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FCC presses ahead with sale of weather forecasting spectrum

Joint IIC - Italian Chapter and Agcom workshop

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intends to move ahead with a plan to auction off wireless radio frequencies that scientists say could harm critical satellite data used in weather forecasting, a report in the Washington Post notes. The FCC said the auction will proceed despite protests from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA, as well as two committees in the US House. For months, the FCC, supporting the interests of advancing 5G wireless technology, has sparred with NOAA and NASA, which have fought to protect the spectrum along and adjacent to frequencies that weather data is passed on. In a last-ditch effort to intervene, three subcommittee chairs from the House Appropriations Committee, and the House Science Committee, penned separate letters to FCC chairman Ajit Pai, asking that the auction be delayed. But FCC spokesman Brian Hart told the Washington Post in an email that the auction would proceed. “The 24 GHz auction is an important step towards securing American leadership in 5G,” he said. “While our nation’s international competitors would undoubtedly be pleased if we delayed this auction of greenfield spectrum at the last minute, the FCC will move forward as planned so that our nation can win the race to 5G and the American people can quickly enjoy the benefits of the next generation of wireless connectivity.” The Appropriations Committee letter stressed that a delay “is necessary to allow for further review of potential interference to adjacent band uses that are critical for national security as well as the protection of American lives and property”. It explained that the NOAA “uses the 23.6-24 GHz spectrum band for microwave sensor-based remote sensing of atmospheric levels of water vapour, which is the single most impactful data stream for accurately forecasting weather. This data is used by NOAA’s National Weather Service, NASA and the Department of Defense, in addition to the broader international weather community.” Read more

  • Monday, 18 March 2019

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