2018 Q1 Regulatory Updates


In GN Docket No. 17-183, Apple et. al. filed (January 25, 2018) a study by RKF Engineering Services LLC purporting to show that widespread operation of unlicensed transmitters in the 6 GHz bands (5,925-7,125 MHz) is feasible with little risk of interference.

  • The RKF study appeared to dangerously ignore the possibility of line-of-sight interference from full power unlicensed transmitters into the main beam of microwave receive antennas
  • The Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition submitted an Ex Parte filing and technical study on March 13 to rebut RKF’s assumptions and results
  • Microwave licensees that are concerned about potential interference from widespread or ubiquitous deployments of unlicensed transmitters in the 6 GHz bands should review these filings and make their views known to the FCC

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 became law on March 23, 2018.

  • Incorporates RAY BAUM’s Act of 2018 that reauthorizes the FCC
    • Directs the US Treasury to hold upfront auction payments, needed for the FCC to conduct spectrum auctions
  • Incorporates the MOBILE NOW act
    • Requires FCC and NTIA to identify 255 MHz of spectrum for fixed and mobile wireless broadband use
      • At least 100 MHz below 8 GHz for unlicensed
      • At least 100 MHz below 6 GHz for licensed commercial mobile use
      • Requires NPRM to authorize mobile or fixed terrestrial usage of the 42-42.5 GHz band on a licensed or unlicensed basis
      • Requires evaluation of sharing 3100-3550 MHz and 3700-4200 MHz by commercial wireless services

FCC adopted Sixth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in Docket No. 07-100 on the 4.9 GHz band (4,940-4,990 MHz) at the March 22 meeting.

  • FCC is concerned usage of the band has fallen short of its potential
  • FCC seeks to promote more flexible and intensive use of this spectrum while preventing interference
  • FNPRM proposes to:
    • Allow manned aeronautical mobile and robotic uses in 4940-4945 MHz
    • Require frequency coordination by Part 90 public safety coordinators
    • Store information on 4.9 GHz band assignments in ULS
    • Allow Regional Planning Committees to submit usage plans for their regions
  • FNPRM asks if secondary commercial operations should be allowed or if some or all of the band should be converted to commercial uses
  • Comments and replies: 60 and 90 days after Federal Register publication

Comments and replies were submitted in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), Docket No. 17-258 and the FCC is considering the issues:

  • PAL license term
  • Performance requirements
  • Auction design
  • Geographic license area size
  • Emission limits

FCC received comments and replies in the Spectrum Frontiers (Above 24 GHz) docket (GN Docket No. 14-177) reflecting a variety of views on the numerous issues raised.