We’re Ready For ESC Certification

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You may recall, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly recently issued a statement that outlined registration procedures for Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) certification:

“Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) systems are a key component to permit sharing and robust use of the 3.5 GHz band (CBRS). Today’s Public Notice outlining details of the sensor registration procedures for obtaining ESC network certification is one of the last steps before making the band fully operational and open for business. If all goes well, ESCs could be certified by the end of the year or very early 2019.”

This news is one small step in the industry’s giant leap toward CBRS commercialization, and we’re excited to see the ongoing progression, as we are more than ready to go.

When we set out on this journey, we knew there would be no SAS solution without an ESC network – both are required to commercialize CBRS. That’s why we built a Spectrum Controller that contains both elements, and, if you read my last post, you know that our team has been implementing on our ESC network for the past two years. As a critical component for securing access to valuable spectrum for commercial applications, our focus has been on getting it just right.  Our ESC sites, which were carefully selected, can be found along the east and west coasts of the United States. They are located close to the shoreline but can withstand quite a bit. Their ruggedized exterior allows them to endure even the most extreme conditions, including the Category 4 storm Hurricane Michael in Florida and the California Wildfires. While hundreds of thousands were impacted in many ways during these disasters, including lack of cell phoneservice to reach others, our sites stood strong through the wind and fire. Pictured above on the roof of a west coast landmark, our ESC maintained power with battery backup as the fire raged. This holds a lot of promise for future similar events.

It’s clear that we are leading the wave in the reach and readiness of this infrastructure in the U.S., with the technology developed, site locations for Dynamic Protection Areas (DPA) secured, and ESC sensors at the ready for final installation. As we deploy the ESC network we need to demonstrate that the sites we have selected enable us to fully monitor the DPA for the presence of a federal incumbent.

These new procedures, published by the FCC, lay out how to get formal approval of our DPA site builds and register ESC sensor site locations. The registrations must describe in detail the DPAs that will be made available and protected, as well as provide the RF site configuration details to demonstrate compliance with NTIA’s guidance. We are already one step ahead. Our ESC network has gone through certification testing, and we are thrilled with what we saw in the lab testing. Now that the FCC is accepting registrations to process on a rolling basis, we are going to send several DPA submissions over for formal review.

While the speed to market has caught a few by surprise, we are very much on track to have our highly available, fully redundant ESC network in place in Q1 2019, enabling customers to access all 150MHz of GAA spectrum. In fact, we will very soon file ESC registration for more than 30 DPAs. In addition, our robust ICD application says it all. We have 15 customers and 15 partners planning initial commercial deployments at 16,000 sites across 47 states over the next six months. This, along with the fact that the approval process we proposed for ESC certification was adopted by the FCC, underscores how we are continuing to lead the wave in CBRS commercialization.

Image: Our ESC sites are built to withstand extreme conditions, including wildfires like the ones that recently swept across California.

About the author /
Kurt Schaubach
Kurt Schaubach brings 25 years of wireless industry experience to Federated Wireless where he plays a key role in developing technologies and new business strategies to create the next-generation architecture of broadband wireless.
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