Frequency Bands For 3-G Backhaul
TIA Members have an active interest in promoting Fixed Wireless Access in many
frequency bands, MMDS, LMDS, DEMS, etc. Of great interest to TIA members is
Mobile Wireless Access for 3-G. While there has been a great emphasis on access, there
has been little attention paid to the spectrum requirements for the point to point backhaul
which is needed to support the access. There have been recent actions by the FCC to
reallocate 720MHz of Point to Point spectrum in the 18GHz band from the Fixed service
to Fixed satellite service, and to require sharing of FS spectrum with Satellite earth
stations in the 11GHz band. These actions have raised the concern that there will not be
enough spectrum in congested areas to meet the demands for backhaul to support the
anticipated high data rate connectivity that 3-G will require.
2. Timeframe & Milestone(s):
3-G service providers are presently rolling out startup markets and will need to
interconnect their cell sites to their major country wide fiber networks. Where their
markets do not have existing interconnection via fiber, they will need to use PTP radio in
the common carrier bands. These bands are already overcrowded and facing new higher
capacity demands from other network operators who are planning to provide high
capacity BWA networks. It is important that work is done immediately to raise the
attention of the regulator to this impending bottleneck and to urge the FCC to allocate
spectrum to meet the anticipated demands.
The intent of this initiative is to generate a nationwide picture of where backhaul
spectrum will be required to meet the anticipated network requirements. Also to identify
where there will be shortfalls based on existing knowledge of highly congested
geographical locations. This information will be used to raise the appropriate concern to
the new FCC administration in an attempt to urge them to factor these spectrum needs
into their planning process.
Currently there is a FCC, FNPRM (FCC 01-182) in process which proposes that
new spectrum at 42.5 – 43.5 GHz be opened for Fixed Service. This band could be an
ideal candidate, for replacing the 720MHz spectrum removed from the Fixed Service at
18GHz and would be suitable for 3-G backhaul requirements.
Within the ITU there has been work underway for some time to raise the awareness of
the regulators to the need to set aside spectrum for PTP infrastructure in support of 3-G
networks1. Realizing that 3-G backhaul requirements, will be at least equivalent to the
BWA backhaul requirements and will be competing for the same common carrier
spectrum to interconnect their cell sites, it has become obvious that work must be
undertaken in the US. Particularly as, unlike most European countries, in the US we have
large blocks of spectrum under the control of the NTIA which are not available, or at
best, severely limited for use by the private sector.
Discussion paper on this topic has been circulated to the Spectrum Policy
ITU Study Group 9 Working Party document “9B/TEMP/45” issued 15, March
2001 “Consideration of fixed service spectrum requirements in deployment
scenario of IMT-2000 infrastructure networks”, based on a contribution from
5. Recommended TIA Action:
TIA members who have an interest in 3-G mobile and BWA, Fixed access, need
to be made aware of the extent that they are likely to be affected by shortages of spectrum
for backhaul, in their plans to roll out 3-G networks. The TIA should take a lead position
in addressing this problem with the FCC.
First, in comments to FCC, FNPRM (FCC 01-182), the TIA should support the proposed
allocation at 42.5 – 43.5 GHz. to be opened for Fixed Service as a replacement for the
720 MHz removed from the F.S. under the Teledesic R&O. The FCC should also be
urged to allocate this spectrum as Common Carrier or Private Operational Fixed, and not
auction to it.
Second the FCC should be urged to negotiate with the NTIA for improved access to the
23GHz band, and also to factor these needs into their planning before any more FS
spectrum is auctioned.
6. Next Steps:
More information needs to be gathered in order to develop a nationwide overview
of the problem, and to identify where serious shortfalls are likely to occur.
9B/TEMP/45 15, March 2001 “Consideration of fixed service spectrum requirements in deployment
scenario of IMT-2000 infrastructure networks”.