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The FCC Oct. 17, 2012, revised rules to allow Wireless Communications Service (WCS) license holders to use 30MHz of spectrum in the 2.3GHz band for wireless broadband services.

At the same time, the rules protect adjacent Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) operator Sirius XM Radio (Sirius XM) against harmful interference. The move is part of the agency’s efforts to lift regulatory barriers limiting the flexible use of spectrum for broadband services.

The revisions are in line with a compromise proposal between AT&T and Sirius XM to enable deployment and coexistence of the WCS and SDARS. 

Of the 30MHz, a total of 20MHz may be used for mobile broadband services and 10MHz for fixed broadband services, with possible future use as downlink spectrum to serve mobile broadband devices. 

The revised rules give Sirius XM greater certainty and flexibility by adopting conditions for identifying and resolving harmful interference to SDARS operations on roadways. They also relax the SDARS licensee notification requirements for low‑power terrestrial repeaters and for minor modifications to repeaters.

The agency’s action also extended WCS construction periods and restarts the WCS construction periods to enable WCS licensees to respond to the rule revisions while ensuring deployment of facilities in the near term.