FCC Revises 18 GHz Relocation Rules to Allow Smaller Channels

The FCC has modified its rules affecting fixed service microwave licensees being relocated from the 18.3-19.3 GHz band, which is now allocated for exclusive satellite service use. These FS licensees are being relocated to spectrum in the 17.7-18.3 GHz and 19.3-19.7 GHz bands. Part 101 of the FCC rules currently designates channel sizes too large relative to the needs of some relocating point-to-point microwave licensees and too small relative to the needs of some private cable operations and other MPVDs (multichannel video programming distributors).

In Report and Order FCC 06-141 the FCC adopted a revised band plan that includes a variety of mostly narrower channel bandwidths and a block of unpaired spectrum from 17.7-17.74 GHz. The new band plan also includes a 600 MHz block of one-way spectrum from 17.3-18.3 GHz for MVPDs. MVPDs will have the flexibility within that block to pick the appropriate bandwidths and technical parameters for their operations.

Report and Order FCC 06-141 has additional information on the revised band plan, details on protection of federal fixed-satellite service (space-to-Earth) operations in the 17.7-17.8 GHz band in Denver and Washington, D.C., and a graph of the new band plan.