FCC grants WISPs temporary 5.9 GHz spectrum access

I missed this announcement last week.


The FCC�s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau today granted temporary spectrum access to 33 wireless Internet service providers serving 330
counties in 29 states to help them serve rural communities facing an increase in broadband needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Special Temporary Authority (STA) granted today allows these companies to use the lower 45 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for 60 days.

The big announcement is the 6ghz space opening up. This will be big for people doing p2p links.

Indeed, this does seem like good news under the current situation. It’s good for users, and it’s nice PR for both the FCC and the WISPs. But I’m curious: What do these 33 operators anticipate after the STA expires in 60 days?

Obviously their plans may need to adjust depending on the pandemic response at that time… But thinking ahead: Do the WISPs migrate users before the 60 days expire, or does the STA morph into something more permanent? What’s the strategy?

  • Benson

Perhaps I’m being cynical, but thank [deity of choice] that the cell carriers want it made available for this purpose.

Reference: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-363451A1.pdf

"…And it would help advance even further our leadership in next generation wireless technologies, including 5G.” says Ajit Pai.

There’s a rulemaking in process to open the same spectrum. One might imagine an extension until that resolves.

This will raise the noise floor on a couple of extremely long distance links I run on the same frequencies under amateur radio rules, including one that traverses the length of the SF peninsula. Not looking forward to that.

Matthew Kaufman

The cell carriers really want the federal allocation at 3300-3500, which has amateur as secondary, thus the other pending rulemaking that will kill some of my amateur-licensed links (and why I’m loathe to move out of 5900 down to 3400 just to have that band go away and the equipment worthless, plus the antenna gains are lower)

Matthew Kaufman


6 GHz is already doing ptp links under part 101. Has been for many years.

This opening up is to make it more useful in other ways, but will still take second priority over the already existing ptp.

Josh Luthman
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