On February 17, 2017, the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) filed an Application for Review with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting that the FCC review its Order granting a blanket earth station license to Higher Ground LLC that permits it to operate on a non-interfering basis up to 50,000 mobile earth terminals (SatPaqs) in the 5925-6425 MHz band (6 GHz band). EWA stated that the action taken by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the Office of Engineering and Technology (the Bureaus) in granting the Order conflicts with established FCC policy and urged the FCC to set aside the grant of the waiver, return Higher Ground’s application to pending status, and initiate a rulemaking proceeding where the many concerns about the proposed system’s potential for interference can be evaluated in detail and weighed against whether it is in the public interest.
Higher Ground plans to offer broadband communications services that would enable consumer-based text messaging, light email and Internet of Things (IoT) communications. In the Order, the Bureaus contend that a waiver is appropriate because Higher Ground is requesting a unique use of the band rather than establishing a new category of use.
“EWA has the highest regard for the Bureaus and is not taking issue with the technical aspects of the Order at this time,” said EWA President Mark Crosby. “A change in the use of this band should be the outcome of a discussion among all stakeholders through the well-established process of a rulemaking. The outcome should be a Commission decision that all parties can accept as an appropriate balancing of the rights of fixed service incumbents and the public benefit of introducing another broadband consumer service,” he continued.