Commission issues notice on 3650- to 3700MHz band use by unlicensed wireless devices

The commission has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to allow unlicensed wireless Internet devices to use the 3650-to 3700MHz band with higher power than currently is authorized under Part 15 of the rules.

Wireless Internet service providers have sought additional spectrum for higher-power unlicensed devices to provide economical backhaul links to Internet gateways and broadband access networks to people living in sparsely populated areas.

Currently, fixed satellite service (FSS) earth stations occupy the 3650MHz band; however, those earth stations are primarily located on the East and West coasts. Therefore, it seems that using this band for expanded service is a natural fit, particularly because its Internet use is intended for rural areas, the commission said.

The proposal calls for these devices to be to smart – or have cognitive requirements and other safeguards to prevent interference with licensed FSS earth stations currently using the band. Under the plan, professional installation of fixed unlicensed devices would be required. They also would be prohibited from being installed in a defined protection zone around each FSS earth station. Non-fixed unlicensed devices would be required to use listen-before-talk procedures to detect the presence of an FSS earth station in the area and make the necessary adjustments to power before transmitting.

Unlicensed devices operating in this band would be required to emit a standardized ID signal, so sources of interference can be easily identified.

The commission adopted the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking April 15 and released it April 23. Comments are due 75 days from publication in the Federal Registry and reply comments are due 105 days from that date.

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