FCC Quiet Zone Rules Streamlined

February 17, 2004
Broadcasters and other users of the RF spectrum in certain areas of the country have to demonstrate their operations will not cause interference in areas the FCC has designed "Quiet Zones." Quiet Zones are areas where "it is necessary to restrict radiation so as to minimize possible impact on the operations of radio astronomy or other facilities that are highly sensitive to interference." These areas include the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) site in Green Bank, W.V.; the Table Mountain Radio Receiving Zone of the Research Laboratories of the Dept. of Commerce (Table Mountain) in Boulder County, Col.; and the Arecibo Observatory (Arecibo) in Puerto Rico. Radio astronomy requires very sensitive receivers that are extremely vulnerable to interference from spurious and out-of-band emissions.

In a Report and Order released last week, the FCC said it was taking these actions::

* "Amend our rules to provide for immediate processing of applications that may implicate Quiet Zones, in the event that the applicant indicates that it has obtained consent, if required by section 1.924, of the Quiet Zone entity.
* "Amend our rules to clarify that applicants may provide notification to and begin coordination with Quiet Zone entities, where required, in advance of filing an application with the Commission.
* "Amend section 101.31(b)(1)(v) to permit Part 101 applicants to initiate conditional operation, provided they have obtained prior consent of the Quiet Zone entity to the extent required, and are otherwise eligible to initiate conditional operations over the proposed facility; similarly, we clarify that, for services in which individual station licenses are not issued, licensees may initiate operations immediately upon receipt of the Quiet Zone entity's consent.
* "Clarify that either the applicant or the applicant's frequency coordinator may notify and initiate
* any required coordination proceedings with the Quiet Zone entity."

See the Report and Order for more information and background on the Quiet Zones.

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