Washington - Aug 9, 2011 - The Federal Communications Commission released a report and order, further notice of proposed rulemaking and memorandum opinion and order relating to Part 101 to provide additional flexibility to broadcast auxiliary service and operational??fixed microwave licensees. Packaged as Wireless Backhaul Reform as part of the Broadband Acceleration Initiative and Spectrum and Regulatory Reform Agendas. The FCC says this action removes outdated regulatory barriers and unleashes additional spectrum for broadband services.
The key elements of the action are designed to increase wireless Internet access for consumers, but the big win for broadcasters is that the ruling permits broadcasters to use fixed microwave links more freely by eliminating the outdated final link rule. This rule prohibited broadcasters from using non-BAS frequencies for their last mile links. The FCC adopted this change despite some concern that it would reduce the amount of wireless spectrum available in urban areas for telecommunications backhaul links.
With the ruling, the FCC can issue new fixed microwave service licenses under Part 101 in rural areas in the 7GHz and 13GHz bands. Historically, these bands have only been available to the Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) and Cable TV Relay Service (CARS). With the new rules, the FCC can issue licenses in the rural areas where no mobile CARS or mobile BAS stations are currently licensed. In addition, to preserve future ENG operations in rural areas, the FCC reserved 50MHz in each of the two bands for exclusive rural mobile CARS and mobile BAS use.
Comments are due to the FCC by Oct. 4, 2011. Reply comments are due by Oct. 25, 2011. WT Docket No. 10-153, RM-11602