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What are Protection Sites?

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Migrated from Original Forum. Originally Posted 24 July 2011

 

 

What are Protection Sites?

by Sprint 4G Rollout Updates on Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 10:01am

 

 

You keep reading around S4GRU about "Protection Sites." But what are protection sites, you ask?

 

Sprint broadcasts it's 4G WiMax signal on 2.5GHz-2.65GHz (along with it's partner Clear/Clearwire). That's up to 150MHz of spectrum (variable by market). More than any other carrier in the country.

 

Before 2007, 2.5GHz-2.65GHz was allocated by the FCC as EBS and BRS spectrum (Educational Broadband Service/Broadcast Radio Service). EBS was used by any public education organization free of charge on a first come, first served basis. However, this spectrum was relatively little used. At it's peak, only 100 education institutions actually utilized the spectrum for educational purposes. Most actually leased their spectrum to Clearwire for their pre-WiMax network.

 

This was deemed a huge waste of spectrum by the FCC (and it was). When you consider the entire population of the U.S. and the total data capacity of the EBS spectrum, it was not even 1/100th of 1% utilized!

 

In 2004, the FCC decided to reallocate the EBS/BRS spectrum for mobile internet and gave notice to the EBS/BRS license holders that in 2007 they would be repurposing the spectrum. EBS license holders could reapply with the broadband carriers in the 2007 reallotment. It was a confusing mess. In reality in the way it was structured, EBS spectrum winners were subleasing spectrum from the schools and universities. BRS spectrum licenses were purchased outright.

 

In 2007 the EBS spectrum went out for bid. Two bidders ended up with the lion's share of the 150MHz of spectrum...Sprint and Clearwire. Sprint ending up with 60MHz of nationwide coverage. Clearwire with 90MHz of nationwide coverage. One of the conditions to the bidders is a clause called "Minimum Coverage Standards."

 

For the EBS Spectrum, the FCC breaks up the 50 States and U.S. Territories into approx. 500 Basic Trading Areas, or BTA's (In other wireless spectrum, they use CMA's, or Cellular Market Areas). They use these to manage licenses for EBS spectrum. Licenses for each BTA are good for 10 years upon issuance. At 10 year intervals, they need to be renewed. At renewal, service provided is evaluated by the FCC. 99% of all renewals are approved. Some carriers have spectrum in all the BTA's (or CMA's). Some only have regions. Some have regions in one set of spectrum and other regions in other sections. It can be very messy and confusing to track FCC licenses.

 

In 2008, Sprint and Clearwire received FCC approval and merged their EBS/BRS spectrum holdings into a singular holding of the 150MHz block and formed the joint-venture company Clear.

 

Back to the Minimum Coverage Standards. The FCC mandated that a minimally acceptable amount of coverage be in every BTA by May 1, 2011. Clearwire started rolling out protection sites in earnest in early 2011. However, did not meet the Minimum Coverage Standards in all BTA's by May 1st, and started filing for extensions.

 

FROM CLEARWIRE 2010 ANNUAL REPORT:

 

The FCC also clarified the procedure by which BRS and EBS licensees must demonstrate minimum acceptable service, and required them to demonstrate minimum service by May 1, 2011. Minimum service showings demonstrate to the FCC that a licensee is not warehousing spectrum. If a BRS or EBS licensee fails to demonstrate minimum
service by May 1, 2011, its license may be canceled and made available for re-licensing.

 

For our spectrum, we
believe that we will satisfy the substantial service requirements for all owned and leased licenses associated with
each of our commercially launched markets, whether Pre-4G or 4G. For licenses covering areas outside of our
commercially launched markets, we are in the process of executing a (Protection Site Plan) to comply with the minimum service requirement by the deadline. Our ability, however, to meet the minimum service deadline for every owned or leased license in areas outside of our launched markets is uncertain, and we will likely seek waivers or extensions of the deadline from the FCC in some circumstances.

 

Any winning bidder who did not provide minimally acceptable service within a BTA, will be subject to having the license revoked and the original license holder will be unable to ever regain it.

 

This is very strong language about revocation. Minimum acceptable coverage to the FCC for this spectrum is:

  • 30% of the BTA's Population Has Useable Service, or...
  • 50% of the Geographical Area (Square Mileage) of the BTA has Useable Service.

If one of these two items is met, then the license holder has met the Minimum Acceptable Coverage Standards required by the FCC for the EBS spectrum.

 

293311_274152022602243_8186553_n.jpg

Sprint/Clear 4G Basic Trading Area (BTA) Map showing all 500 BTA's in the U.S. The ones in green have at least (1) Sprint/Clear 4G tower in operation. The ones in white have no Clearwire service in operation.

 

In the map above, you can see all the 500 BTA's in the United States. What Sprint/Clear have decided was to put up at least one tower every in every BTA in the country. So in 2011, they broke from the conventional rollout. They are deploying "Protection Sites" in all the BTA's. These are sites intended to keep the FCC at bay with the intention of trying to meet minimum acceptable service to maintain licensing.

 

It appears that in larger population BTA's (250k+), they are deploying more than one protection site to meet the 30% population coverage minimum.

 

Sprint/Clear are well on their way to being complete with the BTA Protection Site rollout before the end of 2011. They are averaging about 7 to 10 towers per week. So largely the areas in white will all be filled in green in short order. There will be a few exceptions. BTA's that have Clearwire's Pre-WiMax technology (like Reno, Dayton and Anchorage) will not receive protection sites. They already meet the FCC Minimum Coverage Requirements as the Pre-WiMax is broadcast on the same 2.5GHz spectrum.

 

Most likely, the FCC will not give Sprint/Clear any grief over the minimum service clauses because they are attempting to do something. The clause is largely to prevent people from buying the spectrum and just sitting on it as an investment. The FCC really wants it just to be used. Most likely, the extension for Minimum Coverages will be given.

 

The service requirements on the 700MHz spectrum are far more stringent than they were on the 2.5GHz spectrum. Verizon, AT&T and MetroPCS have less time to roll out. And the terminology used in it's FCC licensing doesn't have vague words like "minimum acceptable", but rather "substantial coverage."

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Any protection sites in Columbus, Ohio?

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No need for protection sites in CMH. Protection sites are set up in markets where Clearwire doesn't have service in order to "protect" their license from being revoked by the FCC. Clearwire has service in CMH. Thus, no protection sites.

 

Robert

 

Posted via Forum Runner

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Any protection sites in Columbus, Ohio?

 

Columbus is showing completely covered by WiMax on Clear's coverage map.

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Well wimax coverage in my work area of downtown columbus ohio is not the best coverage as the map says. Many places outside that I can't connect to 4G and most places I work that can't connect inside. All I want as a longtime customer is to be able to have better building penetration with 3g and not have to roam to talk and super slow data while roaming. It will be amazing to have actual coverage that there maps show after NV.

 

Sent from my EVO 3D w/ MeanRom

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Understood. However this is a protection site thread.

 

Robert

 

Posted via Forum Runner

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I noticed that Marion Ohio has a Protection 4G tower, but I don't receive any 4G signal. Is that to say that it hasn't been activated just yet for the general public to use? Thank you. Mark - KD8RUW

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I noticed that Marion Ohio has a Protection 4G tower, but I don't receive any 4G signal. Is that to say that it hasn't been activated just yet for the general public to use? Thank you. Mark - KD8RUW

 

The Marion WiMax Protection Site went live a long time ago. We announced it back on July 26, 2011. However, I have heard several reports of people trying to connect to it since then, and have been unable to. There are a few protection sites like this one which just flat out aren't working. And getting Clearwire out to fix Protection Sites is almost an impossibility. I have tried several times. :(

 

Robert

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Robert, when I bought my phone, I was told the 4G would go active in mid Summer. I wonder if that rings possible on your end. What do you think? We have really bad 3G service in town except when you are close to the tower at the 5 points (Center and David st.). Most people are Verizon in Marion, but I always liked Sprint and their plans. Just wish the coverage was better. I am thinking of getting a repeater for the car just to get better signal, unless you say there is improvement soon. Thanks Robert. -Mark

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Robert' date=' when I bought my phone, I was told the 4G would go active in mid Summer. I wonder if that rings possible on your end. What do you think? We have really bad 3G service in town except when you are close to the tower at the 5 points (Center and David st.). Most people are Verizon in Marion, but I always liked Sprint and their plans. Just wish the coverage was better. I am thinking of getting a repeater for the car just to get better signal, unless you say there is improvement soon. Thanks Robert. -Mark[/quote']

 

Network Vision will help your issues there. However, NV will not get to your area until 2013.

 

Robert

 

Robert via NOVO7PALADIN Tablet using Forum Runner

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So do the bare minimum... I like how all of Arizona is almost not meeting the standard. If you cant back it up then don't take the spectrum from carriers that can use it right! I hate clear and hope they die.. i cant even use it were i live because its only down town, im not in the middle of no ware and we don't even get crappy wimax! There is so much traffic ware i live it takes forever to get where i need to go, yet we don't get wimax or 4g?? I keep asking myself why did i pick sprint.. WHEN VERIZON AND AT&T HAVE 4G! :(

Edited by newgroundsguru

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So do the bare minimum... I like how all of Arizona is almost not meeting the standard. If you cant back it up then don't take the spectrum from carriers that can use it right! I hate clear and hope they die.. i cant even use it were i live because its only down town, im not in the middle of no ware and we don't even get crappy wimax! There is so much traffic ware i live it takes forever to get where i need to go, yet we don't get wimax or 4g?? I keep asking myself why did i pick sprint.. WHEN VERIZON AND AT&T HAVE 4G! :(

 

Well it looks like you came up with a solution, since verizon and at&t have what you are looking for, then by all means, sign up with them. This is not a website where you come to voice your disdain for a particular company or to rant senselessly. If you have issues then take it up with sprint, if they aren't providing you with what you need, I don't think sprint is going to hold you hostage. You have options, so exercise those options, just know that coming here to complain isn't one of those options.

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I think in most cases if you don't like Sprint you should switch to another carrier, there are decent priced options for all carriers.

 

Verizon - Straight talk true unlimited $45 a month, don't like the crappy selection either fix it yourself illegally (ESN swap) or deal with it.

 

AT&T - use Straight Talk for 2 gigs of high speed data and unlimited throttled data. $45 a month

 

US Cellular - switch to a postpaid true unlimited 4G LTE plan. It costs $79 a month. I sort of wish I could switch to this as USCC has LTE in my area.

 

T-Mobile - either get on a postpaid $79.99 a month unlimited 4G plan or use straight talk for true unlimited prepaid at $45 a month.

 

You have options, if Sprint isn't working for you choose one of these and stick with it.

 

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2

 

 

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Yeah ok, sorry im so bitter.. I switched from Verizon to sprint because of the price and i was told that we were going to get LTE in my area last year.. Also, i am stuck with sprint until June of 2013 or i have to pay dumb ass ETFs.. I just feel that all i get from cell phone companies is lies.

Edited by newgroundsguru

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I just feel that all i get from cell phone companies is lies.

Corporations lie to get money? Who knew?

 

Sent from a phone using an application. That's pretty cool.

 

 

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Yeah ok, sorry im so bitter.. I switched from Verizon to sprint because of the price and i was told that we were going to get LTE in my area last year..

 

Whoever told you you would be getting LTE last year was outright lying. Sprint didn't even announce the LTE project until last year as far as I know, and there was no information that said anyone would be getting LTE until this past summer. You will get LTE, but it probably won't be until sometime in the Spring, possibly late Winter.

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all i get from cell phone companies is lies.

 

If you have a complaint with sprint, I will direct you to community.sprint.com or Dan@sprint.com

This forum is not the proper outlet for your rants. If you want to stick around, I suggest you read and abide by the forum rules. We don't tolerate these kinds of posts.

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I just feel that all i get from cell phone companies is lies.

Whoever told you you would be getting LTE last year was outright lying.

 

I would not go so far as to say that anyone was necessarily lying. That would require intent to deceive. Remember these words...

 

 

And remember these words, too. As I have said many times, DO NOT ASK DEPLOYMENT QUESTIONS OF ENTRY LEVEL EMPLOYEES. That is just stupid on your part. It is akin to asking your Walmart cashier for tech support.

 

AJ

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