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.
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”.
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!
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!
I’ve updated the bands and metro area (but not carriers, I swear I’ll get it done next month – work+school+social life means I don’t have much free time). Also you may need to clear your browser cache if the new bands.json file wont download.
It appears that the Verizon/T-Mobile AWS swap is included in this months data, which makes the maps incredibly messy (also I think the FCC hasn’t removed some of the old data – so it may come up as shared when its really not). Also included is some of AT&T’s 700MHz B/C block transactions with smaller carriers – their goal with this is to acquire 700MHz spectrum in rural areas where they have wireline service.
My five ideas for getting the spectrum situation sorted out here in the USA in the short to medium term. This doesn’t include any sort of 600MHz-band incentive auction because that wont be ready for devices until 2017 at least, if not 2020.
Grant Verizon’s AWS spectrum acquisition from the cable companies on the two following conditions – they sell their 700MHz A&B block spectrum (probably to AT&T and regional carriers) and they sell their AWS F block holding (presumably to T-Mobile, giving it enough spectrum to deploy LTE on the entirety of the eastern half of the US). The second condition would be a tough sell for Verizon – thats a ton of valuable spectrum, but its also not likely to be used for a good 4 years assuming they use their newly acquired block first – the only major metro areas they don’t own in the newly acquired cable spectrum is Buffalo NY and Cincinatti OH, not exactly hotbeds of technological innovation demanding higher speeds (plus, AT&T owns those licenses, maybe they swap them for some of the B licenses Verizon owns).
Grant Dish Network their request to turn their 40MHz spectrum holdings into terrestrial cellular spectrum. Swap the necessary spectrum pieces such that the new spectrum is AWS-1 adjacent – free up the spectrum between 1755-1800MHz (currently used by DoD), swap the 2000-2020 band with 1780-1800 (put first priority to free up this spectrum) and pair that with 2180-2200; then auction off 1755-1780 paired with 2155-2180 at a later date after the spectrum has been completely vacated. Try to get the first 20MHz swap done by end of 2014 for the first LTE-Adv devices, and the latter 50MHz by 2017.
Find other spectrum to trade Lightsquared’s current GPS-adjacent holdings with so it can proceed with building their network. If it is not possible to relocate LS’s holdings, then they’ll just have to give up.
Issue an order against spectrum warehousing – all spectrum that is currently not used and has not been used either since allocation or in the last 4 years must be either returned to the FCC or sold to another party (who would still be on the hook with above requirements) before January 1, 2016. Exemptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis for those companies who have spectrum for future expansion (the FCC will judge how likely and capable they are in their plans and grant or deny).
All future auctions will not be sold to the highest bidder, but rather companies with the least warehoused spectrum and that show the best business plan to deploy equipment to use that spectrum. Both technical and financial factors will be considered. The goal here is to not raise subscribers bills, and provide for faster mobile broadband.