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Wireless :: 700 MHz Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY

Derived From: FCC: Wireless Service Lower 700 MHz

"In 2002, the FCC reallocated the 698-746 MHz spectrum band (Lower 700 MHz Band) that had been allocated to television Channels 52-59. The recovery of the Lower 700 MHz Band will be made possible by the conversion of television broadcasting from the existing analog transmission system to a digital transmission system. Because the digital television (DTV) transmission system is more spectrally efficient than the analog system, less spectrum will be needed for broadcast television service after the transition to DTV on channels 2 - 51 is complete.

"The reclamation of television spectrum has been addressed in two proceedings: the Upper 700 MHz Band (Channels 60-69) which comprises 60 megahertz, and the the Lower 700 MHz Band (Channels 52-59) which comprises 48 megahertz. This is primarily due to different statutory requirements applicable to the two bands and differing degrees of incumbency in the two bands. By statute, the FCC was specifically required to reclaim channels 60-69 for new services in the Upper 700 MHz Band. While Congress did not specify the amount of spectrum to be reclaimed beyond the Upper 700 MHz Band, the Commission determined that all broadcasters could operate with digital transmission systems in Channels 2-51 after the transition. Thus the Commission reallocated Channels 52-59 for new services in the Lower 700 MHz proceeding. In that proceeding, the Commission explained that the Lower 700 MHz Band is significantly more occupied by incumbent television operations and temporary DTV assignments than the Upper 700 MHz Band. (For more information see Lower 700 MHz Band Releases ).

"Pursuant to Section 309(j)(14) of the Communications Act, the FCC was required to assign spectrum recovered from broadcast television using competitive bidding. The Lower 700 MHz Band Auction No. 44 and Auction No. 49 were held from August 27 to September 18, 2002 and May 28 to June 13, 2003, respectively. The statute further requires incumbent broadcasters to cease operation in the recovered spectrum by the end of 2006 unless the end of the transition is extended. As provided in the statute, the FCC is required to extend the end of the transition at the request of individual broadcast licensees on a market-by-market basis if one or more of the four largest network stations or affiliates are not broadcasting in digital, digital-to-analog converter technology is not generally available, or 15 percent or more television households are not receiving a digital signal.

"During this transition period, incumbent broadcasters may continue to operate in the Lower 700 MHz Band. The FCC adopted rules for new licensees to protect incumbent broadcasters during this transition to digital broadcasting. New licensees may operate in the band prior to the end of the transition, provided they do not interfere with these existing broadcasters on Channels 52 to 59. Depending on the license, there may be significant interference protection issues for new licensees seeking to initiate service in the Lower 700 MHz Band. In addition to the existing analog broadcasters, new licensees will also need to take into account the large number of digital broadcasters who will operate temporarily in the Lower 700 MHz Band during the transition. On average, there are slightly more than ten times the number of digital stations per channel on Channels 52-59 as compared to Channels 60-69. Thus, the degree of incumbency in the Lower 700 MHz Band - consisting of both digital and analog broadcasters - is likely to make it far more difficult for new services to operate in this band, particularly in major metropolitan markets, prior to the end of the transition to digital television.

"A licensee on the Lower 700 MHz Band is permitted to provide fixed, mobile, and broadcast services. Possible uses of this spectrum include digital mobile and other new broadcast operations, fixed and mobile wireless commercial services (including FDD- and TDD-based services), as well as fixed and mobile wireless uses for private, and internal radio needs.

"The rules governing the Lower 700 MHz Band are generally found in the 47 CFR Part 1 and Part 27 . You may read more about data resources and the licensing information process and releases .

These proceedings established certain network neutrality protections for users of this spectrum. See Service Rules for the 698-746, 747-762 and 777-792 MHz Bands et al. , Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd 15289 (2007) ( 700 MHz Second Report and Order ); 47 C.F.R. § 27.16


Rulemaking Regarding the 700 MHz D Block Spectrum Comments Due June 20 Replies Due July 7 Dkt No 06-150, 06-229

The Development of Operational, Technical and Spectrum Requirements for Meeting Federal, State and Local Public Safety Communications Requirements Through the Year 2010 WT Docket 96-86

In this Eighth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Eighth NPRM), we seek comment on whether certain channels within the current twenty-four megahertz of public safety spectrum in the 700 MHz public safety band (764-776 MHz and 794-806 MHz), should be modified to accommodate broadband communications. This action is consistent with national priorities focusing on homeland security and broadband and our commitment to ensure that emergency first responders have access to reliable and interoperable communications.

Nearly a decade ago, the Commission, at the direction of Congress, reallocated twenty four megahertz of the 700 MHz band from television broadcast services to public safety communications services. Congress contemplated that this spectrum would be available for public safety use as early as December 31, 2006, or as soon as existing TV stations vacate the spectrum as part of the transition to digital television (DTV). In discharging its Congressional mandate to establish licensing and service rules for this reallocated spectrum, the Commission established a flexible regulatory framework for public safety use of the 700 MHz band “ to enable public safety organizations to effectively use this new allocation for a variety of operational modes (voice, data, image/high speed data (hsd), and video) .” In designing this regulatory framework, the Commission sought to balance the need for “standardization necessary to achieve nationwide interoperability, the development of competitive equipment markets, and the degree of regional flexibility necessary to allow entities the opportunity to fashion approaches tailored to meet the individual needs of diverse regional communities .” Consistent with these principles, the Commission has made great progress towards ensuring different governmental agencies have the ability to communicate across jurisdictions . Although in many parts of the nation this spectrum remains unavailable for public safety use, Congress recognized in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004 (Intelligence Reform Act) that this spectrum is “ideal” for providing first responders with interoperable communications channels. As part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Congress has established February 17, 2009 as the date for the completion of the transition from analog to digital broadcast transmissions. Accordingly, it is imperative that once this spectrum is cleared of incumbent broadcasters, that the public safety community be able to fully utilize this spectrum.

Recently Congress asked the Commission, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security and the National Telecommunications Information Administration, to undertake a study and prepare a report assessing the short-term and long-term spectrum needs of emergency responders, including the potential for nationwide interoperable broadband mobile communications networks. In the Report to Congress submitted pursuant to Section 7502 of the Intelligence Reform Act, it was recognized that broadband communications applications offer the public safety community a number of benefits, including video surveillance, real-time text messaging and e-mail, high resolution digital images and the ability to obtain location and status information of personnel and equipment in the field. The Report found that emergency response providers would benefit from development of an integrated, interoperable network capable of delivering broadband services nationwide. The Report also found that the Commission should investigate whether some local broadband operations could be carried out within the existing 700 MHz public safety band.

It is our objective in this Eighth NPRM to determine whether we should modify the public safety portion of the 700 MHz band to accommodate broadband communications, and if so, how. We seek to develop policies that ensure that emergency first responders possess the communications resources needed to successfully carry out their mission . Broadband technologies, which encompass high-speed digital technologies, hold the potential to provide public safety entities integrated access to voice and high-speed data capabilities. A technology that can dramatically reduce the time it takes to access information during emergencies can mean the difference between life and death. Accordingly, in this Eighth NPRM, we describe the current configuration of the 700 MHz band and solicit comment on whether certain channels within the current 700 MHz public safety band should be modified to accommodate broadband communications. We also discuss and seek comment on specific band proposals offered by Lucent Technologies, Inc. (Lucent), Motorola, Inc. (Motorola), and the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) to rechannelize twelve megahertz of the 700 MHz public safety band to provide for broadband applications . In addition, we offer parties the opportunity to update the record on wideband interoperability issues that were raised in the Seventh Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Seventh NPRM) in this proceeding.

The Commission has defined “Interoperability” as “an essential communications link within public safety and public service wireless communications systems which permits units from two or more different entities to interact with one another and to exchange information according to a prescribed method in order to achieve predictable results.” See Development of Operational, Technical and Spectrum Requirements for Meeting Federal, State and Local Public Safety Agency Communications Requirements Through the Year 2010, WT Docket No. 96-86, First Report and Order and Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 14 FCC Rcd 152, 189-90 ¶ 76 (1998) (First Report and Order); 47 C.F.R. § 90.7.

FCC has made significant revisions to 700 MHz. See FCC 700 MHz Page




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