FCC Seeks Comment on WRC-2015 Advisory Committee Spectrum Recommendations

The FCC's Advisory Committee for the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) is tasked with making recommendations on issues to be discussed at WRC-15, scheduled for Nov. 2-27, 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. On August 27, the Advisory Committee approved and provided for FCC consideration its draft recommendations on some of these issues.

Protection of Radionavigation Satellite Service (RNSS) spectrum is one of those issues. The Advisory Committee's draft recommendations state, “Due to the vital and global role of the RNSS, the sensitive nature of RNSS receivers and demonstrated previous in-band and adjacent band ITU-R studies showing the infeasibility of frequency sharing/incompatibility, no allocation to the mobile service or designation identification for IMT should be considered in the bands 1,164-1,215 MHz, 1,215-1,300 MHz and 1,559-1,610 MHz. Furthermore, any proposed new use of a band adjacent to any of these RNSS bands would need to include regulations that would ensure that terrestrial mobile broadband systems did not cause harmful interference to RNSS receivers (e.g., guard bands, power limits, etc.).”

Considering the problems the FCC and GPS users had with LightSquared's plans to build a terrestrial LTE network on spectrum adjacent to that used for RNSS, this recommendation isn't surprising.

The draft recommendations support assignment of additional spectrum at 5 GHz for RLAN (radio-LAN) use. The Advisory Committee notes, “Newer RLAN technologies are utilizing wider channels to meet evolving needs. For example, IEEE 802.11ac utilizes 80 MHz and 160 MHz wide channels to support very high throughput (500-1,000 Mbps) in the 5 GHz bands, ideal for applications like high-definition video as well as other high-bandwidth uses. IEEE 802.11ac products are required to support 20, 40, and 80 MHz channels, with the use of 160 MHz channels optional but supported by the standard as well.”

The draft recommendations state, “Given the increased demand for high throughput RLAN services, along with the need to ensure protection of important incumbent services, the United States of America proposes a future WRC-19 agenda item for an additional primary allocations to the mobile service allocation and identification for the implementation of wireless access systems (WAS) including radio local area networks (RLAN) in the 5350-5470 MHz frequency bands.”

Regarding requests for allocation of spectrum above 6,425 MHz for IMT, the committee notes that there are already frequencies above 6 GHz with primary mobile allocations where administrations are free to implement, at their leisure, the type of high-density small cell deployments some proponents wish to deploy. It recommends “that FCC join NTIA in supporting a NOC proposal for bands above 6,425 MHz under Agenda Item 1.1 for WRC-15. The support by the U.S. for a NOC proposal for bands above 6,425 [MHz] under WRC-15 Agenda Item 1.1, would not be in conflict with any U.S. domestic or foreign policy, and would not prejudice any potential future U.S. actions related to this matter.”

Another Advisory Committee recommendation was to add mobile-satellite service to spectrum allocations at 19.7-20.1 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 29.5-29.9 GHz (Earth-to-space). The recommendations also provide technical details regarding satellite tracking and pointing accuracy for mobile satellite earth stations on vessels.

For details on these and other recommendations, refer to FCC Public Notice DA 14-1248 Attachment A, Recommendations presented at August 27, 2014 Meeting of the Advisory Committee for the 2015 World Radiocommunications Conference.

Attachment B, Draft Proposals formulated and approved within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, proposed no change to the band 3700-4200 MHz (currently used for C-band satellite downlinks) and no change to 6425 MHz and above on agenda item 1.1. It also proposed no change to the 5250-5450 kHz band on agenda item 1.4, stating, “Since amateur use of this band would be incompatible with existing services and incumbent use for disaster relief, emergencies and contingency operations in the band, the United States propose no change for the band 5 240-5 450 kHz.” That agenda item considers the possibility of an allocation of spectrum in that band to the amateur service on a secondary basis.

The deadline for comments is September 12, 2014. See FCC Public Notice DA 14-1248, FCC Seeks Comment on Recommendations Approved by the Advisory Committee for the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference, for information on how to file comments.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.