The head of the FCC said Wednesday the agency will execute "key recommendations" of a government report that advocated spectrum sharing between the feds and commercial wireless operators.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the FCC will take formal steps to move forward with parts of the report by the end of this year.
"This action will represent a major innovation in spectrum policy that will in turn enable innovations in wireless applications throughout the economy, including energy, healthcare, education and other uses yet to be discovered," he said.
Genachowski named small cell use in the 3.5 GHz band as one of the recommendations set for advancement but did not specify whether it would go ahead with the report's controversial spectrum sharing proposition.
The July report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) proposed using 1,000 MHz of federal spectrum for "shared use superhighways.”
Critics of the plan say it is unproven, technologically complex and marks a major departure from standard spectrum management practices. The FCC and wireless industry want federal users to move off of some of their spectrum so it can be reallocated for commercial use.
PCAST itself acknowledged the plan "represents a major evolution of existing spectrum management practices. Implementing it will not be easy and may take a long time."
FCC commissioner Ajit Pai and the wireless industry have expressed skepticism about PCAST's spectrum strategy.
Pai said he has "serious concerns about the report’s apparent dismissal of clearing and reallocating federal spectrum for commercial use."
CTIA and AT&T expressed similar reservations and maintain that cleared spectrum remains the ideal way for addressing the capacity crunch.