COVID-19 and the Need for Established Systems of Spectrum Reallocation

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2Q 2020 | IN-5783


COVID-19 and Connectivity


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) have granted 33 Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) access to 45 MHz of the 5.9 GHz band (i.e., spectrum between 5,850 and 5,895 MHz). This Special Temporary Authority (STA) for the WISPs, which would last for 60 days starting from March 27, 2020, is to address the demand of data from the social distancing measures (due to COVID-19) of the heavily afflicted rural counties. As stated by the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), “…members are seeing over a 35% bump in traffic in peak hours, with 90% of them getting customer requests to add more speed to their plans.”

This expedited process of STA granting by the FCC and the NTIA has equipped these rural communities with bolstered capacity for unlicensed operations, such as Wi-Fi, during this period of mass quarantine. Additionally, at least 71 broadband, wireless, and telephone service operators are heeding the call of the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge”

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