Unlicensed airwaves may be coming to a new, digital CB radio

Jun 09, 2015 11:22 pm
The "Citizens Broadband Radio Service" is just like what it sounds, a sort of digital version of the CB radios that became a fad in the mid-1970s, and are still used by truck drivers. The Federal Communications Commission this spring announced the new service. John Anderson at DIYmedia.net explains it uses frequencies, "between 3.5-3.7 GHz that will be opened to both licensed and unlicensed services. This spectrum has traditionally been reserved for military radar and satellite uplinks; now it may become a sandbox for dynamic use of the public airwaves." The spectrum is set aside for devices to sniff around and find non-congested frequencies. Google is working on a database of CBRS users and devices updated in real-time from the devices themselves. The Navy and satellite ground stations will continue to use these frequencies, but they leave plenty of room for other uses from registered corporations with “geographically-targeted, short-term priority rights," but also unlicensed use. Anderson writes, "the FCC will reserve a healthy segment of this band for unlicensed wireless use, providing a critical space to experiment with small-scale mesh networking and other innovative uses of spectrum in concert with smart devices."

Full disclosure: John Anderson is on Wave Farm's board.