Today, the Commission opened a proceeding to examine the interference challenges that have prevented both deployment and interoperability in the lower 700 MHz band. These challenges are well-documented and real. The high power broadcasts that are permitted in channel 51 and in the lower E-block create the potential for significant technical and deployment impediments in the neighboring lower 700 MHz blocks.
Some have argued that the technical and physical limitations of the band should simply be ignored, and have called for sweeping interoperability mandates. Such mandates would be an unprecedented regulatory intrusion into a carrier’s right to manage network and device deployment in a manner best suited to serve its customers. Such mandates would defy the consensus-driven 3GPP standards process that has standardized the band in a manner meant to address the real interference challenges present there. And such mandates would do nothing to resolve the very serious limitations that act as a prohibition on lower A-block deployment in over 30 markets nationwide.
AT&T welcomes this proceeding to the extent that it offers an opportunity to find real solutions to the real interference and deployment challenges in the band. Only real solutions will support robust deployment of LTE services in the A-block and only real solutions will lead to true interoperability throughout the lower 700 MHz band. The industry deserves and, quite frankly, should accept nothing less.