New NTIA report eases concerns over potential interference from small cells in 3.5 GHz spectrum

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a report that analyzes potential interference in the 3.5 GHz band, which is considered viable for small cell use. Google and other advocates will likely view the report as a positive for the spectrum, as exclusion zones with restricted usage are now believed to be much smaller.

Military and federal officials are concerned about the impact of 3.5 GHz transmissions on military shipborne, ground-based and airborne radar systems. Exclusion zones are being planned near military bases and along the U.S. coastline.

Transmissions in the 3.5 GHz band are not necessarily forbidden in these exclusion zones. Instead, operators will be required by the FCC to take certain precautions to avoid interference with radar systems. As noted by FierceWirelessTech, Google last month demonstrated software in Colorado that is intended to help operators avoid interference and comply with FCC regulations. For the report, the NTIA used different power levels of small cells.

President Obama in 2010 set a goal of opening up 500 MHz of spectrum for commercial and shared wireless use by 2020. The FCC in April approved a regulatory framework that would enable commercial use of 150 MHz of 3.5 GHz spectrum.

The latest NTIA report lists 40 military bases and recommends an exclusion zone of up to four kilometers around these bases. By comparision, NTIA's 2010 report called for exclusion zones of 40-60 kilometers.

The new report provides for significantly smaller exclusion zones related to shipborne radar on the East, West and Gulf Coasts, although the report still lists 23 percent to 24 percent of the population of the East Coast, 13 percent to 14 percent of the population of the West Coast and 6 percent of the population of the Gulf Coast as falling within the exclusion zones.

For more:
- see this NTIA report

Related articles:
FCC votes to adopt new 3.5 GHz spectrum sharing plan for 'Innovation Band'
FCC moves closer to adopting new 3.5 GHz spectrum sharing rules
Google touts Spectrum Access System for 3.5 GHz spectrum management
Google worries about warehousing in 3.5 GHz band
T-Mobile makes case for LAA in 3.5 GHz band