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Released: May 15, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1093

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, DC 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Utilities Telecom Council and Winchester Cator,
)
RM-11429
LLC
)
)

Petition for Rulemaking to Establish Rules
)
Governing Critical Infrastructure Industry Fixed )
Service Operations in the 14.0-14.5 GHz Band
)

ORDER

Adopted: May 15, 2013

Released: May 15, 2013
By the Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and
Chief, International Bureau:
1. On May 6, 2008, the Utilities Telecom Council and Winchester Cator, LLC (UTC-
Winchester) filed a petition for rulemaking that proposes a new secondary Fixed Service (FS) allocation
in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band.1 UTC-Winchester also proposes that the Commission adopt accompanying
service rules that would make this spectrum available for fixed and temporary fixed point-to-point and
point-to-multipoint stations to support, among other things, the communication needs of critical
infrastructure industry (CII) users. For the reasons discussed below, we deny the petition.
2. The 14.0-14.5 GHz band is an uplink (Earth-to-space) band for Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS)
operations, paired with the 11.7-12.2 GHz band for downlink (space-to-Earth) FSS communications.
Geostationary satellite orbit (GSO) FSS systems operate on a primary basis in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band.2
The band is also allocated on a secondary basis to the Mobile-Satellite Service. The 14.4-14.5 GHz
segment is further allocated on a secondary basis to the FS and Mobile Service, limited to Federal users.
The 14.0-14.2 GHz segment of the band is used by the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System on a
secondary basis. The 14.47-14.5 GHz segment serves the Radio Astronomy Service on a permissive
basis.3

1 Utilities Telecom Council and Winchester Cator, LLC, Petition for Rulemaking, RM-11429, filed May 6, 2008
(UTC-Winchester Petition). UTC is a trade organization representing the telecommunications and information
technology interests of electric, gas and water utilities, pipeline companies and other critical infrastructure industry
users, defined in section 90.7 of the Commission’s rules. Winchester, an entity focused on the technology and
business of satellite and terrestrial telecommunications, provided technical support for UTC’s proposal. See
UTC-Winchester Petition at 1.
2 The primary FSS allocation in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band also permits earth stations (both gateway earth stations and
user terminals) to communicate with non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellite systems, though there are no NGSO
systems in these bands at this time.
3 47 C.F.R. § 2.106. In addition, the Commission has proposed to add a secondary allocation in the non-Federal
Aeronautical Mobile Service (AMS) for air-ground mobile broadband in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band and to establish
service rules for a new terrestrial-based air-ground mobile broadband service with aircraft. Expanding Access to
(continued…)

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1093

3. The UTC-Winchester Petition states that CII entities would use the 14.0-14.5 GHz band to
improve day-to-day reliability of electric utilities by implementing new smart grid applications and
providing additional emergency response communications.4 UTC-Winchester proposes that this spectrum
would be open to various individual CII entities throughout the country and calls for the Commission to
issue, outside of an auction process, a single nationwide license for the band.5 The licensee, who would
be a CII-related entity, would function as a band manager to ensure that the fixed and temporary fixed
point-to-point and point-to-multipoint stations operating in the band would not cause harmful interference
to incumbent operations.6 Additionally, UTC-Winchester proposes that the licensee would also be
permitted to authorize spectrum use to provide terrestrial service on a pre-emptible basis for a fee when
that spectrum is not needed for CII activities.7
4. We received 23 comments and 12 replies during the pleading cycle, and intermittent ex parte
filings in the time since.8 Within these filings, parties raised concerns about the regulatory framework
proposed by UTC-Winchester, the technical characteristics of its proposal, and whether allocating the
14.0-14.5 GHz band and adopting the proposed service rules would meet UTC-Winchester’s expressed
goals.9 Section 0.241 of the Commission’s rules authorizes the Chief of the Office of Engineering and
Technology to “dismiss or deny petitions for rulemaking which … plainly do not warrant consideration
by the Commission.”10 As discussed below, we find that the UTC-Winchester Petition makes assumptions
about allocations, licensing and system operation that are not fully explained and that appear to rely on
incorrect premises or that are inappropriate for the types of service that UTC-Winchester proposes, and
the petition accordingly will be denied.
5.
As an initial matter, adopting UTC-Winchester’s proposal as set forth in its petition would
violate Section 309(j)(2)(A) of the Communications Act.11 Although UTC-Winchester asserts that “CII
entities are specifically exempted from having to obtain spectrum at auction,”12 the Commission has held,
to the contrary, that the exemption to its statutory auction authority for public safety radio services applies
to particular radio services in which public safety uses comprise the dominant use of the spectrum, rather
(Continued from previous page)
Broadband and Encouraging Innovation through Establishment of an Air-Ground Mobile Broadband Secondary
Service for Passengers Aboard Aircraft in the 14.0-14.5 GHz Band, GN Docket No. 13-114, Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking
, adopted May 9, 2013.
4 UTC-Winchester Petition at 3-5.
5 Id. at 20-21.
6 Id. at 18-19.
7 Id. at 19-20.
8 The formal pleading cycle ran from May 27 through August 11, 2008. See Utilities Telecom Council and
Winchester Cator, LLC, Petition for Rulemaking to Establish Rules Governing Critical Infrastructure Industry Fixed
Service Operations in the 14.0-14.5 GHz Band, RM-11429, Order Extending Comment Period, 23 FCC Rcd 10497
(2008).
9 See, e.g., Opposition of Qualcomm Incorporated, filed June 26, 2008 at 1; Opposition of Hughes Network
Systems, LLC, filed June 26, 2008, at 6-9 (discussing ways in which the UTC-Winchester proposal to issue a single-
user exclusive-use license raises challenging policy considerations).
10 47 U.S.C. § 0.241(e).
11 47 U.S.C. § 309(j)(2)(A).
12 UTC-Winchester Petition at 9.
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DA 13-1093

than to particular classes or groups of licensees within a service.13 As such, the exemption for public
safety radio services can apply only to spectrum that the Commission specifically allocates for the
particular uses that Congress recognized as a public benefit.14 The UTC-Winchester proposal anticipates
the provision of commercial service via a leasing arrangement between UTC (as the presumptive holder
of the nationwide license) and Winchester.15 This arrangement would allow for broad commercial use of
the spectrum, particularly if CII entities have not deployed systems or during times and in places where
the spectrum is in low demand for CII applications. While the UTC-Winchester Petition acknowledges
that the auction exemption is premised in part upon public safety use being “dominant,” the proposal
offers no means for us to determine what facilities would be built under the license, or how spectrum use
would be divided between CII and commercial use.16 For these reasons, the UTC-Winchester proposal
here does not provide the basis for the Commission to determine that it should issue a single nationwide
license exempted from auction.
6. UTC-Winchester proposes that a single entity would coordinate use of the band in order to
address potential interference risks and prevent operations that, individually or in the aggregate, might
lead to harmful interference to the primary FSS operations. This entity would have to ensure that the
aggregate interference of all users remains at an acceptable level. While the UTC-Winchester Petition
discusses certain technical designs that would help individual fixed stations protect incumbent
operations,17 the plan relies heavily on the licensee’s use of a coordination process that “will be internal to
CII users and streamlined to allow rapid and efficient use of the 14.0-14.5 GHz band while protecting
satellite users from aggregate interference.”18 UTC-Winchester has not provided a basis for concluding
that the nationwide CII licensee using a coordination process “internal to CII users” would be able to
successfully resolve interference issues with incumbent services. While much of the record involves
disagreement as to the maximum acceptable level of aggregate interference from the nationwide CII

13 Implementation of Section 309(j) and 337 of the Communications Act of 1934 as Amended, WT Docket
No. 99-87, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 15 FCC Rcd 22709, 22740-41
paras. 64-66 (2000).
14 Delineating the scope of the exemption requires the Commission to determine whether the rules for a particular
service cause it to fall within the definition of a “public safety radio service,” rather than attempting to predict the
uses of spectrum that will develop after licensing occurs. Id. at 22741 para. 66. Thus, use of a spectrum band
entirely by a CII entity will not, by itself, qualify the band as a public safety radio service that is exempt from
auction under Commission precedent. The Commission could adopt service rules for CII use of a band that
determine that the service qualifies as a public safety radio service by limiting the permitted CII uses to those that
Congress intended for auction-exempt spectrum and prohibiting those CII uses that have more general business-
related purposes and are not primarily safety-related.
15 UTC-Winchester Replies to Oppositions and Reply Comments, filed August 11, 2008, at 12-15.
16 See also Comments of the National Spectrum Management Association, filed June 26, 2008, at 2-3 (stating that
there is a lack of clarity in the proposal as to how primary and secondary users would share with CII entities, what
CII users and uses would be permitted, and why a single entity should be selected to manage the band).
17 Fixed stations would employ design features such as off-pointing at least 5 degrees away from the geostationary
arc, employing antenna diameters at least 45 cm or greater, using power control on all links, and operating with a set
maximum effective isotropic radiated power.
18 UTC-Winchester Petition at 13.
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DA 13-1093

licensee to primary satellite users,19 we observe that the identification and resolution of individual cases
of harmful interference represents an even more significant challenge, since the level of the “harmful”
interference strictly depends on the aggregate interference power and the receiver performance of the FSS
satellite in orbit.
7. While it does not give a specific number of stations required to provide service, UTC-
Winchester provides calculations, based upon its assumptions regarding the level of aggregate
interference the fixed stations would be permitted to create into the FSS service, indicating that each
50 MHz of spectrum could support almost 200,000 FS transmitters.20 UTC-Winchester also states that
the proposed fixed stations would have a range of between 2 and 20 miles.21 It further indicates that one
of the expected applications would involve base stations located at electrical substations, which are
widely distributed.22 Collectively, this information suggests the potential for a very large number of CII
deployments. In addition, the proposal would intersperse these CII operations with an undetermined
number of pre-emptible commercial operations.
8. The potentially large number of deployments that would be likely under the UTC-Winchester
Petition increases the likelihood that a particular station could cause harmful interference to satellite
uplinks that are operating on a primary basis in the band. The system design described by UTC-
Winchester – a potentially unlimited number of CII and non-CII stations deployed across various terrain,
operated by different users, and overseen by a central manager – makes the identification of particular
stations that could cause harmful interference even more challenging. While we could address this
problem by requiring the coordination of individual stations with incumbent users, doing so is not a
practical option, as it would create unwarranted burdens on the primary licensees in the band. Other
approaches – such as simply relying on incumbents to report harmful interference after suffering
degradation in service – would be inappropriate for the same reason.
9. Even if the nationwide CII licensee were to become aware that harmful interference was
occurring, we do not see an effective means for the nationwide CII licensee to pinpoint the source of this
interference. UTC-Winchester has not identified how the band manager would determine which
individual component(s) were responsible for any instances of harmful interference that may occur.
While UTC-Winchester suggests that it could employ advanced sharing techniques, such as dynamic
spectrum access, to avoid causing harmful interference, it has not provided sufficient information as to
how this would work for the spectrum environment in this band. Without a sufficiently detailed technical
description of the particular mitigation techniques to be employed in particular use scenarios, incumbent
users of the spectrum would have little assurance that these techniques would be effective in preventing
harmful interference.
10. Furthermore, we are not convinced that the nationwide licensee would be able to address
harmful interference in a way that would be appropriate for the proposed CII users of the spectrum. If a
specific interferer could not be pinpointed, other options, such as automatically modifying or shutting

19 In its petition, UTC-Winchester advocated that the aggregate interference from all fixed stations be limited to a 6
percent increase relative to the current noise level experienced by the satellite space stations, while satellite interests
argue for a 1 percent limit. In a recent ex parte filing, UTC-Winchester has indicated that it would be willing to
meet a 1 percent threshold, although it does not describe how it would do so. See UTC-Winchester April 26, 2013
ex parte at 2.
20 UTC-Winchester Petition at 11-14.
21 See UTC-Winchester November 23, 2010 ex parte at slides 2-4.
22 See id. at slide 12.
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DA 13-1093

down the entire system to reduce the aggregate interference to acceptable levels, would be inconsistent
with the CII interests that are fundamental to the proposed use of the band. We also observe that the
introduction of new FSS earth stations could result in interference to the CII fixed stations, which could
potentially interrupt or terminate critical operations. There are no apparent means of predicting such
events without imposing new obligations or constraints on the primary users of the band. We recognize
that UTC-Winchester, in response to commenters that questioned the feasibility of providing critical
communications via a secondary service, has stated that it is prepared to accept interference from primary
sources.23 However, its proposal offers no limitation on the types of CII uses that the nationwide licensee
may authorize, and UTC-Winchester broadly talks about “use of the band for crucial operations”24 and to
support links “that will be needed as part of a nationwide electronic smart-grid.”25 Given the broad scope
of potential uses UTC-Winchester proposes, the challenges of preventing harmful interference to
incumbent services, and the potential for unpredictable interference to CII services, we are not persuaded
that UTC-Winchester’s proposal is viable in this band. Further, utility companies generally have been
and will continue to be eligible to bid at auction for access to spectrum suitable to their needs.
11.
We also observe that there are other ways to meet the CII-related needs that UTC-
Winchester has identified. While there are no “utility-specific” frequency bands – and the Commission’s
focus on flexible use licensing makes such designations unlikely in the future – there is a wide range of
bands and services that have been actively used by utilities or that we expect could be useful to meet the
utility industry’s varied needs, whether on a licensed or leased basis. Moreover, many of these bands are
allocated on a primary basis, incorporate frequency coordination procedures, or have other characteristics
qualities that allow for high quality of service more appropriate for CII needs. These options would
appear to provide greater certainty for CII operators than use of the 14.0-14.5 GHz band on a secondary
basis.26 The wide range of bands that can meet utilities’ critical and routine communications needs
include, but are not limited to, 700-960 MHz licensed frequencies (used by some smart meter vendors);
the 4.9 GHz band (a notice of proposed rulemaking asks about allowing non-public safety entities the
ability to access the band);27 5925-6425 MHz (available for terrestrial point-to-point operations); fixed
microwave bands (e.g., 23 GHz, 27 GHz, 31 GHz, 38 GHz – used for backhaul, remote control and
monitoring); 28 the 70/80/90 GHz bands (suitable for high-speed point-to-point wireless local area

23 UTC-Winchester Reply Comments at 8. See also Opposition of ARINC, filed April 26, 2008, at 5; and
Opposition of Row 44, Inc., filed June 26, 2008, at 5-6 (raising questions about the appropriateness of secondary
status).
24 UTC-Winchester Reply Comments at 2.
25 Id. at 10.
26 UTC acknowledges the high priority it places on identifying primary spectrum with more favorable transmission
characteristics. See, e.g., UTC-Winchester Jan. 30, 2009 ex parte at 17 (stating that “a secondary allocation at such
a high frequency cannot meet fully the demands of tomorrow’s utilities,” and that “America’s providers of most-
critical services deserve reliable spectrum allocated on a primary basis, with propagation characteristics appropriate
to the many applications they must deploy”). See also Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan at 251
(identifying the lack of a mission-critical wide-area broadband network capable of meeting the requirements of the
Smart Grid as a barrier to its implementation (emphasis added)).
27 See Amendment of Part 90 of the Commission’s Rules, WP Docket No. 07-100, Fourth Report and Order and
Fifth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
, 27 FCC Rcd 6577 (2012), at 6592-6593. We note that UTC has filed
comments in this proceeding supporting expanding eligibility to include CII entities operating on a primary basis.
See Comments filed April 22, 2011; Reply Comments filed November 30, 2012; and November 9, 2012 ex parte
filing.
28 We note that the Commission has recently adopted numerous rule changes affecting the use of microwave
frequencies to perform wireless backhaul functions. Many of these changes would encourage more efficient use of
the spectrum, including increased bandwidth, which would provide for the increased data necessary to perform
(continued…)
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DA 13-1093

networks); and leased commercial satellite services (e.g. Very Small Aperture Terminals – VSATs – used
for SCADA).
12.
We are not persuaded by UTC-Winchester’s dismissal of the suitability of bands outside
of 14.0-14.5 GHz. For example, some parties in this proceeding suggested higher frequency bands as
suitable spectrum for accommodating UTC-Winchester’s interests. In response, while UTC-Winchester
claims that higher frequencies suggested by others29 are not suitable because they would require more
expensive systems (due to their susceptibility to propagation losses and higher power requirements), it has
not otherwise shown that these bands could not be used.30 Similarly, while UTC-Winchester rejects use
of the 5925-6425 MHz band because the “rigorous coordination scheme” in place does not appear to be
compatible with the design of its system, such a factor would seem to be more a matter of choice for
UTC-Winchester than a bar to use.31
13.
Finally, we note that utilities have access to an extensive physical network that can make
it easier to deploy wired infrastructure (e.g., fiber along rights-of-way, access to pole attachments, etc.) to
support the communication needs of CII users. Such options are not readily available to many other types
of users.
14.
For the reasons discussed above, we find that the UTC-Winchester Petition plainly does
not warrant further consideration, and we deny it accordingly. The existing record does not support the
creation of a secondary fixed service in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band as proposed by UTC-Winchester.
15.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that pursuant to the authority contained in Sections 4(i),
5(c), 301, 302, 303(c), 303(e), 303(f), and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,
47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 155(c), 301, 302a, 303(c), 303(e), 303(f), and 303(r), and Sections 0.51(a), 0.51(c),
0.131, 0.241(e), 0.261(a)(1), 0.331 and 1.401(e) of the Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.51(a),
0.51(c), 0.131, 0.241(e), 0.261(a)(1), 0.331 and 1.401(e), that the petition for rulemaking filed by the
Utilities Telecom Council and Winchester Cator, LLC on May 6, 2008 IS DENIED and RM-11429 IS
TERMINATED, effective upon issuance of this Order.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Julius Knapp, Chief
Office of Engineering and Technology
(Continued from previous page)
many of the smart grid functions envisioned by UTC-Winchester. See, e.g., 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, WT Docket
No. 10-153, Second Report and Order, Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Second Notice of Inquiry,
Order on Reconsideration, and Memorandum Opinion and Order
, 27 FCC Rcd 9735 (2012).
29 See, e.g., Opposition of Artel, Inc., filed June 26, 2008, at 4; Opposition of Seamobile Inc., filed June 26, 2008, at
3-4; Reply of the Satellite Industry Association, filed August 11, 2008, at 9-10; and Reply of Intelsat Corporation,
filed August 11, 2008, at 9-10 (identifying fixed microwave bands (27 and 38 GHz) as well as spectrum in the
70/80/90 GHz range).
30 Equipment and systems that can operate in these bands are currently available.
31 UTC-Winchester Reply Comments, Appendix A at 5-6.
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DA 13-1093

Ruth Milkman, Chief
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
Mindel De La Torre, Chief
International Bureau
7

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