The FCC decided the 3650-3700 Order today. You can find a link on the FCC Home page.
As is customary, the Order is not yet released, so we have only the press release to go on.
My first take is below. I know a lot of people are going to be upset that it requires licensing, but it is not a “licensed” regime anymore than a truly “unlicensed” regime. We need to keep an open mind and wait for the actual order to come out.
We won on non-exclusvity. Any new licensee is required to make room for any new commer. Licensed devices are “fixed” whereas unlicensed are “mobile.” Mobile devices must receive an “enabling signal” from fixed base stations before operatiing.
I do not believe the order is bad for mesh in urban or rural areas. A “licensed” set of low power nodes can demand coordination and protection from the “high power” towers. So a tower is not going to be able to just blast through a network as it can in existing unlicensed bands. Importantly, the staff also require intelligence in the devices to avoid interference, but do not specify a specific type of technology or particular protocol. This will allow tremendous scope for flexibility and open source development.
The FCC is grappling witht his stuff. Staff are trying to think creatively and balance multiple legal, economic and engineering interests. When the Order comes out, there will be an opportunity to file a “Petition for Recon” to ask for any necessary rule corrections. My work with staff convinces me that they _will_ be open to modifications that are supported by good engineering data.
We did not get everything we wanted out of this by a long shot. But based on what I have seen I believe, on balance, that this is a good order and one that will open up new opportunities to use the band in both the open source community and for those favoring proprietary solutions.
Stay tuned . . .