ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, in a written statement on the new HR5378 filed with the U.S. Commerce Technology and Communications Subcommittee, urged Congress to order the FCC to preserve secondary use of the 3GHz band by amateur radio.
President Roderick’s statement is the result of a swift and well-organized response by the ARRL to counter the persistent threat to secondary use of the 3GHz band by amateur radio.
About 10 days ago, the ARRL became aware of a provision in the $ 3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill that would have required about 200 MHz of the 3.1-3.45 band GHz be reallocated to use 5G providers. Acting quickly, the ARRL executive committee authorized FCC legal counsel to begin preparations to respond. But, faced with the likely delay of the reconciliation bill and an uncertain future for the 3G provisions, subcommittee chairman Michael Doyle (D-PA-18) and Representative Matsui (D-CA-6 ) introduced similar reassignment language on September 29. , 2021 as HR5378 (117th Cong., 1st Sess.) And the hearings scheduled on it and related communications bills for Wednesday October 6, 2021.
The Executive Committee and Legislative Advocacy Committee immediately instructed ARRL lobbyists to initiate efforts to gain support for the ARRL position. Meetings were held on short notice to seek help with the offices of subcommittee members Kinzinger (R-IL-16) and Walberg (R-MI-7), as well as with representatives Larson (D -CT-1) and Courtney (D-CT-2).
In addition, ARRL lobbyists, Deputy Atlantic Director Bob Famiglio, K3RF, and Washington attorney David Siddall, K3ZJ, met with President Doyle’s chief of staff on October 1 to explain the importance of maintaining the authority of amateur radio to operate in the 3.3-3.45 GHz band. bandaged.
In a written statement submitted to the subcommittee in conjunction with the hearing, Roderick pointed out that allowing amateur radio to continue to use the 3.3-3.45 GHz band on a strictly secondary basis and without interference will provide comprehensive protection for licensed business licensees; and promoting the public interest by providing a means for continuous technological innovation. that of President Roderick full testimony is available on the ARRL website.
Despite vigorous opposition from the ARRL and others, the FCC ordered in 2020 the “cut” of the 3.3 – 3.5 GHz band in order to auction the spectrum to commercial 5G providers. The Commission has allowed amateur operations to continue in the lower 150 MHz band, 3.3 to 3.45 GHz, until it acts in future regulations to deal with this spectrum. Amateur operations were allowed to continue in the upper 50 megahertz, 3.45-3.5 GHz, only up to 90 days after the auction closed, including that spectrum. The auction started this week; it is likely that operations will have to cease in February or March 2022.
“A fundamental standard of spectrum policy should be to maximize the use of this valuable but limited spectral resource,” Roderick told the panel. “The [FCC] in previous proceedings it has adopted various methods to share and maximize the use of spectrum by radio amateurs and others, but in its latest 3 GHz proceedings it has not, despite hundreds of comments filed by radio amateurs.
Roderick said that if current policy continues, the existing 3 GHz spectrum processed in HR5378 “will be indiscriminately wiped out”, leaving “significant spectral resources vacant for the foreseeable future, while the experimentation and exploitation of radio amateurs will be forced to quit for no reason other than regulatory myopia, which need not be the case.
Roderick pointed out that in previous proceedings, the FCC had adopted methods to ensure free access to spectrum by primary users while supporting secondary users without interference. “These methods work well and remain effective without complaint in other frequency bands, and should be applied to the 3 GHz band as well,” he said.
Major commercial users “would seldom use all of their licensed spectrum across all of their licensed service areas,” Roderick said. In its recent 3GHz proceeding, however, the FCC “went beyond simply banning amateur operations in areas and times when major Commission licensees could use spectrum,” by deciding rather than any amateur operation in the auctioned sub-band must be completed within 90 days of auction closing. Roderick told the FCC that it doesn’t make sense for the Commission to leave spectrum unused before licensees start using it.
“The ARRL, on behalf of the more than 750,000 amateur licensees in the United States, respectfully requests that Congress take this opportunity to request the Commission in HR5378 that secondary uses of radio amateurs should continue to be permitted in the United States. 3 GHz band ”, concluded Roderick. He said there was no technical basis for suppressing secondary amateur operations in the 3 GHz band where radio amateurs “have long used unused chunks of spectrum for technological innovation.”
HR5378 is not yet law, and efforts by the ARRL to preserve the right of amateur radio licensees to use 3.3-3.45 on a secondary basis will continue.
President Roderick expressed, on behalf of ARRL, his gratitude for the support and efforts of President Doyle and Representatives Larson, Courtney, Kinzinger and Walberg to meet with ARRL representatives on short notice and include the position of the ARRL on HR5378 in the panel hearing file.