The Department of Defense (DoD) is finally making some concessions in the wireless industry's fight to clear more underused government spectrum for commerical use.
The Defense Department is proposing shared access to the 2025 - 2110 MHz band and to make the 1755-1780 MHz band available for auction in the near-term, while protecting critical capabilities.
The move is an about face for the DoD, which has in the past balked at the prospect of moving off the airwaves.
In a letter to the FCC first reported on by the Wall Street Journal, the DoD said its alternative proposal "constitutes a workable balance to provide access to the 1755-1780 MHz band most desired by the commercial wireless industry while ensuring no loss of critical DoD capabilities and preserving the necessary flexibility to address the long-term status of the 1780-1850 MHz band."
As part of the plan, the Pentagon would place most of its operatiions in the 1780-1850 MHz band, and would relocate others to the 2025-2110 MHz band.
The proposal puts the cost to the Defense Department of clearing the spectrum at $3.5 billion. The military currently uses the 1755-1780 MHz band for its drone training program.
The letter, which was dated July 17, was actually sent just a day before a new bill was introduced by the House last week that would require the reallocation of the 1755-1780 MHz spectrum band for commercial use. The spectrum is intended to be paired with the 2155-2180 MHz spectrum band and then auctioned.