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Spectrum Task Force Seeking Comments on Broadband Wireless Proposal

The Chiefs of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau released a Public Notice (DA 11-444) on Tuesday that requests comment on the bands identified by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for possible reallocation for wireless broadband.

The bands include 1695-1710 MHz and 3550-3650 MHz, as well as several additional bands that potentially could be used for wireless broadband. These include 1755-1850 MHz, 4200-4220 MHz and 4380-4400 MHz.

Reallocation of the 1695-1710 MHz band concerns local and state emergency agencies, as well as private weather services such as Accuweather, that downlink weather satellite data using frequencies within that band. If the band were to be reassigned for wireless broadband, the FCC would only protect areas from harmful interference within a 72 to 121 km exclusion zone surrounding 18 Federal earth stations.

In the NPRM, the FCC asks for comment on five issues, including how might the conditions placed on the bands [exclusion zones] affect their utility for broadband use, would it be possible for broadband services to share use of each band with Federal users. Also, it asks what techniques would be most effective for sharing [coordination in time, geography, or policy, and /or cognitive technologies]. It further states that if sharing were not feasible, what process might be used "to relocate or phase out incumbent users" [Federal and non-Federal]. It also asks for suggestions for frequency bands that might be used for candidate relocation.

Refer to the Public Notice for a description of how the bands are currently being used and what exclusion zones and other restrictions or relocation may be necessary to use these frequencies for wireless broadband.

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.