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FCC Considers ‘Dynamic Access’ Radio and Proposed New rules for Experiment Authorizations

At Tuesday's open Commission meeting the FCC adopted a Notice of Inquiry on use of “dynamic access" radios that could locate slivers of unused spectrum for communications. The FCC suggested using the same model as the one recently adopted for TV band white space devices as one way to accomplish this.

The FCC also proposed changes to the rules for experimental licenses. Experimental rules now included in other parts of the rules (Parts 73 and 74, for experimental broadcast, for example) would be consolidated under Part 5 Experimental Radio Service rules. The proposed rules would create more flexible license categories that would eliminate the need for researchers to get approval for each individual experiment. The categories are “Research license" for universities, laboratories and other qualified research institutions; “Innovation Zone license" for a wide range of research in discrete locations; and “Medical license" for devices being developed by medical institutions. The proposed rules would also expand opportunities for manufacturers to conduct market trials as part of product development.

Broadcast experimental license rules would move to Part 5. It appears these rules could allow some limited experimentation with other modulation techniques such as OFDM. However, since they would still require conventional programming be available to viewers using current technology for the minimum number broadcast hours required under broadcast rules it would not allow current broadcasters to use anything other than the ATSC terrestrial DTV standard full-time.

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.