Qualcomm Asks FCC for Rules Clarification

Qualcomm obtained licenses in all six Economic Area Groupings (EAG) that were auctioned as Block D (TV Channel 55) in the lower 700 MHz band and it is now seeking clarification of FCC rules protecting existing TV/DTV broadcasters from interference from Qualcomm's proposed operations on Channel 55. As reported in RF Report for Nov. 23, 2004, Qualcomm plans to use the spectrum to deliver multimedia services, including video and audio, to cell phones. In that article, I said Qualcomm had rights to only five of the six Economic Area Groups, but the FCC Public Notice - Pleading Cycle Established for Qualcomm Incorporated petition for declaratory ruling indicated they held licenses in all EAGs.

Qualcomm asked for clarification that OET Bulletin 69, "Longley-Rice Methodology for Evaluating TV Coverage and Interference" -- is acceptable for demonstrating compliance with FCC Rules Sec. 27.60, which requires the auction winners protect the public from interference to reception of broadcast stations. Qualcomm also asked that that predicted interference of not more than two percent of the population served by a TV/DTV station be considered de minimis and acceptable.

Finally, according to the FCC Public Notice, Qualcomm requested the Commission "establish streamlined processing procedures for OET-69 showings, including a rebuttable presumption that such showings are sufficient when no objections are filed with the Commission. Specifically, Qualcomm proposes that whenever a 700 MHz licensee shows compliance based on OET-69 in a given market, the burden should shift to any objector to show within a 14-day comment period that the licensee will not comply with the applicable protection requirements."

While this request initially impacts only those stations that would be affected by Qualcomm's Block D, Channel 55, proposed facilities, it could set a precedent for other 700 MHz operations that could affect other channels, including in-core Channel 51.

Comments are due on or before Feb. 17, 2005. Reply comments are due on or before March 4, 2005. For information on how to file comments, refer to the Public Notice - Pleading Cycle Established for Qualcomm Incorporated petition for declaratory ruling.