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Specificity Demanded

FCC's 12 GHz Item Got Some Changes While Before Commissioners

The FCC’s final order, NPRM and Further NPRM on the 12 GHz band had a number of changes, which were noted Thursday as commissioners approved the item 4-0 (see 2305180052). There were few changes to a 60 GHz order, also approved unanimously last week (see 2305170039), based on a second side-by-side comparison.

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As mentioned by Commissioner Nathan Simington last week, the FNPRM on the lower 12 GHz band now includes more specific language on what’s expected of those seeking fixed-wireless use of the spectrum. The FNPRM also adds language on potential tribal use. “In their responses to these inquiries, we strongly encourage commenters to provide specific proposals and detailed technical data to support their proposals,” the final item says: “We note that several commenters suggest providing priority access to spectrum over Tribal lands to Tribal entities. For each of the possible scenarios below that could involve assigning new, initial licenses, we seek comment on such a suggestion.”

In another area where the final FNPRM seeks more specificity than the draft, the FCC added a question on technical issues facing direct broadcast satellite (DBS) and non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) interests. “Is sharing between point-to-point or point-to-multipoint fixed links possible with NGSO systems whose receivers, unlike those in the DBS service, are not pointed exclusively at the geostationary satellite arc?” the final 12 GHz item asks. Simington also focused on that issue in his comments last week.

In one change of note in the order, the FCC now directs cable television relay services in the 12.7 GHz band to “certify the accuracy of the information reflected on their licenses.” The draft mentioned only broadcast auxiliary services licensees.

The NPRM on the upper band now specifically seeks comment on questions Verizon raised about the effect of increasing NGSO operations in the band and how to “leverage the prior coordination requirements for terrestrial and space services to facilitate coexistence among operations.” It also seeks comment on the international implications of its proposal that “non-conforming incumbent Earth stations that operate by receiving in the space-to-Earth direction in 12.7-12.75 GHz in the United States may continue on a non-interference basis and have no right to protection from harmful interference.”

Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Commissioners Geoffrey Starks and Simington had written statements that are part of the item.

In the 60 GHz order, the FCC declined to add clarifying language sought by Services, Garmin International, Google, Intel, Meta Platforms, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, among others. “We agree that a broad interpretation of ‘vehicle’ consistent with this filing is warranted as it will help promote the development of a wide range of beneficial applications, and direct staff to provide appropriate guidance in this regard,” said a footnote in the final 60 GHz order: “However, because many of the ‘vehicles’ the parties cite in their letter could be designed to operate indoors in a more-than-incidental manner in some configurations, we decline to list them as specific examples in our rules or text as suggested by the parties.”

The order provides additional clarity on field disturbance sensors from the 60 GHz draft. “We note that the rules must address use cases that involve FDS devices that employ wide beamwidth antennas over the entire 57-71 GHz band, in addition to those FDS devices that limit their operation to certain portions of the band,” the final order says: “For these reasons, we decline to specify a conducted output power limit in the rules we are adopting for frequency-segmented FDS devices but, to limit potential harmful interference, are continuing to maintain the conducted output power limit for devices that operate over the entire 57-71 GHz band.”

The order includes a statement by Rosenworcel. Both items were posted Friday.