Spectrum Map – November 2020 updates

First, I have added J/K bands for BRS/EBS, as well as now supporting tribal lands which were just recently granted a month or two ago. There will be an auction of the remaining 2.5GHz BRS/EBS spectrum in 2021.

Next, SMR (original and rebanded) 800MHz is now supported on the map and in the depth chart. This is mostly owned by T-Mobile (via Sprint). I have removed some of the SMR bands that were not showing up on the map, but very few licenses are affected and most of them were less than 1 MHz wide so they aren’t usable for cellphones (LTE/5G).

I missed Washington, DC in the depth chart originally, but its there now.

Finally, I’ll be removing the “BETA” tag on December 1 from the County-level data maps. Thanks to everyone who emailed me with issues or items for me to check on. I appreciate it.

I’m publishing a bit early because its close to Thanksgiving and I don’t think I’ll be getting any free time to spend on the site until December.

CBRS licenses still aren’t in the FCC ULS, even though the winners at the county-level have been available for months. This section of spectrum will be difficult to chart because the licenses are not the same as all the others – they’re “priority access” licenses because there is incumbent use in this space. And there is no specific chunk of spectrum assigned to them (e.g. 3550 – 3560MHz), there are just seven 10MHz licenses per county and that’s it. I don’t know if I can get access to a SAS and be able to snapshot the county-level data in the US once a week.

2.5GHz Tribal Priority Results

I’ve been working for a bit working to add the 2.5GHz Tribal Priority Window license allocations added to the maps. It’s a bit tricky since each tribe has their own license area, along with a number of … um, discrepancies as far as I can tell the in the FCC ULS system.

Check out call sign WRJS797, the FCC lists Tribal Priority Window (TPW) channels for about 67MHz, but the Maps page, it displays about 117MHz of licensed spectrum, which means the main page is missing the first ~50MHz of licensed spectrum (2502MHz to 2551.5MHz). The application in the ULS lists all of the licensed spectrum noted on the Maps page (117MHz).

Maybe this will be ironed out in a few weeks, but the data will be a bit rough until then.

Spectrum Map Version 6!

Version 6 of Spectrum Omega is here! I’ve been working on this since May, lots of late nights and early mornings.

The biggest improvement is three new maps!

  • County-level Ownership Maps!
  • County-level Operator Maps!
  • Depth Charts!

The other major change is the terms and conditions of use for the site. Spectrum Omega will remain free for personal use, and the two existing maps (Licensed Area Ownership and Operator-specific maps) will remain free for all, including those who use this website for business or commercial purposes.

If you use this website for business or commercial purposes, you will need to purchase an annual subscription to use the new County-level Ownership and Operator maps, along with the Depth Charts. These changes take effect December 1, 2020.

Be sure to contact me if you notice anything odd or have any questions!

County-level Ownership Maps

License ownership is now shown at the county level, this is very helpful in areas where two or three or four different operators share ownership of a licensed area, or where a licensed area is very large.

County-level Ownership map

County-level Operator Maps

This map focuses down to one operator the counties in which they own licenses. The different shading of the county may indicate other operators own spectrum in these counties as well.

County-level operator map

Depth Chart

Depth charts are used to examine the ownership of all spectrum, from 600MHz to mmWave, in just one county. This can be used to asses how much a particular operator owns in that county. You can click the operator name to take you to the FCC ULS page for that license. At the top is a summary of ownership totals but those total aren’t weighted for population when a county is split, nor are leased licenses removed from the total.

Summary Table

For the spectrum summary, “Low” is spectrum ownership below 1 GHz, “Mid” is between 1.0-2.3 Ghz, “High” is between 2.3-6.0 GHz and mmWave is anything above that (technically 6+ GHz isn’t mmWave but I’ll come back and adjust this if we start using Ku band for cellular phones).

Depth Chart

Spectrum Map improvements in September 2020

I hope everyone had a fun and safe September! Improvements made in September:

  • More mobile friendly – the layout for mobile devices and tablets is improved. This will continue to be refined as time goes on.
  • Minor changes behind the scenes to speed up the app performance, particularly around reducing data download sizes and improving caching.
  • Added Market Name to the pop-up window.
Works well on a phone!

I am looking forward to October! It will be an exciting rest of 2020!

Spectrum Map Improvements in August

This month, the map has been improved with the following changes:

  • More robust data handling from the FCC to ensure all licenses are brought over (the FCC data files are sometimes ill-formatted).
  • Support for county-based licenses that are coded by the FCC as such (like this one). This is most noticeable with the mmWave L1 & L2 bands that were before sparsely populated now display more licenses.

Thats all for now, see you next month!

Spectrum Map update – July 2020! [U]

I’ve been investing time to improve the data quality and completeness in the Spectrum Map, and am finally ready to deliver some of these enhancements! I’m super excited that I can now display P35 GSA BRS/EBS licenses into mappable areas!

BRS/EBS point-based licenses now available!

I have added EBS licenses (Educational Broadband Services) to the map. In order to do this I needed to be able to convert the unique license style (P35 GSA) into a BTA area. P35 GSA licenses are licenses that are assigned on a point/radius basis. This makes them difficult to map. For my spectrum map, I have coded the points into a BTA area, and will display that license in the list for that BTA area. This will also apply to BRS licenses as well, as some of those licenses are P35 GSA (others are BTA-based).

The point will be denoted as a P35 license in the pop-up for that BTA.

One of the caveats is if the 35 mile radius extends into other BTAs, the license will not show up in those BTAs – I am only coding the center point of the license.

Update: As of July 29, I am now able to code both the center point of the license and license area when P35 licenses cross between BTAs. They are indicated on the map tooltip as “P35 Center” and “P35 Radius”.

Leases

In the pop-up for each area, I am noting licenses that are leased out to others, along with a link to the leased license. This is especially useful for the BRS/EBS licenses as those licenses tend to be leased out from the local authority/government to T-Mobile (well, used to be Sprint, but the merger happened).

Special Temporary Authority/Development

The other improvement I’m happy to deliver is reporting if a license is a STA/Development license. This is useful to know if you see multiple license holders in an area, you know which one is the permanent one and which one is a temporary license.

I am continuing to work on other improvements as well, I hope to deliver them in a few months. Stay safe!

Spectrum Map version 5!

Its time for Version 5!

There isn’t a lot new on the surface for this update. I’ve changed my back-end data source from the now defunct FCC License Viewer to ULS data dumps. A lot went into this effort to completely change how I was downloading and processing the data. It now uses The Cloud(TM) to help in the data processing and file generation. 

The result is more data in a more timely manner. I now should support nearly all mobile/cellular licenses that are associated with a market area. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t support point-based licenses for EBS. 

The data should be updated on a weekly basis, and be updated without me having to lift a finger. 

If you see any issues with the new version of the website, contact me via the contact form!

Take Our Survey!

Please take our survey and help us determine the future of Spectrum Omega! Your input is critical to the future of this website, and I would love to hear from our users about what is important (or not) to using the website, and how much time I should invest in building new features. It is only nine questions and I’m sure it won’t take more than a few minutes of your time. Thank you!

Data updates resumed & Visual Refresh

The FCC resumed updating their License View data dump in August, so I have resumed data updates for the Spectrum Map. The FCC updates the License View data weekly. Expect updates to the map data at least once a month, if not more than that (my goal is 2-3x a month, depending on my free time).

I also did a minor visual refresh of the site – it should work a little better on smaller devices like iPhones and iPads, and also is leveraging modern web development tools.

I’m glad to be back, I plan to keep this site going as long as there is interest and the FCC keeps their data sources updated!

If you’d like to contact me, feel free to drop me a line on my contact page.

End of the Spectrum Map? Part deux…

So for the second time, the FCC has stopped updating my data source (the first time was the Spectrum Dashboard, and then I rewrote my scripts to parse the License View data dump).

I’m loathe to rewrite it for a third time (using the direct data dumps from the ULS) mostly because I’m too busy. With 50 hour work weeks becoming more frequent, a wife, and friends I don’t get to see much, I don’t have a lot of free time anymore (when I first wrote this, I was single, all my friends were married, and had tremendous amounts of free time). Its one thing to fire up a python script once every two weeks to download and update the data from the FCC, its another thing to have to dedicate 100+ hours to rewrite the back end from scratch (data processing, cleanup, normalization, store into a DB, generate static data files).

So I think this might be the end, if the FCC doesn’t update the License View dataset ever again. I could care less about their Spectrum Dashboard, that was a difficult tool to use productively. But the raw License View data was much easier to ingest and process – its way more valuable to the community. Lets hope this doesn’t fall on deaf ears.