An article published in The Wall Street Journal discusses the recent decision by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to move its operations out of the 1755 to 1780 megahertz bands in the upcoming spectrum auction by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
This move is part of a compromise reached with wireless carriers who have been pressing the DOD to open this spectrum for commercial uses. The spectrum was previously used by the DOD for military purposes, such as training pilots in the Pentagon’s drone program. Wireless carriers however, have pressed the DOD to free this spectrum so that it can complement spectrum in the 2155 to 2180 megahertz bands, which are also expected to be auctioned. The dispute over the spectrum highlights both the carriers’ and the DOD’s increasing demand for spectrum, according to the article. The DOD has a growing need for spectrum, particularly for training pilots how to use unmanned aerial systems, or drones; while the carriers scramble to cover soaring mobile Internet use. The article, “Pentagon Offers Compromise on Spectrum Sought by Wireless Carriers; Proposal Is a Win for Mobile-Telecom Companies,” discusses a Brattle report that found that selling the two swaths of spectrum together could raise as much as $12 billion. However, without the pairing, the auctioned spectrum might only fetch around $3.6 billion. The report, “The Economic Basis of Spectrum Value: Pairing AWS-3 with the 1755 MHz Band is More Valuable than Pairing it with Frequencies from the 1690 MHz Band,” was authored by Brattle principal Coleman Bazelon and is available for download below.