December 2021 Update!

Hi everyone!

I’ve spent the last few months working hard on cleaning up the BRS/EBS data. The more I dug, the more I found I had to correct for.

BRS/EBS

There are very few licenses that still use the “Old” band plan. Virtually all the licenses are using the “New” band plan (there have been many recent conversions, even in the last few months – as I was combing through the data I saw a lot of October and November 2021 dates for some licenses switching from Old to New). Be aware there are still inconsistencies in the FCC’s ULS database – there are lots of licenses where it says they’re using the New band plan but have the Old frequencies associated on the Map view of the license.

I’m convinced at this point that T-Mobile doesn’t own those J/K blocks. I’ve checked everywhere in the FCC data dump and didn’t find any records that showed they own those J/K blocks.

Next on the agenda for BRS/EBS is to start using spatial analysis to “split the football” on overlapping P35 licenses. I used to do spatial analysis for a living so I’m eager to get back into it and figure out how to solve this problem. If I’m successful I do plan on trying to make a BRS/EBS map, but it will be paywalled after a short beta period.

Firstnet

I’ve added AT&T’s Firstnet holdings. However, they still don’t appear in the FCC ULS data dump, so there are no hyperlinks to link back to.

Thats all, have a great holidays and let’s hope 2022 can return us to a little bit more normal times.

September 2021 update

Hi everyone. Small bug fix delivered this month. The totals on the Depth chart for mmWave were off, and I’ve corrected the algorithm to total it up. So the numbers should be correct as of today’s data update.

Other issues I am looking into are J/K blocks of EBS/BRS control for T-Mobile (the FCC ULS doesn’t show any license ownership for those blocks prior to 2020’s tribal lands assignment action so I’m not sure T-Mo owns or leases those two small chunks), and improving P35 boundaries using the splitting the football approach the FCC defines for when the two circles overlap.

Finally I’m looking into developing a more detailed EBS/BRS map. Though given the time investment, those features might be paywalled for licensed users only.

C-Band results posted [U]

By the end of June, I expect that I will be able to post the C-Band auction results. [Update: As of June 17, I have posted the results in map form!] The results will include both the final and interim configuration. If you haven’t heard, Verizon was the big winner, both in terms of spectrum and money paid, getting about 160Mhz of spectrum nationwide. AT&T was next with around 80Mhz, and then finally T-Mobile got about 40Mhz or so in major markets.

Interim vs. Final Configuration

The interim configuration extends from December 2021 to December 2023, and includes the first 100MHz (A block) of the C-Band’s 280MHz available spectrum for cellular use, but only in specific metro areas (the top 50 in the US, excluding Washington DC/Baltimore). This interim configuration was split between Verizon and AT&T 60/40. On the map you’ll see two sets of blocks for the first 100MHz – one block has an “Int” at the end which denotes the “interim” block that has the reduced metro areas as well as assignments for the next two years, as well as the “final” block which has the block name “A1” to show the 2023 configuration.

This spectrum has a lot of potential – greenfield 5G for Verizon and AT&T, and enough spectrum to make 5G seem like 5G, and not just 4G with Sprinkles.

The next auction is the in-fill for the 2.5GHz band. Will T-Mobile extend their dominance, or will small rural carriers try to secure large blocks of mid-band spectrum to deploy rural wireless (fixed wireless maybe?).

CBRS Auction results now available

Results of the CBRS auction are now available on the maps. The licenses were auctioned off at the county level (PEA/2017 counties). The FCC still has not made their licenses available in the ULS system so there is no link to the official FCC license in the ULS.

The licenses are 10MHz chunks each, but they aren’t assigned a specific frequency block. The spectrum licensees have purchased a “Priority Access” license, which means that they have priority over General Access users (and the former users of the spectrum have priority over both groups). Instead, all users of the spectrum will use a “SAS” or Spectrum Access System in order to coordinate frequency usage in each county. Out of the 100MHz available (3550-3650MHz) there were 7 10MHz licenses available. Most of the winners were cable TV companies (Charter, Comcast. Cox), Verizon, Dish, and a host of other smaller companies or companies looking to eventually resell the spectrum licenses for a profit.

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!