FCC May Consider Nextel Proposal at Thursday Meeting

One item on the meeting agenda for the July 8 open FCC meeting could be of great interest to any broadcaster using the 2 GHz broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) bands. As described in the May 11, 2004 RF Report NAB, MSTV and Nextel proposed a plan that would transition broadcasters off of the lower two channels in the 2 GHz BAS band with far less disruption to broadcast ENG operations than the original plan put forth by the FCC. This plan is part of a larger rulemaking that includes, among other things, 800 MHz and 900 MHz two-way radio services, allocation of spectrum below 3 GHz for advanced wireless services, and allocation of spectrum at 2 GHz for the Mobile Satellite Service.

According to the agenda item summary, the commission "will consider a Report and Order, Fifth Report and Order, Memorandum Opinion and Order, and Order concerning reconfiguring the 800 MHz band to abate interference being encountered by public safety communications systems and other 800 MHz systems that do not employ cellular architecture. Related orders implement changes in other bands made necessary to facilitate 800 MHz band reconfiguration." Under the NAB, MSTV and Nextel plan, Nextel and broadcasters would work together to clear the lower two channels in the 2 GHz BAS band and Nextel would receive some spectrum in this cleared spectrum to replace 800 MHz spectrum it would surrender for public safety communications systems. This plan, however, was opposed by some cellular companies and appeared to be losing support at the FCC. See my article Nextel/NAB/MSTV 2 GHz Relocation Plan in Trouble? in the May 27 RF Report.

One other item at the meeting that may interest readers concerns Engineering Technology Docket 03-201, Modification of Parts 2 and 15 of the Commission's Rules for unlicensed devices and equipment approval. One of the proposals in this docket is to allow the use of phased array antenna systems for "WiFi" networks at the same power level in each sector or azimuth as systems using point-to-point directional antennas. The agenda item summary says, " The Commission will consider a Report and Order concerning changes to several technical rules for unlicensed radiofrequency devices contained in Parts 0, 2, and 15." This docket is not connected with the proceeding to allow unlicensed devices on TV channels.

As usual, the FCC meeting will be open to the public and can be monitored over the Internet at www.fcc.gov/realaudio.