NAB Petitions D.C. Circuit Court to Vacate FCC’s 6 GHz Order

(Image credit: NAB)


The NAB has filed an official petition against the FCC in the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C., asking it to review, and ultimately vacate, the commission’s Report and Order regarding unlicensed use in the 6 GHz spectrum band.

Broadcasters and other wireless operators use the 6 GHz band for auxiliary operations, including sports, breaking news and special events.

The FCC’s order would open the entire 1,200 MHz of the band for unlicensed Wi-Fi operation, a move the FCC hopes will help advance 5G. The FCC has also issued an NPRM to increase the power levels permitted for low-power indoor operations from the current 5 dB/MHz to 8 dB/MHz.

In its petition to the court, NAB says the order “unlawfully fails to protect the myriad of existing licensed users in the band from potential interference arising from such unlicensed use. Television broadcasters in particular have both fixed and mobile operations in the 6 GHz band, which require different protective measures to be adequately insulated from harmful interference. The order neglects to include proper safeguards for either type of broadcast operations.”

NAB has filed comments to the FCC directly in response to these potential moves, asking the commission to hold off until the full breadth of potential interference can be gauged. On the opposing side, computer companies (opens in new tab) like Facebook, Apple, Google and Microsoft have been supporting the FCC’s push for expanded unlicensed use.

Now, labeling the order as an action that would have immediate adverse consequences for the organization and its members, NAB is seeking relief from the order on the following grounds:

  • It’s arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion under 5 U.S.C. § 706; 
  • It violates federal law, including the Administrative Procedure Act, the Communications Act of 1934, commission regulations and, as the NAB argues, the Constitution; and 
  • It is otherwise contrary to law 

 “Accordingly, NAB respectfully requests that this Court hold unlawful, vacate, enjoin and set aside the Order and grant such additional relief as may be necessary and appropriate,” the NAB concluded.

The FCC declined to comment when contacted by TV Technology.

The official petition is available online (opens in new tab).