Tag Archive for: 5G


As a spectrum manager in the commercial communications satellite industry, one issue that of daily concern is spectrum interference. With the advent of what I call new dawn for space and terrestrial communications industry, this issue is an increasing challenge as new technology allow the greater exploitation of the spectrum environment. However, with these exciting opportunities, there is a greater likelihood of unacceptable spectrum interference. Nonetheless, working together, we can minimize this risk into our commercial satellites and other space-borne and terrestrial communications technologies, thereby bringing high-quality communications services to the United States and globally.

The satellite industry is heading in this exciting time. First, the digital universe is growing faster than at any time before. For example, when we look at 2013, the digital universe represented by the stack of memory in tablets would only reach two-thirds of the way to the moon. In 2020, we expect that stack to grow to 6.6 times to the moon. Further, in 2015 we had less than 5 Exabyte of global mobile traffic and in 2020 we estimate there will we more than 30 Exabyte of global mobile traffic — and that growth is not expected to slow down — especially with the advent of the roll-out of the 5G global network of networks early next decade.

It is not surprising then that when you look at the space environment, the use of spectrum by the commercial satellite industry’s growth is astounding. First, we expect demand for broadband services provided by Geostationary Orbit (GEO) satellite networks to increase exponentially with the greater demands for speed and capacity and greater need to bring services anywhere at any time. Today’s systems, including Hughes, are supporting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) -defined broadband speeds of 25/3 Mbps and more, with speeds of 100 Mbps and more expected in the early part of the next decade. The commercial satellite broadband industry today supports millions of subscribers worldwide and has invested tens of billions of dollars in its networks. These investments and subs keep increasing and their communications must be protected.

On the horizon, we are also seeing the deployment of networks of thousands of Non-Geostationary Orbit (NGSO) satellites that will bring advanced broadband and 5G services globally on a cost-effective basis, including to the polar regions and the oceans, which today have limited coverage. Other NGSO systems will provide a variety of services including weather monitoring, tracking, and the like. These systems are not just important for commercial services, but also are critical for other uses such as those of the U.S. military, national security, and public safety. And once again, the development of these systems is resulting in significant investment in infrastructure in the U.S. and globally. And because of these and other growing space demands, we have seen the development of a strong U.S. launch industry with new entrants such as SpaceX and Blue Origin and others on the horizons. In addition, we have been able to attract increasing satellite manufacturing capabilities, such as Airbus in Florida. As a satellite operator, I welcome these new players who bring increased competition into the satellite industry, as well as increased reliability and lower costs.

Each commercial satellite system will have its own individual demands for spectrum that are required to be met and are important for the United States and the world to meet needs for 5G communications. Of course, it is critical to ensure that these communications are protected from harmful interference.

When we look at the potential for harmful interference to commercial satellites, we must not limit our examination to looking up only –spaced based threats. An equally important area where we may face interference is from terrestrial technologies including 5G, as well as other non-terrestrial technologies, such as high-altitude platforms.

Now, the good news. We are starting with a very sound basis to protect commercial satellites from harmful interference. On the space side, between satellite systems, the International Telecommunications Union (an arm of the United Nations) has implemented an effective coordination process between satellite networks for spectrum (and also the use of the GEO). Under this process, satellite network operators engage in coordination to avoid harmful interference to one another and, because of this framework, are able to actively address interference concerns before launch and occurrences when they happen. Further, there are domestic and international rules that govern spectrum use that protect against the potential for harmful interference. These include the ITU Radio Regulations, which are updated every three to four 4 years at World Radiocommunication Conferences as well as domestic rules that countries, including the United States, have implemented that impose technical restrictions on operations to prevent unacceptable interference.

In addition, there is a fair amount of informal operator to operator communications to avoid harmful interference and address issues as they occur. Because of the need for all operators to avoid harmful interference, both the formal and informal approaches generally work well. The issue comes up if there are bad actors or folks who are simply uninformed about these processes; in this case, neither formal nor informal processes will work.

With the current focus on increasing awareness and need for a sustainable space environment, combined with increasing pressure on access to spectrum, the White House has announced several important policies that should advance interference protection. First, earlier this year, the President released Space Directive 3 (SD 3), which has the important goal of preventing unintentional Radio Frequency (RF) interference. In particular, SD3 recognizes that growing orbital congestion is increasing the risk to U.S. space assets from unintentional RF interference and that the United States should continue to improve policies, processes, and technologies for spectrum use (including allocations and licensing) to address these challenges and ensure appropriate spectrum use for current and future operations.

In addition, SD 3 tasks the U.S. government to verify consistency between policy and existing regulations regarding global access; investigate the advantages of addressing spectrum in conjunction with the development of STM systems, standards, and best practices; and promote flexible spectrum use; and investigate emerging technologies for potential use by space systems.

To this end, the Secretaries of Commerce and Transportation, in coordination with the Secretaries of State and Defense, the NASA administrator, and the director of national intelligence, and in consultation with the chairman of the FCC, are required coordinate to mitigate the risk of harmful interference and promptly address any harmful interference that may occur.

SD 3 has been complemented by the recent White House Spectrum Memo, which has a domestic focus and the goal of which is to increase spectrum access for all users, including on a shared basis, through the transparency of spectrum use and improved cooperation and collaboration between federal and non-federal spectrum stakeholders. In addition, it charges the government with creating flexible models for spectrum management; developing advanced technologies, innovative spectrum-utilization methods, and spectrum-sharing tools and techniques that increase spectrum access, efficiency, and effectiveness; building a secure, automated capability to facilitate assessments of spectrum use and expedite coordination of shared access among federal and non-federal spectrum stakeholders; and improving the global competitiveness of United States terrestrial and space-related industries and augment the mission capabilities of federal entities through spectrum policies, domestic regulations, and leadership in international forums.

So, how can we leverage these policies to improve the satellite industry’s protection from interference? Let’s start with the very basics. What does the commercial satellite industry need to be protected from harmful interference?

Our first building block is the one we rely on today. Use of the ITU coordination process, as well as the ITU radio regulations and domestic regulations which protect against interference. These regulations must be clear, transparent and not overly administratively burdensome as the White House policies recognize. However, SD 3 also recognizes that these processes must be improved. With an upcoming World Radio Conference this year important issues will be addressed on the large fleets of NGSO systems which are coming and how to better include them in the ITU coordination process. However, further action needs to be taken on a number of fronts, including for small satellites — especially as the operators may not be so sophisticated to understand existing processes.

In addition, domestic governments must address these challenges head-on. In the United States, the FCC has been actively addressing both issues and is in the process of revising its regimes to begin to address the very real issue of having new fleets of NGSOs and small satellites operating in the RF spectrum resource.

While work is underway both on international and domestic bases, I am concerned that we are not moving quickly enough. Unfortunately, there are certain administrative processes that must be followed to address these important spectrum issues. Accordingly, as discussed below, it is important for governments and the ITU to start to look at ways to enable flexibility in the appropriate regulations to enable innovation. In addition, informal processes can help fill the gap. This is an area that warrants further attention.

Additionally, international and domestic work to manage spectrum interference must continue to be complemented by an individual operator’s efforts at informal coordination. I am happy to report that several of our industry associations are actively looking at developing best practices to address these critical issues.

Moving on, the satellite industry also needs adequate access to spectrum with adequate interference protections contained in the regulatory regimes for all our uses — both gateways and user terminals; this means there are certain bands today where technology does not enable co-primary sharing between two ubiquitous services, such as 5G mobile terrestrial and satellite broadband to work on a non-interference basis. This means that interference from terrestrial systems and other non-terrestrial uses must be managed on both a domestic and international basis to ensure all services are able to operate free from unacceptable interference. This is a very real issue that is on-going at the WRC preparatory process. The terrestrial mobile industry is currently seeking 33 GHz of spectrum for 5G mobile terrestrial services, much of which is in bands already allocated to satellite communications and some of which is designated for satellite user terminal use Despite these existing satellite allocations and identifications, the wireless industry wants full and clear access to these bands — without any protections for the satellite, even though previous WRCs have recognized the need for spectrum for ubiquitous use of approximately four GHz of spectrum for satellite user terminals. This remains a critical issue for the industry and also for my company, as we are far along in the construction process of advanced broadband satellites in these bands. It would be unfortunate if the satellite industry is limited in the role it can play in the 5G network and in the future because of a lack of access to spectrum or access without required protections from interference.


Now it might be difficult for those of us entrenched in the telecoms world to believe, but a vast majority of end-users and policymakers still don’t understand how the transition to a new 5G wireless standard will work. That’s why we’re bringing DC5G back to the nation’s capital for a second year — to break telecommunications industry sectors out of their silos, and unite leaders, policy makers, investors, and end-users to educate the world about the benefits of adding a 5G capability to the wireless ecosystem. If you have questions about 5G, then DC5G is the place to find answers.

With a keynote from Samsung Senior Vice President (SVP) of Policy John Godfrey, who will outline what the world’s largest handset manufacturer believes will be the “killer app for 5G.” Godfrey will explore the prevailing use cases for 5G from the initial commercial network uses to some of the more transformative industry applications. Immediately following the keynote will be a fireside chat with Chris Pearson and Small Cell Forum CEO Sue Monahan, moderated by SDx Central Editor-in-Chief Sue Marek, titled “What Makes 5G Different than Previous Generations?” The group will take an in-depth look at the various elements necessary to create a 5G world of the future, including small cells, spectrum resources, and more.

The opening program rolls nicely into our day-one morning session, which addresses a major industry challenge — deploying 5G infrastructure. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) primary mission over the next few years will be to ensure that the United States wins the race to full 5G deployment while allowing private industry to ultimately determine how it will be done. The FCC’s biggest challenge is creating a balanced regulatory environment that will keep investment capital flowing, and make it easier for the industry to install and deploy infrastructure. Can the U.S. keep pace with its international competitors? Our morning panel session, “Winning the Global Race to 5G,” aims to answer this question. The session features an all-star speaker lineup from a variety of organizations playing widely different roles in the 5G space, including QUALCOMM, Intelsat, the U.S. Navy, Crown Castle, and CommScope.

DC5G 2018 will then welcome its second keynote speaker — entrepreneur, technologist, and Eisenhower Fellow Adam Zuckerman, director of ventures and innovation for Discovery. Adam has directed the implementation of emerging technologies for numerous Fortune 500 companies around the world. His DC5G presentation, “The Disruptive World of 5G-Powered Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality Applications,” will explain how 5G connectivity unlocks incredible VR, AR and mixed reality capabilities for businesses, consumers, and governments.

Next at DC5G 2018 will be a trio of a smart city- and rural deployment-themed sessions, starting with a 5G smart structures panel, “Transforming Unique Physical Buildings into Compatible Smart City Network Nodes” featuring speakers from Google, Mobile Stack, and the Telecommunications Industry Association. Satellite Industry Association (SIA) President Tom Stroup then leads his session, “Are there 5G Deployment Plans for Rural Communities and Mobile, Remote Industries?” Stroup and fellow speakers from SES, Geeks Without Frontiers, and The Rural Broadband Association (NTCA) will answer questions about satellite, cellular backhaul, and wireless opportunities that could be created for operators serving remote and underserved clientele.

Day two of DC5G 2018 begins with a roundtable discussion, “What Can 5G Do for Smart Cities?” with Crown Castle Director of Product Development Mark Reudink, NDP Analytics Managing Director Bonnie Pierce, and Jackie Crotts, the Deputy Director of Technology for the City of Richmond, Va. This opening discussion speaks directly to our many city government attendees who are coming to DC5G 2018 to learn about how 5G connectivity brings value to city managers, creates new efficiencies and opportunities, works alongside and with existing technologies, and empowers citizens.

The next session, “How Local Government and Private Industry Should Invest in 5G,” features Steve Baker, Director of Innovation for American Tower, along with GWTCA President Andy Maxymillian, Mobile Future Executive Director of Mobile Future Margaret McCarthy, and Shulman Rogers Chairman of Telecommunications Alan Tilles. NTCA Assistant General Counsel Jill Canfield and OST Program Manager Asghar Meraj will then explore ideal collaborative industry and government strategies to address 5G security and privacy concerns related to protecting individual data and enterprise operations.

DC5G 2018 concludes with a callback to the theme of our opening keynote — a panel session that “geeks out” over the new applications that 5G enables for connected consumers and businesses. This will be an exciting closing session led by speakers with incredible insight on 5G application development, including National Retail Federation (NRF) Senior Director of Digital Retail Jill Dvorak; Samsung Head of Marketing Derek Johnston, and Nokia North American Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Mike Murphy.


Deutsche Telekom headquarters in Bonn, Germany. Photo: Deutsche Telekom.

Deutsche Telekom, the majority shareholder of T-Mobile U.S. , will launch commercial 5G operations in Germany in 2020. Deutsche Telekom Chief Executive Tim Höttges said operations will launch as long as enough commercial devices are available. He renewed a pledge to invest $6.32 billion (5.5 billion euros) a year in building Telekom’s broadband network in Germany, according to a statement issued before a meeting on network strategy to be hosted by Germany’s main industry lobby.

Höttges plans to cooperate in building out Germany’s fiber-optic network, critical both for providing gigabit-speed internet connections and ensuring that 5G services such as networked factories and smart cities can operate. He also invited industry to join in the development of a standardized European 5G platform.

The company plans to host a user conference to assess the demands on its 5G network.

Deutsche Telekom has submitted an eight-point plan for a fast, successful launch of 5G which includes a proposal to offer 5G coverage to 99 percent of the population by 2025. The company is also taking a major step in area coverage, targeting 90 percent 5G coverage by 2025.

The Operator said it will invest 20 billion euros in Germany by 2021. To ensure that business, industry, and the general public get the best possible 5G network, Deutsche Telekom will also team up with partners. It has recently concluded an agreement with competitor Telefonica, which enables Telefonica to use Deutsche Telekom’s fiber-optic network to connect its own mobile base stations.

The Operator said it has connected 22,000 mobile base stations with fiber. To provide even more coverage for Germany and its residents, Deutsche Telekom is also speeding up the installation of new antenna sites. The company currently operates 27,000 of them and will be adding at least 2,000 each year. Their number will reach 36,000 by 2021. The sites already use an advanced technology called Single RAN which enables frequencies to be split flexibly and dynamically on demand. S RAN technology is already capable of supporting the first 5G applications.

Tim Hottges, CEO, Deutsche Telekom says:
Everyone wants to be in the high-speed network – across all levels of society. That’s what drives us. Deutsche Telekom is ready for 5G. We’re working hard on the network roll-out in both the fixed and mobile networks. And we will live up to our responsibility for Germany’s digital future. We’re building the network for everyone.


FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to vote on a critical and contentious proposal this week that could prevent city governments from charging access fees for 5G infrastructure construction and installation, and force cities to approve or deny carrier applications within as little as 60 days or as many as 90 days. The vote puts the agency at odds with city governments that have already partnered with carriers to deploy 5G small cells and other infrastructure networks.

The proposal’s supporters, including the FCC’s Republican majority, claim that the new rules would accelerate the pace of 5G rollout while saving carriers billions of dollars in fees and expenses. The savings, the agency said, could then be re-invested by carriers in connecting rural and underserved communities. Telecommunications companies in the United States are eager to invest in and deploy 5G infrastructure to stay ahead of nations like China, which have far fewer regulatory hurdles. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai admitted that striking a balance between leading the world in 5G innovation and adhering to free-market economics would be a major challenge for the U.S. He had stated publicly that the telecom industry is relying on his commission to speed up infrastructure rollout and 5G service deployment by cutting the red tape and eliminating regulatory hurdles.

The FCC proposes that cities adhere to a ‘reasonable’ standardized application fee structure — a one-time $100 fee to apply, and $270 per year to maintain each small cell installation. This follows another order from March 2018, in which the FCC voted to exclude small cells from the same category of federal review procedures required for 200-foot cellphone towers — making small cell deployment much easier and faster for carriers.

“Our action would eliminate around $2 billion in unnecessary costs, which would stimulate around $2.5 billion of additional buildouts,” Pai and other Republican commissioners wrote in the proposal. “And that new service would be deployed where it is needed most — 97 percent of new deployments would be in rural and suburban communities that otherwise would be on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

Municipal governments argue that it is their right to charge fair market rate fees to carriers wanting to install small cells or other physical elements on public infrastructure. Some state governments also feel that the FCC proposal would steamroll legislation that some have already put into place to facilitate 5G small-cell deployment.

The FCC acknowledged that many states (currently more than 20) and localities have “acted to update and modernize their approaches to small cell deployments. They are working to promote deployment and balance the needs of their communities. At the same time, the record shows that problems remain,” The FCC’s proposal also stated that “many state and local officials have urged the FCC to continue our efforts in this proceeding and adopt additional reforms. Indeed, we have heard from a number of local officials that the excessive fees or other costs associated with deploying small scale wireless infrastructure in large or otherwise ‘must serve’ cities are materially inhibiting the buildout of wireless services in their own communities.”

Despite the pitch to rural governments, not all of the beneficiaries here are on board with the FCC’s plan. Last week, Paul Smith, Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), wrote a letter to the FCC expressing the organization’s concerns with the language of the proposal. Smith wrote that while the RCRC supports policies that close the digital divide, the organization believes that “the proposed language set forth in the Order would actually incentivize increased deployment in already-served, historically high-cost markets.”

Smith pointed to certain elements of the proposal to support his claim. “The FCC’s proposed new collocation ‘shot clock’ category is too extreme. The proposal designates any preexisting structure, regardless of its design or suitability for attaching wireless equipment, as eligible for this new expedited 60-day shot clock,” he wrote. “The FCC’s proposed recurring fee structure is an unreasonable overreach that will harm local policy innovation. We disagree with the FCC’s interpretation of ‘fair and reasonable compensation’ as meaning approximately $270 per small cell site … The FCC’s decision to prohibit a municipalities’ ability to require ‘in-kind’ conditions on installation agreements is in direct conflict with the FCC’s stated intent of this Order and further constrains local governments in deploying wireless services to historically underserved areas.”

The FCC said it drafted the order based on feedback from multiple cities and state governments, as well as carriers and investors. FCC Chairman Pai and his colleagues said that they are seeking a fair, yet realistic path to 5G rollout in the United States. “We have reached a balanced, commonsense approach, rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all regime. This ensures that state and local elected officials will continue to play a key role in reviewing and promoting the deployment of wireless infrastructure in their communities,” the agency wrote in its proposal.