FCC Considers Changes to Upper 700 MHz Guard Bands

The FCC is considering modifying rules for use of guard bands protecting public safety channels in the upper 700 MHz band. These modifications would not affect broadcasters, but could allow major changes, such as removing the prohibition on deploying cellular architectures in this portion of the spectrum. One major change would significantly reduce the guard bands and make them part of a larger piece of upper 700 MHz spectrum devoted to broadband operation. Changes to the role of the Guard Band Manager in connection with this spectrum are being considered.

The proposals under consideration involve major changes to the existing A block and disposition of returned B Block Spectrum from Nextel.

The Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FCC 06-133) has complete information on the proposed changes.

The FCC said that it had tentatively concluded "that any decision to shift the existing Upper 700 MHz band plan in a way that affected 'recovered analog spectrum' within the DTV transition must provide sufficient time for the Commission to meet its statutory obligations to commence auctioning by Jan. 29, 2008."

The changes will not affect broadcasters currently using upper 700 MHz UHF spectrum, nor will it impact the Sprint-Nextel 2 GHz relocation plan for broadcasters.