FCC conditionally approves Google’s ‘confidential’ Mountain View radio experiment

Today the FCC granted Google’s application to conduct a radio experiment in Mountain View, California. When I looked at the application in January, I noted Google withheld some information it felt was confidential, and I took a crack at trying to figure out what was going on based on available information. A couple of days later, the FCC asked Google to provide additional information, and Google responded. Then things sat with no apparent activity for a couple of months.

The experimental license issued today gives Google the authority it sought: use of the 2524-2546 MHz and 2567-2625 MHz bands. In January I noted those bands might be used by Clearwire. In January the FCC asked Google if it had consent from the license holder. Google responded that it “understands that a grant will be conditioned on coordination with affected licensees, and is engaged in discussions to satisfy that obligation.”

Apparently Google hasn’t furnished such consent to the FCC, as the experimental license contains the following “special condition:”

Prior to operation, licensee must successfully coordinate with existing and future Broadband Radio Service/Educational Broadband Service (BRS/EBS) licensees or lessees (as applicable).

So, the FCC is relying on the honor system, which isn’t unusual for experimental authorizations.