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FCC Continues Wireless Backhaul Reform

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Released: August 3, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 12-87

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Amendment of Part 101 of the Commission’s
)
Rules to Facilitate the Use of Microwave for
)
Wireless Backhaul and Other Uses and to Provide
)
WT Docket No. 10-153
Additional Flexibility to Broadcast Auxiliary
)
Service and Operational Fixed Microwave
)
Licensees
)
)

Petition for Rulemaking filed by Fixed Wireless
)
Communications Coalition to Amend Part 101 of
)
the Commission's Rules to Authorize 60 and
)
RM-11602
80 MHz Channels in Certain Bands for Broadband )
Communications
)
)

SECOND REPORT AND ORDER, SECOND FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED

RULEMAKING, SECOND NOTICE OF INQUIRY, ORDER ON RECONSIDERATION, AND

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Adopted: August 3, 2012

Released: August 3, 2012

By the Commission: Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners McDowell, Clyburn, Rosenworcel and
Pai issuing separate statements.

Comment Date:

[30 days after publication in the Federal Register]

Reply Comment Date: [45 days after publication in the Federal Register]

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Heading
Paragraph #
I.
INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………......................................1
II. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY…………………………………………………………….……...3
III. BACKGROUND………………………………………………………………………….…...4
IV. SECOND REPORT AND ORDER…………………………………………………….……..9
A. Smaller Antennas in the 6, 18, and 23 GHz Bands……………………………….………9
1. Background…………………………………………………………………….……..9
2. Discussion……………………………………………………………………….…..18
B. Updating Efficiency Standards…………………………………………………….…….22
1. Background…………………………………………………………………….……22
2. Discussion…………………………………………………………………….……..26
C. Rural Microwave Flexibility Policy……………………………………………….…….36
1. Background………………………………………………………………….………36
2. Discussion…………………………………………………………………….……..37
D. Allowing Wider Channels in 6 GHz and 11 GHz Bands………………………….…….47
1. Background………………………………………………………………….………47
2. Discussion…………………………………………………………………….……..52

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FCC 12-87

E. Geostationary Orbital Intersections……………………………………………….……..55
1. Background…………………………………………………………………………55
2. Discussion…………………………………………………………………………..57
V. SECOND FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKIMNG……………………...62
A. Smaller Antennas in the 13 GHz Band………………………………………………….64
1. Background…………………………………………………………………….……64
2. Discussion……………………………………………………………….…………..65
B. 11 GHz Antenna Rules……………………………………………………….………….66
1. Background……………………………………………………………….…………66
2. Discussion……………………………………………………………………….…..69
C. Antenna Upgrades………………………………………………………………………71
1. Background…………….…………………………………………………….……...71
2. Discussion…………………………………………………………..………...……..73
VI.
NOTICE OF INQUIRY – ADDITIONAL CHANGES TO ANTENNA
STANDARDS………………………………………………………………….………….76
VII. ORDER ON RECONSIDERATION………………………….………………….………82
A. Making 6875-7125 MHz and 12700-13150 MHz Available for Part 101 FS
Operations………………………………………………………………………….…….83
1. Allowing FS Operations in Areas Where BAS Operates on Adjacent
Channels…………………………………………………………………….……….83
2. Protection Criteria for BAS Stations…………………………………….…………..88
3. Efficiency Standards for 13 GHz Band………………………………….…………..91
4. Allowing 50 Megahertz Channels in the 7 GHz Band……………….………...……93
B. Elimination of the Final Link Rule……………………………….…………...…………95
1. Background………………………………………………………………….………95
2. Discussion…………………………………………………………………….……..97
C. Upper Microwave Substantial Service Policies…………………………………….…..100
1. Background………………………………………………………..………….……100
2. Discussion………………………………………………………...………….…….104
VIII. MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER………….…………...…………….………105
IX.
PROCEDURAL MATTERS…………………………………………………….…...…..112
A. Ex Parte Rules – Permit-But-Disclose…………………………………………………112
B. Comment Period and Procedures………………………………………………………113
C. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis of the Report and Order……………….……….114
D. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis……………………………………….………...115
E. Paperwork Reduction Analysis…………………………………………….…………...116
F. Further Information………………………………………………………………….….117
X.
ORDERING CLAUSES…………………………………………………...………….….118
APPENDICES
APPENDIX A - Final Rules
APPENDIX B - Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
APPENDIX C – Proposed Rules
APPENDIX D - Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
APPENDIX E – Lost of Petitions for Reconsideration of Wireless Backhaul R&O
APPENDIX F – List of Commenters to Wireless Backhaul FNPRM

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this order, we take further steps to remove regulatory barriers and lower costs for the
wireless microwave backhaul facilities that are important components of many mobile wireless networks.
Broadband is indispensable to our digital economy, and wireless technology is an increasingly important
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FCC 12-87

source of broadband connectivity. Microwave backhaul facilities are often used to transmit data between
cell sites, or between cell sites and network backbones. Service providers’ use of microwave links as an
alternative to traditional copper circuits and fiber optic links has been increasing.1 Microwave is a
particularly important high-capacity backhaul solution in certain rural and remote locations.
2.
In this Second Report and Order, Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
Second Notice of Inquiry, Order on Reconsideration, and Memorandum Opinion and Order, we continue
our efforts to increase flexibility in the use of microwave services licensed under our Part 101 rules. The
steps we take will remove regulatory barriers that today limit the use of spectrum for wireless backhaul
and other point-to-point and point-to-multipoint communications. We also take actions that will reduce
costs of deploying wireless backhaul in rural areas. By enabling more flexible and cost-effective
microwave services, the Commission can help foster deployment of broadband infrastructure across
America.

II.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

3.
In this Second Report and Order, Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Second
Notice of Inquiry, Order on Reconsideration, and Memorandum Opinion and Order, we remove
regulatory barriers to make better use of Fixed Service (FS) spectrum and provide additional flexibility to
enable FS licensees to reduce operational costs and facilitate the use of wireless backhaul in rural areas.
We also seek comment on additional ways to increase the flexibility, capacity, and cost-effectiveness of
the microwave bands, while protecting incumbent licensees in these bands. Specifically, we take the
following actions:

Second Report and Order:

·
Allowing Smaller Antennas in Certain Part 101 Antenna Standards: The Part 101 rules
establish directional antenna standards designed to maximize the use of microwave
spectrum while avoiding interference between operators. Based on the record received in
response to the FNPRM, we liberalize our rules to allow smaller antennas in the 6, 18,
and 23 GHz bands without materially increasing interference.
·
Updating Efficiency Standards: We update our efficiency standards to specify those rates
in terms of bits/second/Hertz rather than outdated specifications from the circuit-switched
era. We also define payload capacity in our Part 101 rules to account for Internet
protocol radio systems. These actions will eliminate outdated regulations and ensure that
our regulations take into account modern technologies.
·
Rural Efficiency Standards Policy: We adopt a rural flexibility policy with respect to our
efficiency standards using the Commission’s waiver process in order to facilitate the use
of microwave backhaul in rural areas by allowing substantial cost savings in deployment.
·
Allowing Wider Channels in 6 and 11 GHz Bands: We allow microwave operators to
create higher capacity links by licensing 60 and 80 megahertz channels in the 6 and 11
GHz microwave bands, respectively. Authorizing wider channels will allow FS operators
to achieve faster data rates.


1 In 2005, 8.7 percent of backhaul traffic was sent by fixed wireless. See 15th CMRS Competition Report at 182 ¶
320. By 2009, that figure increased to 12.3 percent. Id.
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FCC 12-87

·
Revising Waiver Standard for Coordination with Satellite Uses: To prevent interference
to geostationary satellites, the Commission’s Rules require microwave stations that point
near the geostationary arc to obtain a waiver. We revise the rule to limit the
circumstances where a waiver is necessary by conforming our rule to International
Telecommunications Union (ITU) regulations. This change will eliminate unnecessary
waiver filings without endangering satellite systems.

Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:

·
Allow Smaller Antennas in 13 GHz Band: We seek comment on allowing smaller
antennas in the 13 GHz Band in order to realize the same benefits that smaller antennas
will offer in the 6, 18, and 23 GHz bands.
·
Revising Antenna Rules for 11 GHz Band: We seek comment on revising the
circumstances under which licensees in the 11 GHz band can reduce power in order to
avoid having to upgrade their antennas. We also propose to amend our rules to ensure
that applicants do not specify more power than they need.
·
Allowing Intermediate Antenna Upgrades: Currently, if a licensee must upgrade its
antenna in order to resolve an interference problem, it must upgrade to an antenna
meeting the higher Category A standards contained in our rules. We propose to allow
licensees to make lesser upgrades (i.e., to an antenna that does not meet Category A
standards) if the lesser upgrade would resolve the interference.

Second Notice of Inquiry:

·
Additional Changes to Antenna Standards: We seek comment on making additional
changes to our antenna standards to reflect advances in technology, accommodate non-
parabolic antennas, and harmonize our standards with international standards.

Order on Reconsideration:

·
Affirm Existing Rules and Policies: We affirm the rules and policies adopted in the
Wireless Backhaul Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and
Memorandum Opinion and Order
(Wireless Backhaul R&O, FNRPM, and MO&O)2 and
largely deny petitions for reconsideration of that order.


2 See Amendment of Part 101 of the Commission’s Rules to Facilitate the Use of Microwave for Wireless Backhaul
and Other Uses and to Provide Additional Flexibility to Broadcast Auxiliary Service and Operational Fixed
Microwave Licensees, et al., WT Docket No. 10-153, et al., Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking and Memorandum Opinion and Order
, 26 FCC Rcd 11614 (2011). When referring specifically to the
Report and Order portion of the document, we will refer to the R&O. When referring specifically to the Further
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
portion of the document, we will refer to the FNPRM. When referring specifically
to the Memorandum Opinion and Order portion of the document, we will refer to the MO&O.
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III.

BACKGROUND

4.
The Commission has licensed spectrum for microwave uses for most of its history.3 In
1996, the Commission consolidated its rules for most microwave point-to-point and point-to-multipoint
services into a new Part 101 of the Commission’s Rules.4 The Commission’s licensing regime for these
two services requires frequency coordination and the filing of an application for each microwave link or
path containing detailed information concerning the proposed operation.5
5.
In general, spectrum below 13 GHz is preferred for long-link backhaul because signals
can overcome the rain fading effects that limit transmission distances at higher frequencies. Over time, a
considerable amount of spectrum in this range that had been designated for microwave use has been
redesignated for mobile wireless services.6 Bands above 13 GHz are being increasingly used for short
distance backhaul in urbanized areas.7 Microwave operations have an extensive history of sharing
spectrum with other services.8 On August 5, 2010, the Commission commenced this proceeding “to
remove regulatory barriers to the use of spectrum for wireless backhaul and other point-to-point and
point-to-multipoint communications.”9
6.
On August 9, 2011, the Commission made additional spectrum available for Fixed
Service (FS) use and provided additional flexibility to enable FS licensees to reduce operational costs,
facilitating the use of wireless backhaul in rural areas.10 Specifically, in the R&O, the Commission
allowed FS to share the 6875-7125 MHz and 12700-13150 MHz bands currently used by the Broadcast
Auxiliary Service (BAS) and the Cable Television Relay Service (CARS).11 In addition, the Commission
eliminated the “final link” rule that prohibits broadcasters from using FS stations as the final
radiofrequency (RF) link in the chain of distribution of program material to broadcast stations.12 The


3 For an extensive discussion of issues the Commission faced in allotting microwave spectrum, see Allocation of
Frequencies in the Bands Above 890 Mc., Docket No. 11866, Report and Order, 27 FCC 359 (1959).
4 Reorganization and Revision of Parts 1, 2, 21, and 94 of the Rules to Establish a New Part 101 Governing
Terrestrial Microwave Fixed Radio Services, WT Docket No. 94-148, Report and Order, 11 FCC Rcd 13449
(1996).
5 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 101.21(f), 101.103.
6 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 101.69-101.81, 101.83-101.97. Bands formerly used by microwave include the 1850-1990 MHz,
2110-2150 MHz, 2160-2200 MHz and 18.58-19.3 GHz band bands.
7 For example, Clearwire Corporation uses thousands of links in the 18 and 23 GHz bands with 50 megahertz
channels to provide backhaul for its WiMAX network. Comments of Clearwire Corporation to Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking (filed Oct. 4, 2011) (Clearwire Comments) at 5.
8 For a chart showing FS bands and the services that share spectrum with FS, see Amendment of Part 101 of the
Commission’s Rules to Facilitate the Use of Microwave for Wireless Backhaul and Other Uses and to Provide
Additional Flexibility to Broadcast Auxiliary Service and Operational Fixed Microwave Licensees, et al., WT
Docket No. 10-153, et al., Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC Rcd 11246, 11253 (2010)
(Wireless Backhaul NPRM/NOI). When referring specifically to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking portion of the
document, we will refer to the NPRM. When referring specifically to the Notice of Inquiry portion of the document,
we will refer to the NOI.
9 Wireless Backhaul NPRM/NOI.
10 Wireless Backhaul R&O/FNPRM/MO&O.
11 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11623-11630 ¶¶ 16-34.
12 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11631 ¶¶ 37-38.
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Commission also modified the Part 101 minimum payload capacity rule to allow temporary operations
below the minimum capacity under certain circumstances, enabling FS links – in particular long links in
rural areas – to maintain critical communications during periods of fading.13
7.
In the companion FNPRM, the Commission sought comment on additional proposals to
remove regulatory barriers and facilitate backhaul deployment. Specifically, the Commission sought
comment on (1) allowing smaller antennas in the 6, 18, and 23 GHz bands without materially increasing
interference;14 (2) exempting licensees in non-congested areas from the efficiency standards and allowing
other licensees to seek relief from these standards;15 (3) allowing microwave operators to create higher
capacity links by licensing 60 and 80 megahertz channels in the 6 and 11 GHz microwave bands,
respectively;16 (4) revising our rule that requires microwave stations that point near the geostationary arc
to obtain a waiver to conform our rule to International Telecommunications Union (ITU) regulations;17
and (5) modifying the definition of payload capacity in our Part 101 rules to account for Internet protocol
radio systems.18
8. Additionally, four parties filed petitions for reconsideration of the R&O and/or MO&O:
Engineers for the Integrity of Broadcast Auxiliary Services Spectrum (EIBASS),19 the Fixed Wireless
Communications Coalition (FWCC),20 Motorola Solutions, Inc./Cambium Networks (Cambium),21 and
Wireless Communications Association International, Inc. (WCAI).22 Comments on the FNPRM were due
October 4, 2011, and reply comments were due October 25, 2011.23


13 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11633-11637 ¶¶ 44-53.
14 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11645-11647 ¶¶ 73-78.
15 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11648-11649 ¶¶ 82-85.
16 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11651 ¶¶ 89-92.
17 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11652-11653 ¶ 95.
18 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11654 ¶ 98.
19 EIBASS Comments to Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Petition for Partial Reconsideration (filed
Sep. 27, 2011) (EIBASS Petition).
20 Petition for Reconsideration of the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition (filed Oct. 27, 2011) (FWCC
Petition).
21 Petition for Partial Reconsideration of Motorola Solutions, Inc. (filed Oct. 27, 2011) (Cambium Petition). The
petition was filed in the name of Motorola Solutions, Inc. On October 31, 2011, Motorola sold the relevant business
to Vector Capital, which operates the business under the name Cambium Networks. Cambium Petition at 1 n.1.
22 Wireless Communications Association International, Inc. (filed Oct. 27, 2011) (WCAI Petition). A list of
petitioners and responsive pleadings is attached as Attachment E.
23 See Facilitating the Use of Microwave for Wireless Backhaul and Other Uses and Providing Additional Flexibility
To Broadcast Auxiliary Service and Operational Fixed Microwave Licensees; Proposed Rule, 76 FR 59614 (Sep.
27, 2011). A list of commenters is attached as Attachment F.
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IV.

SECOND REPORT AND ORDER

A.

Smaller Antennas in the 6, 18, and 23 GHz Bands

1.

Background

9.
Section 101.115(b) of the Commission’s Rules establishes directional antenna standards
designed to maximize the use of microwave spectrum while avoiding interference between operators.24
The Commission’s Rules set forth certain requirements, specifications, and conditions pursuant to which
FS stations may use antennas that comply with either the more stringent performance standard in
Category A (also known as Standard A) or the less stringent performance standard in Category B (also
known as Standard B).25 In general, the Commission’s Rules require a Category B user to upgrade if the
antenna causes interference problems that would be resolved by the use of a Category A antenna.26 The
rule on its face does not mandate a specific size of antenna. Rather, it specifies certain technical
parameters – maximum beamwidth, minimum antenna gain, and minimum radiation suppression – that,
depending on the state of technology at any point in time, directly affect the size of a compliant antenna.27
The Commission adopts antenna specifications based on the technical sophistication of the
communications equipment and the needs of the various users of the band at the time.28 Indeed, the
Commission adopted similar technical specifications that effectively limited the size of antennas used in
other bands.29 Periodically, the Commission has since reconsidered some of those antenna specifications
in light of the technological evolution of communications equipment.30
10.
In the FNPRM, the Commission sought comment on modifying the antenna standards set
forth in the Commission’s Rules to permit the use of smaller antennas in the 5925-6875 MHz band (6
GHz band), 17700-18820 MHz and 18920-19700 MHz bands (18 GHz band), and 21200-23600 MHz
band (23 GHz band).31 For each band, the Commission proposed standards based on suggestions from


24 47 C.F.R. § 101.115(b).
25 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.115(b).
26 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.115(c).
27 We may herein refer to those antennas that comply with the Category A standard as Category A antennas and
those antennas that do not comply with the Category A standard as Category B antennas.
28 See Amendment of Part 101 of the Commission’s Rules to Modify Antenna Requirements for the 10.7 – 11.7
GHz Band, WT Docket No. 07-54, Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd 17153, 17156 ¶ 3 (2007) (11 GHz R&O);
Reorganization and Revision of Parts 1, 2, 21, and 94 of the Rules to Establish a New Part 101 Governing Terrestrial
Microwave Fixed Radio Services, Report and Order, WT Docket No. 94-148, 11 FCC Rcd 13449 (1996).
29 See, e.g., 11 GHz R&O, 22 FCC Rcd at 17156 ¶ 3; Reorganization and Revision of Parts 1, 2, 21, and 94 of the
Rules to Establish a New Part 101 Governing Terrestrial Microwave Fixed Radio Services, Memorandum Opinion
and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
, WT Docket 94-148, 15 FCC Rcd 3129 (2000) (seeking comment on
permitting smaller antennas in the 10 GHz band).
30 See, e.g. 11 GHz R&O (adopting rules allowing smaller antennas in the 11 GHz band); Amendment of Part 101 of
the Commission’s Rules to Streamline Processing of Microwave Applications in the Wireless Telecommunications
Services, WT Docket 00-19, Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd 15040, 15073-15073 ¶¶ 74-77 (2002) (adopting rules
allowing smaller antennas for 10 GHz and 23 GHz bands); Procedures to Govern the Use of Satellite Earth Stations
on Board Vessels in the 5925-6425 MHz / 3700-4200 MHz Band and 14.0-14.5 GHz / 11.7-12.2 GHz Bands, IB
Docket No. 02-10, Report and Order, 20 FCC Rcd 674 (2005).
31 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11645 ¶ 73.
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Comsearch in response to the NOI. Specifically, in the 6 GHz band, the Commission sought comment on
antenna standards that would permit the use of 3-foot antennas;32 in 18 GHz, standards that would allow
one-foot antennas;33 and in the 23 GHz band, eight-inch antennas.34 The Commission noted that for each
of those bands, it was proposing changes only to the standards for Category B antennas.35
11.
The Commission asked that parties specifically discuss each standard in offering further
comments on the proposed modifications.36 It sought comment on whether the proposed amendments
would facilitate the efficient use of those bands by affording FS licensees the flexibility to install smaller
antennas in those bands while appropriately protecting other users in the bands from interference.37
Because smaller, lower-gain antennas result in more radiofrequency energy being transmitted in the side
lobes off the main point-to-point link, the Commission asked whether the use of smaller antennas
pursuant to the proposed modifications will adversely affect other users in the specific bands by
increasing the risk of interference.38 The Commission asked proponents of allowing smaller antennas to
provide specific information quantifying how much money licensees could save in antenna, tower-siting,
and deployment costs if the Commission authorized the use of smaller antennas.39
12.
Commenting parties strongly support the deployment of smaller antennas at 6, 18 and 23
GHz.40 They contend that relaxing antenna standards to permit the use of smaller antennas in the 6 GHz,
18 GHz, and 23 GHz bands will reduce costs, stimulate investment in the industry, and increase the
number of available microwave dishes on sites.41 Commenters believe the proposed amendments would
facilitate the efficient use of those bands by affording FS licensees the flexibility to install smaller
antennas in those bands while appropriately protecting other users in the bands from interference.42


32FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11646 ¶ 75.
33 Id.
34 Id.
35 Id.
36 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11646 ¶ 76.
37 Id.
38 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11646 ¶ 77.
39 Id.
40 Clearwire Comments at 2, 6-8; Reply Comments of Clearwire Corporation to Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking (filed Oct. 25, 2011) (Clearwire Reply Comments) at 1-2, Comments of Comsearch (filed Oct. 4, 2011)
(Comsearch Comments) at 1-7, Comments of FiberTower Corporation (filed Oct. 4, 2011) (FiberTower Comments)
at 2-4; Comments of the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition (filed Oct. 4, 2011) (FWCC Comments) at 3-5,
Reply Comments of the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition (filed Oct. 25, 2011) (FWCC Reply Comments)
at 2-3; Comments of MetroPCS Communications Inc. (filed Oct. 4, 2011) (MetroPCS Comments) at 4-6; Comments
of PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association (filed Oct. 4, 2011) (PCIA Comments) at 2-3; Reply Comments
of United States Cellular Corporation (filed Oct. 25, 2011) (U.S. Cellular Reply Comments) at 2-3;Comments of the
Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (filed Oct. 25, 2011) (WISPA Reply Comments) at 2-3.
41 See, e.g., Clearwire Comments at 6-8; Clearwire Reply Comments at 1-2; Comsearch Comments at 1-7;
FiberTower Comments at 2-4; FWCC Comments at 3-5; FWCC Reply Comments at 2-4; MetroPCS Comments at
4; PCIA Comments at 2-3; U.S. Cellular Reply Comments at 2-3; WISPA Comments at 2-3.
42 See Clearwire Comments at 7; PCIA Comments at 4; U.S. Cellular Reply Comments at 2-3. EIBASS notes that
“smaller sized microwave antennas do not have increased risk of interference; they have increased risk of precluding
(continued….)
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Although it acknowledges that, “smaller antennas have a greater potential for interference due to their
broader front radiation pattern, as well as more side and back radiation.”43 FWCC asserts that other users
are protected from interference because the proposed amendments will only be permitted in areas where
congestion is not a problem.44 U.S. Cellular asserts that the record in this proceeding shows how
interference caused by the use of smaller antennas may be mitigated and, overall, demonstrates that it is
possible to capture the benefits of permitting smaller antennas while preventing interference to other
users.45
13.
Comsearch proposes two variations to the rules proposed in the FNPRM. First,
Comsearch argues that the proposed standards should be adopted in addition to the existing Category B
standard, instead of replacing the existing Category B standard,46 because certain existing antennas would
not be able to meet certain aspects of the proposed requirements (e.g., front-to-back ratio).47 Comsearch
thus proposes that the Commission redesignate the existing Category B standard as Category B1 and
adopt new standards as Category B2.48 FWCC concurs with Comsearch on this issue.49 Second,
Comsearch proposes a power limit of 65 dBm Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power (EIRP) on
antennas that do not conform to Category A standards, in order to protect against increased interference
potential and maintain spectrum efficiency.50 FWCC concurs with Comsearch’s suggested
modifications.51
14.
For its part, FWCC suggests that the Commission slightly loosen the proposed
antenna standards for the 18 GHz band.52 Comsearch agrees with this adjustment.53
15.
Commenting parties identify several types of cost savings that smaller antennas can offer.
For example, FWCC states that the cost savings for installing a 2-foot antenna instead of a 6-foot antenna
could range from $1,575 to $2,070.54 Commenting parties note that smaller antennas are less expensive
(Continued from previous page)


later-in-time stations from being able to be added. “In other words, relaxed microwave antenna performance is a
spectrum efficiency issue, not an interference issue.” EIBASS Petition at 5.
43 FWCC Comments at 4.
44 FWCC Comments at 4. FWCC further notes that, if interference does occur, or is predicted for a new path, the
rules should require an upgrade from Category B to A within a set time period. Id.
45 U.S. Cellular Reply Comments at 2-3.
46 Comsearch Comments at 2.
47 Comsearch Comments at 2.
48 Comsearch Comments at 2.
49 FWCC Reply Comments at 2.
50 Comsearch Comments at 3; FWCC Reply Comments at 2.
51 FWCC Reply Comments at 2.
52 FWCC Comments at 4. Specifically, FWCC proposes that the Commission establish 55 dB as the minimum
radiation suppression at both 100º-140º and 140º- 180º (rather than 57 dB and 59 dB, respectively).
53 See Letter from Christopher R. Hardy, Vice President, Comsearch to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal
Communications Commission (filed Mar. 7, 2012) (Comsearch March 7 ex parte) at 2.
54 FWCC Comments at 3 (stating the estimated price difference between installing a 2-foot antenna and a 6-foot
antenna would be $1,575 (for the main antenna up to 100 ft. center line), $1,800 (for the main antenna up to 101-200
(continued….)
9

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to install because they weigh less, raise fewer concerns about wind loading, and require less costly
structural modifications to towers.55 Clearwire, for example, explains that the diameter of the antennas
can have a significant impact on the structural analysis and stability of the tower and larger antennas
increase deployment cost and require major structural modifications to the tower to install them.56
According to MetroPCS, the costs for these studies and resulting structural improvements can run into the
tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars.57 MetroPCS states, “Given that a system may
comprise tens of thousands of sites, elimination of only a small percentage of site improvements could
result in tens of millions of dollars saved.”58 MetroPCS contends that reduced antenna sizes will decrease
wind loading, and smaller dishes may not require engineering studies at all.59
16.
Commenting parties also highlight the cost savings to maintain a smaller antenna over the
lifetime of the link.60 PCIA explains that the cost of leasing space on wireless infrastructure for wireless
backhaul antennas can be reduced with smaller antennas because the cost of the lease, in general, is based
on the size and loading of the antennas and because a reduction in the size and load of the antenna will
proportionately decrease the cost of leasing space on a wireless facility.61 MetroPCS specifically notes, as
an example, that “the cost of a microwave dish antenna is approximately $100 per foot per month. Thus,
even if the revised rule allows for a reduction of just one foot, the annual savings would be $1,200, and
the savings over a ten year period would be $12,000.”62 In addition to the cost savings to install and
maintain a smaller antenna, commenting parties agree that smaller antennas also will allow for installation
at a wider variety of sites that may otherwise be incapable of supporting larger dishes, such as rooftops
and electrical transmission towers.63
17.
FiberTower states that additional savings occur in the entire logistical chain, which may
include, and is not limited, to storage of spares on-site and in local, regional and national warehouses and
in engineering and network services preparation and staging sites; storage and inventory of spares in
operations and maintenance vehicles; the number of workers and the size and weight of cranes and other
equipment that may be necessary to hoist, deploy, reconfigure, or decommission equipment; use and
(Continued from previous page)


ft. center line), $2,025 (for the main antenna up to 201-300 ft. center line) and $2,070 (for the main antenna up to
201-300 ft. center line)).
55 See Clearwire Comments at 6-7; FiberTower Comments at 3; MetroPCS Comments at 4; WISPA Comments at 2-
3.
56 Clearwire Comments at 6; see also MetroPCS Comments at 5.
57 MetroPCS Comments at 5.
58 MetroPCS Comments at 5.
59 MetroPCS Comments at 5.
60 FWCC Comments at 3.
61 PCIA Comments at 2-3; see also FiberTower Comments at 3, WISPA Comments at 2-3.
62 MetroPCS Comments at 5; see also Reply Comments of Wireless Strategies, Inc. Regarding the Notice of Inquiry
Review of Part 101 Antenna Standards WT Docket No. 10-153 (filed Oct. 5, 2011) (WSI Comments) at 1 (stating
that the smallest Category A antenna size for a 6 GHz point-to-point link would have a diameter of six feet and that,
with a typical site lease charge of $100 per foot of antenna diameter, the antenna site lease charges alone would be
$1,200 per month).
63 Clearwire Comments at 6; MetroPCS Comments at 5. Indeed, some commenting parties note that smaller
antennas will allow existing towers to support a greater number of antennas without requiring additional structural
modifications to the towers. Clearwire Comments at 6; MetroPCS Comments at 5-6.
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storage and deployment of lighter mounting systems to complement the smaller antennas; cost of
materials needed to build and package the equipment; and cost of shipping equipment between all the
manufacturing, testing, warehousing, staging, vehicle, and usage sites.64
2.

Discussion

18.
We adopt, with minor variations, the FNPRM’s proposal to allow smaller antennas in the
6, 18, and 23 GHz bands. The record demonstrates that smaller antennas can be accommodated without
materially increasing the interference risk to other licensees. Clearwire cites “technology advancements
and more sophisticated band sharing techniques” as developments that would allow us to loosen the
Category B antenna standards without an increased risk of interference.65 Furthermore, as noted above, a
variety of operators who use microwave support the proposed standards. Under our rules, if smaller
antennas would cause an interference conflict with another applicant or licensee, the applicant proposing
the smaller antenna must upgrade its antenna.66 Allowing smaller antennas will facilitate wireless
backhaul deployments in two ways. As discussed in greater detail below, smaller antennas allow
significant cost savings because they are cheaper to manufacture, install, and maintain. Smaller antennas
also allow existing towers to accommodate more antennas and allow installations at sites that would not
otherwise be able to accommodate larger antennas. Indeed, there could be instances where allowing the
use of smaller antennas may be critical in allowing the use of wireless backhaul by broadband operators.
19.
We adopt Comsearch’s proposal to implement the proposed standards as Category B2
and keep the existing standards as Category B1, allowing applicants to choose between those standards.
That approach will maximize flexibility for applicants and allow existing licensees to keep their antennas.
We also adopt FWCC’s and Comsearch’s proposal to slightly loosen the proposed antenna standards for
the 18 GHz band. No party argued that the revised standards would raise any interference concerns
in any of the relevant bands.
20.
We do not adopt Comsearch’s proposal to adopt a power limit on licensees using smaller
antennas. Adopting a power limit may artificially limit path length because path length is directly related
to the EIRP. A particular path will require operation at the same EIRP whether the operator uses a
Category A antenna or a Category B antenna. When EIRP is equivalent, a Category B antenna will
radiate more energy in the side lobes than a Category A antenna. In areas where another operator is not
in proximity, for example, rural and other uncongested areas, the extra side lobe radiation will not cause
any additional interference. In those areas, a licensee can use a smaller and cheaper antenna without
harming other FS operators. If we were to restrict power across the board, there may be instances where
operators may not be able to realize the full benefits of smaller antennas. We find that our existing rules
are sufficient to protect against the potential for increased side lobe radiation. If interference occurs, the
rules require the licensee to upgrade its antenna if the upgrade would mitigate the interference.67
21.
We find that permitting smaller antennas in the 6, 18 and 23 GHz bands will benefit
operators and consumers alike and that these benefits outweigh any potential costs. Our actions today
will enable these spectrum bands to be used more intensively for wireless backhaul, public safety, and
other critical uses. Even for a single link, which consists of two transmitters and two antennas, the cost


64 FiberTower Comments at 3.
65 Clearwire Comments at 6.
66 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.115(c).
67 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.115(c).
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savings from allowing smaller antennas can be substantial. Savings in installation costs for the link
would likely be over $2,000 for two antennas.68 MetroPCS estimates that if a smaller antenna eliminates
the need for wind loading studies or structural changes to a tower, the cost savings could run “into the
tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars.”69 There would also be savings in operational
costs. For example, if an operator using a 6 GHz link is able to use 3-foot antennas instead of 6-foot
antennas, its site rental costs could decrease by $7,200 each year.70 There are also additional cost savings
noted by FiberTower and others. When those cost savings are multiplied by the thousands of links that
are authorized in the 6 GHz band each year,71 even if a relatively small percentage of authorized links
could use smaller antennas, there could be many instances where operators could recognize cost savings.
While the cost savings in the 18 and 23 GHz bands would be smaller, since there is less difference in the
size of antennas, there would still be cost savings. On the other hand, there is some risk that a carrier
taking advantage of these new rules may have to upgrade to a Category A antenna later. We believe that
in many cases, this potential cost will be discovered and avoided in the coordination process. We also
note that licensees are not required to use smaller antennas.

B.

Updating Efficiency Standards

1.

Background

22.
To promote efficient frequency use for various channel sizes in certain Part 101
frequency bands, Section 101.141(a)(3) of the Commission’s rules requires FS operators to establish
minimum payload capacities (in terms of megabits per second) and minimum traffic loading payloads (as
a percentage of payload capacity).72 That rule lists a “minimum payload capacity” for various nominal
channel bandwidths.73 The term “payload capacity” is not defined. The same rule also defines “typical
utilization” of the required payload capacity for each channel bandwidth as multiples of the number of
voice circuits a channel can accommodate.74
23.
The FNPRM sought comment on changes to modernize the payload capacity rule,
particularly on a proposal made by Comsearch to de-emphasize the legacy voice-based data rates and
instead emphasize a consistent efficiency requirement in terms of bits-per-second-per-Hertz (“bps/Hz”).75
Comsearch also asked the Commission to define “payload capacity” as “the bit rate available for
transmission of data over a radiocommunication system, excluding overhead data generated by the


68 See FWCC Comments at 3. We note that FWCC provides installation cost savings for a change from 6 foot
antennas to 2 foot antennas. We presume that the savings for 3 foot antennas would be somewhat less.
69 See Metro PCS Comments at 5.
70 FWCC, Metro PCS and WSI note each foot increase in the size of the antenna typically increases site rental costs
by $100 each month. See FWCC Comments at 3 n.6; Metro PCS Comments at 5; WSI Comments at 1. A change
from 6 foot antennas to 3 foot antennas would decrease the site rental costs by 2 antennas X 3 feet X $100/month X
12 months = $7,200 a year.
71 For example, according to the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s Universal Licensing System, over 9,000
applications for new or modified stations, involving more than 30,000 paths in the 6 GHz band were filed in 2011.
72 47 C.F.R. § 101.141(a)(3).
73 47 C.F.R. § 101.141(a)(3), Table.
74 47 C.F.R. § 101.141(a)(3), Table.
75 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11653 ¶ 96.
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system.”76 Comsearch argued that, while the examples based on voice-based data rates were typical when
the rule was written, they are becoming outdated as systems support other interfaces such as the Internet
Protocol.77 Comsearch also argued that the rule should be changed because the bandwidth efficiency
requirements vary (from 2.46 to 4.47 bps/Hz) based on channel bandwidth, rather than having a uniform
requirement for all channel bandwidths.78 Comsearch asked the Commission to obtain input from
equipment manufacturers and other interested parties to develop an appropriate efficiency rate in terms of
bits-per-second-per-Hertz.79
24.
The FNPRM asked whether the Commission should adopt Comsearch’s definition of
payload capacity, adopt an alternative definition or leave the term undefined.80 The FNPRM asked
commenters to identify advantages and disadvantages to defining the efficiency requirement in terms of
bits-per-second-per-Hertz or in terms of some other metric.81 It sought input on an appropriate
benchmark value to use in the event the agency decided to define the efficiency requirement in terms of
bits-per-second-per-Hertz.82 The Commission further inquired whether the value should be the same
across all frequency bands and across urban as well as rural areas.83 It also asked for comments on
whether there is any need to consider how the definition should be applied to legacy systems, i.e., whether
there would be a need to grandfather equipment that is currently installed or equipment that is currently
on the market.84
25.
FWCC had originally recommended adoption of the efficiency requirements using
bits/second/Hertz values adopted by Industry Canada, with appropriate adjustments for bands where
Canada does not have FS services.85 Comsearch supported those standards.86 FWCC subsequently
proposed an adjustment that would continue to express the standards based on bits/second/Hertz but
tighten the standards for certain channel bandwidths in the 11 GHz and 13 GHz bands.87


76 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11653 ¶ 96.
77 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11653 ¶ 96.
78 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11653 ¶ 97.
79 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11653-11654 ¶ 97.
80 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11654 ¶ 98.
81 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11654 ¶ 98.
82 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11654 ¶ 98.
83 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11654 ¶ 98.
84 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11654 ¶ 98.
85 FWCC Comments at 8-9, citing Industry Canada Standard Radio System Plans accessible on Industry Canada’s
web site at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/h_sf06130.html. FWCC proposed a standard of 2.4
bits/second/Hertz if the channel bandwidth is less than or equal to 5 megahertz. For channel bandwidths greater
than 5 megahertz, FWCC originally proposed a standard of 4.4 bits/second/Hertz for the 4 GHz, 6 GHz, 7 GHz, and
10 GHz bands, and 3.0 bits/second/Hertz for channels greater than 5 megahertz for the 11 and 13 GHz bands.
FWCC Comments at 9.
86 Comsearch Reply Comments at 3.
87 FWCC June 29 Ex Parte at 2. Specifically, FWCC proposed applying the 4.4 bits/second/Hertz standard for
channels between 5 and 20 megahertz wide in the 11 and 13 GHz band, while applying the previously proposed 3.0
bits/second/Hertz standard for channels greater than 20 megahertz wide. Id. For frequencies above 13 GHz, FWCC
proposes maintaining the existing 1 bit/second/Hertz requirement of 47 C.F.R. § 101.141(a)(1). Id.
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2.

Discussion

26.
We adopt the definition of payload capacity proposed in the FNPRM and replace our
existing payload capacity requirements with updated standards based on bits-per-second-per-Hertz values.
In addition, in response to concerns raised by Clearwire, we update our definition of “loading” for
purposes of the payload capacity rule to ensure that FS facilities are effectively used while ensuring that
operators can use modern configurations. Our actions today replace outdated regulations with updated
regulations that take into account modern technologies.
27.
First, we convert the current voice-circuit based efficiency standards to bit/second/Hertz
standards using standards recently proposed by FWCC.88 Commenters generally support the idea of
replacing our existing payload capacity requirements with efficiency requirement expressed in terms of
bits-per-second-per-Hertz.89 We have reviewed the most recent standards proposed by FWCC, and find
that they closely approximate what our current rules require and are otherwise appropriate.90 This action
will allow our payload capacity requirements to reflect modern technologies. Furthermore, if we allow
new channel bandwidths in microwave bands, a bit/second/Hertz standard will automatically
accommodate new channel bandwidths.
28.
FWCC and Comsearch support the proposed definition of payload capacity as consistent
with industry practice.91 We adopt the proposed definition because it is useful to define that term in our
rules and the proposed definition is appropriate.92
29.
A second and related issue is the definition of “throughput” for purposes of the efficiency
standards. The definition is important because FS operators use a variety of network configurations, and
using an unnecessarily restrictive definition of throughput can prevent operators from using some of those
network configurations. We consider two proposals offered by commenters and adopt an approach that
meets both of their objectives.
30.
Clearwire supports the idea of adjusting the minimum payload requirements to account
for the increased capacity that would be available with wider bandwidth channels.93 It expresses concern,
however, that simply establishing a bits/second/Hertz standard may not be appropriate for modern
network topologies.94 Clearwire uses an Ethernet-based microwave mesh that relies on a ring topology to
provide 99.999 percent network availability by providing redundant link diversity from every cell site


88 Letter from Mitchell Lazarus, counsel for Comsearch and the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition to
Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Coalition (filed Jun. 21, 2012) (Comsearch/FWCC June 21
Ex Parte)
89 FWCC Comments at 9; Comsearch Reply Comments at 3; Clearwire Comments at 10. FWCC proposed a
standard of 2.4 bits/second/Hertz if the channel bandwidth is less than or equal to 5 megahertz. For channel
bandwidths greater than 5 megahertz, FWCC originally proposed a standard of 4.4 bits/second/Hertz for the 4 GHz,
6 GHz, 7 GHz, and 10 GHz bands, and 3.0 bits/second/Hertz for channels greater than 5 megahertz for the 11 and 13
GHz bands. FWCC Comments at 9.
90 See FWCC June 29 Ex Parte at 3.
91 Comsearch Comments at 10; FWCC Comments at 8; June 29 ex parte at 2.
92 FWCC Comments at 9.
93 Clearwire Comments at 10.
94 Clearwire Reply Comments at 3-4.
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location.95 Normally, a ring is split in half with traffic travelling clockwise on one half and
counterclockwise on the other half.96 If a radio fails on a link, the traffic is aggregated and re-routed
around the failed/downed link.97 Because each link must be designed to carry enough data to
accommodate failures elsewhere in the system, the links must be designed to be less than fully loaded
during normal operation. Clearwire proposes that the Commission require applicants to designate each of
its links with respect to its generic network topology.98 For example, a link would be certified as either a
ring, mesh, or other resilient network path (links), or as a linear (nonresilient) network topology path.99
If the link were part of a ring, mesh, or other resilient network topology, the applicant would have to
identify the link as either a “traffic bearing link” or a “management/resiliency link.”100 Under Clearwire’s
proposal, “management/resiliency links” would be exempt from the efficiency standards, while other
links would have to comply with the applicable standards.101
31.
FWCC recommends a different approach. FWCC asks that we drop the voice circuit
designations in Sections 101.141(a)(6) and 101.141(a)(7) of the Commission’s rules, which define
“loading” for purposes of existing rules, and replace them with a new Section 101.141(a)(6) to read as
follows: “[d]igital systems using bandwidths of 10 megahertz or larger will be considered 50% loaded
when at least 50% of their total payload capacity is being used.”102
32.
We believe the objectives behind the Clearwire and FWCC proposals can be met through
a simpler approach. Therefore, we update our existing traffic loading requirements, which are not
expressed in terms of actual data throughput but in terms of the capacities of multiplexers attached to the
transmitters. The definition we adopt today will ensure the efficient use of spectrum while allowing
operators to use network configurations with redundant links in order to maintain continuity of service if a
link fails. While we update our definition to take into account current technologies, the definition we
adopt uses an approach that is consistent with our current rule.
33.
Section 101.141(a)(6) of the Commission’s rules states in part that “[a] DS-1 channel is
being used when it has been connected to a DS-0/DS-1 multiplexer.” 103 Defining loading solely in terms
of use of capacity, as proposed by FWCC, could be problematic for systems such as Clearwire’s backhaul
systems with built in redundancy. On the other hand, we believe Clearwire’s proposal to require
designations on links would be overly burdensome, particularly for licensees with thousands of links, and
is unnecessary. If we apply our existing practice, Clearwire’s “management/resiliency” links could be in
compliance with the efficiency standards.


95 Clearwire Comments at 4-5.
96 Clearwire Reply Comments at 4.
97 Clearwire Reply Comments at 4.
98 See Letter from Cathleen A. Massey, VP Regulatory Affairs & Public Policy, and Christiaan Segura, Regulatory
Counsel, Clearwire Corporation to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (filed Jun.
19, 2012) (Clearwire June 19 Ex Parte) at 2.
99 Clearwire June 19 Ex Parte at 2.
100 Clearwire June 19 Ex Parte at 2.
101 Clearwire June 19 Ex Parte at 3.
102 See FWCC Comments at 9.
103 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.141(a)(6).
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34.
We also believe that any revised definition of traffic loading should address the
distinction between the rate at which Internet Protocol (IP) data reaches an FS link via a landline
connection, which typically includes a substantial amount of overhead data, and the data that ends up
being transmitted via FS, which is often stripped of most overhead data. IP traffic carries a significant
amount of overhead data to facilitate the movement of data packets across the Internet, which is designed
to accommodate alternate routing and, particularly under Internet Protocol version 6, traffic prioritization
and enhanced security mechanisms.104 Much of that data can safely be stripped out by the time a message
reaches an FS link because FS links are typically deployed at the edges of the Internet, near the
destinations of messages, and are engineered to high reliability standards. As Comsearch states, IP radio
systems use header compression techniques to delete repetitive bits of data before they are transmitted
over the airwaves.105
35.
To harmonize the proposals and respond to concerns expressed by Comsearch, FWCC,
Clearwire and other commenters, we replace subsections 101.141(a)(6)-(7) with the following new
subsection 101.141(a)(6), to read as follows:
Digital systems using bandwidths of 10 MHz or larger will be considered 50 percent
loaded when at least 50 percent of their total capacity is being used. For purposes of this
subsection, a Fixed Service channel is being used if it is attached to a communications
system that is capable of providing data to it at a rate that is sufficient to occupy at least
50 percent of the payload capacity of the Fixed Service channel, after header compression
is applied.
This definition should ensure that FS systems will be designed to carry the amount of data that is likely to
be transmitted over them after IP radio systems remove extraneous header data, to the extent licensees use
transmission systems that remove such data. It should also accommodate the needs of operators that
deploy FS links in ring topologies, where excess capacity is needed to ensure network reliability.

C.

Rural Microwave Flexibility Policy

1.

Background

36.
In the FNPRM, the Commission sought comment on exempting licensees from
complying with the efficiency standards if the environment was sufficiently noncongested to allow the
use of antennas meeting performance Standard B.106 The Commission noted that Sprint Nextel
Corporation, Cielo Networks, and Aviat Networks contended that providing relief from efficiency
standards in rural areas could reduce the costs of deployments and allow for more microwave backhaul in
rural areas.107 The Commission suggested that relaxing efficiency standards might substantially increase
possible path lengths and thereby dramatically improve the business case for deploying microwave
backhaul facilities in certain rural areas.108 The Commission noted that general relief may not be
appropriate in congested areas because lowering efficiency standards could result in inefficient use of


104 See Internet Protocol Version 6 Specification at http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2460 (downloaded on May 25, 2012).
105 See FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11653 ¶ 96.
106 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11648-11649 ¶¶ 82-85.
107 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11648 ¶ 82.
108 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11648 ¶ 82.
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spectrum.109 In congested areas requiring use of antennas meeting performance Standard A, the
Commission sought comment on allowing applicants to obtain relief from the efficiency standards if they
show that: (1) the efficiency standards prevent the deployment of the requested link for economic or
technical reasons; (2) the applicant does not have any reasonable alternatives (e.g., use of different
frequency bands, use of fiber); and (3) relaxing the efficiency standards would result in tangible and
specific public interest benefits.110
2.

Discussion

37.
We adopt a new policy, the Rural Microwave Flexibility Policy, designed to provide
operators relief, through our waiver process, from the efficiency standards that may not be necessary in
noncongested rural areas. Granting licensees in noncongested areas relief from these efficiency standards
can facilitate the use of microwave backhaul in rural areas by allowing substantial cost savings in
deployment. Indeed, granting relief from the efficiency standards could allow the use of microwave in
areas where such use would not be economically feasible under the current rules. In adopting this policy,
we take into consideration concerns raised by commenters and institute a series of criteria to ensure that
relief is appropriately tailored. If experience with this Policy suggests that a rule change is warranted in
the future, we will reconsider that possibility at the appropriate time.
38.
Exempting licensees from the efficiency standards in noncongested areas can reduce the
cost of deploying microwave backhaul facilities and substantially increase possible path lengths, thereby
spurring deployment of broadband in rural areas. The benefits of relaxing efficiency standards in rural
areas could be considerable. For example, in 2010, Sprint, FiberTower, and the Rural
Telecommunications Group estimated the cost of deploying and operating a 6 GHz link covering 100
miles and requiring four different relay towers would be over $3 million.111 Additionally, FWCC has
demonstrated that allowing a 6 GHz licensee to vary its modulation between 256 Quadrature Amplitude
Modulation (a throughput of 208 Mbps) and Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (a throughput of 45 Mbps,
about one-fifth of the throughput of 256 QAM) could extend the usable length of a link from 24.56
kilometers to 66.45 kilometers, because the lower throughput allows the operator to maintain reliability
over a longer distance.112
39.
An increase in usable path length would allow some operators to replace multiple paths
with single paths. For each intermediate relay station that could be eliminated, the operator would save
the cost of a transmitter, antenna, and site rental for that relay site. If one uses the $3 million cost
estimate provided by Sprint, FiberTower, and the Rural Telecommunications Group, and assumes that
each station contributes equally to the overall cost of the link (two end stations and four intermediate
relay stations), the cost of each intermediate relay station would be approximately $500,000. A review of
our licensing data shows that there are over 22,000 stations in the 6 GHz and 11 GHz bands that currently
use Category B antennas that would potentially be eligible for such relief. Moreover, there may be many


109 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11648 ¶ 83.
110 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11649 ¶ 84.
111 See ex parte presentation of Sprint Nextel Corporation, FiberTower Corporation, and Rural Telecommunications
Group, Inc., ET Docket No. 04-186 (filed Aug. 24, 2010) at 20.
112 See Letter from Mitchell Lazarus and Christine E. Goepp, counsel for the Fixed Wireless Communications
Coalition to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Coalition (filed Apr. 29, 2011) (FWCC April
29 Ex Parte) at Appendix. By way of comparison, under the updated efficiency standards we adopt today, the
minimum required throughput for a 30 megahertz channel in the 6 GHz band in a congested area will be 132 Mbps.
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more sites where microwave service is not yet deployed because of the prohibitive cost of multiple hops.
In these cases, a more flexible policy could spur increased broadband “middle mile” deployment.
40.
Even if an intermediate relay station cannot be eliminated, providing relief from the
minimum payload capacity rule can result in cost savings. Allowing use of lower data rates could allow
licensees to use less expensive transmitters and lower power, both of which would result in cost savings.
Under the revised minimum capacity requirements that we are adopting in this order, for example, a
transmitter operating with a bandwidth of five megahertz in congested areas must have a minimum
capacity of 22 megabits per second (Mbits/s). By looking to publicly available sources of equipment
pricing, it appears that an operator could realize significant cost savings. 113
41.
Several commenters express concerns about the proposal in the FNPRM for an exemption
from the efficiency standards. Comsearch believes that the Commission’s actions in allowing use of
adaptive modulation and allowing the use of smaller antennas in microwave bands provide sufficient cost
savings such that relief from the efficiency standards would be unnecessary.114 FWCC believes that
granting relief from the efficiency standards could “lock in” inefficient usage if an area subsequently
becomes congested.115 Comsearch and FWCC believe that basing relief from the efficiency standards on
the use of a Category B antenna could provide operators with incentives to use less efficient Category B
antennas and lower capacity radio equipment and may punish applicants who have other reasons for using
Category A antennas.116 As an alternative, Comsearch and FWCC propose granting relief from the traffic
loading requirements in noncongested areas.117 FiberTower and US Cellular also support granting relief
from the traffic loading requirements.118 FWCC also proposes a set of conditions for areas eligible for
relaxed rural efficiency rules.119 These conditions are designed to ensure that such deployments do not
occur in areas that may become congested, thereby protecting against the “lock in” problem.
42.
We recognize commenters’ concerns about the impact of providing relief from efficiency
standards in rural areas, but we find there is a better approach than the alternatives presented. FWCC and


113 For example, Alcatel-Lucent charges Federal agencies $23,121 for 32 dBm transceivers capable of meeting that
requirement. U.S. General Services Administration, GSA Advantage search engine web page at
www.gsaadvantage.gov (“GSA Price List”) (downloaded on May 29, 2012) (price for Alcatel-Lucent MDR-8708E-
24-32-NS Microwave radio, Ethernet, 7/8 GHz Frequency Band (7125-8500 MHz), 16 DS1, Transmit Power 32
dBm, Non-Standby). DS1 is 1.544 Mbit/s. By contrast, five megahertz transmitters in uncongested areas that
qualify for waivers will be required to have minimum capacities of 5 Mbits/s. A 15 dBm transceiver capable of
meeting that requirement, and potentially capable of transmitting a clear signal over the same distances because of
the reduced data rate, would cost only $12,907, saving the operator more than $10,000, or 44 percent compared with
the higher capacity transceiver. GSA Price List (price for Alcatel-Lucent MDR-8508-4-15-NS Microwave radio 7/8
GHz Frequency Band (7125-8500 MHz) 4 DS1 Transmit Power 15 dBm Non-Standby).
114 Comsearch Comments at 8.
115 FWCC Comments at 5-6.
116 Comsearch Comments at 7. See also Letter from Mitchell Lazarus, counsel for Comsearch and the Fixed
Wireless Communications Coalition to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Coalition (filed Jun.
21, 2012) (Comsearch/FWCC June 21 Ex Parte) at 2.
117 FWCC Comments at 5-6; Reply Comments of Comsearch (filed Oct. 25, 2011) (Comsearch Reply Comments) at
3-4.
118 FiberTower Comments at 4; US Cellular Reply Comments at 3.
119 Letter from Mitchell Lazarus, Counsel for the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition to Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (filed Jun. 19, 2012) at 2-4.
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Comsearch are concerned that providing relief from the minimum payload capacity requirements will
provide incentives for licensees to use Category B antennas, which can increase interference. We do not
agree with FWCC and Comsearch that allowing adaptive modulation and smaller antennas can be a
substitute for relief from efficiency standards, because granting appropriate relief from the efficiency
standards can result in much greater cost savings in rural areas. We disagree with those commenters who
suggest that granting relief from the traffic loading standards would be an adequate substitute for granting
relief from the minimum payload capacity requirements.120 If we merely provided relief from the traffic
loading requirements, FS operators would have to build links that were fully capable of meeting the
minimum payload capacity requirements. Denying permission to reduce payload capacities in such areas
would all but eliminate any cost savings that would otherwise be made possible by reducing loading
percentages alone, because most of the savings associated with granting relief from the efficiency
standards would result from reduced up front equipment costs, as opposed to operating costs.121
43.
Given the concerns presented in the record, we opt to implement our proposal as a policy,
listing specific criteria under which we will favorably consider waivers of the efficiency standards, as
opposed to a blanket rule exempting licensees from those criteria. This approach responds to the
concerns raised by Comsearch and FWCC. More specifically, the policy will not “lock in” inefficient
usage because licensees will be required to upgrade facilities to use Category A antennas and comply with
the efficiency standards if needed to accommodate new FS applicants (or to avoid interference).
Furthermore, the criteria we establish will ensure that relief is limited to areas where the use of lower
capacity radio equipment will be appropriate. This policy will provide a meaningful opportunity for relief
for rural operators. Adopting relief as waiver policy will allow us to consider individual circumstances
and to gain more information on when relief from the efficiency standards would be appropriate. As we
gain more experience with such waiver filings, we may consider refining the criteria or codifying the
policy as a Commission rule.
44.
Specifically, we adopt a Rural Microwave Flexibility Policy and direct the Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau (“Bureau”) to favorably consider waivers of the payload capacity
requirements if the applicants demonstrate compliance with the following criteria:
o The interference environment would allow the applicant to use a less stringent Category B
antenna (although the applicant could choose to use a higher performance Category A
antenna);
o The applicant specifically acknowledges its duty to upgrade to a Category A antenna and
come into compliance with the applicable efficiency standard if necessary to resolve an
interference conflict with a current or future microwave link pursuant to § 101.115(c);
o The applicant uses equipment that is capable of readily being upgraded to comply with the
applicable payload capacity requirement, and provide a certification in its application that its
equipment complies with this requirement;
o Each end of the link is located in a rural area (county or equivalent having population density
of 100 persons per square mile or less);
o Each end of the link is in a county with a low density of links in the 4, 6, 11, 18, and 23 GHz
bands. We delegate authority to the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau to determine an
appropriate measure of link density in a given county;
o Neither end of the link is contained within a recognized antenna farm; and


120 See FWCC Comments at 5-6; Comsearch Reply Comments at 3-4; FiberTower Comments at 4; US Cellular
Reply Comments at 3.
121 See ¶¶ 39-40, supra.
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o The applicant describes its proposed service and explains how relief from the efficiency
standards will facilitate providing that service (e.g., by eliminating the need for an
intermediate hop) as well as the steps needed to come into compliance should an interference
conflict emerge.
By establishing our Rural Microwave Flexibility Policy, we do not intend to restrict licensees’ ability to
obtain such relief under Sections 1.925 and 1.3 of our rules. We direct the Bureau to carefully consider
requests for waiver of the efficiency standards filed under the general waiver standard, consistent with the
Commission’s duty to take a “hard look” at applications for waiver122 and consider all relevant factors
when determining if a grant of relief is warranted.123 The Bureau should not reject a waiver showing
under the general waiver standard merely because the applicant has not shown all of the factors listed
above. We would anticipate that as an applicant demonstrated compliance with more of the factors listed
above, that an applicant would be more likely to have made the requisite showing in support of a waiver.
We also direct the Bureau to consider other factors in support of a waiver request, if appropriate.
45.
We agree with Comsearch and FWCC that licensees who could use Category B antennas
but choose to use Category A antennas should not be foreclosed from seeking waiver relief under the
waiver policy we establish today because of their voluntary decision to use a higher performance antenna.
Accordingly, we clarify that licensees who could use Category B antennas are eligible for relief from the
minimum payload capacity requirements, even if they choose to use a Category A antenna, so long as
they meet all of the criteria specified in the Rural Microwave Flexibility Policy we adopt today.
46.
Our action today will likely provide major benefits to FS operators in rural areas.
Providing relief from the efficiency standards may allow longer path links, which can eliminate the need
for intermediate relay stations. As noted above, the cost of operating an intermediate relay station can be
up to $500,000. Furthermore, providing relief from efficiency standards can also allow the use of less
expensive transmitters and lower power. In theory, there are two types of costs that could result from
today’s action. First, a licensee who took advantage of the relief today could later be required to upgrade
and comply with the efficiency standards. Second, the presence of a lower efficiency system using a
Category B antenna could make it more difficult for other operators to share the spectrum in the same
area. Under our rules, however, the decision to use a Category B antenna is voluntary, and existing
operators must upgrade their antennas to Category A antennas if necessary to resolve interference
conflicts. Accordingly, we anticipate that any costs will be outweighed by the benefits of our action.

D.

Allowing Wider Channels in 6 GHz and 11 GHz Bands

1.

Background

47.
The FNPRM invited comments on FWCC’s request that the Commission allow FS
operators to combine adjacent channels in the 5925-6425 MHz (Lower 6 GHz band) and 10700-11700
GHz band (11 GHz band), respectively, to form 60 and 80 megahertz wide channels,124 where the
maximum authorized channel bandwidths at present are 30 and 40 megahertz, respectively.125 The


122 FPC v. Texaco, Inc., 377 U.S. 33, 39 (1964).
123 Citizens to Preserve Overton Park, Inc. v. Volpe, 401 U.S. 402, 416 (1971).
124 See FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11649-11651 ¶¶ 86-92, citing Petition for Rulemaking, Fixed Wireless
Communications Coalition, RM-11602 (filed May 14, 2010) (FWCC Petition).
125 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.109(c), Table.
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FNPRM acknowledged that the proposal had the potential to allow backhaul operators to handle more
capacity and offer faster data rates but noted that the record on this issue was otherwise quite limited.126
48.
Initially, the FNPRM invited commenters to provide data on the anticipated demand for
wider channels in these bands in different geographies, noting that the Lower 6 GHz band is increasingly
congested to the extent that, in some locations, it can be impossible to coordinate even a 30 megahertz
link in that band.127 The FNPRM inquired whether the proposed rule change would primarily benefit
rural areas, or whether there might also be sufficient capacity to support use of wider channels in more
urbanized areas.128
49.
The FNPRM acknowledged FWCC’s claims that allowing wider channels would result in
a number of benefits, including lower costs, improved reliability, elimination of intermodulation issues,
and increased spectrum utilization,129 and asked supporters of the proposal to provide specific data
corroborating and quantifying the cost savings and other benefits claimed by FWCC.130 It also sought
comment on any conditions that should limit the ability to seek such wider channels, as well as concerns
that combining adjacent links could unnecessarily deplete the spectrum and possibly encourage
speculative licensing.131 The FNPRM also sought comment on how the Commission should adjust
minimum payload requirements to account for the increased capacity that would be available with wider
bandwidth channels, should the Commission permit wider bandwidth channels.132
50.
Commenters generally support FWCC’s proposal, primarily on the ground that smart
phones and other mobile devices are generating increased data demands for cellular backhaul.133
Comsearch and US Cellular advise proceeding cautiously because the conventional approach to assigning
channels of 30 megahertz bandwidth in the 6 GHz band and of 30 or 40 megahertz in the 11 GHz band
has been to follow an adjacent-channel alternating-polarization (“ACAP”) plan.134 Comsearch states that
this kind of cross-polarization is worth up to a 35 dB reduction in interference when compared with the
amount of interference that a signal on the same polarization would cause.135 If we allow 60 or 80
megahertz channels to be assigned on a single license, it becomes harder to maintain the ACAP licensing
plan, particularly when the wider channels are overlaid on existing 30 or 40 megahertz channels.


126 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11651 ¶ 89.
127 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11651, ¶ 90, citing Amendment of Part 101 of the Commission’s Rules to accommodate
30 Megahertz Channels in the 6525-6875 MHz Band, WT Docket No. 09-114, Report and Order, 25 FCC Rcd
7760, 7761 ¶ 4 (2010).
128 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11651 ¶ 90.
129 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11651 ¶ 91, citing FWCC Petition for Rulemaking at 3.
130 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11651 ¶ 91.
131 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd 11651 ¶ 91.
132 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd 11651 ¶ 92.
133 See Clearwire Comments at 8-10; Comsearch Reply Comments at 4; FiberTower Comments at 4-5, FWCC
Comments at 6-7, MetroPCS Comments at 7.
134 Comsearch Comments at 9; US Cellular Reply Comments at 4.
135 Comsearch Comments at 9. FWCC disagrees with Comsearch’s argument that combined channels could not
benefit from cross polarization. It says that an 80 megahertz channel made up of two 40 megahertz channels, at
whatever polarization, still allows either of two 40 MHz channels, or even another combined 80 megahertz channel,
to be coordinated nearby at the opposite polarization. FWCC Reply Comments at 4-5.
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Ultimately, however, in light of the potential cost savings, Comsearch supports allowing wider channels
in the 6 and 11 GHz bands “subject to appropriate safeguards.”136
51.
In response to FWCC’s petition for rulemaking, NSMA suggested that the Commission
should consider: (1) “requiring a showing of necessity and availability for applications planning use of
more than one or two 60/80 MHz wide channels on any one path”;137 (2) designating certain slots as
“preferred” slots for wider bandwidth channels (e.g., starting at one of the band edges, so all licensees
would first attempt use of these channels on the same frequencies);138 (3) adjusting the minimum payload
requirements to account for the higher capacity capabilities of the wider bandwidth channels;139 and (4)
adopting methods to better assure high utilization with more tightly drawn regulations.140 The FNPRM
sought comment on NSMA’s suggestion.141
2.

Discussion

52.
We find that allowing 60 megahertz and 80 megahertz channels in the 6 GHz and 11 GHz
bands, respectively, would serve the public interest by allowing backhaul operators to handle more
capacity and offer faster data rates. In light of the explosive growth in demand for broadband services,
we believe it is important to provide operators with the capability to offer faster services wherever
possible. Allowing wider channels can also result in more efficient spectrum utilization.
53.
The only concern, which was raised by Comsearch and US Cellular, was whether wider
channels would be consistent with assigning channels using ACAP. Neither of those parties opposes
allowing wider channels, however, so long as appropriate safeguards are instituted against warehousing
and inefficient use of spectrum. Commenting parties support the conditions suggested by NSMA. After
reviewing the conditions, we will adopt NSMA’s suggestion that wideband channels be assigned by
preference to the highest available channels in the relevant bands, except where such a choice would
impede the efficiency of local frequency coordination efforts. We also adopt today a broader revision of
our payload efficiency rules to apply uniform bits-per-second-per-Hertz requirements across multiple
bands and bandwidths.142 Together, we believe those actions will ensure that the 6 and 11 GHz bands are
used efficiently while allowing licensees to benefit from wider channels.
54.
Commenters did not offer specific data on the amount of benefits or costs associated
with allowing wider channels. We note, however, that the decision to use wider channels is voluntary and
must be coordinated with other applicants and licensees. Under those circumstances, there are not likely
to be any costs that could result from allowing wider channels. We also find positive benefits to
providers in being able to handle additional capacity with faster data rates and to allow for more efficient
spectrum utilization. Accordingly, we conclude that the potential benefits of wider channels would
outweigh any potential costs.


136 Comsearch Reply Comments at 4.
137 Comments of the National Spectrum Management Association, RM-11602 (filed Jul. 6, 2010) (NSMA RM-
11602 Comments) at 3.
138 NSMA RM-11602 Comments at 3.
139 NSMA RM-11602 Comments at 3-4.
140 NSMA RM-11602 Comments at 4.
141 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11651 ¶ 91.
142 See Section IV.B, supra.
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E.

Geostationary Orbital Intersections

1.

Background

55.
To protect receivers on geostationary satellites from the potential for interference from
FS transmitters, Section 101.145 of the Commission’s Rules requires a waiver filing for: (1) FS
transmitters in the 2655-2690 MHz143 and 5925-7075 MHz bands with an antenna aimed within 2º of the
geostationary arc; and (2) FS transmitters in the 12700-13250 MHz range with an antenna aimed within
1.5º of the geostationary arc.144 To be approved, a waiver request must show, among other factors, that
the transmitter EIRP is below listed limits.145 In contrast, Article 21 of the ITU Radio Regulations places
the 2º restriction on the pointing azimuth of antennas of FS transmitters in the 1-10 GHz band only if the
EIRP is greater than 35 dBW, and the 1.5º restriction on the azimuth of antennas in the 10-15 GHz band
only if the EIRP is greater than 45 dBW.146
56.
The FNPRM sought comment on a Comsearch proposal to amend Section 101.145 of the
Commission’s Rules to require a waiver filing for FS facilities pointing near the geostationary arc only if
the EIRP is greater than the values listed in the ITU Radio Regulations.147 Comsearch contends that the
existing, more restrictive requirement in Section 101.145 primarily protects satellites located over Europe,
Africa, or the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans.148 Comsearch further believes that, because the ITU has
determined that FS transmitters with EIRPs below the values listed in Article 21 are unlikely to cause
interference to geostationary satellites, amending the Commission’s Rules would improve the
administrative efficiency of licensing FS links for backhaul without any corresponding harm.149
2.

Discussion

57.
We adopt the proposal to require that a waiver filing be necessary for FS facilities
pointing near the geostationary arc only if the FS station’s EIRP is greater than the values listed in the
ITU Radio Regulations. As noted in the FNPRM, this action can facilitate microwave deployments by
allowing affected licensees to deploy more quickly, explaining that the Commission’s rules provide
many applicants with conditional authority to begin service immediately, without waiting for final
approval from the Commission, once they complete frequency coordination, with the stipulation that
they must take their stations down if the Commission later rejects their applications.150 The change
will harmonize the Commission’s regulations with international regulations, and as explained further
below, can apparently do so without creating any increased risk of interference to satellite services.151


143 The 2655-2690 MHz band is currently allotted to the Broadband Radio Service and Educational Broadband
Service. See 47 C.F.R. § 27.5(i). Accordingly, the Commission will not accept any new FS applications in that
band.
144 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.145.
145 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.145(b), (c).
146 ITU Radio Regulations, Article 21.
147 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11652-11653 ¶¶ 93-95.
148 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11652 ¶ 94.
149 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11652 ¶ 94.
150 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11652 ¶ 95.
151 FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11652-11653 ¶ 95.
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That rule change will limit the circumstances in which applicants will have go through the burden and
expense of filing waiver requests and the associated waiver fee.
58.
We do not change the requirement that FS facilities protect previously authorized satellite
facilities. Nor do we limit the right of satellite licensees to file petitions to deny or informal objections
against FS facilities that they believe would cause interference to their facilities. The only change from
the viewpoint of satellite providers is that FS operators proposing power below the limits contained in
ITU regulations will now be able to operate pursuant to conditional authority. We are unaware of any
instance in the last five years where a satellite licensee has filed an objection with the Commission against
an FS application seeking a waiver under Section 101.145 of the Commission’s rules. Under those
circumstances, it appears that the risk to satellite licensees appears to be minimal. Furthermore, under our
rules, conditional authority can be modified or cancelled at any time.152 We direct the Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau to examine closely any objections filed by satellite providers and to cancel
conditional authority if there appears to be a substantial risk of interference to satellite operations.
59.
Sirius XM Radio, Inc. (Sirius XM) is the only commenter to oppose the proposed change.
Sirius XM operates feeder links in the 7025-7075 MHz band to uplink its digital radio transmissions to its
satellites.153 It also has telemetry, tracking and control links in that band.154 Sirius XM expresses concern
that, even if no single FS transmitter were to interfere with one of its satellites under the proposed rule
change, several FS transmitters together might do so.155 On that basis, Sirius XM urges the Commission
to establish a numeric limit on the aggregate amount of interference that FS transmitters impinge upon the
geostationary satellite arc.156 In reply, Comsearch provides a detailed technical analysis demonstrating
that it would be extremely rare for terrestrial microwave antennas in this country to be directed towards
either of Sirius XM’s satellite positions.157
60.
TIA Bulletin 10-F is incorporated by reference in our primary interference protection
rule, Section 101.105 of the Commission’s rules.158 That bulletin explains that only in very unusual
circumstances is it necessary to perform the type of aggregate interference analysis requested by Sirius
XM.159 Comsearch’s showing that there are currently only three microwave antennas in this country


152 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.31(b)(3).
153 Comments of Sirius XM Radio, Inc. (filed Oct. 4, 2011) (Sirius XM Comments) at 2.
154 Sirius XM Comments at 2-3.
155 Reply Comments of Sirius XM Radio, Inc. (filed Oct. 25, 2011) (Sirius XM Radio Reply Comments) at 3-4.
156 Sirius XM Radio Reply Comments at 3-4.
157 Comsearch maintains that, within the contiguous 48 states of the continental U.S., a terrestrial microwave
antenna would have to be using an elevation angle of at least 20º to be directed toward a Sirius satellite. Comsearch
Reply Comments at 5-7. Comsearch provides a detailed analysis showing that, as of September 2010, there were
only three antennas (out of over 70,000 antennas) that would be located within two degrees of the geostationary arc
and that are aimed within 2 degrees of the Sirius XM satellites. See Letter from Christopher R. Hardy, Vice
President, Comsearch to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (filed Mar. 19, 2012)
(Comsearch March 19 ex parte) at 2-3. Furthermore, Comsearch estimates that because each individual link would
have a power of less than 35 dBW EIRP, at least 63 transmitters would have to be directed towards a Sirius XM
satellite to increase the noise into the satellites by 1 dB. Comsearch March 19 ex parte at 3. Sirius XM did not
respond to that analysis.
158 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.105.
159 Telecommunications Standards Bulletin 10-F at 2-8, § 2.5.2.
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pointed toward one of Sirius XM’s satellites demonstrates that the aggregate incremental effect of such
multiple exposures is likely to be quite low. While the Commission is prepared to consider showings
based on aggregate interference in appropriate circumstances,160 we decline to adopt Sirius XM’s
proposal at this time.
61.
We find that reducing the circumstances under which FS operators must seek waivers
when pointing towards the geostationary arc will produce substantial benefits. Each private FS applicant
must pay an application fee of $180 when seeking a waiver.161 In 2011, we granted 275 applications
requesting a waiver of Section 101.145 of the Commission’s rules where the EIRP was below the limits
contained in the ITU Radio Regulations and the applicant had to pay a waiver fee. The total application
costs associated with those waivers would be $49,500. Furthermore, each applicant must prepare a
waiver exhibit at additional expense. Furthermore, every time a waiver is requested, the applicant cannot
commence service until the waiver and applications are granted. While the cost of such delays cannot be
quantified based on this record, it is apparent that such delays may be costly to FS providers and their
customers. On the other hand, we find that the potential for increased interference or other costs would be
minimal from this action. Accordingly, we find that the benefits of today’s actions outweigh the costs.

V.

SECOND FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING

62.
In this Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we continue our efforts to
improve and modernize our rules and increase the flexibility of our Part 101 rules to promote wireless
backhaul. We seek more detailed comment on specific proposals made by parties to allow use of smaller
antennas and wider channels in other Part 101 microwave bands. We also seek comment on a proposal to
revise our rules to change our treatment of smaller antennas in the 10.7-11.7 GHz band (11 GHz band).
63.
We ask that commenters take into account only those costs and benefits that directly
result from the implementation of the particular rule or proposal, including any potential requirement or
potential alternative requirement. Commenters should identify the various costs and benefits associated
with a particular proposal. Further, to the extent possible, commenters should provide specific data and
information, such as actual or estimated dollar figures for each specific cost or benefit addressed,
including a description of how the data or information was calculated or obtained, and any supporting
documentation or other evidentiary support.

A.

Smaller Antennas in the 13 GHz Band

1.

Background

64.
Comsearch asks that the Commission modify its antenna standards for the 13 GHz band
to allow the use of 2 foot antennas under Category B.162 Comsearch states that a 2.5 foot antenna can
satisfy the Standard A suppression requirements, but that 2 foot antennas do not meet the Standard B
suppression requirements because the suppression criteria are too tight from 5 to 15 degrees.163
Comsearch states that 2 foot antennas are commonly used in the 11 GHz band under Standard B, and it


160 See 11 GHz R&O, 22 FCC Rcd at 17177 ¶ 49 (directing FS applicants in the 11 GHz band “to consider the
possibility of aggregate interference in determining whether they must coordinate with the authorized feeder link
operations of any licensed GSO MSS gateway earth station in the 11 GHz band.”)
161 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1102.
162 Comsearch Comments at 4.
163 Comsearch Comments at 4.
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anticipates that similar usage would be desirable in the 13 GHz band.164 Comsearch believes using 2 foot
antennas should not be a significant interference concern because paths would be limited to rural areas
outside of BAS TV pickup service areas.165 Comsearch proposes specific antenna standards.166
2.

Discussion

65.
We seek comment on modifying our antenna standards to allow use of 2 foot antennas in
the 13 GHz band under Category B as proposed by Comsearch. As noted above with respect to the 6, 18,
and 23 GHz bands, smaller antennas have a variety of benefits, including savings in purchasing,
installing, and renting space for such antennas.167 We recognize that the proposed use of smaller, lower-
gain antennas will result in more radiofrequency energy being transmitted in the side lobes off the main
point-to-point link.168 We therefore wish to ensure that any proposed changes to the Commission’s Rules
appropriately protect other users in the bands from interference due to the operation of these smaller
antennas. We seek comment on whether the use of smaller antennas pursuant to the proposed
modifications will adversely affect other users in the specific bands by increasing the risk of interference.
If so, do the potential benefits of using smaller antennas outweigh the potential risks of interference? We
also seek comment on the relative costs and benefits of allowing smaller antennas in the 13 GHz band.
Can the benefits be calculated in the same manner as we calculated the benefits of smaller antennas in the
6, 18, and 23 GHz bands?

B.

11 GHz Antenna Rules
1.

Background

66.
In 2007, the Commission amended its antenna specifications for the 11 GHz band to
allow smaller antennas in that band.169 In response to a question raised by Comsearch about interference
protection, the Commission stated:
Under the existing rules, a licensee using a Category B antenna must install a Category A
antenna meeting Category A standards if necessary to resolve interference. In response
to Comsearch’s question as to whether a licensee can resolve interference by reducing
power, we will allow licensees to resolve interference by reducing EIRP. Specifically, a
licensee using a smaller antenna may demonstrate equivalent protection by reducing its
EIRP from the maximum by an amount equivalent to the difference between the
minimum suppression of a Category A antenna and the suppression of the actual antenna
being used, at the relevant angle to the objecting party.170


164 Comsearch Comments at 4.
165 Comsearch Comments at 4.
166 See Comsearch March 7 ex parte at 3.
167 See Section IV.A, supra.
168 See FNPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 11646 ¶ 77.
169 See 11 GHz R&O.
170 11 GHz R&O, 22 FCC Rcd at 17182 ¶ 62. The Commission provided the following example: “For example, at
an angle of 25 degrees off the main beam, a Category A antenna must have a minimum radiation suppression of 36
dB. If a station with a Category A antenna operating at the maximum EIRP allowed under the rules would radiate
an EIRP of 19 dBW at an angle of 25 degrees, a station using a smaller Category B antenna may have a radiation
(continued….)
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This concept was codified in Section 101.115(f) of the Commission’s rules.171
67.
Comsearch argues that allowing a licensee to reduce its EIRP from the maximum allowed
by the rule negates the intent of the rule and does not provide proper interference protection.172
According to Comsearch, most 11 GHz links operate with far less power than the maximum authorized
under the rules.173 Comsearch argues that if a link using a Category B antenna is operating significantly
below the maximum power authorized under our rules, it will not have to modify the link because its
power is already below the power radiated using a Category A antenna with maximum power.174
Comsearch asks that Section 101.115(f) of the Commission’s rules be modified to replace the phrase “and
operating with the maximum EIRP allowed by the rules” with “and operating with the authorized
EIRP.”175
68.
FWCC generally supports Comsearch’s request for relief.176 FWCC is concerned,
however, that Comsearch’s proposed rule change would give applicants incentives to apply for more
power they need in case a later applicant raises an interference concern.177 FWCC offers two proposals
for addressing that concern. FWCC’s first proposal is to add language to Section 101.115(f) limiting the
circumstances under which a licensee could reduce EIRP without changing to a Category A antenna.178
Alternatively, FWCC proposes to amend Section 101.113 of the Commission’s rules to clarify that a
licensee may not hold an authorization for substantially more power than it actually needs.179
(Continued from previous page)


suppression at that angle of 33 dB, meaning that it could operate with an EIRP 3 dB below the maximum and cause
no more interference than the Category A antenna at the same angle.” Id. at 17162 n.250.
171 47 C.F.R. § 101.115(f).
172 Comsearch Comments at 4-5.
173 Comsearch Comments at 5.
174 Comsearch Comments at 5.
175 Comsearch Comments at 7.
176 FWCC Reply Comments at 2.
177 Letter from Mitchell Lazarus, Counsel for the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition to Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (filed Mar. 9, 2012) (FWCC March 9 Ex Parte) at 3.
178 FWCC March 9 Ex Parte at 3. Specifically, FWCC would change the third sentence of Section 101.115(f) to
read as follows (added language in bold, deletions struck through): “Specifically, the fixed station licensee must
either substitute an antenna meeting performance standard A or operate its system with an EIRP reduced so as not to
radiate, in the direction of the other licensee, an EIRP in excess of that which would be radiated by a station using a
Category A antenna and operating with the authorized EIRP; however, a fixed station licensee may reduce its
EIRP pursuant to this paragraph only once during the station’s operating life; and if the licensee would have
to reduce its EIRP to a level that is less than 3 dB below its authorized EIRP in order to resolve the predicted
interference, then the licensee must substitute an antenna meeting performance standard A.
maximum EIRP
allowed by the rules.”
179 FWCC March 9 Ex Parte at 4. FWCC proposes the following changes to the first sentence of Section 101.113(a)
(added language in bold): “On any authorized frequency, the average power requested in an application for
authorization and
delivered to an antenna in this service must be the minimum amount of power necessary to carry
out the communications desired, except as provided in paragraph (b).” FWCC also proposes changes to Section
101.113(b), which governs transmitters using Automatic Transmitter Power Control: “The maximum power of
transmitters that use Automatic Transmitter Power Control (ATPC) and the power of non-ATPC transmitters
shall not exceed, and the power input or output specified in the instrument of station authorization. The power of
non-ATPC transmitters shall be maintained as near as practicable to, the power input or output specified in the
(continued….)
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2.

Discussion

69.
We seek comment on amending Sections 101.103 and 101.115(f) of the Commission’s
rules to address the concerns raised by Comsearch and FWCC. We note that theoretically, the existing
rules could allow licensees using lower EIRP to avoid having to change antennas to correct interference
problems. At the same time, Section 101.115(f) has been in effect for several years, and we are unaware
of instances where this rule has led to interference disputes or precluded the placement of links in an area.
We ask proponents of this change to provide examples of instances where the existing rules have led to
interference problems or precluded other users from using 11 GHz spectrum within a given area. We also
ask commenters to provide specific data on the costs and benefits associated with this proposed rule
change.
70.
If rule changes are appropriate, we tentatively conclude that the best method of resolving
the issue would be to change the term “maximum EIRP” to “authorized EIRP” and making the changes to
Section 101.113 proposed by FWCC. The term “authorized EIRP” is subjective since applicants select
the power at which they propose to operate. Absent some additional limitations in the rule, we agree with
FWCC that merely inserting the term “authorized EIRP” into Section 101.115(f) would give applicants
incentive to propose excessive power. Of the two alternatives offered by FWCC, it appears that the
proposed changes to Section 101.113 would maximize licensee flexibility to resolve interference issues
while clearly stating that applicants must request the minimum power necessary. We seek comment on
this tentative conclusion, and any associated benefits or costs of this proposal.

C.

Antenna Upgrades

1.

Background

71.
In general, the Commission’s Rules require a Category B user to upgrade to a Category A
antenna if the antenna causes interference problems that would be resolved by the use of a Category A
antenna.180 Wireless Strategies, Inc. (WSI) suggests that in the 6 GHz and 11 GHz bands, applicants and
licensees be allowed to operate any antenna, including an antenna that does not meet the less demanding
Category B standard.181 WSI also proposes that if the applicant or licensee could resolve an interference
issue by upgrading to a lesser antenna that does not meet Category A standards, the applicant or licensee
would be allowed to use that lesser antenna.182 WSI claims that its proposed change “would allow
designers and users of FS microwave to minimize the cost and make it easier to comply with local zoning
and homeowner association rules and ensure that the use of antennas not meeting Category A
requirements does not increase the potential for harmful interference.”183 Proxim Wireless Corporation
and Global Spectrum Advisors LLC support WSI’s proposal.184
(Continued from previous page)


instrument of station authorization.

A licensee that reduces power in order to resolve interference pursuant to
Section 101.115(f) must update its license to reflect the reduced power level.


180 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.115(c).
181 WSI Comments at 2.
182 WSI Comments at 2.
183 WSI Comments at 2.
184 See Letter from Dave Dobson, Director of Systems Engineering, Proxim Wireless Corporation to Marlene H.
Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (filed Mar. 16, 2012); Ex Parte Reply Comments of
Global Spectrum Advisors LLC (filed Nov. 16, 2011).
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72.
Comsearch, EIBASS, FWCC, and NSMA oppose WSI’s proposal. Opponents express
concern that WSI’s proposed rule change would preclude future applicants from sharing the same
spectrum in a given area.185 Comsearch expresses concern that “WSI apparently seeks to direct as much
power as it can in all directions and only reduce EIRP towards stations where there is a specific
conflict.”186 FWCC argues that WSI’s proposal is too vague and would likely to lead to disputes among
users in the coordination process.187 FWCC and NSMA also argue that while a licensee would have a
duty to upgrade, incumbents may be reluctant or unwilling to upgrade because of the costs involved
(including possible site relocations if the existing site could not accommodate a larger antenna).188
FWCC also argues that the current rules provide coordinators with certainty in planning because they
know an antenna’s minimum characteristics.189
2.

Discussion

73.
We see some merit in the idea of allowing intermediate upgrades if a licensee can resolve
an interference issue by upgrading from one Category B antenna to another Category B antenna with
better performance characteristics, that still does not meet Category A standard. There may be instances
where an applicant or licensee could resolve an interference issue or conflict by upgrading to an antenna
that does not meet Category A standards but would resolve the interference problem. An intermediate
upgrade may allow a licensee to maintain operations from an existing site or reduce costs to the point
where operation remains economically feasible. Furthermore, while FWCC and NSMA are correct that
licensees may be reluctant to upgrade antennas, the current rules impose a duty to upgrade to a Category
A antenna. The proposed change would give licensees additional flexibility by giving them another
option to resolve interference issues. Under our proposal, a licensee proposing to make an intermediate
upgrade would assume the risk that the intermediate upgrade would not resolve the interference issue and
would be required to make a further upgrade to a Category A antenna if the intermediate upgrade failed to
resolve the issue or if a Category A antenna was needed to accommodate another link.
74.
Accordingly, we seek comment on allowing licensees and applicants to resolve an
interference issue by upgrading from one Category B antenna to another Category B antenna with better
performance characteristics, but that still does not meet Category A standard. We ask proponents of this
proposal to identify specific instances where such intermediate upgrades could facilitate wireless
backhaul deployment. Opponents should identify specific harms that they believe would result from
allowing intermediate upgrades, keeping in mind that an applicant or licensee who sought to make an
intermediate upgrade would be required to make a further upgrade to a Category A antenna if necessary.
While WSI makes its proposal with respect to the 6 and 11 GHz bands, we seek comment on allowing
intermediate upgrades in all Part 101 bands. We also seek specific, quantitative information on the
benefits and costs of our proposal.


185 See EIBASS Ex Parte Response To January 31, 2012, WSI Ex Parte Filing (filed Feb. 15, 2012) (EIBASS
February 15 Ex Parte) at 1-2; Letter from Kenneth G. Ryan, President, National Spectrum Management Association
to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (filed Jan. 23, 2012) (NSMA Ex Parte).
186 Comsearch Reply Comments at 2.
187 FWCC Reply Comments at 2-3.
188 Letter from Mitchell Lazarus, Counsel for the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition to Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (filed Dec. 30, 2011) (FWCC December 30 Ex Parte) at 3-4;
NSMA Ex Parte at 2.
189 FWCC December 30 Ex Parte at 4-5.
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75.
To the extent WSI proposes to allow the use of antennas that do not meet Category B
standards, such a change would not result in the efficient use of spectrum. Eliminating the minimum
Category B standards would allow licensees to deploy inefficient antennas that would radiate excessive
radiofrequency energy away from the desired path of communication. That change would result in an
increased potential for interference and make it more difficult for other licensees to share spectrum. The
Category B standards have been in existence for many years, and WSI has not argued that it is
burdensome for licensees to meet the Category B standards. We therefore reject the concept of allowing
antennas that do not meet Category B standards.

VI.

NOTICE OF INQUIRY – ADDITIONAL CHANGES TO ANTENNA STANDARDS

76.
Several parties argue that the Commission should institute a comprehensive review of its
Part 101 antenna standards. Comsearch notes that it has been many years since the antenna standards
have undergone a comprehensive review.190 Comsearch asks the Commission “to revise the standards to
make them reflect the proper current balance of manufacturing capabilities, spectral efficiency, and
cost.”191 It points to standards recently adopted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute
(ETSI), which require significantly greater suppression of the far sidelobes and significantly greater front-
to-back ratio.192 Comsearch argues that manufacturers follow the ETSI standards and that it would
therefore be reasonable to tighten the Commission’s requirements to meet those standards.193 Comsearch
also asks the Commission to: (1) change the rules to use breakpoints connected by straight line segments
rather than the ranges at a constant suppression level that lead to a “stairstep” pattern; (2) introduce
standards for suppression of cross-polarized signals; and (3) tighten the Category A and B antenna
standards as much as possible consistent with the anticipated size and cost of antennas.194 FWCC concurs
with Comsearch’s ideas.195 Clearwire and FWCC also ask that the Commission adopt standards for
antenna configurations other than the traditional parabolic design.196 Clearwire argues that manufacturers
are developing next generation antennas that will introduce a greater array of options for deploying
wireless backhaul in an efficient and cost effective manner.197 It asks that the Commission’s rules
accommodate such non-parabolic antennas.198
77.
We believe it would be appropriate to seek input on whether a comprehensive review of
our antenna standards is appropriate and what changes would be appropriate as part of that review. We
ask commenters to offer specific proposals and rule language so that the Commission and parties can
evaluate the proposals and offer meaningful comment. We ask whether we can tighten our antenna
standards while still allowing the affordable deployment of wireless backhaul facilities. Are the ETSI
standards a useful benchmark for changing our standards? Are there factors unique to the United States
market that justify different standards? Does the fact that many microwave bands are shared with other


190 Comsearch Comments at 2.
191 Comsearch Comments at 2.
192 Comsearch Comments at 2.
193 Comsearch Comments at 3.
194 Comsearch Comments at 3.
195 FWCC Reply Comments at 2.
196 Clearwire Comments at 8; FWCC Reply Comments at 2.
197 Clearwire Comments at 8.
198 Clearwire Comments at 8.
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services affect the appropriate standards? Would changing the standards allow these bands to be used for
new and innovative standards? We seek comment on these and other related questions, including any
associated costs and benefits.
78.
We also seek comment on Comsearch’s more specific suggestions. It appears that we
would have to replace the existing table in Section 101.115 of the Commission’s rules with some other
means of indicating the appropriate suppression levels. What would be the best means of implementing
such a change in our rules? What changes to our rules would be necessary to take into account cross-
polarized signals? What would be the costs and benefits of any such rule changes?
79.
We note that our rules do not mandate the use of parabolic antennas. Instead, our rules
specify certain technical parameters – maximum beamwidth, minimum antenna gain, and minimum
radiation suppression – that limit the interference potential. We ask Clearwire, FWCC and others to
explain what rule changes would be necessary in order to accommodate non-parabolic antennas. What
effect would such changes have on other licensees? Is it possible to establish rules that would include all
the possible types of microwave antennas? We seek comment on these questions and related issues,
including potential costs and benefits of any rule changes.
80. Finally, we note that our definition of a congested area, for the purpose of requiring antennas
to meet Category A standards, is based in part on a1976 public notice that was last republished in 1983.199
We seek comment on how we should update or change our standards for defining a congested area.
Should we attempt to develop an updated list of congested areas, rely exclusively on location-specific
interference analyses, or should we use some other paradigm for determining what areas require the use
of Category A antennas? What would be the costs and benefits of other paradigms?
81.
By issuing this notice of inquiry, we intend to start a broad discussion of our microwave
antenna standards. We invite commenters to raise additional questions and ideas. We also encourage a
broad range of affected parties to comment, including current licensees, equipment manufacturers,
operators who are interested in using microwave facilities, licensees who share spectrum with microwave
operators, frequency coordinators, and other interested parties. We ask that commenters take into account
only those costs and benefits that directly result from the implementation of the particular proposals.
Commenters should identify the various costs and benefits associated with a particular proposal. Further,
to the extent possible, commenters should provide specific data and information, such as actual or
estimated dollar figures for each specific cost or benefit addressed, including a description of how the
data or information was calculated or obtained, and any supporting documentation or other evidentiary
support.

VII.

ORDER ON RECONSIDERATION

82. A number of parties sought reconsideration of the R&O adopted in August 2011. In this
Order on Reconsideration, we address those requests, and deny reconsideration for the most part.


199 See Private Microwave Congested Areas, Public Notice (PRB Jun. 22, 1983).
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A.

Making 6875-7125 MHz and 12700-13150 MHz Available for Part 101 FS
Operations

1.

Allowing FS Operations in Areas Where BAS Operates on Adjacent
Channels

a.

Background

83.
In the R&O, the Commission authorized FS use of the 6875-7125 MHz and 12700-13150
MHz bands in areas where television pickup licenses are not authorized in those bands.200 The
Commission prohibited FS paths from crossing the service areas of TV pickup authorizations in order to
avoid interference.201 FWCC asks the Commission to limit the exclusion of FS from vacant 13 GHz
channels in areas served by BAS and CARS to co-channel operations.202 In other words, under FWCC’s
proposal, FS could be licensed in areas where BAS and CARS have operations so long as the FS
operations are not on the same channels as any licensed BAS or CARS stations. FWCC says that a check
of the Commission’s licensing database shows that allowing FS on vacant channels in geographic areas
where BAS or CARS stations operate on other channels would increase the potential Fixed Service
population coverage to about 120 million, compared to the 35-42 million population coverage possible
under the current rules.203 FWCC also contends that it is unnecessary to prohibit adjacent channel FS
operations in order to accommodate BAS or CARS growth because there is little demand for new 13 GHz
BAS/CARS facilities, 50 megahertz of spectrum remains exclusively available nationwide for
BAS/CARS use, and new technologies are being developed that would support electronic newsgathering
by other means.204
84.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Society of Broadcast Engineers,
Inc. (SBE) contend that the “introduction of new wireless backhaul operations would be incompatible
with effective, unpredictable itinerant newsgathering and news reporting, and it would disserve the public
if ENG services at the scene of breaking news were undermined by interference concerns caused by the
presence of nearby wireless backhaul operations.”205 NAB and SBE are also concerned that it would not
be feasible to mix the formal coordination process used by FS applicants with the more informal
coordination process used by broadcasters, because FS applicants do not have the same incentives as
broadcasters to accommodate the needs of TV pick-up operations.206
b.

Discussion

85.
We decline to adopt FWCC’s proposal to permit FS operations in channels adjacent to
BAS/CARS operations at this time, for three reasons. First, as a technical matter, microwave signals that
are being transmitted on adjacent channels can interfere with each other under some circumstances and,


200 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11625 ¶ 22.
201 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11625 ¶ 23.
202 FWCC Petition at 3-5.
203 FWCC Petition at 4.
204 FWCC Petition at 4-5.
205 Opposition of the National Association of Broadcasters and the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc. (filed Dec.
16, 2011) (NAB/SBE Opposition) at 6-7.
206 NAB/SBE Opposition at 7.
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for that reason, require frequency coordination. That is why the Commission’s rules require short-term
BAS operators to give prior notification to other licensees whether they are proposing to operate on the
same channels or on adjacent channels.207 Our rules contain limits on emissions outside of the authorized
channel into adjacent channels, but they do not eliminate out of band emissions entirely.208
86.
Second, as discussed in the R&O, BAS operators are motivated to coordinate spectrum
with each other rapidly and cooperatively because they engage in similar activities, such as covering
breaking news events, and share a common motivation to ensure that spectrum continues to be made
available for such activities on short notice.209 Allowing FS applicants into areas where BAS is
authorized would necessitate a more formal coordination process, which we do not believe is compatible
with the dynamic and rapidly changing nature of electronic newsgathering (ENG) operations.
87.
Finally, Section 74.24 of the Commission’s rules allows BAS licensees to engage in
short-term operations on unlicensed BAS channels for as many as 720 hours annually per frequency.210
Therefore, in some locations, BAS operators could be making extensive short-term use of unlicensed
BAS channels in the geographic areas where they have BAS licenses for other channels. Allowing FS
operations to use these frequencies could result in interference and disruption to these operations. There
is no evidence in the record indicating that the benefits of this proposal would outweigh the costs
associated with the potential for increased interference. We therefore decline to modify the R&O’s
conclusion that Part 101 FS applicants will be eligible to seek licenses in the 6875-7125 MHz and 12700-
13150 MHz bands only outside the geographic areas where BAS and CARS stations are licensed.
2.

Protection Criteria for BAS Stations

a.

Background

88.
In comments filed during an earlier phase of this proceeding, EIBASS asked the
Commission to prohibit newcomer Private Operational Fixed Service (POFS) stations in the 7 and 13
GHz bands from degrading the noise threshold of any existing electronic newsgathering-receive only
(ENG-RO) site by more than 0.5 dB, citing as precedent the Commission’s decision to apply that standard
to Department of Defense uplinks when determining whether or not they are providing adequate
protection to ENG-RO sites in the 2 GHz band.211 The R&O acknowledged that EIBASS’s proposal
might be an appropriate standard for evaluating a proposed FS facility but declined to adopt it as a rule,
explaining that, in lieu of mandating specific interference criteria in our rules, we expect applicants and
licensees to work out interference issues in the frequency coordination process.212 In a petition for partial
reconsideration of the R&O, EIBASS now reiterates its request, arguing that a vague frequency


207 See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. § 74.24(g).
208 47 C.F.R. § 74.637.
209 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11627 ¶ 27.
210 47 C.F.R. §74.24.
211 Comments of EIBASS (filed Oct. 25, 2010) at 4, citing Amendment of Part 2 of the Commission’s Rules to
Allocate Spectrum to Allocate Spectrum Below 3 GHz for Mobile and Fixed Services to Support the Introduction of
New Advanced Wireless Services, Including Third Generation Wireless Systems, et al., ET Docket No. 00-258, et
al., Seventh Report and Order,
19 FCC Rcd 21350, 21364-21365 n.63 (2004) (AWS 7th R&O).
212 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11626 ¶ 25.
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coordination benchmark does neither the incumbent nor the newcomer any favor, because of the
uncertainty it generates.213
b.

Discussion

89.
EIBASS’s proposal is unnecessary because we are upholding the Commission’s prior
decision to prohibit the paths of FS stations operating in the 7 and 13 GHz bands from crossing the
service areas of TV pickup authorizations.214 The practical criteria that we follow in decisions of this
kind are set forth in the Telecommunications Industry Association’s Telecommunications Systems
Bulletin 10-F (“TSB 10-F”), which is incorporated by reference in Section 101.105 of the Commission’s
rules.215 TSB 10-F acknowledges that it might be theoretically advantageous to place limits on total noise
degradation to existing stations but explains that only in very unusual circumstances does a system
designer need an overall assessment of interference noise from all sources.216
90.
In the AWS 7th R&O, the Commission addressed the potential for interference to ENG-
RO sites from earth stations at 11 sites that support military space operations, also known as tracking,
telemetry, and commanding (or “TT&C”) uplinks.217 Preventing interference when TT&C uplinks are
involved is particularly challenging because, as the Commission noted, TT&C stations spend relatively
little time pointing their antennas in any particular direction, i.e., they can be called upon to point in any
of many different directions at any particular time, or, for that matter, to be in continuous motion while
communicating with spacecraft.218 By contrast, the transmission paths of Part 101 FS stations are fixed.
That makes it possible for FS applicants to provide licensees and other applicants with detailed
notifications that include proposed transmission azimuths, among other technical parameters, and to allow
the other affected parties 30 days to respond.219 Although our rules provide for the Commission to
resolve any differences that the parties are unable to resolve by reasoned discussions with each other,220 it
is hardly ever necessary for the Commission to intervene in the frequency coordination process among
parties that are subject to our Part 101 coordination procedures.221 The chances that the affected parties
would reach an impasse seem particularly remote under these circumstances, where FS paths are barred
from crossing any of the geographic areas where ENG-RO stations are licensed. Further, there is no
evidence in the record that EIBASS’s proposal would reduce the costs associated with the coordination
process. For those reasons, we remain confident that the existing frequency coordination procedures will
ensure that Part 101 FS operators will not interfere with ENG-RO operations in the 6875-7125 MHz and
12700-13150 MHz bands. We therefore decline to adopt EIBASS’s proposal.


213 EIBASS Petition at 2.
214 See R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11625 ¶ 23 and ¶¶ 85-86, supra.
215 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.105(c).
216 TSB 10-F at 2-8, § 2.5.2.
217 AWS 7th R&O, 19 FCC Rcd at 21351 ¶ 3.
218 AWS 7th R&O, 19 FCC Rcd at 21364-21365 n. 63.
219 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.103(d).
220 47 C.F.R. § 101.103(a).
221 See 47 C.F.R. § 101.103.
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3.

Efficiency Standards for 13 GHz Band

a.

Background

91.
FWCC notes that the R&O did not specify a minimum throughput for the 13 GHz
frequencies newly authorized for Fixed Service use.222 FWCC recommends that we set the same
throughput requirements for 13 GHz as apply to the 11 GHz band, and that we augment those
requirements to include capacity and loading requirements for transmitters using channel bandwidths of
12.5 megahertz.223
b.

Discussion

92.
Section 101.141(a)(3) of our Rules applies minimum payload capacities to digital
microwave transmitters operating in the 11 GHz band, depending upon their bandwidths.224 We agree
with FWCC that the same standards should be applied to the 13 GHz band. Our decision above adopting
the proposal in the FNPRM to apply uniform bits-per-second-per-Hertz requirements to all frequencies
between 10,550 MHz and 13,150 MHz includes the frequencies in FWCC’s request, and thus renders the
request moot.225
4.

Allowing 50 Megahertz Channels in the 7 GHz Band

a.

Background

93.
The R&O retained the 25 megahertz bandwidth limit that presently applies to the 7 GHz
band because of the limited amount of spectrum available in that band, but it raised the maximum
permissible bandwidth in the 13 GHz band to 50 megahertz.226 Cambium Networks (Cambium) urges
that we also allow the 7 GHz band to accommodate 50 megahertz bandwidths.227 The NAB and SBE
oppose this proposal on the ground that it would reduce the number of available channels for new ENG
use.228 Cambium counters the broadcasters’ concern by citing the R&O’s observation that BAS and
CARS operations have not been expanding geographically in recent years, with only one new BAS TV
pickup license granted in the 7 GHz and 13 GHz bands in the past two years.229
b.

Discussion

94.
We deny the Cambium Petition because the benefits of allowing 50 megahertz channels
in the 7 GHz band appear to be quite limited and because operators needing wider channels have
alternatives. If we allowed 50 megahertz channels in the 7 GHz band, there would only be two channel


222 FWCC Petition at 2.
223 FWCC Petition at 2.
224 47 C.F.R. § 101.141(a)(3).
225 See Section IV.B

Error! Reference source not found.

, supra.
226 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11627-11628 ¶¶ 29-30.
227 Cambium Petition at 2-5.
228 NAB and SBE Opposition at 3-5.
229 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd 11614, 11629, ¶ 32.
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pairs available in the 7 GHz band.230 Allowing 50 megahertz channels could limit the availability of FS
spectrum for other operators who need narrower channels. Furthermore, operators who need 50
megahertz or wider channels have alternative options available. Today, we are allowing 60 megahertz
channels in the 6 GHz band and 80 megahertz channels in the 11 GHz band.231 For shorter paths, 50
megahertz channels are available in the 18 GHz and 23 GHz bands.232 Under those circumstances, we
believe the better use of the 7 GHz band would be to accommodate narrower band operations. We
therefore deny the Cambium Petition.233

B.

Elimination of the Final Link Rule

1.

Background

95.
The “final link rule” prohibited broadcasters from using Part 101 stations as the final
radiofrequency (RF) link in the chain of distribution of program material to broadcast stations.234
Concurrent with the Commission’s decision to allow FS to share in the 7 and 13 GHz BAS and CARS
bands, the R&O eliminated the final link rule.235 In doing so, the Commission noted that FS licensees
were not objecting to elimination of the rule so long as FS were granted access to BAS and CARS
spectrum in the 7 and 13 GHz bands.236
96.
In a petition for reconsideration, FWCC argues that the final link rule should only be
eliminated in areas where the Fixed Service can use the 7 or 13 GHz bands.237 FWCC argues that a key
rationale for the change was “sharing of spectrum the other way” – i.e., a quid pro quo for opening the 7
and 13 GHz BAS/CARS bands for use by Part 101 FS operators – but that excluding FS operators from
geographic areas where BAS and CARS operations are licensed leaves FS with very limited access to


230 The 7 GHz band includes 250 megahertz of spectrum (6875-7125 MHz). Because we have reserved two 25
megahertz channels for BAS use, only 200 megahertz of spectrum is available. Since each channel pair requires 100
megahertz, only two channel pairs can be accommodated.
231 See Section IV.D, supra.
232 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 101.147 (i), (o).
233 We disagree with NAB and SBE, however, that allowing 50 megahertz channels would adversely affect the
availability of spectrum for ENG use. As discussed above, we are retaining the R&O’s decision not to allow FS
operators in the 7 and 13 GHz bands to locate their paths within the service areas of TV pickup stations that have
been licensed on any channels in those bands. See Section VII.A1, supra. Moreover, to accommodate TV pickup
stations covering events that occur outside the license areas of local BAS and CARS operations, the R&O reserved
two nationwide 25-megahertz channels for BAS and CARS in the 7 GHz band and two nationwide 25-megahertz
channels in the 13 GHz band. R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11627 ¶ 28. The R&O also provides FS operators with newly
authorized access to 650 megahertz of spectrum in more than half of the nation’s land mass, but there has been no
discernible demand for TV pickup licenses in those areas. Id. Even so, the R&O reserves 100 megahertz of
spectrum to accommodate any such demand if it should materialize. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to
envisage any circumstance where FS operations in the 7 GHz band could constrain the number of channels that
broadcasters might seek and obtain for electronic newsgathering.
234 The final link rule was codified at 47 C.F.R. § 101.603(a)(7).
235 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11630-11631 ¶¶ 35-38.
236 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11631 ¶ 37.
237 FWCC Petition at 5.
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those bands.238 The NAB and SBE oppose FWCC’s petition, arguing that the convergence of digital
video with digital data transmission has eliminated any technological reasons for broadcasters to maintain
facilities to carry program material to transmitter sites that are separate from microwave transmission
systems that handle other kinds of data.239 Reinstating the final link rule would therefore result in a
duplication of facilities that would otherwise be unnecessary, they contend.240
2.

Discussion

97.
In the R&O, the Commission found that there would be significant benefits and no costs
to eliminating the final link rule.241 It noted that no commenter had identified any cognizable harm that
would result from eliminating the rule and concluded that, with increasing adoption of digital
technologies, the final link rule had become an outdated regulation that imposed unnecessary, duplicative
costs on broadcasters.242 That conclusion is consistent with one of the fundamental purposes of this
proceeding: removing regulatory barriers that limit the use of spectrum for wireless backhaul and other
point-to-point and point-to-multipoint communications.
98.
The Commission’s action maximized the ability of both FS operators and broadcasters to
use the 7 and 13 GHz bands. While it is true that the Commission did not make those bands available for
FS use everywhere, that decision was based on the fact that fixed links and ENG operations are different
and difficult to coordinate with each other. That is why the Commission decided to allow Part 101 FS
operators to use the 7 and 13 GHz bands only in geographic areas where there are no incumbent licensed
TV pick-up operations.243 Despite that constraint, however, the Commission was able to open most of the
7 and 13 GHz bands to FS over more than half of the nation’s land mass where 10 percent of the
population lives.244 In contrast, there is no technical reason why broadcasters, cable operators and Part
101 FS operators cannot share the same spectrum when transmitting microwave signals between fixed
locations.
99.
The Commission’s actions maximized the amount of spectrum available to both FS
licensees and broadcasters. Furthermore, FWCC does not allege any harm from eliminating the final link
rule; and therefore, the Commission’s conclusion that there would be significant benefits and no costs to
eliminate the final link rule remains unchanged. As the National Spectrum Management Association
(NSMA) has observed, there is no reason to believe that there is a pent-up demand for extensive use of FS
bands by broadcasters for last link applications.245 Whatever the precise amount of demand from
broadcasters turns out to be, we agree with NSMA that it should be possible to accommodate any


238 FWCC Petition at 5.
239 NAB and SBE Opposition at 8-9.
240 NAB and SBE Opposition at 9.
241 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11631 ¶ 38.
242 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11631 ¶ 38.
243 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11625 ¶ 23.
244 R&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11627 ¶ 28.
245 Comments of the National Spectrum Management Association (filed Oct. 25, 2010) (NSMA Comments on
NPRM) at 5.
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incremental use of the affected bands in the general flow of expected FS deployments.246 We therefore
deny FWCC’s Petition on this issue.

C.

Upper Microwave Substantial Service Policies

1.

Background

100.
In reply comments to the NOI, NSMA argued that in determining whether 24 GHz, 39
GHz, and Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) licensees have offered substantial service, the
Commission fails to positively consider “basic and important steps that lead to successful band
utilization.”247 It gives the following examples of such activity: (1) spending significant resources
producing Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to develop equipment in its band; (2) utilizing the Secondary
Markets rules to offer spectrum leases throughout the license area; (3) submitting proposals to carrier,
government, or enterprise customers that rely on utilizing the wide-area license; and/or (4) building
several links, but not yet meeting the safe harbor criterion (typically four links per million of
population).248 NSMA asked the Commission to “track and credit” such activities.249
101.
The Commission rejected NSMA’s request in the MO&O.250 The Commission
concluded that NSMA’s arguments ignored one of the Commission’s overriding purposes of buildout
requirements: providing “a clear and expeditious accounting of spectrum use by licensees to ensure that
service is indeed being provided to the public.”251 It approved the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
rejection of substantial service showings based on preparatory activities of the type described by NSMA
where there is no actual service being provided to the public.252 It noted that safe harbors are merely one
means of demonstrating substantial service, and that given an appropriate showing, a level of service that
does not meet a safe harbor may still constitute substantial service.253 It also emphasized that all
substantial service showings that do not meet an established safe harbor would be evaluated on a case-by-
case basis.254
102.
In a petition for reconsideration of the MO&O, the Wireless Communications
Association International, Inc. (WCAI) challenges the Commission’s decision to address that issue in this


246 See NSMA Comments on NPRM at 6.
247 Reply Comments of the National Spectrum Management Association (filed Nov. 22, 2010) (NSMA Reply
Comments) at 12.
248 NSMA Reply Comments at 13.
249 NSMA Reply Comments at 14.
250 MO&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11661 ¶ 114.
251 Id., citing Amendment of the Commission’s Rules Regarding the 37.0 – 38.6 GHz and 38.6 – 40 GHz Bands,
Report and Order and Second Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, ET Docket No. 95-183, 12 FCC Rcd 18600, 18623 ¶
42 (1997) (39 GHz R&O); Renewal of Licenses to Provide Microwave Service in the 38.6-40.0 GHz Band,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 17 FCC Rcd 4404, 4407 ¶ 11 (WTB PSPWD 2002) (39 GHz Renewal Order).
252 MO&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11661 ¶ 114, citing IDT Spectrum, LLC, Order on Reconsideration and Memorandum
Opinion and Order
, 23 FCC Rcd 12005, 12013-12016 ¶¶ 19-23 (WTB 2008).
253MO&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11661 ¶ 114.
254 Id.
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proceeding.255 WCAI argues that the Commission’s consideration of this issue violates the
Administrative Procedure Act because the issue was not raised in the NPRM.256 WCAI believes
substantial service rules and policies relating to wireless backhaul should be addressed in the broader
proceeding seeking to harmonize renewal standards for wireless radio services (WT Docket No. 10-112)
that is currently pending.257
103.
WCAI argues that standards currently applicable to fixed point-to-point services, which
require a certain number of links based on population, do not in fact promote service to the public because
it requires operators to either build uneconomic links in the absence of demand for backhaul services or
lose their licenses.258 According to WCAI, the standards create “substantial investor uncertainty about the
amount of capital required to preserve a license in the millimeter wave bands.”259 WCAI asks the
Commission to adopt an “offer-based” standard that would “require only that an area-wide millimeter
wave band licensee offer FP2P service or spectrum leases on commercially reasonable terms and
conditions to commercial or government fixed or mobile telephony/broadband service providers or to the
licensee’s internal network planners.”260 FWCC and Mary J. Kuiken support WCAI’s Petition.261
2.

Discussion

104.
WCAI has filed its substantial service proposal for wireless backhaul in WT Docket No.
10-112 and we will consider it in that proceeding, consistent with WCAI’s request.262 The Memorandum
Opinion and Order
merely explained the Commission’s decision not to initiate a rulemaking to address
NSMA’s substantial service proposal that NSMA presented in reply comments filed in response to the
NOI,263and thus did not violate the notice-and-comment requirements of the APA, which are applicable to
rulemaking proceedings,264 or prejudice our consideration of substantial service issues in WT Docket No.
10-112. The Commission’s decision to dispose of NSMA’s request also was appropriate because many
LMDS and 39 GHz licensees were facing a June 1, 2012 deadline for providing substantial service.265


255 WCAI Petition.
256 WCAI Petition at 2.
257 WCAI Petition at 2-3.
258 WCAI Petition at 5.
259 Id.
260 WCAI Petition at 6.
261 See Comments in Support of Petition for Reconsideration, Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition (filed Dec.
16, 2011); Comment in Support of Mary Kuiken Stormo (filed Dec. 16, 2011).
262 See WCAI Petition at 1-2, 7.
263 See MO&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11660-61 ¶¶ 99, 113-14.
264 See 5 U.S.C. § 553.
265 See ART Licensing Corporation, Order on Reconsideration and Memorandum Opinion and Order, 23 FCC Rcd
14116 (WTB 2008) (granting FiberTower Corporation an extension until June 1, 2012 to demonstrate substantial
service for its 39 GHz licenses);IDT Spectrum, LLC, Order on Reconsideration and Memorandum Opinion and
Order
, 23 FCC Rcd 12005 (WTB 2008) (granting an extension until June 1, 2012 for IDT’s 39 GHz licenses);
Applications filed by Licensees in the Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) Seeking Waivers of Section
101.1011 of the Commission’s Rules and Extensions of Time to Construct and Demonstrate Substantial Service,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 23 FCC Rcd 5894 (WTB 2008) (granting multiple LMDS licensees an extension
until June 1, 2012 to demonstrate substantial service).
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FCC 12-87

The Commission’s response to NSMA’s petition thus restated the applicable rules and policies in advance
of that deadline and allowed licensees to plan accordingly. In explaining its decision, we note that the
MO&O accurately stated the Commission’s current policy, and we direct the Bureau to apply that policy
to the June 1, 2012 substantial service filings made by LMDS and 39 GHz licensees. We also agree with
the observation in the MO&O that any substantial service standard must provide “a clear and expeditious
accounting of spectrum use by licensees to ensure that service is indeed being provided to the public.”266
Our action today is without prejudice to subsequent consideration of these issues in WT Docket No. 10-
112.

VIII.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

105.
In this MO&O, we address various other proposals and issues that we believe are best
considered in other contexts or do not require Commission consideration and therefore will not be
considered in this proceeding at this time.
106.
FWCC asks that the Commission authorize smaller antennas in the 71-76 and 81-86 GHz
bands.267 We decline to initiate a rulemaking because we do not believe that FWCC has provided
sufficient information to justify further action at this time in the context of this proceeding. The current
antenna specifications for those bands were adopted after a detailed discussion of the tradeoffs
involved.268 FWCC has not provided sufficient information to demonstrate that smaller antennas could be
allowed without increasing interference. Our action today is without prejudice to consideration of a more
detailed submission on this issue.
107.
EIBASS, which supports the R&O’s requirement that BAS licensees in the 7 and 13 GHz
bands register their fixed receive sites, asks various questions about the effective date and other aspects of
the requirement.269 Staff from the Bureau has met with broadcasters to discuss implementation of that
requirement.270 We do not see the need for Commission intervention at this time, but we direct the
Bureau to continue working with broadcasters on implementing the registration requirement.
108.
Comsearch and FWCC ask the Commission to streamline application processing when
applicants intend to use adaptive modulation by allowing adaptive modulation frequencies to be filed as a
single row, as opposed to requiring each combination of modulation, capacity, bandwidth, and transmitter


266 MO&O, 26 FCC Rcd at 11661 ¶ 114, citing 39 GHz R&O, 12 FCC Rcd at 18623 ¶ 42; see also id. at 18625 ¶ 46
(“This approach will permit flexibility in system design and market development, while ensuring that service is
being provided to the public.”); id. at 18626 ¶ 46 (“This revised performance standard should ensure that meaningful
service will be provided without unduly restricting service offerings.”); id. at 18625 ¶ 47 (“[A]pplying a similar
performance requirement to all licensees at the license renewal point will help establish a level playing field without
compromising the goals of ensuring efficient spectrum use and expeditious provision of service to the public.”); 39
GHz Renewal Order
, 17 FCC Rcd at 4407 ¶ 11 (“The Commission's overarching purpose behind adopting the
substantial service standard for renewal was to ensure that the spectrum was being used to provide service to the
public.”).
267 FWCC Comments at 4-5.
268 See Allocations and Service Rules for the 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz, and 92-95 GHz Bands, WT Docket No. 02-
146, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 20 FCC Rcd 4889, 4904-4906 ¶¶ 32-34 (2005).
269 EIBASS Petition at 3-5.
270 See Letter from Dane E. Ericksen and Richard A. Rudman, Engineers for the Integrity of Broadcast Auxiliary
Services Spectrum to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (filed May 24, 2012).
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FCC 12-87

power to be licensed individually.271 No rule change is required to implement this change, and Bureau
staff has started the process of modifying the Universal Licensing System to allow this change.
109.
Comsearch and FWCC ask that the Commission eliminate the provision in the rules that
allows operation of low power, limited coverage systems in the 23 GHz band because the rules are
allegedly unnecessary and allow the use of inefficient antennas.272 According to Comsearch, that
provision was used in the past for low cost analog video systems for purposes such as surveillance.273
Comsearch describes such systems as “outmoded” and claims to be unaware of any current usage of such
systems.274 The frequencies in question are particularly important and most used in the 23 GHz band
because they are available for conditional authority under Section 101.31(b) of the Commission’s rules.275
Clearwire also asks the Commission to allow licensees to aggregate channels in the 18 GHz and 23 GHz
bands to allow 80 megahertz, 100 megahertz, 120 megahertz, or 150 megahertz channels.276
110.
We believe these requests should be considered together with other filings relating to the
23 GHz band and therefore defer consideration of them. FWCC has filed a petition for reconsideration of
the Commission’s order authorizing conditional authority for additional channels in the 23 GHz band
which raises the issue of authorizing low power systems on those additional channels.277 FWCC has also
filed a petition for rulemaking asking that conditional authority be authorized throughout the 23 GHz
band and seeking changes to the mechanism for coordinating operation with the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).278 In light of the common issues raised by
each of those pleadings, we believe those requests should be considered together, in consultation with
NTIA. We therefore defer consideration of these requests.
111.
We recognize that there are other pending matters and proceedings relating to wireless
backhaul that are not addressed in this item. Those matters and proceedings include: (1) A petition for
rulemaking asking that the 7125-8500 MHz band be allocated for non-federal use and allotted for FS
use,279 (2) a request made in this proceeding to revise the Commission’s policy of allowing a satellite
earth station to coordinate for the full 360-degree azimuth range of the earth station even when it is
communicating with only one satellite in a limited segment of the band, 280 and (3) a petition for


271 Comsearch Comments at 11-12; FWCC Reply Comments at 6.
272 Comsearch Comments at 12; FWCC Reply Comments at 7. See 47 C.F.R. § 101.147(s)(8).
273 Comsearch Comments at 12.
274 Comsearch Comments at 12.
275 Comsearch Comments at 12.
276 Clearwire Comments at 9.
277 Petition for Reconsideration, Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition, WT Docket No. 09-114 (filed Aug. 18,
2010). See Amendment of Part 101 of the Commission’s Rules to Accommodate 30 Megahertz Channels in the
6525-6875 MHz Band, WT Docket No. 09-114, Report and Order, 25 FCC Rcd 7760 (2010).
278 See Petition for Rulemaking of the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition Petition to Amend Part 101 of the
Commission's Rules for Automated Government Frequency Coordination and Conditional Licensing in the 23 GHz
Fixed Service Band,
RM-11610 (filed Jul. 26, 2010).
279 See Petition for Rulemaking of the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition In the Matter of Amendment of
Parts 2 and 101 of the Commission’s Rules to Provide for Federal and Non-Federal Sharing in the 7125-8500 MHz
Band,
RM-11605 (filed Mar. 16, 2010).
280 Comments of AT&T, Inc. (filed Oct. 25, 2010) at 14-15; Comments of the Fixed Wireless Communications
Coalition (filed Oct. 25, 2010) at 15-16; Reply Comments of EIBASS (filed Nov. 22, 2010) at 9-10.
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rulemaking asking that the Commission establish service rules for FS use in the 42-42.5 GHz band.281
We defer consideration of these issues and will address them separately or in future orders in this
proceeding.

IX.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

A.

Ex Parte

Rules – Permit-But-Disclose

112.
The proceeding shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with
the Commission’s ex parte rules.282 Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any
written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after
the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons making
oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) list all
persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was made,
and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation
consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the presenter’s
written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to
such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant
page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them
in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are
deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In
proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method of
electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations,
and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that
proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in
this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules.

B.

Comment Period and Procedures

113.
Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR §§ 1.415, 1.419,
interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first
page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing
System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
§
Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.
§
Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each
filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding,
filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-
class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.


281 See Petition for Rulemaking of the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition In the Matter of Service Rules for
the Fixed Service in the 41.0-42.5 GHz Band
, RM-11664 (filed May 9, 2012).
282 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1200 et seq.
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§
All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary
must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325,
Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries
must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be
disposed of before entering the building.
§
Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority
Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
§
U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.
People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille,
large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer &
Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

C.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis of the Report and Order

114.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)283 requires that an agency prepare a regulatory
flexibility analysis for notice and comment rulemakings, unless the agency certifies that “the rule will not,
if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.”284
Accordingly, we have prepared a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis concerning the possible impact of
the rule changes contained in the Report and Order on small entities. The Final Regulatory Flexibility
Analysis is set forth in Appendix B.

D.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

115.
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA),285 the Commission has
prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on
small entities of the policies and rules proposed in the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The
analysis is found in Appendix D. We request written public comment on the analysis. Comments must
be filed in accordance with the same deadlines as comments filed in response to the FNRPM and must
have a separate and distinct heading designating them as responses to the IRFA. The Commission’s
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, will send a copy of this
BRS/EBS 5th FNPRM, including the IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration.

E.

Paperwork Reduction Analysis

116.
This document contains an information collection requirement subject to the Paperwork
Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13. It will be submitted to the Office of Management and
Budget (OMB) for review under Section 3507 of the PRA. Prior to submission to OMB, the Commission
will publish a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comment on the modified information
collection requirement. In addition, that notice will also seek comment on how the Commission might


283 See 5 U.S.C. § 601–612. The RFA has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness
Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
284 5 U.S.C. § 605(b).
285 See 5 U.S.C. § 603.
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FCC 12-87

“further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25
employees” pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44
U.S.C. 3506(c)(4). The information collection contained in this order will not go into effect until OMB
approves the collection. We will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the effective date of
the information collection.

F.

Further Information

117.
For further information, contact John Schauble of the Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau, Broadband Division, at 202-418-0797 or John.Schauble@fcc.gov.

X.

ORDERING CLAUSES

118.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 1, 2, 4(i), 7, 201, 301, 302, 303,
307, 308, 309, 310, 319, 324, 332, 333 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§
151, 152, 154(i), 157, 201, 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 319, 324, 332, and 333, and Section 706 of
the Telecommunications Act of 1996, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 1302, that this Second Report and Order
is hereby ADOPTED.
119.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the rules adopted herein WILL BECOME
EFFECTIVE 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED
that the Rural Microwave Flexibility Policy, which contains new information collection requirements that
require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act
(PRA), WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE after the Commission publishes a notice in the Federal Register
announcing such approval and the relevant effective date.
120.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 1, 2, 4(i), 7, 201, 301, 302, 303, 307,
308, 309, 310, 319, 324, 332, and 333 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151,
152, 154(i), 157, 201, 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 319, 324, 332, and 333, and Section 706 of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 1302, that this Second Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking
is hereby ADOPTED and that comment is sought on these proposals.
121.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 1, 2, 4(i), 7, 201, 301, 302, 303, 307,
308, 309, 310, 319, 324, 332, and 333 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151,
152, 154(i), 157, 201, 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 319, 324, 332, and 333, and Section 706 of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 1302, that this Second Notice of Inquiry is
hereby ADOPTED.
122.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 1, 2, 4(i), 7, 201, 301, 302, 303, 307,
308, 309, 310, 319, 324, 332, and 333 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151,
152, 154(i), 157, 201, 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 319, 324, 332, and 333, and Section 706 of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 1302, that this Memorandum Opinion and
Order
is hereby ADOPTED.
123.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 1, 2, 4(i), 7, 201, 301, 302, 303, 307,
308, 309, 310, 319, 324, 332, 333, and 405 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§
151, 152, 154(i), 157, 201, 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 319, 324, 332, 333, and 405, and Section
706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 1302, that this Order on
Reconsideration
is hereby ADOPTED.
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FCC 12-87

124.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission SHALL SEND a copy of this Report
and Order to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review
Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).
125.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Second Report and Order,
Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
, Second Notice of Inquiry, Order on Reconsideration, and
Memorandum Opinion and Order
, including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis and the Initial
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary
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Federal Communications Commission

FCC 12-87

APPENDIX A

Final Rules

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission hereby
amends 47 CFR part 101 as follows:

PART 101 – FIXED MICROWAVE SERVICES

AUTHORITY: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303.

PART 101 – FIXED MICROWAVE SERVICES

1. The authority citation for Part 101 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303.
2. Amend § 101.3 by adding the definition “Payload Capacity” to read as follows:
§ 101.3 Definitions.
* * * * *
Payload Capacity. The bit rate available for transmission of data over a radiocommunication system,
excluding overhead data generated by the system.
* * * * *
3. Amend § 101.109(c), in the table by revising the entries “5,925 to 6,425” and “10,700 to
11,700” to read as follows:
§ 101.109 Bandwidth.
* * * * *
(c) * * *
Frequency Band
Maximum Authorized
(MHz)
Bandwidth
***
****
5,925 to 6,425
60 MHz1
***
****
10,700 to 11,700
80 MHz1
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FCC 12-87

Frequency Band
Maximum Authorized
(MHz)
Bandwidth
***
****
***
****
* * * * *
4. Amend § 101.115 by revising paragraph (b) introductory text and the table in paragraph (b)(2)
to read as follows:
§ 101.115 Directional antennas.
* * * * *
(b) Fixed stations (other than temporary fixed stations and DEMS nodal stations) operating at 932.5 MHz
or higher must employ transmitting and receiving antennas (excluding second receiving antennas for
operations such as space diversity) meeting the appropriate performance Standard A indicated below,
except that in areas not subject to frequency congestion, antennas meeting performance Standard B may
be used, subject to the requirements set forth in paragraph (d) of this section. For frequencies with a
Standard B1 and a Standard B2, in order to comply with Standard B an antenna must fully meet
either Standard B1 or Standard B2. Licensees shall comply with the antenna standards table shown in
this paragraph in the following manner:
* * * * *
(2) * * *
Minimum radiation suppression
to angle in degrees
Frequency
Category
Maximum
Minimum
from centerline of main beam in decibels
beam-
antenna

10° 15°
20° 30°
100°
140°
width
Gain (dBi)
to
to
to
to
to
to
to
to 3 dB
10°
15°
20°
30°
100°
140°
180°
points1
(included
angle in
degrees)
* * * * * * *
5,925 to
A
2.2
38
25
29
33
36
42
55
55
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FCC 12-87

6,4255
B1
2.2
38
21
25
29
32
35
39
45
B2
4.1
32
15
20
23
28
29
60
60
* * * * * *
*
6,525 to
A
2.2
38
25
29
33
36
42
55
55
6,8755
B1
2.2
38
21
25
29
32
35
39
45
B2
4.1
32
15
20
23
28
29
60
60
6,875 to
A
2.2
38
25
29
33
36
42
55
55
7,075
B1
2.2
38
21
25
29
32
35
39
45
B2
4.1
32
15
20
23
28
29
60
60

* * * * *
17,700 to
18,820
A
2.2
38
25
29
33
36
42
55
55
B1
2.2
38
20
24
28
32
35
36
36
B2
3.3
33.5
18
22
29
31
35
57
59
18,920 to
19,70010
A
2.2
38
25
29
33
36
42
55
55
B1
2.2
38
20
24
28
32
35
36
36
B2
3.3
33.5
18
22
29
31
35
55
55
21,200 to
23,6007, 11
A
3.3
33.5
18
26
26
33
33
55
55
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B1
3.3
33.5
17
24
24
29
29
40
50
B2
4.5
30.5
14
19
22
24
29
52
52
* * * * *
5. Amend § 101.141 by revising paragraphs (a)(3), (a)(6), and (a)(7) to read as follows:
§ 101.141 Microwave modulation.
(a) * * *
(3) Except as noted in paragraph (a)(7) of this section, the payload capacity of
equipment shall meet the following minimum efficiency standards:
Frequency
Emission Bandwidth ≤ 5
Emission Bandwidth > 5
Emission Bandwidth >
MHz
MHz and ≤ 20 MHz
20 MHz
3,700 – 10,550
2.4 bits/second/Hertz
4.4 bits/second/Hertz
4.4 bits/second/Hertz
MHz
10,550 – 13,250
2.4 bits/second/Hertz
4.4 bits/second/Hertz
3.0 bits/second/Hertz
MHz
Traffic loading payload shall exceed 50 percent of payload capacity within 30 months of licensing.
During anomalous signal fading, licensees subject to the capacity and loading requirements may adjust to
a modulation specified in their authorization if such modulation is necessary to allow licensees to
maintain communications, even if the modulation will not comply with the capacity and loading
requirements specified in this paragraph. Links that must comply with the capacity and loading
requirements that use equipment capable of adjusting modulation must be designed using generally
accepted multipath fading and rain fading models to meet the specified capacity and loading requirements
at least 99.95% of the time, in the aggregate of both directions in a two-way link.
* * * * *
(6) Digital systems using bandwidths of 10 MHz or larger will be considered 50 percent
loaded when at least 50 percent of their total capacity is being used. For purposes of this subsection, a
Fixed Service channel is being used if it is attached to a communications system that is capable of
providing data to it at a rate that is sufficient to occupy at least 50 percent of the payload capacity of the
Fixed Service channel, after header compression is applied.
(7) Equipment placed in service after June 1, 1997 and prior to [insert effective date of
rule] may comply with the provisions of § 101.141(a)(3) in effect as of the date the equipment was placed
in service.
6. Amend § 101.145 by revising paragraph (b) introductory text and paragraph (c) to read as
follows:
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§ 101.145 Interference to geo-stationary-satellites.
* * * * *
(b) 2655 to 2690 MHz and 5925 to 7075 MHz. No directional transmitting antenna utilized by a
fixed station operating in these bands with EIRP greater than 35 dBW may be aimed within 2 degrees of
the geostationary-satellite orbit, taking into account atmospheric refraction. However, exception may be
made in unusual circumstances upon a showing that there is no reasonable alternative to the transmission
path proposed. If there is no evidence that such exception would cause possible harmful interference to an
authorized satellite system, said transmission path may be authorized on waiver basis where the
maximum value of the equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) does not exceed:
* * * * *
(c) 12.7 to 13.25 GHz. No directional transmitting antenna utilized by a fixed station operating in
this band with EIRP greater than 45 dBW may be aimed within 1.5 degrees of the geostationary-satellite
orbit, taking into account atmospheric refraction.
* * * * *
7. Amend § 101.147 by revising paragraph (i) introductory text, adding paragraph (i)(9), revising
paragraph (o) introductory text, and adding paragraph (o)(8) to read as follows:
§ 101.147 Frequency assignments.
* * * * *
(i) 5,925 to 6,425 MHz. 60 MHz authorized bandwidth.
* * * * *
(9) 60 MHz bandwidth channels:1
Transmit
Receive
(receive)
(transmit)
(MHz)
(MHz)
5964.97
6217.01
6024.27
6276.31
6083.57
6335.61
6142.87
6394.91
1 The highest available channel should be selected, except where such a choice would impede the
efficiency of local frequency coordination efforts.
* * * * *
(o) 10,700 to 11,700 MHz. 80 MHz authorized bandwidth.
* * * * *
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(8) 80 MHz bandwidth channels:1
Transmit
Receive
(receive)
(transmit)
(MHz)
(MHz)
10745
11235
10825
11315
10905
11395
10985
11475
11065
11555
11145
11635
1 The highest available channel should normally be selected, except where such a choice would impede
the efficiency of local frequency coordination efforts.
* * * * *
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APPENDIX B

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

1.
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),1 we
incorporated an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic
impact on a substantial number of small entities by the policies and rules proposed in the Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)
. No comments were filed addressing the IRFA. Because we amend the
rules in this Second Report and Order, we have included this Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
(FRFA). This present FRFA conforms to the RFA.2

A.

Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

2.
In this Second Report and Order, we make four changes to our rules involving
microwave stations. These changes are described in further detail below. First, we allow the use of
smaller antennas in the 5925-6875 MHz band (6 GHz band), 17700-18300 MHz and 19300-19700 MHz
bands (18 GHz band), and 21200-23600 MHz band (23 GHz band) fixed service (FS) bands. Second, we
add a definition of “payload capacity” to our rules, and update our capacity and loading requirements to
bits/second/Hertz standards reflect the increasing use of interfaces such as Internet Protocol. Third, we
widen the permissible maximum channel size in the 5925-6425 GHz Band (Lower 6 GHz Band) (to allow
60 megahertz channels) and in the 10700-11700 MHz band (11 GHz Band) (to allow 80 megahertz
channels) to allow faster data rates. Finally, we propose to revise the criteria under which microwave
stations that are pointing in the direction of geostationary satellites must seek a waiver prior to operating
to expedite service.
3.
With respect to the first proposal, Section 101.115(b) of the Commission’s Rules
establishes directional antenna standards designed to maximize the use of microwave spectrum while
avoiding interference between operators. The rule on its face does not mandate a specific size of antenna.
Rather, it specifies certain technical parameters – maximum beamwidth, minimum antenna gain, and
minimum radiation suppression – that, depending on the state of technology at any point in time, directly
affect the size of a compliant antenna. Smaller antennas have several advantages. They cost less to
manufacture and distribute, are less expensive to install because they weigh less and need less structural
support, and cost less to maintain because they are less subject to wind load and other destructive forces.
In addition, the modest weight of small antennas makes them practical for installation at sites incapable of
supporting large dishes, including many rooftops, electrical transmission towers, water towers, monopoles
and other radio towers. Smaller antennas raise fewer aesthetic objections, thereby permitting easier
compliance with local zoning and homeowner association rules and generating fewer objections. On the
other hand, smaller antennas have increased potential to cause interference because smaller antennas
result in more radiofrequency energy being transmitted in directions away from the actual point-to-point
link. We conclude that we can allow smaller antennas in the 6, 18 and 23 GHz bands without producing
harmful interference.
4.
Second, we add a definition of “payload capacity” to our rules, and update our capacity
and loading standards to take into account the increasing use of interfaces such as Internet Protocol.
Currently, Section 101.141(a)(3) of the Commission’s Rules lists a “minimum payload capacity” for
various nominal channel bandwidths. The same rule also defines “typical utilization” of the required


1 See 5 U.S.C. § 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. § 601-612, has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, (SBREFA) Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
2 See 5 U.S.C. § 604.
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payload capacity for each channel bandwidth as multiples of the number of voice circuits a channel can
accommodate. These definitions are becoming outdated as systems support interfaces such as Internet
Protocol. Accordingly, we update our rules to add a definition of payload capacity. We also revise our
efficiency requirements to define those requirements in terms of bits-per-second-per-Hertz (“bps/Hz”)
across all bands. Such changes could make our rules clearer and would be consistent with modern digital
technologies.
5.
Third, we allow the use of wider channels in the Lower 6 GHz Band and 11 GHz Band.
Specifically, we allow 60 megahertz channels in the Lower 6 GHz Band and 80 megahertz channels in the
11 GHz Band. That action will allow backhaul operators to handle more capacity and offer faster data
rates.
6.
Finally, we amend Section 101.145 of the Commission’s Rules to limit the circumstances
under which fixed service transmitters must obtain a waiver in order to point near the geostationary arc.
Specifically, we propose to require a waiver only if the EIRP is greater than 35 dBW for the 5925-7075
MHz band and is greater than 45 dBW in the 12700-13250 MHz band. Limiting the circumstances where
a waiver is necessary will be beneficial. Once the frequency coordination process is completed, the
Commission’s rules provide many applicants with conditional authority to begin service immediately,
without waiting for final approval from the Commission, and with the stipulation that they must take their
stations down if the Commission later rejects their applications. Conditional authority is not available,
however, to applicants that must request waivers of existing rules. Accordingly, limiting the
circumstances under which a waiver is needed will allow more applicants to rapidly commence service.
Furthermore, we conclude that such a change would be consistent with international regulations and can
be made without any increased risk of interference to satellite services.

B.

Legal Basis

7.
The actions are authorized pursuant to sections 1, 2, 4(i), 7, 201, 301, 302, 303, 307, 308,
309, 310, 319, 324, 332, and 333 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151,
152, 154(i), 157, 201, 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 319, 324, 332, and 333, and Section 706 of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 1302.

C.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which the Proposed
Rules Will Apply

8.
The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and, where feasible, an estimate of
the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules and policies, if adopted.3 The
RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,”
“small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.”4 In addition, the term “small business” has
the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act.5 A “small


3 5 U.S.C. § 603(b)(3).
4 5 U.S.C. § 601(6).
5 5 U.S.C. § 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of “small-business concern” in the Small Business
Act, 15 U.S.C. § 632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies “unless an
agency, after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity
for public comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the
agency and publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register.”
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business concern” is one which: (1) is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field
of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA.6
9.
Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental Jurisdictions. Our
action may, over time, affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. We therefore
describe here, at the outset, three comprehensive, statutory small entity size standards.7 First, nationwide,
there are a total of approximately 27.5 million small businesses, according to the SBA.8 In addition, a
“small organization” is generally “any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and
operated and is not dominant in its field.”9 Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1, 621,315
small organizations.10 Finally, the term “small governmental jurisdiction” is defined generally as
“governments of cities, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population
of less than fifty thousand.”11 Census Bureau data for 2011 indicate that there were 89,476 local
governmental jurisdictions in the United States.12 We estimate that, of this total, as many as 88, 506
entities may qualify as “small governmental jurisdictions.”13 Thus, we estimate that most governmental
jurisdictions are small.
10.
Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite). The appropriate size standard
under SBA rules is for the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a
business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.14 Census Bureau data for 2007, which now
supersede data from the 2002 Census, show that there were 3,188 firms in this category that operated for
the entire year. Of this total, 3,144 had employment of 999 or fewer, and 44 firms had employment of
1,000 employees or more. Thus under this category and the associated small business size standard, the
Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are
small entities that may be affected by our proposed action.15


6 15 U.S.C. § 632.
7 See 5 U.S.C. §§ 601(3)–(6).
8 See SBA, Office of Advocacy, “Frequently Asked Questions,” web.sba.gov/faqs (last visited May 6,2011; figures
are from 2009).
9 5 U.S.C. § 601(4).
10 INDEPENDENT SECTOR, THE NEW NONPROFIT ALMANAC & DESK REFERENCE (2010).
11 5 U.S.C. § 601(5).
12 U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES: 2011, Table 427 (2007)
13 The 2007 U.S Census data for small governmental organizations are not presented based on the size of the
population in each such organization. There were 89,476 small governmental organizations in 2007. If we assume
that county, municipal, township, and school district organizations are more likely than larger governmental
organizations to have populations of 50,000 or less, the total of these organizations is 52,125. If we make the same
assumption about special districts and also assume that special districts are different from county, municipal,
township, and school districts, in 2007 there were 37,381 special districts. Therefore, of the 89,476 small
governmental organizations documented in 2007, as many as 89,506 may be considered small under the applicable
standard. This data may overestimate the number of such organizations that has a population of 50,000 or less. U.S.
CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES 2011, Tables 427, 426 ( Data cited
therein are from 2007).
14 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
15See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-geo_id=&-_skip=600&;-
ds_name=EC0751SSSZ5&-_lang=en
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11.
Fixed Microwave Services. Microwave services include common carrier,16 private-
operational fixed,17 and broadcast auxiliary radio services.18 At present, there are approximately 31,549
common carrier fixed licensees and 89,633 private and public safety operational-fixed licensees and
broadcast auxiliary radio licensees in the microwave services. Microwave services include common
carrier,19 private-operational fixed,20 and broadcast auxiliary radio services.21 They also include the Local
Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS),22 the Digital Electronic Message Service (DEMS),23 and the 24
GHz Service,24 where licensees can choose between common carrier and non-common carrier status.25
The Commission has not yet defined a small business with respect to microwave services. For purposes
of the IRFA, the Commission will use the SBA’s definition applicable to Wireless Telecommunications
Carriers (except satellite)—i.e., an entity with no more than 1,500 persons is considered small.26 For the
category of Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite), Census data for 2007, which
supersede data contained in the 2002 Census, show that there were 1,383 firms that operated that year.27
Of those 1,383, 1,368 had fewer than 100 employees, and 15 firms had more than 100 employees. Thus
under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of firms can be
considered small. The Commission notes that the number of firms does not necessarily track the number
of licensees. The Commission estimates that virtually all of the Fixed Microwave licensees (excluding
broadcast auxiliary licensees) would qualify as small entities under the SBA definition.


16 47 C.F.R. Part 101 et seq. (formerly, part 21 of the Commission’s Rules) for common carrier fixed microwave
services (except MDS).
17 Persons eligible under Parts 80 and 90 of the Commission’s rules can use Private-Operational Fixed Microwave
services. See 47 C.F.R. Parts 80 and 90. Stations in this service are called operational-fixed to distinguish them
from common carrier and public fixed stations. Only the licensee may use the operational-fixed station, and only for
communications related to the licensee’s commercial, industrial, or safety operations.
18 Auxiliary Microwave Service is governed by Part 74 and Part 78 of Title 47 of the Commission’s Rules.
Available to licensees of broadcast stations, cable operators, and to broadcast and cable network entities. Auxiliary
microwave stations are used for relaying broadcast television signals from the studio to the transmitter, or between
two points such as a main studio and an auxiliary studio. The service also includes TV pickup and CARS pickup,
which relay signals from a remote location back to the studio.
19 See 47 C.F.R. Part 101, Subparts C and I.
20 See 47 C.F.R. Part 101, Subparts C and H.
21 Auxiliary Microwave Service is governed by Part 74 of Title 47 of the Commission’s Rules. See 47 C.F.R. Part
74. Available to licensees of broadcast stations and to broadcast and cable network entities, broadcast auxiliary
microwave stations are used for relaying broadcast television signals from the studio to the transmitter or between
two points such as a main studio and an auxiliary studio. The service also includes mobile TV pickups, which relay
signals from a remote location back to the studio.
22 See 47 C.F.R. Part 101, Subpart L.
23 See 47 C.F.R. Part 101, Subpart G.
24 See id.
25 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 101.533, 101.1017.
26 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
27 U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census, Sector 51, 2007 NAICS code 517210 (rel. Oct. 20, 2009),
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-_skip=700&;-
ds_name=EC0751SSSZ5&-_lang=en.
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D.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and other Compliance
Requirements

12.
This Report and Order adopts no new reporting or recordkeeping requirements.

E.

Steps taken to Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and
Significant Alternatives Considered

13.
The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered
in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1)
the establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account
the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of
compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather
than design, standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small
entities.28
14.
The actions taken in the Report and Order would provide additional options to all
licensees, including small entity licensees. Such actions will serve the public interest by allowing use of
smaller antennas, allow the use of wider channels in the Lower 6 and 11 GHz bands, eliminate the need
for unnecessary waivers, and update our minimum payload capacity rules to reflect current technology.
The rules will therefore open up beneficial economic opportunities to a variety of spectrum users,
including small businesses. Because the actions in the Report and Order will improve beneficial
economic opportunities for all businesses, including small businesses, a detailed discussion of alternatives
is not required.
15.
With respect to the proposal to allow smaller antennas in the 6 GHz band, an alternative
approach would be to establish technical criteria that would allow the use of 4-foot antennas, as opposed
to the 3-foot antennas proposed. Such an approach would reduce the cost savings FS licensees could
realize. We conclude that limiting relief to 4-foot antennas is unnecessary to reduce the potential for
interference.

F.

Federal Rules that May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict with the Proposed Rules

16.
None.

G.

Report to Congress

17.
The Commission will send a copy of the Report and Order, including the FRFA, in a
report to Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.29 In addition, the Commission will send a
copy the Report and Order, including FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration. A copy of this Report and Order and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in
the Federal Register.30


28 5 U.S.C. § 603(c).
29 See 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(A). The Congressional Review Act is contained in Title II, § 251, of the CWAAA, see
Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, § 251, 110 Stat. 868.
30 See 5 U.S.C. § 604(b).
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APPENDIX C

Proposed Rules

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission hereby
proposes to amend 47 CFR part 101 as follows:

PART 101 – FIXED MICROWAVE SERVICES

1. The authority citation for Part 101 continues to read as follows:
AUTHORITY: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303.
2. Amend § 101.113 by revising paragraphs (a) and (b) to read as follows:
§ 101.113 Transmitter power limitations.
(a) On any authorized frequency, the average power requested in an application for authorization
and delivered to an antenna in this service must be the minimum amount of power necessary to carry out
the communications desired, except as provided in paragraph (b).
* * * * *
(b) The maximum power of transmitters that use Automatic Transmitter Power Control (ATPC)
and the power of non-ATPC transmitters shall not exceed, and the power input or output specified in the
instrument of station authorization. The power of non-ATPC transmitters shall be maintained as near as
practicable to, the power input or output specified in the instrument of station authorization. A licensee
that reduces power in order to resolve interference pursuant to Section 101.115(f) must update its license
to reflect the reduced power level.
* * * * *
3. Amend § 101.115 by revising paragraph the table in paragraph (b)(2), paragraph (c), and
paragraph (f) to read as follows:
§ 101.115 Directional antennas.
* * * * *
(b) * * *
(2) * * *
Minimum radiation suppression
to angle in degrees
Frequency
Category
Maximum
Minimum
from centerline of main beam in decibels
beam-
antenna

10° 15°
20° 30°
100°
140°
width
Gain (dBi)
to
to
to
to
to
to
to
to 3 dB
10°
15°
20°
30°
100°
140°
180°
points1
(included
angle in
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degrees)
* * * * * * *
1.0
n/a
23
28
35
39
41
42
50
12,200 to
A
13,2509
2.0
n/a
20
25
28
30
32
37
47
B1
2.0
n/a
17
24
28
32
35
60
60
B2
* * * * *
(c) The Commission shall require the replacement of any antenna or periscope antenna system
of a permanent fixed station operating at 932.5 MHz or higher that does not meet performance Standard A
specified in paragraph (c) of this section, at the expense of the licensee operating such antenna, upon a
showing that said antenna causes or is likely to cause interference to (or receive interference from) any
other authorized or applied for station whereas a higher performance antenna is not likely to involve such
interference. Antenna performance is expected to meet the standards of paragraph (c) of this section for
parallel polarization. A licensee may upgrade to an antenna not meeting performance standard A if such
upgrade will resolve the interference. A licensee who chooses to upgrade to an antenna not meeting
performance standard A will be required to upgrade to an antenna meeting performance standard A in the
future if necessary to resolve a subsequent interference issue. For cases of potential interference, an
antenna will not be considered to meet Standard A unless the parallel polarization performance for the
discrimination angle involved meets the requirements, even if the cross-polarization performance controls
the interference.
* * * * *
(f) In the 10,700–11,700 MHz band, a fixed station may employ transmitting and receiving
antennas meeting performance standard B in any area. If a Fixed Service or Fixed Satellite Service
licensee or applicant makes a showing that it is likely to receive interference from such fixed station and
that such interference would not exist if the fixed station used an antenna meeting performance standard
A, the fixed station licensee must modify its use. Specifically, the fixed station licensee must either
substitute an antenna meeting performance standard A or operate its system with an EIRP reduced so as
not to radiate, in the direction of the other licensee, an EIRP in excess of that which would be radiated by
a station using a Category A antenna and operating with the authorized EIRP. A licensee or prior
applicant using an antenna that does not meet performance Standard A may object to a prior coordination
notice based on interference only if such interference would be predicted to exist if the licensee or prior
applicant used an antenna meeting performance standard A.
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APPENDIX D

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

1.
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),1 the
Commission has prepared this present Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities by the policies and rules proposed
in this Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2nd FNPRM). Written public comments are
requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the
deadlines specified in the 2nd FNPRM for comments. The Commission will send a copy of this NPRM,
including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA).2 In
addition, the 2nd FNPRM and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.3

A.

Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

2.
In this Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we propose five additional
changes to our rules involving microwave stations. These changes are described in further detail below.
First, we propose to allow the use of smaller antennas in the 12700-13150 MHz band (13 GHz band)
fixed service (FS) band. Second, we seek comment on amending our rules for the 11 GHz band to clarify
the rules concerning antenna upgrades. Finally, we propose to provide additional flexibility to licensees
who must upgrade their antennas to resolve interference issues.
3.
With respect to the first proposal, Section 101.115(b) of the Commission’s Rules
establishes directional antenna standards designed to maximize the use of microwave spectrum while
avoiding interference between operators. The rule on its face does not mandate a specific size of antenna.
Rather, it specifies certain technical parameters – maximum beamwidth, minimum antenna gain, and
minimum radiation suppression – that, depending on the state of technology at any point in time, directly
affect the size of a compliant antenna. Smaller antennas have several advantages. They cost less to
manufacture and distribute, are less expensive to install because they weigh less and need less structural
support, and cost less to maintain because they are less subject to wind load and other destructive forces.
In addition, the modest weight of small antennas makes them practical for installation at sites incapable of
supporting large dishes, including many rooftops, electrical transmission towers, water towers, monopoles
and other radio towers. Smaller antennas raise fewer aesthetic objections, thereby permitting easier
compliance with local zoning and homeowner association rules and generating fewer objections. On the
other hand, smaller antennas have increased potential to cause interference because smaller antennas
result in more radiofrequency energy being transmitted in directions away from the actual point-to-point
link. We seek comment on whether we can allow smaller antennas in the 13 GHz band without
producing harmful interference.
4.
Second, we seek comment on amending our rules for the 11 GHz band to clarify the
circumstances under which a licensee can reduce power to avoid having to upgrade its antenna and to
make clear that that a licensee may not hold an authorization for substantially more power than it actually
needs. Parties have expressed concern that our existing rules allow licensees using powers below the


1 See 5 U.S.C. § 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. § 601-612, has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, (SBREFA) Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
2 See 5 U.S.C. § 603(a).
3 See 5 U.S.C. § 603(a).
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maximum specified in the rules to avoid upgrading antennas and that the existing rules do not provide
proper interference protection.
5.
Finally, we propose to allow licensees to make intermediate antenna upgrades to resolve
interference issues. Currently, a licensee using an antenna meeting Category B standards must upgrade to
an antenna meeting Category A standards if an antenna upgrade is necessary to resolve an interference
issue. Currently, under Section 101.115(c) of the Commission’s rules, if an existing antenna is
insufficient to resolve interference, the operator must upgrade to an antenna meeting performance
standard A. There may be instances where an applicant or licensee could resolve an interference issue or
conflict by upgrading to an antenna that does not meet Category A standards but would resolve the
interference problem. An intermediate upgrade may allow a licensee to maintain operations from an
existing site or reduce costs to the point where operation remains economic.

B.

Legal Basis

6.
The proposed action is authorized pursuant to sections 1, 2, 4(i), 7, 201, 301, 302, 303,
307, 308, 309, 310, 319, 324, 332, and 333 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C.
§§ 151, 152, 154(i), 157, 201, 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 319, 324, 332, and 333 and Section 706
of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 1302.

C.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which the Proposed
Rules Will Apply

7.
The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and, where feasible, an estimate of
the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules and policies, if adopted.4 The
RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,”
“small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.”5 In addition, the term “small business” has
the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act.6 A “small
business concern” is one which: (1) is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field
of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA.7
8.
Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental Jurisdictions. Our
action may, over time, affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. We therefore
describe here, at the outset, three comprehensive, statutory small entity size standards.8 First, nationwide,
there are a total of approximately 27.5 million small businesses, according to the SBA.9 In addition, a
“small organization” is generally “any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and


4 5 U.S.C. § 603(b)(3).
5 5 U.S.C. § 601(6).
6 5 U.S.C. § 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of “small-business concern” in the Small Business
Act, 15 U.S.C. § 632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies “unless an
agency, after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity
for public comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the
agency and publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register.”
7 15 U.S.C. § 632.
8 See 5 U.S.C. §§ 601(3)–(6).
9 See SBA, Office of Advocacy, “Frequently Asked Questions,” web.sba.gov/faqs (last visited May 6,2011; figures
are from 2009).
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operated and is not dominant in its field.”10 Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1,621,315
small organizations.11 Finally, the term “small governmental jurisdiction” is defined generally as
“governments of cities, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population
of less than fifty thousand.”12 Census Bureau data for 2011 indicate that there were 89,476 local
governmental jurisdictions in the United States.13 We estimate that, of this total, as many as 88, 506
entities may qualify as “small governmental jurisdictions.”14 Thus, we estimate that most governmental
jurisdictions are small.
9.
Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite). The appropriate size standard
under SBA rules is for the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a
business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.15 Census Bureau data for 2007, which now
supersede data from the 2002 Census, show that there were 3,188 firms in this category that operated for
the entire year. Of this total, 3,144 had employment of 999 or fewer, and 44 firms had employment of
1,000 employees or more. Thus under this category and the associated small business size standard, the
Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers(except satellite) are
small entities that may be affected by our proposed action.16
10.
Fixed Microwave Services. Microwave services include common carrier,17 private-
operational fixed,18 and broadcast auxiliary radio services.19 At present, there are approximately 31,549


10 5 U.S.C. § 601(4).
11 INDEPENDENT SECTOR, THE NEW NONPROFIT ALMANAC & DESK REFERENCE (2010).
12 5 U.S.C. § 601(5).
13 U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES: 2011, Table 427 (2007)
14 The 2007 U.S Census data for small governmental organizations are not presented based on the size of the
population in each such organization. There were 89,476 small governmental organizations in 2007. If we assume
that county, municipal, township, and school district organizations are more likely than larger governmental
organizations to have populations of 50,000 or less, the total of these organizations is 52,125. If we make the same
assumption about special districts and also assume that special districts are different from county, municipal,
township, and school districts, in 2007 there were 37,381 special districts. Therefore, of the 89,476 small
governmental organizations documented in 2007, as many as 89,506 may be considered small under the applicable
standard. This data may overestimate the number of such organizations that has a population of 50,000 or less. U.S.
CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES 2011, Tables 427, 426 ( Data cited
therein are from 2007).
15 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
16See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-geo_id=&-_skip=600&;-
ds_name=EC0751SSSZ5&-_lang=en.
17 47 C.F.R. Part 101 et seq. (formerly, part 21 of the Commission’s Rules) for common carrier fixed microwave
services (except MDS).
18 Persons eligible under Parts 80 and 90 of the Commission’s rules can use Private-Operational Fixed Microwave
services. See 47 C.F.R. Parts 80 and 90. Stations in this service are called operational-fixed to distinguish them
from common carrier and public fixed stations. Only the licensee may use the operational-fixed station, and only for
communications related to the licensee’s commercial, industrial, or safety operations.
19 Auxiliary Microwave Service is governed by Part 74 and Part 78 of Title 47 of the Commission’s Rules.
Available to licensees of broadcast stations, cable operators, and to broadcast and cable network entities. Auxiliary
microwave stations are used for relaying broadcast television signals from the studio to the transmitter, or between
(continued….)
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common carrier fixed licensees and 89,633 private and public safety operational-fixed licensees and
broadcast auxiliary radio licensees in the microwave services. Microwave services include common
carrier,20 private-operational fixed,21 and broadcast auxiliary radio services.22 They also include the Local
Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS),23 the Digital Electronic Message Service (DEMS),24 and the 24
GHz Service,25 where licensees can choose between common carrier and non-common carrier status.26
The Commission has not yet defined a small business with respect to microwave services. For purposes
of the IRFA, the Commission will use the SBA’s definition applicable to Wireless Telecommunications
Carriers (except satellite)—i.e., an entity with no more than 1,500 persons is considered small.27 For the
category of Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite), Census data for 2007, which
supersede data contained in the 2002 Census, show that there were 1,383 firms that operated that year.28
Of those 1,383, 1,368 had fewer than 100 employees, and 15 firms had more than 100 employees. Thus
under this category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of firms can be
considered small. The Commission notes that the number of firms does not necessarily track the number
of licensees. The Commission estimates that virtually all of the Fixed Microwave licensees (excluding
broadcast auxiliary licensees) would qualify as small entities under the SBA definition.
11.
Satellite Telecommunications and All Other Telecommunications. Two economic census
categories address the satellite industry. The first category has a small business size standard of $15
million or less in average annual receipts, under SBA rules.29 The second has a size standard of $25
million or less in annual receipts.30
12.
The category of Satellite Telecommunications “comprises establishments primarily
engaged in providing telecommunications services to other establishments in the telecommunications and
broadcasting industries by forwarding and receiving communications signals via a system of satellites or
(Continued from previous page)


two points such as a main studio and an auxiliary studio. The service also includes TV pickup and CARS pickup,
which relay signals from a remote location back to the studio.
20 See 47 C.F.R. Part 101, Subparts C and I.
21 See 47 C.F.R. Part 101, Subparts C and H.
22 Auxiliary Microwave Service is governed by Part 74 of Title 47 of the Commission’s Rules. See 47 C.F.R. Part
74. Available to licensees of broadcast stations and to broadcast and cable network entities, broadcast auxiliary
microwave stations are used for relaying broadcast television signals from the studio to the transmitter or between
two points such as a main studio and an auxiliary studio. The service also includes mobile TV pickups, which relay
signals from a remote location back to the studio.
23 See 47 C.F.R. Part 101, Subpart L.
24 See 47 C.F.R. Part 101, Subpart G.
25 See id.
26 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 101.533, 101.1017.
27 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
28 U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census, Sector 51, 2007 NAICS code 517210 (rel. Oct. 20, 2009),
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-_skip=700&;-
ds_name=EC0751SSSZ5&-_lang=en.
29 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, North American Industry Classification System (“NAICS”) code 517410.
30 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517919.
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reselling satellite telecommunications.”31 Census Bureau data for 2007 show that 512 Satellite
Telecommunications firms operated for that entire year.32 Of this total, 464 firms had annual receipts of
under $10 million, and 18 firms had receipts of $10 million to $24,999,999.33 Consequently, the
Commission estimates that the majority of Satellite Telecommunications firms are small entities that
might be affected by our action.
13.
The second category, i.e. “All Other Telecommunications” comprises “establishments
primarily engaged in providing specialized telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking,
communications telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry also includes establishments
primarily engaged in providing satellite terminal stations and associated facilities connected with one or
more terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, and receiving
telecommunications from, satellite systems. Establishments providing Internet services or voice over
Internet protocol (VoIP) services via client-supplied telecommunications connections are also included in
this industry.”34 For this category, Census Bureau data for 2007 show that there were a total of 2,383
firms that operated for the entire year.35 Of this total, 2,347 firms had annual receipts of under $25
million and 12 firms had annual receipts of $25 million to $49, 999,999.36 Consequently, the
Commission estimates that the majority of All Other Telecommunications firms are small entities that
might be affected by our action.

D.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and other Compliance
Requirements

14.
This 2nd FNPRM proposes no new reporting or recordkeeping requirements.

E.

Steps taken to Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and
Significant Alternatives Considered

15.
The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered
in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1)
the establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account
the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of
compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather
than design, standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small
entities.37


31 U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 NAICS Definitions, “517410 Satellite Telecommunications.”
32 See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&;-
_lang=en.
33 See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&;-
_lang=en
34 http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch?code=517919&search=2007%20NAICS%20Search.
35 http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&;-
_lang=en .
36 http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&;-
_lang=en.
37 5 U.S.C. § 603(c).
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16.
The actions proposed in the 2nd FNPRM would provide additional options to all licensees,
including small entity licensees. Such actions will serve the public interest by providing additional
flexibility for broadcasters to use microwave spectrum. The rules will therefore open up beneficial
economic opportunities to a variety of spectrum users, including small businesses. Because the actions
proposed in the 2nd FNPRM will improve beneficial economic opportunities for all businesses, including
small businesses, a detailed discussion of alternatives is not required.
17.
Generally, the alternative approach would be to maintain the existing rules.

F.

Federal Rules that May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict with the Proposed Rules

18.
None.
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APPENDIX E

List of Petitions for Reconsideration to Wireless Backhaul R&O

Petitions for Reconsideration

Engineers for the Integrity of Broadcast Auxiliary Service Spectrum (EIBASS)
Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition (FWCC)
Motorola Solutions, Inc./Cambium Networks (Cambium)
Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI)

Oppositions/Comments

FWCC
Mary J. Kuiken (Kuiken)
National Association of Broadcasters/Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc. (NAB/SBE)

Replies

Cambium
FWCC
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APPENDIX F

List of Commenters to Wireless Backhaul FNPRM

Comments

Clearwire Corporation (Clearwire)
Comsearch
FiberTower Corporation (FiberTower)
FWCC
MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (MetroPCS)
PCIA—The Wireless Infrastructure Association (PCIA)
Sirius XM Radio Inc. (Sirius XM)
Wireless Strategies, Inc. (WSI)
XO Communications, LLC (XO)

Reply Comments

Clearwire
Comsearch
EIBASS
FWCC
Sirius XM
United States Cellular Corporation (U.S. Cellular)
Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA)
WSI

Ex Parte

Clearwire
Comsearch
EIBASS
FWCC
Global Spectrum Advisors LLC (Global Spectrum Advisors)
National Spectrum Management Association (NSMA)
Proxim Wireless Corporation (David Dobson) (Proxim)
Sirius XM
WSI
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STATEMENT OF

CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKI

Re:
Amendment of Part 101 of the Commission’s Rules to Facilitate the Use of Microwave or
Wireless Backhaul and Other Uses and to Provide Additional Flexibility to Broadcast Auxiliary
Service and Operational Fixed Microwave Licensees
; Petition for Rulemaking filed by Fixed
Wireless Communications Coalition to Amend Part 101 of the Commission’s Rules to Authorize
60 and 80 MHz Channels in Certain Bands for Broadband Communications
, WT Docket No. 10-
153, RM-11602
Groundhog Day officially comes in February, but August is starting to have the feel of the Bill
Murray classic at the Commission. For the third August open meeting in a row, we are addressing the
issue of wireless backhaul and its important role in the broadband ecosystem.
Backhaul is the skeleton supporting broadband, and wireless backhaul is often a very efficient
means of transmitting data among cell sites, or between cell sites and network backbones. Spectrum, in
other words, can be an important part of the “middle mile” of broadband networks.
Wireless backhaul is essential to broadband deployment in rural areas in particular, where it may
be the only practical high-capacity middle mile solution available.
Last year we modified rules to make additional spectrum available for wireless backhaul, and to
provide additional flexibility for licensees to reduce operational costs.
The Commission’s actions today will enable even more microwave wireless backhaul
deployment in rural areas.
Among other things, today’s item grants wireless backhaul providers the flexibility to use smaller
antennas; updates the Commission’s efficiency standards to reflect today’s data-centric world; introduces
a Microwave Rural Flexibility Policy; and permits higher capacity links, enabling faster data rates.
This item is a part of our Broadband Acceleration Initiative, focusing on ways to reduce barriers
to broadband infrastructure deployment, to speed broadband build-out, and reduce costs to broadband
providers, which can then pass those savings onto consumers.
The item also advances the Commission’s regulatory reform agenda by removing regulatory
barriers that today limit the use of spectrum for wireless backhaul and similar communications. These
changes will have a near-term positive impact. For instance, with respect to the Microwave Rural
Flexibility Policy, I expect that the Wireless Bureau will act on waiver applications within 90 days, absent
extraordinary circumstances. This item removes other regulatory barriers even sooner, with no additional
Commission action necessary.
Finally, the item furthers the Commission’s spectrum agenda. By allowing more intensive use of
microwave spectrum, we can further support broadband deployment, particularly in hard-to-reach rural
areas, and enable consumers to reap the benefits that flow from broadband adoption.
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The Commission’s efforts to promote broadband and wireless backhaul do not end with this
Order. Rather, we will continue to evaluate our rules, and the item includes several further inquiries and
requests for comment, which we expect will continue our efforts to reduce barriers to broadband
deployment.
Thank you to the bureau for your work on this item.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER ROBERT M. McDOWELL

Re:
Amendment of Part 101 of the Commission’s Rules to Facilitate the Use of Microwave for
Wireless Backhaul and Other Uses and to Provide Additional Flexibility to Broadcast Auxiliary
Service and Operational Fixed Microwave Licensees, Petition for Rulemaking filed by Fixed
Wireless Communications Coalition to Amend Part 101 of the Commission's Rules to Authorize
60 and 80 MHz Channels in Certain Bands for Broadband Communications
, WT Docket No. 10-
153, RM-11602
Most consumers are unaware that their calls, texts and emails could not function without
invisible, but critical “backhaul” components. Today, by partially getting out of the way to foster a
healthier environment for the creation of cost efficiencies for the entities that build and operate networks,
the Commission is taking another step to spur the construction of advanced broadband networks in both
urban and rural areas. For instance, adopting more flexible rules that allow for the use of smaller
antennas reduces the construction cost by over $2000 for a single communications link. I am hopeful that
wholesale and retail consumers alike will benefit from these savings.

Given their importance, I am pleased to approve our actions and I thank Chairman Genachowski
for identifying and bringing to a vote this rule modernization. In addition to allowing the market to
reclaim its freedom to build at lower cost, employing smaller antennas and making use of wider channels
will permit creation of higher capacity links, which will be especially helpful to efforts to connect rural
America to state-of-the-art broadband services. Likewise, we are updating our efficiency standards to
incorporate a more practical approach for providers serving rural areas, which we hope will also boost
cost savings and create greater economies of scale.

I look forward to learning about additional opportunities to pare back even more long-standing
and outdated regulations through the notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of inquiry. Thank you to
all of the interested parties that have informed our analysis. I also thank our talented and creative
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau folks again, especially the unsung engineers, for your work in this
area.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER MIGNON L. CLYBURN

Re:
Amendment of Part 101 of the Commission’s Rules to Facilitate the Use of Microwave for
Wireless Backhaul and Other Uses and to Provide Additional Flexibility to Broadcast Auxiliary
Service and Operational Fixed Microwave Licensees, Petition for Rulemaking filed by Fixed
Wireless Communications Coalition to Amend Part 101 of the Commission's Rules to Authorize
60 and 80 MHz Channels in Certain Bands for Broadband Communications
, WT Docket No. 10-
153, RM-11602
I am pleased to see that the Bureau is continuing its reform of Part 101 rules, in order to facilitate
more wireless service deployment. As we all know, backhaul transport is necessary to extend wireless
service, but backhaul imposes significant costs on wireless carriers, especially in rural areas. As a
consequence, carriers are increasing their reliance on fixed wireless service over microwave
communications in order to reduce those costs. Between 2005 and 2009, the amount of backhaul traffic
sent by fixed wireless increased from 8.7 percent, to 12.4 percent. So, rule changes that enable greater
use of microwave communications, is great news for wireless customers.
Last summer, we adopted changes that could enable as much as 650 megahertz of spectrum, for
backhaul transport, in rural areas. Today’s amendment should also spur greater deployment of services,
by substantially reducing operational costs to provide wireless backhaul. Permitting smaller antennas in
the 6, 18, and 23 GHz bands, can allow the industry to realize significant cost savings, because smaller
antennas are cheaper to manufacture, install, and maintain.
The evidence in the record shows, for example, that if an operator using a 6 GHz link is able to
use 3-foot antennas instead of 6-foot antennas, site rental costs could decrease by $7,200 each year. In
addition, smaller antennas allow existing towers to accommodate more antennas, and allow installations
at sites, that would not otherwise be able to accommodate larger antennas. Allowing 60 and 80 MHz
channels, in the 6 and 11 GHz bands, could also result in a number of benefits including faster data
service and more efficient use of spectrum.
I am also glad that the Commission is listening to industry and, as shown in the Notice of Inquiry,
is embarking on a comprehensive review of its antenna standards. Since manufacturers are developing
next generation antennas that will introduce a greater array of options for deploying wireless backhaul,
the Commission should review its rules to see if any changes are necessary to facilitate deployment of
these new antennas. I wish to thank John Leibovitz, Charles Oliver, and the staff of the Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau, for presenting us with such an excellent item.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL

Re:
Amendment of Part 101 of the Commission’s Rules to Facilitate the Use of Microwave for
Wireless Backhaul and Other Uses and to Provide Additional Flexibility to Broadcast
Auxiliary Service and Operational Fixed Microwave Licensees
; Petition for Rulemaking
filed by Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition to Amend Part 101 of the
Commission’s Rules to Authorize 60 and 80 MHz Channels in Certain Bands for
Broadband Communications
, WT Docket No. 10-153, RM-11602
Backhaul is the lifeblood of so much of communications. It is the essential artery from the
network edge to the network core. Traditionally, backhaul has been the province of copper circuits and
fiber optic lines. But in a world gone wireless, microwave facilities are now often used to transmit data
between cell sites and between cell sites and network backbones.
The steps we take today are technical. They update microwave backhaul efficiency standards,
provide higher capacity channels, and allow use of smaller antennas. They also adopt policies that will
lower barriers to entry in rural areas where laying new fiber for backhaul can be prohibitively expensive.
But at their heart, these are rules that promote flexibility. In doing so, they strengthen the foundation of
our wireless systems by creating new opportunities to manage the deluge of mobile data that is already
beginning to rush over next-generation wireless networks.
Managing this flood will not be simple or easy. As demand for mobile data grows and the supply
of unencumbered spectrum decreases, the pressure is on. We will look to the private sector to innovate
and create new technologies that will multiply the capacity of our airwaves. We must also consider
structured incentives to reward efficient spectrum use by federal authorities. But this agency, too, needs
to be quick and agile. Moving ahead like we do here is a small but critical part of reducing the cost of
deployment and growing our wireless infrastructure. To build on efforts like this, I believe it also would
be prudent to provide a timeline for upcoming wireless auctions. I look forward to working with my
colleagues at the agency to make this happen.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

Re:
Amendment of Part 101 of the Commission’s Rules to Facilitate the Use of Microwave for
Wireless Backhaul and Other Uses and to Provide Additional Flexibility to Broadcast
Auxiliary Service and Operational Fixed Microwave Licensees
; Petition for Rulemaking
filed by Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition to Amend Part 101 of the
Commission’s Rules to Authorize 60 and 80 MHz Channels in Certain Bands for
Broadband Communications
, WT Docket No. 10-153, RM-11602
In my view, two of the FCC’s top priorities should be removing regulatory barriers to
infrastructure investment and broadening the stock of spectrum available for commercial broadband use.
Much attention obviously is focused on some of the more high-profile proceedings addressing these
objectives, such as reform of the Universal Service Fund and implementation of our new incentive
auction authority. But we should not overlook steps that we can take to loosen regulatory bottlenecks in
other important areas.
Backhaul presents one such opportunity; it is a critical step in the transmission of
communications signals. For instance, it does little if any good for a customer with a mobile device to
have a strong connection with a nearby tower, or for her wireless network to have a comprehensive
nationwide footprint, if the communications link between the tower and her network is clogged,
constrained or non-existent. Wireless backhaul in particular can be a vital network component in areas
where wireline infrastructure, such as fiber or copper, is difficult or prohibitively expensive to deploy.
Facilitating greater use of wireless backhaul thus can enable infrastructure investment and help address
our pressing spectrum needs.
I am therefore pleased to support today’s item, which continues reform of our Part 101 rules
addressing microwave services. The actions taken in this item extend the Commission’s efforts to make it
easier and more economical to deploy microwave backhaul to meet consumers’ growing demand for
mobile services.
There are plenty of well-considered reforms in this item, but I am particularly optimistic about
our decision to adopt a Rural Microwave Flexibility Policy. This policy will provide licensees the
opportunity to obtain a waiver from existing efficiency standards in uncongested rural areas. These
waivers will allow licensees to utilize longer links and fewer intermediate relay stations in these areas,
yielding significant savings and making it more cost-effective for providers to deploy infrastructure. For
example, the cost of a single intermediate relay station can be $500,000. I would especially like to thank
the Chairman for setting forth the expectation that the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau will act on
these waiver applications within 90 days, absent extraordinary circumstances. This will help add
certainty to operators’ business models when they make their deployment plans. I am hopeful that this
reform, along with the others that we adopt today, will accelerate infrastructure investment and improve
the quality of mobile service enjoyed by rural Americans.
Backhauling mobile data traffic to the Internet is quickly becoming a more substantial component
of the cost of operating a mobile network. Today’s item will help to reduce those expenses, but as our
Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking suggests, there is more we can do. I look forward to
reviewing the record that will be compiled in response to the Second Further Notice. I will also carefully
examine the views of commenters as to whether it is time to institute a comprehensive review of our Part
101 antenna standards. In short, if anyone has ideas for how we can further remove regulatory barriers to
the use of wireless backhaul, I’m ready to listen.
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In conclusion, I would like to thank the hard-working staff of the Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau for their perseverance on this complex, but important, proceeding. I especially appreciate the
recent briefing on the nuts and bolts of this item I received from John Leibovitz, Melissa Tye, Blaise
Scinto, and John Schauble.
73

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