New administration, new priorities? Where are we currently and what lies ahead?
Maximising the potential of spectrum sharing – innovative new technology and policy thinking
Private 5G networks – access mechanisms, spectrum bands and emerging new business models
Delivering universal service… A focus on The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) and delivering universal, affordable broadband across the Americas
Emerging mid-band eco systems – including C-band, 6GHz, CBRS, and the 12GHz band
THIS CONFERENCE WILL NOW TAKE PLACE AS A FULLY VIRTUAL EVENT
Due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19 and the increased measures now in place in Washington D.C., this conference will now be a fully virtual event. The schedule and dates (October 12 & 13) remain unchanged but it will now be held entirely online, on our virtual event platform.
All times are US Eastern (EDT)
The arrival of the Biden administration earlier this year brought with it sweeping changes across all areas of federal Government. This session will look at what it may mean for the FCC, and for spectrum policy more broadly. It will focus on what lies ahead for the FCC under its new leadership, at the areas in which policy and enforcement priorities may shift, and crucially, what this might mean for the future spectrum policy framework in the US and the wider Americas.
Spectrum sharing isn’t new, but with modern technologies continuing to evolve and the ‘squeeze’ on spectrum showing no sign of letting up, today there is a greater emphasis than ever before on using sharing to maximise efficiency. This is demonstrated in the US by President Biden requesting $39 million be made available in his fiscal budget for 2022 to “…support the development and deployment of broadband and 5G technologies by identifying innovative approaches to spectrum sharing.” This session will look at innovative approaches to spectrum sharing that are already being deployed in the Americas and all around the world, and at the emerging new technological and policy tools that can help further increase the potential of sharing. It will look at the tools and techniques that are available to both regulators and industry to ensure that spectrum is allocated and utilised in the most efficient way possible, and in a way that encourages innovation whilst protecting the rights of all.
As they look to meet the many varied connectivity requirements of different vertical industries, regulators are increasingly moving away from the traditional model of solely allocating spectrum to MNOs, and instead looking at the option of providing access directly to these end-users, enabling them to develop their own private, localised networks. In the US, a spectrum sharing framework in the CBRS band has been set up to deliver spectrum for vertical businesses alongside a number of other key users, whilst in other countries, some regulators have set-aside a portion of spectrum in priority 5G bands for enterprises so they can build their own private 5G networks. This session will look at the different approaches that are being considered, and the best way forward to deliver connectivity to enterprises in the most efficient and reliable way possible. With this exploration of models that are different to the traditional method of networks being solely operated by MNOs, it will also look at the impact that this may have on business models and relationships between network operators and vertical users, and at the potential for new partnerships to develop for the benefit of all.
With the emergence of a rapidly increasing number of NGSO and SmallSat networks alongside more traditional GSO networks it is estimated that more satellites will be launched in the next 2-3 years than in the last 50 years combined. Alongside the exciting new opportunities that this will bring, this also brings with it a dramatic increase in satellite demand for spectrum, as well as a number of regulatory challenges, including with regards to licencing rules and frameworks. This session will look at this in more detail. It will explore the innovative new technologies and business models that are being seen within the space sector today, and the challenge and opportunities that this provides. It will look at the extent to which current rules and regulations governing access to spectrum are still sufficient in this rapidly evolving sector, and discuss the best way forward to ensure a future-proof and flexible spectrum licencing system to protect all users and allow the next generation of space based connectivity to flourish.
Phase I of the RDOF reverse auction took place late last year, with 180 winning bidders gaining funding to deploy high-speed broadband to more than 5.2 million unserved homes and businesses. The winners included cable operators, electric cooperatives, incumbent telcos, satellite companies and fixed wireless providers. Bidding was so competitive that only $8bn of the budgeted $16bn was awarded in the end, leaving $12bn left for phase 2 of the auction which will focus on ‘underserved’ areas. This session will look in details at the design, structures, outcomes and ‘winners and losers’ of the phase 1 awards. Looking forward, it will assess the extent to which the auction is likely to be successful in achieving its objectives of helping to deliver universal service, and what the outcomes might mean for phase 2 of the auction as well as for future auctions and awards more broadly.
Having focussed specifically on RDOF in the last session, this session will now turn more broadly to focus on the work that is being done to connect communities all over the US, Canada and the wider Americas region. Alongside broadband availability and universal service, it will also consider affordability – according to a recent study, more Americans today have access to broadband but choose not to subscribe than Americans who have no access – principally because of cost. Speakers will look at the different policy and technology tools that exist to deliver the universal, affordable broadband across the region that is required. It will look at work that is being done to smooth network deployment on tribal lands and elsewhere, and the extent to which these efforts and initiatives across the Americas can finally make a difference in successfully closing the digital divide.
A number of awards and other key decisions have taken place over the past 12 months on some of the most sought after mid-band frequency ranges. This morning’s sessions will look at the ecosystems that are now emerging, and what the next steps are from here.
Auction 107 took place in the US last year, allocating 280MHz of prime C-band spectrum to mobile operators. Over $80 billion was raised in total, with Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile snapping up a large percentage of the 5,684 licences that were available. Satellite operators will receive $9.7 billion in incentive payments to vacate the band relatively quickly, and will also be reimbursed for the costs of changing their networks. C-band auctions are also underway in Canada, with the first awards expected to take place before the date of this conference and more set to follow shortly. With spectrum in the C-band now finally becoming available for operators across North America, this session will take stock, and ask ‘what next’? It will look at the progress being made in the transition and in clearing the band in the US, and at the likely timeframe ahead across the region for services to come live.
Earlier this year, Canada took the decision to join the US in making the full 6GHz band available for WiFi devices, with the power limits that they are permitting in the band meaning that they are actually freeing up an additional 100MHz of spectrum compared to their US counterparts. Meanwhile, the future of the band elsewhere around the world is less certain – most countries are still yet to make a decision on this. Whilst part of the industry supports the RLAN usage of this spectrum, another part of the industry supports this band for licensed use. This session will look at what the approach taken across Canada and the US, at the new use cases that opening up this spectrum is going to enable, and at the measures that have been put in place within different scenarios to help avoid interference. It will look at what the decisions that have been taken might mean for various different stakeholders – WiFi providers, incumbent users and users in adjacent bands, other industries also interested in this spectrum and most importantly, consumers.
Now almost a year on from the award of licences in the CBRS band, this session will look at the progress that has been made on the development, launch and commercialisation of services in the band and the landscape that is developing. It will look at the rules and power limits that govern access to spectrum in the band, and consider whether there may be the need to re-examine this either now or sometime in the future.
The 12 GHz band was once considered high on the cellular spectrum charts, but is now starting to become hotly contested by a number of users. The band is currently used by digital broadcasting service (DBS) providers, and Multi-Channel Video and Data Distribution Service (MVDDS) and NGSO licensees operating on a non-harmful interference basis to DBS. It was recently however described as one of the best positioned mid-band spectrum bands potentially available for 5G, with proponents including Dish saying it offers the potential of 500MHz of contiguous spectrum. Earlier this year the FCC voted to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the band, exploring whether rules may be changed to accommodate 5G services. This session will look at the current use of the band, and the potential that may exist to accommodate new services without causing harmful interference to existing users.
Allocation of the mmWave frequencies in the US have now been completed, with awards having taken place in the 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz last year following previous successful allocations of the 24 GHz and 28 GHz bands. The urgent demand for spectrum in these bands has however at least partially been driven by a shortage of available bandwidth in key mid-band frequencies – an issue that has recently been addressed, with the release of spectrum in the CBRS band and C-band and more to soon follow. Against this backdrop of the change in the overall spectrum landscape, this session will bring together regulators from the US, Latin America and Europe to talk about their future plans for 5G in mmWave frequencies and the role that mmWave will likely play in the broader 5G ecosystem.
More speakers to be confirmed shortly.
5G may still be in its infancy, but it has already enabled a vast swathe of new use cases and applications, often with very varied connectivity requirements. As we now begin to move beyond 5G and start out on the path towards 6G and next generation technologies, maintaining US prominence and global leadership in this area will require foresight and a strategic vision articulated at the national level. This session will look at the work being done to deliver this and the path ahead. It will look at how the future spectrum landscape is likely to develop. It will examine some of the emerging technologies and use cases that are likely to emerge, and at what needs to be done to meet the connectivity requirements of the future and ensure US’s position as leading the way on next generation connectivity.
This conference will take place using Forum Europe’s virtual solution. For more details, please visit forum-europe.com.
For more information on any aspect of this event, please contact Jordan Francombe using any of the details below.
Tel: +44 (0) 2920 783 020