Radio waves don't recognize borders. The International Telecommunications Union regularly holds a World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC) to coordinate the use of RF spectrum throughout the world; the next WRC is in 2012. An FCC Advisory Committee is reviewing recommendations for that conference (WRC-12), as well as items to be considered at the conference that follows in 2015 or 2016.
This week the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 11-447) requesting comment on draft proposals for WRC-12. Attachment 1 includes a recommendation to add an agenda item for the 2015/2016 WRC to "consider the spectrum requirements and possible regulatory actions, including additional allocations to the mobile service on a primary basis in the frequency range 400 - 6 000 MHz, to accommodate the development of mobile broadband systems, including IMT, based on the results of ITU-R studies."
One thing I found interesting was the statement that "it is well established that there is inherent incompatibility between BWA/IMT systems and low-power radionavigation-satellite service (RNSS) signals that are provided in the 1164-1215 MHz, 1215-1300 MHz, and 1559-1610 MHz bands, and that the incompatibility extends to BWA/IMT systems that operate in both the RNSS and adjacent/near adjacent bands;" This appears to contradict the FCC's decision to grant LightSquared a waiver to used bands adjacent to the RNSS bands.
The recommendation also asked for identification of additional spectrum within the 400 to 960 MHz, 2000 MHz to 2483 MHz and 2500 MHz to 3400 MHz bands. You'll note this encompasses the existing UHFTV band and the 2 GHz ENG band.
The Advisory Committee proposal and a Attachment 2 – Draft Proposals formulated and approved within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration include some interesting RF spectrum issues such as protecting frequencies around 8.7 kHz (this is not a typo – it really is kilohertz) for lightning detection systems from interference.
The Public Notice includes instructions on how to submit comments on the recommendations. The deadline for comments is March 25, 2011.
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.
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