Skip to main content

Telecom Alert: Emergency Connectivity Fund; 3.5 GHz Band Actions; 5.9 GHz Pleading Cycle; CBRS Long-Form Applications Vol. XVIII, Issue 19

Emergency Connectivity Fund Report and Order

Last week, the FCC released a draft Report and Order that, if adopted, would establish the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program (the “Fund”) created as part of the American Rescue Plan of 2021 (Vol. XVIII, Issue 12).  The Fund would reimburse schools and libraries for the purchase of laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots and other eligible equipment as well as broadband connections for students, school staff, and library patrons during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The draft Report and Order seeks to establish rules and policies governing the Fund and set performance goals and metrics to measure its success.  The FCC is expected to adopt rules by the statutory deadline of May 10, 2021.  For more information, please contact Douglas Jarrett (; 202.434.4180). 

3.5 GHz Band Actions

The FCC issued a News Release last week announcing several actions the FCC is taking to make mid-band spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band available for 5G and other advanced wireless services to a diverse array of operators.  According to the release, the FCC has taken three actions related to 3.5 GHz Environmental Sensing Capability (“ESC”) and Spectrum Access Systems (“SAS”) approvals:  (1) the FCC approved new and updated ESC sensor and deployment coverage plans of four ESC operators, clearing the way for commercial access in portions of the CBRS in Puerto Rico and Guam; (2) the Commission approved Federated Wireless Inc. to expand its SAS operations to cover portions of the band in American Samoa; and (3) the Commission condition all approved three entities that applied during the Second Wave SAS application window.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (; 202.434.4180). 

5.9 GHz Band Pleading Cycle Set

The FCC’s Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking aimed at repurposing the 5.9 GHz band for unlicensed use was published in the Federal Register last week (Vol. XVII, Issue 47).  The Report and Order adopts rules that designate the lower 45 MHz of the band for unlicensed use and the upper 30 MHz for enhanced automobile safety using Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology.  The Commission will allow full-powered, indoor unlicensed operations in the 45 MHz portion immediately, and will consider requests to allow for outdoor unlicensed operations.  The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment on issues with transitioning operations to C-V2X technology and its technical parameters as well as issues related to full-power outdoor unlicensed operations.  Comments and replies are due by June 2, 2021 and July 2, 2021, respectively.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (; 202.434.4239).  

CBRS Long-Form Applications Granted

The FCC released a Public Notice announcing the grant of an additional 13 long-form applications and issuance of 125 Priority Access Licenses (“PALs”) in the 3.5 GHz band auction (Auction 105) (Vol. XVII, Issue 49).  In March, the FCC initially granted 222 long-form applications and issued 17,450 Priority Access Licenses to winning bidders (Vol. XVIII, Issue 11).  Auction 105 had the highest number of winning bidders in a spectrum auction to date, with 228 bidders winning a total of 20,625 licenses.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunle (; 202.434.4178) or Wes Wright (; 202.434.4239).