The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Telecommunications Bureau recently granted AT&T and Verizon’s request for Special Temporary Authority to use extra spectrum to help meet Americans’ wireless broadband needs during the health crisis. The FCC granted AT&T the authority to operate in the AWS-4 Band spectrum that’s licensed to DISH for 60 days. Both carriers received permission to use AWS-3 spectrum that is currently in the FCC’s inventory.
“Consumers and businesses across the country are making the necessary adjustments to maintain social distance during the coronavirus pandemic,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. “This means an increased reliance on wireline and wireless broadband services. The FCC has been coordinating closely with network operators to ensure those networks remain up and running. We have been encouraged by the feedback we have received so far both regarding the ability of their networks to handle changes in usage patterns caused by the coronavirus outbreak and how networks are performing so far.
Granting AT&T and Verizon this temporary spectrum access keeps in line with the FCC’s efforts to ensure Americans stay connected during the Coronavirus pandemic. These efforts include the FCC’s recent Keep Americans Connected Pledge, where broadband and phone service providers committed to take specific steps to help Americans get and stay online.
“We are nonetheless continuing to stay on top of this issue and are monitoring the situation closely,” Pai said. “These new grants of temporary authority, on the heels of three similar actions in recent days, are part of our ongoing, nationwide push to Keep Americans Connected. I want to thank DISH for its willingness to allow this use of the spectrum for which they hold licenses. I’m also grateful to AT&T and Verizon for seeking out ways to meet increased consumer demand. I also want to thank the Justice Department, Defense Department CIO, and NTIA’s Office of Spectrum Management for their hard work in helping us move these applications forward.”