5.4 GENI WiMAX Licenses

Each GENI WiMAX campus/site must have a valid FCC license to operate a WiMAX base station. In some cases, a campus/site plans to use an existing "educational license" already held by their institution. However, in most cases, the campus/site plans to apply for and use a new "experimental license" that, by and large, can be obtained just by requesting it from the FCC. This process has been successful in 6 cases for 5 campuses/sites. See Section 8.2, "Obtain FCC License".

However, in almost all situations, there is a potential overlap with the ongoing national Clearwire/Sprint WiMAX rollout. (See the list of current and planned deployments below.) This is true for several reasons.

If a GENI WiMAX campus/site plans to use an existing "educational license" already held by their institution, which has not yet been leased to Clearwire/Sprint, there is a reasonable chance that the institution may yet pursue a lease with Sprint/Clearwire, and thus the GENI WiMAX campus/site could lose their license.

In the cases where the institution has leased their "educational license" to Clearwire/Sprint (which may or may not have started service), all is not lost. A new upcoming rule apparently requires that an institution that has leased their "educational license" must retain "at least 5%" for their own use, or else forfeit their license. So, a GENI WiMAX campus/site may gain partial access to an "educational license" even if it has alreasy been leased to Clearwire/Sprint.

In the cases where a GENI WiMAX campus/site plans to apply for and use a new "experimental license", it has been found that most available spectrum has been leased to Sprint/Clearwire, although they are not yet using it in most locations (see below). So, the FCC will grant an "experimental license" that overlaps spectrum already leased (likely to Clearwire/Sprint), but they require: if the owner of the spectrum (i.e., Clearwire/Sprint) begins service, the holder of the "experimental license" must stop using the spectrum immediately.

So, what does this all mean?

1) If a GENI WiMAX campus/site uses an "educational license" already held by their institution (or "5% of one", by the upcoming rule), they are OK (unless the institution decides to lease the license).
2) If a GENI WiMAX campus/site uses an "experimental license" that does NOT overlap a license holder, they are OK.
3) If a GENI WiMAX campus/site uses an "experimental license" that DOES overlap a license holder, they are OK UNTIL that license holder (i.e., Clearwire/Sprint) decides to start using that spectrum, and then they will have to shut down their WiMAX base station. This is a significant concern in major metropolitan areas, per the deployment plans listed below.

However, this could change. An NSF effort is beginning to define a Wireless National-scale Test Bed (WiNTeB); this could possibly affect the allocation of spectrum to national testbed uses.

Another possible strategy has been identified by Tony Michel. In at least three locations, (Boston, Sussex Cty, MA; Brooklyn, Kings Ct, NY; Manhattan, NY Cty, NY) he has identified a 5-MHz slice of specturm in the educational band with no assigned licenses.

BBN technologies has applied for and been granted an experimental license for the 5-MHz slice in Sussex County.

PIs at NYU Poly and Columbia are in the process of appplying for experimental licenses for the 5-MHz slices in their counties.

Assuming that both NYU Poly and Columbia are grnated experimental licenses in their respective 5-MHz slices (smae frequencies, but geographically separated), then the NYU Poly and Columbia institutions should be able to apply for and be granted full educational licenses in the slices. What does this mean?

4) If so, NYU Poly and Columbia would be able to use full educational licenses without challenge from Sprint/Clearwire or any other commercial enterprises.

Clearwire/Sprint Deployments

See 2009 rollout
See 2010 plans

+ Currently in service (June, 2010):

  • Georgia, Atlanta and more
  • Maryland, Baltimore
  • Illinois, Chicago
  • Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Oregon, Portland and Salem
  • North Carolina, Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh
  • Hawaii, Honolulu and Maui.
  • Texas: Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Killeen/Temple, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, San Antonio, Waco and Wichita Falls
  • Washington, Seattle and more
  • Idaho, Boise
  • Missouri, St. Louis and Kansas City
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and more
  • Central Washington, D.C.

+ Planned for remainder of 2010:

  • Massachusetts, Boston
  • Colorado, Denver
  • Oregon, Eugene
  • New York, New York City, Syracuse and Rochester
  • California, San Francisco bay area, Los Angeles, Merced, Visalia, Modesto, and Stockton
  • Washington, Yakima
  • Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Delaware, Wilmington
  • Michigan, Grand Rapids
  • Florida, Miami
  • Ohio, Cincinatti and Cleveland
  • Pennsylvania, Pittsburg
Last modified 9 years ago Last modified on 07/27/12 11:58:31