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FCC gives T-Mobile extra spectrum to cope with demand during coronavirus

The temporary deal could help T-Mobile handle a surge in internet usage.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
March 15, 2020
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T-Mobile pledged to keep people online during the coronavirus outbreak, and it's getting some help from the government to make that happen. The FCC is granting T-Mobile access to more 600MHz spectrum for the next 60 days to help it cope with customer demand for internet access while the pandemic continues. The carrier had asked for the additional airwaves for remote work, education and health care, not to mention the basics of staying in touch while isolated.

Eight companies agreed to make some of their spectrum available, the FCC said, including Comcast and Dish. Help also came from the FCC's spectrum inventory.

Officials haven't mentioned other carriers receiving additional capacity, although it won't be surprising if others follow suit. The US is facing an unprecedented situation where many people have been told to work from home to reduce the risk of infection, and in some cases can't work at all. That could put a much heavier strain on data networks across the country, limiting service at the very moment it's needed the most.

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