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Part 15 TV Bands Devices

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Released: April 22, 2013
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
‘April 22, 2013

DA 13-808

Small Entity Compliance Guide

Part 15 TV Bands Devices

Third Memorandum Opinion and Order
FCC 12-36
ET Docket No. 04-186
Released: April 5, 2012

This Guide is prepared in accordance with the requirements of Section 212 of the
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. It is intended to help
small entities—small businesses, small organizations (non-profits), and small
governmental jurisdictions—comply with the new rules adopted in the above-
referenced FCC rulemaking docket(s). This Guide is not intended to replace the
rules and, therefore, final authority rests solely with the rules. Although we have
attempted to cover all parts of the rules that might be especially important to small
entities, the coverage may not be exhaustive. This Guide may, perhaps, not apply in
a particular situation based upon the circumstances, and the FCC retains the
discretion to adopt approaches on a case-by-case basis that may differ from this
Guide, where appropriate. Any decisions regarding a particular small entity will be
based on the statute and regulations.

In any civil or administrative action against a small entity for a violation of rules,
the content of the Small Entity Compliance Guide may be considered as evidence of
the reasonableness or appropriateness of proposed fines, penalties or damages.
Interested parties are free to file comments regarding this Guide and the
appropriateness of its application to a particular situation; the FCC will consider
whether the recommendations or interpretations in the Guide are appropriate in
that situation. The FCC may decide to revise this Guide without public notice to
reflect changes in the FCC’s approach to implementing a rule, or to clarify or
update the text of the Guide. Direct your comments and recommendations, or calls
for further assistance, to the FCC’s Consumer Center:

1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322)

TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)

Fax: 1-866-418-0232

fccinfo@fcc.gov

Part 15 TV Bands Device

Compliance Requirements

1. Objectives of the Proceeding
In the Second Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and Order (Second Report and Order)
in this proceeding, the FCC adopted rules that allow unlicensed radio transmitters to operate in the
broadcast television spectrum at locations where that spectrum is not being used by licensed
services. This unused TV spectrum is often termed “white spaces.” In the subsequent Second
Memorandum Opinion and Order
and Third Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Commission
made certain modifications to the rules adopted in the Second Report and Order. The devices that
operate under these rules are called TV bands devices or TVBDs. The FCC’s actions in this
proceeding made a significant amount of spectrum available for new and innovative products and
services, including broadband data and other services for businesses and consumers. These actions
created opportunities for small businesses to develop new types of communication devices and
services. The rules adopted include many safeguards to prevent harmful interference to incumbent
communications services. Moreover, the FCC will closely oversee the development and
introduction of these devices to the market and will take whatever actions may be necessary to
avoid, and if necessary correct, any interference that may occur. Further, the FCC will consider in
the future any changes to the rules that may be appropriate to provide greater flexibility for
development of this technology and better protect against harmful interference to incumbent
communications services.
A copy of the Second Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and Order is available at
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-08-260A1.pdf (23 FCC Rcd 16807 (2008))
A copy of the Second Memorandum Opinion and Order is available at
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-10-174A1.pdf (25 FCC Rcd 18661 (2010))
A copy of the Third Memorandum Opinion and Order is available at
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-12-36A1.pdf (27 FCC Rcd 3692 (2012))
2. General Information
Part 15 of the FCC rules contains the technical requirements for radio frequency (RF) devices that
may be operated without an individual license. The requirements include radiated and power line
conducted emission limits for intentional and unintentional radiators.
Intentional radiators are devices that intentionally generate and emit RF energy, i.e., transmitters.
Examples of Part 15 intentional radiators include cordless telephones, remote control transmitters,
remote utility meter readers, and wireless local area networking equipment. Part 15 intentional
radiators must be certified by the FCC or a designated Telecommunication Certification Body
(TCB) before they can be imported into or marketed within the United States.
Unintentional radiators are devices that intentionally generate, but do not intentionally emit, RF
energy. Examples of Part 15 unintentional radiators include radio receivers, computers and TV
interface devices such as DVD players, cable and satellite boxes. Most unintentional radiators can
be authorized through a self-approval process in which the manufacturer has the equipment tested to

ensure it complies with the Part 15 rules, but does not have to obtain certification through the FCC
or a TCB. However, scanning receivers and radar detectors are required to be certified before they
can be imported into or marketed within the United States.
3.

What is a TV bands device?

A TV bands device (TVBD) is a Part 15 intentional radiator that operates on an unoccupied TV
channel in the range of channels 2-51, excluding channels 3-4 and 37. There are two categories of
TV bands devices: fixed and personal/portable.
4. What is a fixed TVBD?
A fixed TVBD transmits and receives at a specified fixed location. Fixed TVBDs can be used to
provide services such as wireless broadband access in urban and rural areas.
5. What is a personal/portable TVBD?
A personal/portable TVBD transmits and receives while in motion or at unspecified locations.
Personal/portable TVBDs can take the form of devices such as Wi-Fi-like cards in laptop computers
or wireless in-home local area networks.
6. What types of operation are permitted for personal/portable TVBDs?
There are three types of operation permitted for personal/portable TVBDs. A single device could
be capable of more than one type of operation.
1)
Mode I operation: the TVBD operates under the control of a fixed or Mode II TVBD
that determines the available TV channels at a particular location.
2)
Mode II operation: the TVBD is capable of determining the available channels at its
location using geo-location and database access.
3)
Sensing-only operation: the TVBD uses spectrum sensing and does not rely on geo-
location/database access or another device to determine available channels.
7. What are the compliance requirements that apply to all TVBDs?
 A TVBD must incorporate transmit power control and must limit the operating power to the
minimum necessary for successful communication. A description of the transmit power control
mechanism must be submitted with the application for certification. For general information
about the certification process for TVBDs, see Sections 13 and 17 below.
 A TVBD must have the capability to display a list of identified available channels and its
operating channel.
 A TVBD must comply with the RF safety requirements of Section 15.709(d).
 In-band power must comply with the limits in Section 15.709(a).
 Out-of-band emissions must comply with the limits in Section 15.709(c).
 The conducted power spectral density at the antenna must comply with the limits in Section
15.709(a)(5).
 A TVBD must be labeled with an FCC identification number as required by Section 2.925 and
the statement required by Section 15.19(a)(3) indicating that the device complies with Part 15 of
the rules, may not cause harmful interference and must accept any interference received.

 The instruction manual must contain the statement shown in Section 15.706(a) that advises of
the potential for a TVBD to cause interference to TV reception and lists possible measures to
correct any interference that does occur.
 TVBDs, except for sensing-only devices, must incorporate adequate security measures to ensure
that they are capable of communicating for purposes of obtaining lists of available channels
only with databases operated by administrators authorized by the Commission, and to ensure
that communications between TVBDs and databases and between TVBDs are secure to prevent
corruption or unauthorized interception of data. This requirement includes implementing
security for communications between Mode I personal portable TVBDs and fixed or Mode II
TVBDs for purposes of providing lists of available channels. See Sections 15.711(f)(1) through
(3).
 Applications for certification of TVBDs must include a high level operational description of the
technologies and measures that are incorporated in the device to comply with the security
requirements. See Section 15.711(f)(5).
8. What are the compliance requirements that apply to fixed TVBDs?
 Operation is permitted on TV channels 2-51, excluding channels 3-4 and 37.
 The maximum transmit power may not exceed one watt in a 6 MHz TV channel.
o If the maximum transmit antenna gain exceeds 6 dBi, the transmit power must be
reduced by the amount in dB that the maximum gain exceeds 6 dBi.
 The transmit antenna may not be more than 30 meters above ground.
 The transmit antenna height above average terrain (HAAT) may not exceed 250 meters.
 The TVBD must incorporate geo-location capabilities to determine its geographic coordinates to
an accuracy of +/-50 meters. Alternatively, the device may be professionally installed by a
party that determines the device’s geographic coordinates and programs them into the device.
 The TVBD must be capable of accessing a database over the Internet that provides a list of
available TV channels at its geographic coordinates.
o It must submit the registration information listed in Section 15.713(f) when it initially
accesses the database or after changing location.
o It may operate only on TV channels that the database indicates are available.
o It must access the database at least once a day to verify that the operating channel
continues to remain available, and operation on a channel must cease if it is no longer
available.
o It must be able to adjust its channel use in accordance with channel availability
scheduling information provided by the database as required by Sections 15.711(b)(3)(i)
and (ii).
o If the database can not be contacted during any given day, the TVBD may continue to
operate until 11:59 PM on the following day at which time it must cease operation if it
still has not contacted the database.
 The TVBD must transmit identification information that conforms to a recognized industry
standard and contains sufficient information to identify the device and its geographic
coordinates. Industry standards for TVBD identification information are under development.
9. What are the compliance requirements that apply to personal/portable TVBDs?
 Operation is permitted on TV channels 21-51, excluding channel 37.
 The maximum transmit power may not exceed 100 milliwatts in a 6 MHz TV channel, except:

o The maximum transmit power of TVBDs operating at less than the required separation
distances from adjacent channel TV stations is 40 milliwatts.
o Sensing-only TVBDs are limited to 50 milliwatts.
o If the maximum transmit antenna gain exceeds 0 dBi, the transmit power must be
reduced by the amount in dB that the gain exceeds 0 dBi.
 The transmit antenna must be permanently attached.
10. What are the compliance requirements specific to Mode I personal/portable TVBDs?
 The TVBD may only transmit upon receiving transmissions from a fixed or Mode II TVBD that
has contacted a database and verified that the FCC identifier (FCC ID) of the Mode I TVBD is
valid.
 It may transmit on either an operating channel of the fixed or Mode II TVBD or on a channel
that the fixed or Mode II TVBD indicates is available for use.
 At least once every 60 seconds, except when in sleep mode, it must either receive a contact
verification signal from the Mode II or fixed TVBD that provided its current list of available
channels or contact a Mode II or fixed TVBD to re-verify/re-establish channel availability.
11. What are the compliance requirements specific to Mode II personal portable TVBDs?
 The TVBD must incorporate a geo-location capability to determine its geographic coordinates
to an accuracy of +/- 50 meters. It must re-establish its position each time it is activated from a
power-off condition and use its geo-location capability to check its location at least once every
60 seconds while in operation, except while in sleep mode.
 The TVBD must be capable accessing a database over the Internet that provides a list of
available TV channels at its geographic coordinates.
o The TVBD must provide its FCC identifier, manufacturer’s serial number and
geographic coordinates to the database.
o Operation is permitted only on channels that are indicated in the database as being
available for TVBDs.
o The TVBD must access the database for a list of available channels each time it is
activated from a power-off condition and re-check its location and the database for
available channels if it changes location more than 100 meters during operation.
o It must be able to adjust its channel use in accordance with channel availability
scheduling information provided by the database.
o A TVBD that has been in a powered state shall re-check its location and access the
database daily to verify that the operating channel(s) continue to be available.
o If the database cannot be contacted during any given day, the TVBD may continue to
operate until 11:59 PM on the following day at which time it must cease operation if it
still has not contacted the database.
o The TVBD may load channel availability information for multiple locations around its
current location and use that information to define a geographic area within which it can
operate. A TVBD using such channel availability information for multiple locations
must contact the database again if/when it moves beyond the boundary of the area where
the channel availability data is valid, and must access the database daily even if it has not
moved beyond that range to verify that the operating channel(s) continue to be available.

12. What is the TVBD database?
The TVBD database is a privately owned and operated service that fixed and Mode II
TVBDs must contact to obtain information on channel availability at the locations where they are
operated and, in the case of fixed devices, to register their operation at those locations. The FCC
has designated multiple database administrators from the private sector to create and operate the
TVBD databases. A list of database administrators is available on the Commission’s web site at
http://www.fcc.gov/oet/whitespace/. Database administrators may charge fees for the provision of
lists of available channels to TVBDs and for the registration of fixed TVBDs and temporary
broadcast auxiliary links. A TVBD database will be required to contain information including:
 Records for stations in all of the authorized services that operate in the TV bands using fixed
transmitters with designated service areas, including full service and low power TV stations.
 The service paths of broadcast auxiliary point-to-point facilities.
 The geographic regions served by private land mobile and commercial mobile radio service
operations on channels 14-20.
 Regions served by the Offshore Radiotelephone Service.
 The locations of cable headends and low power TV receive sites that are outside the
protected contours of the TV stations whose signals they receive.
 The locations of registered sites where wireless microphones and other low power auxiliary
devices are used on a regular or scheduled basis.
 Registration information for fixed TVBDs.
13. What are the certification approval requirements for TVBDs?
All TVBDs must be certified by the FCC before they can be imported into or marketed within the
United States. Telecommunications Certification Bodies (TCBs) will not be permitted to certify
TVBDs until the FCC has more experience with them and can properly advise TCBs on how to
apply the applicable rules. Sensing-only TVBDs have additional approval requirements that are
listed below in Section 15. Please refer to 47 C.F.R. § 15.701, et. seq. for detailed information on
the TVBD approval requirements and 47 C.F.R. § 2.901, et. seq. for information on the equipment
certification procedures. See also information about certification contained in Section 17 of this
Guide, infra.
14. What are the penalties for non-compliance with the rules?
 Under Section 15.715(k) of the rules, the FCC can require database administrators to make no
channels available to models of TVBDs that it determines are non-compliant with the rules, thus
preventing such devices from transmitting. Devices that are non-compliant with FCC rules are
considered to be illegal equipment.
 Willful or repeated violations of the equipment authorization, importation and marketing rules
can result in forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each violation or each day of continuing violation,
up to a maximum of $112,500. See Section 1.80 of the FCC rules. Individuals or organizations
may also be subject to criminal penalties under Title 18 of the U.S. Code. FCC field personnel,
working in conjunction with the Attorney General of the United States, may seize illegal
equipment. See 47 U.S.C. § 510(b).
15. What are the certification approval requirements for sensing-only TVBDS?

 Sensing-only TVBDs must demonstrate with an extremely high degree of confidence that they
will not cause harmful interference to incumbent radio services.
 The device must meet the requirements for personal/portable devices except that it will be
limited to a maximum EIRP of 50 milliwatts and does not have to comply with the requirements
for geo-location and database access.
 The device must comply with spectrum sensing requirements.
o Be capable of detecting the following signal types at the specified levels.
 Digital TV signals: -114 dBm, averaged over a 6 MHz bandwidth
 Analog TV signals: -114 dBm, averaged over a 100 kHz bandwidth
 Wireless microphone signals: -107 dBm, averaged over a 200 KHz bandwidth
o Compliance with these thresholds is required, but not necessarily sufficient, for
demonstrating reliable interference avoidance. In addition, the device must pass
laboratory and field tests conducted by the Commission as set forth below.
o The detection thresholds are referenced to an omnidirectional receive antenna with a
gain of 0 dBi.
 If a receive antenna with a minimum directional gain of less than 0 dBi is used,
the detection threshold must be reduced by the amount in dB that the minimum
directional gain of the antenna is less than 0 dBi.
 Alternative approaches for a sensing antenna are permitted, such as
electronically rotatable antennas, provided the applicant for equipment
authorization can demonstrate that they provide at least the same performance
as an omnidirectional antenna with a gain of 0 dBi.
o A TVBD may begin operating on a TV channel if no TV, wireless microphone or other
low power auxiliary device signals are detected within a minimum time interval of 30
seconds.
o A TVBD must provide in-service monitoring of an operating channel at a minimum of
once every 60 seconds.
o After a TV, wireless microphone or other low power auxiliary device signal is detected
on an operating channel, all transmissions on that channel must cease within two
seconds.
 Once a device is certified, additional devices that are identical in electrical characteristics and
antenna systems may be certified under the standard equipment authorization procedures.
 The following equipment authorization requirements apply in addition to the requirements in
Part 2 of the rules:
o The application must include a full explanation of how the device will protect incumbent
authorized services against interference.
o A pre-production device, identical to the device expected to be marketed, must be
submitted to the FCC for testing.
 Applications for sensing-only TVBDs will be processed as follows:
o Applications will be placed on Public Notice for a minimum of 30 days for comments
and 15 days for reply comments. The Public Notice will include proposed test
procedures and methodologies.
o The Commission will conduct laboratory and field tests of the pre-production device
which will be open to the public. This testing will be conducted to evaluate proof of
performance of the device, including characterization of its sensing capability and its
interference potential.

o After the completion of testing, the Commission will issue by Public Notice, a test report
including recommendations. The Public Notice will provide at least 30 days for
comments and, if any objections are received, an additional 15 days for reply comments.
o The decision on whether to certify a TVBD that relies on spectrum sensing will be made
by the full Commission.
16. What if I have questions on the TVBD rules?
The FCC maintains a web-based system that is used to submit inquiries to its Laboratory, as well as
to search for previous rule interpretations and frequently asked questions. This system, called the
OET Knowledge DataBase (KDB), can be accessed at www.fcc.gov/labhelp.
17. Where can I find the TVBD rules and information on the certification procedure?
FCC order adopting the TVBD rules: Second Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and
Order
in ET Docket No. 04-186, FCC 08-260, released November 14, 2008, 23 FCC Rcd 16807
(2008)
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-08-260A1.doc (Word)
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-08-260A1.pdf (Acrobat)
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-08-260A1.txt (Text)
FCC order modifying the TVBD rules: Second Memorandum Opinion and Order in ET Docket No.
04-186, FCC 10-174, released September 23, 2010, 25 FCC Rcd 18661 (2010)
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-10-174A1.doc (Word)
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-10-174A1.pdf (Acrobat)
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-10-174A1.txt (Text)
FCC order further modifying the TVBD rules: Third Memorandum Opinion and Order in ET
Docket No. 04-186, FCC 12-36, released April 5, 2012, 27 FCC Rcd 3692 (2012)
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-12-36A1.doc (Word)
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-12-36A1.pdf (Acrobat)
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-12-36A1.txt (Text)
Equipment authorization information:
http://www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/

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