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FCC Considers BRS, EBS Rule Changes to Improve Spectrum Efficiency

The FCC is proposing changes to Section 27.53 of its rules to relax the out-of-band emission limits for Broadband Radio Service (BRS) and Educational Broadband Service (EBS) devices operating in the 2496-2690 MHz band.

Such changes could create interference to services operating in adjacent bands, including Broadcast Auxiliary Service operations on 2.5 GHz channels A9 and A10 and Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) operations in the 2483.5-2500 MHz band.

The Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 11-81) was issued in response to a petition filed by the Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI) in which WCAI requested the change in emission limits to accommodate channel bandwidths of 20 MHz and wider, stating that this would allow operators to "realize the full benefits of 4G technologies."

WCAI said that the development of a smartphone fully utilizing a 20 megahertz channel and still complying with current out-of-band emission limits would be "very difficult or impossible."

MSS licensees operating on frequencies below 2495 MHz would be allowed to submit a documented interference complaint against BRS licensees operating on BRS Channel 1 under the same terms and conditions as adjacent channel BRS or EBS licensees.

Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) 2.5 GHz operations are not mentioned in the proposed rules. Engineers for the Integrity of Broadcast Auxiliary Service Spectrum (EIBASS) have expressed concern that the proposed change could result in greater interference to BAS operations on channels A10 (2483.5-2500 MHz) and A9 (2467-2483.5 MHz). WCAI argued that there has never been an interference complaint from Globalstar or BAS with respect to adjacent channel operations on BRS Channel 1.

In additional to Globalstar and EIBASS concerns, the NPRM also describes opposition to the proposal by IPWireless, and WCAI's response to that opposition.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.