FCC Moves To Leverage 12 GHz Band To Further Close Digital Divide

The FCC seeks comment on ways to leverage the 12 GHz band to further close the digital divide.

Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on the current use of the 12.7-13.25 GHz band as well as ways to encourage more efficient use of the band and whether it’s suitable for mobile broadband services. Public Knowledge applauds the Commission for moving to leverage the 12 GHz band to further close the digital divide.

The following can be attributed to Kathleen Burke, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“We applaud Chairwoman Rosenworcel for her continued leadership in looking for new ways to share access to spectrum for vital telecommunications services like mobile broadband and Wi-Fi. Limited spectrum access is a clear barrier to closing the digital divide and ensuring that all Americans have access to the crucial telecommunications services we rely on to function in our society. Finding creative ways to provide more spectrum access is an important goal that we applaud the FCC for continuing to pursue.

“Because of the urgency in promoting competition in mobile broadband and increasing unlicensed spectrum access generally, we urge the Commission to issue an Order authorizing shared use in the ‘lower’ 12 GHz band. Opening the lower 12 GHz in addition to the upper 12 GHz would potentially make over 1,000 MHz of spectrum available for advanced services.

“Finally, we particularly commend the Commission for seeking comment on how its policies can further the FCC’s statutory mandate to advance digital equity for all Americans, particularly those ‘historically underserved, marginalized or adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.’ Too often, these important goals are forgotten in ‘technical’ proceedings. Yet, if we ever hope to solve the digital divide and advance these equity goals, all aspects of our telecommunications policy, including the most technical parts, must address diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at shiva@publicknowledge.org or 405-249-9435.