FCC Facing Second Lawsuit Over 6 GHz Order

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WASHINGTON—The FCC now faces two lawsuits that claim its order to open the 6 GHz spectrum band to unlicensed use is unlawful. The Utilities Technology Council, along with American Power Power Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, has filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit asking the court to overturn the FCC order.

NAB filed a separate petition with the D.C. Circuit Court on July 24 against the FCC’s 6 GHz order.

Currently, broadcasters and other wireless operators use the 6 GHz band for auxiliary operations, which range from sports to breaking news and special events. The FCC order, which was issued in April, would open the entire 1,200 MHz of the band for unlicensed Wi-Fi operation. The FCC hopes that this will help with the development of 5G.

“The Federal Communications Commission acted unlawfully and against the public interest when it permitted a host of new users into a vital spectrum band that will likely cause communications challenges for public safety and critical-infrastructure industries,” UTC wrote in an announcement.

UTC President and CEO Sheryl Riggs said that the filing of the petition comes only after the organization attempted to demonstrate the flaws of the FCC’s plan and the need for a thorough analysis to prove that operation of unlicensed devices could occur without causing interference.

In the petition, UTC is specifically asking for the court to:

  • Hold that the FCC’s rules in the Report and Order unlawfully authorize unlicensed low power indoor operations without sufficient safeguards to prevent harmful interference to licensed operations; 
  • Hold that the FCC was arbitrary and capricious in failing to adequately consider studies on the record that show that unlicensed operations will cause harmful interference to licensed systems; 
  • Vacate those portions of the Report and Order the Court finds to be arbitrary and capricious or otherwise unlawful or defective; 
  • Remand to the FCC for proceedings consistent with the Court’s findings; and/or provide such relief as the Court deems appropriate 

The FCC has declined to comment on the petitions.