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FCC green-lights 2 wireless providers to deploy more spectrum in Puerto Rico

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given the go-ahead to Federated Wireless Inc. and Key Bridge Wireless LLC — two companies that will work to deploy more wireless spectrum in Puerto Rico, based, for the first time, on the 3.5 GHz band.

In a release, the regulatory agency said the approval will make the “critical” mid-band spectrum available for 5G and other advanced wireless services to an array of operators, including actions that will enable commercial deployments in the 3550-3650 MHz band segment in Puerto Rico.

The two companies that will offer the service in Puerto Rico are known as Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) operators, which will work with the Department of Defense to clear the way for commercial access to the 3550-3650 MHz portion of the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in Puerto Rico — which is used by the federal government for US Navy radar systems and aircraft communications.

In 2015, the FCC adopted rules for shared commercial use of the 3.5 GHz band, it established the CBRS, and created a three-tiered access and authorization framework to accommodate shared federal and non-federal use of the band.

On Jan. 27, 2020, the FCC authorized full use of the CBRS band for wireless service provider commercialization without the restrictions to prevent interference with military use of the spectrum.

Under the new rules, wireless carriers using CBRS might be able to deploy 5G mobile networks without having to acquire spectrum licenses.

“No matter who you are or where you live, you need access to modern communications to have a fair shot at 21st century success. This is true, of course, for those living in Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa too,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

The FCC worked in close coordination with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Department of Defense, its Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Office of Engineering and Technology to move the action forward, she said.

“These actions continue our efforts to bring 5G to everyone, everywhere in the country — and not create communities of 5G haves and have-nots. I want to thank our partners at NTIA and the Department of Defense for working closely with our great FCC team to make this progress possible,” she said.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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