Glossary Definition for: CBRS

The Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) is a chunk of 3.5GHz spectrum that the FCC has set aside for future use for 4G/LTE cellular, 5G, and other innovative uses.

When used for LTE, CBRS is defined as LTE Band 48.

CBRS is pioneering an innovative approach to sharing access to spectrum - with military radar and existing satellite operations grandfathered in while in use, then there is a second tier of Priority Access Licenses (PAL) that are being auctioned off to telecommunications companies for 5G and expanded LTE service.

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Finally, there is a third tier of access that is open to anyone without a license - similar to Wi-Fi. Devices operating at this level will have to be a good neighbor with other nearby devices.

CBRS compatible devices will be designed to check in with a central server to see if a channel in their area is already in use by a higher priority user, and if not they will be able to establish a communications link until someone else needs it.

The auction for second tier licenses is due to conclude in 2019, and CBRS will likely become an important cellular band in 2020 in beyond - though some carriers (particularly Verizon) are already experimenting with CBRS deployments.

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