requirements. Learn more at www.enterprisewireless.org.