The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have identified about half of the 500 megahertz they seek to free up for mobile and untethered Internet access services, making a total of 245 megahertz of additional spectrum available.

The 245 megahertz includes shared access to 140 MHz of spectrum presently licensed to Federal agencies.

That includes 40 megahertz in the 1695 MHz to 1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands, plus 100 megahertz from the 3.5 GHz band (3550-3650 MHz).

Some 105 MHz also has been obtained from non-Federal sources, including 30 megahertz from the 2305 MHz to 2320 MHz and 2345 MHz to 2360 MHz bands.

Some 10 megahertz was obtained from the 1915 MHz to 1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands.

Also, 40 megahertz was added from the 2000 MHz to 2020 MHz and 2180 MHz to 2200 MHz bands, plus 25 megahertz from the 2155 MHz to 2180 MHz bands.  

Longer term, capacity dwarfing those net gains should be possible as additional shared spectrum is released in the 5 GHz band (5350- 5470 MHz and 5850-5925 MHz) U-NII bands, while the Spectrum Frontiers initiative looks to deploy frequencies above 24 GHz for mobile broadband and other uses.

As currently proposed, additional spectrum for mobile and other untethered Internet access would be made available in the 28 GHz, 37 GHz and 39 GHz bands.

For some, it is important that the additional capacity represents 3.85 GHz of licensed, flexible use spectrum, more than four times the amount of flexible use spectrum the FCC has licensed to date.

As proposed, the new spectrum would be based on 200 MHz assignments, with some geographic exclusion zones for shared spectrum access, to protect incumbent users from interference, in the 37 GHz and 39 GHz bands. A total of 2.4 GHz of spectrum would be released in those bands.

In the 28-GHz band, two 425 MHz blocks would be made available.

Unlicensed use in the 64-71 GHz bands also would be enabled, making available 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum. When combined with the existing high-band unlicensed spectrum (57 GHz to 64 GHz), the move would double the amount of high-band unlicensed spectrum to 14 GHz of contiguous unlicensed spectrum (57-71 GHz).

That 14 GHz band will be 15 times as much as all unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum in lower bands.

Shared access would be allowed in the 37 GHz to 37.6 GHz band (600 MHz of capacity).