FCC gives T-Mobile emergency access to additional spectrum, as connectivity demands soars during Covid19 pandemic

Published: 16 March 2020 - 5:47 a.m.

The US’ telecoms regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has granted T-Mobile temporary access to spectrum in the 600MHz band, as it sees a huge rise in demand for broadband services, prompted by the Covid19 pandemic.

With swathes of Americans opting to work from home during the outbreak, telcos in the US are seeing a surge in demand for broadband connectivity.

The additional spectrum will be borrowed from eight other operators who have unused capacity at this time, including Comcast and Dish. The FCC also supplied additional spectrum from its own inventory.

“The FCC is dedicated to helping Americans work from home, learn at home, and connect remotely to health care professionals during this crisis,” said FCC chairman, Ajit Pai.

“I would like to thank all of the companies that agreed to make their spectrum available for this important effort—DISH, Comcast, NewLevel, LB License Co, Channel 51, Omega, Bluewater, and TStar License Holdings. And, of course, I would like to thank T-Mobile for launching this effort. This temporary authority will help T-Mobile better serve customers who, like all of us, are making significant adjustments to their daily lives to minimize in-person interactions and slow the spread of COVID-19. In the days ahead, I look forward to taking additional actions, in partnership with the private sector, to Keep Americans Connected.”

As yet, the FCC has not confirmed whether the US’ other big players, namely AT&T and Verizon, have applied for additional spectrum.

Yesterday, the FCC launched its “Keep America Connected” initiative, which asked telcos to refrain from disconnecting customers who fall behind on their broadband payments during the pandemic.

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