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Comcast Corporation Request for Waiver Letter

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Released: August 20, 2014
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Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

August 20, 2014

DA 14-1195

ET Docket No. 13-49

Mr. David Don

Comcast Corporation

300 New Jersey Avenue, NW Suite 700

Washington, D.C. 20001

Dear Mr. Don:

The Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) is granting the request of Comcast

Corporation (Comcast) for a waiver of Section 15.407(a)(1)(i)1 of the Commission’s rules to

allow its existing systems that were previously certified for operation in the 5725-5850 MHz

(U-NII-3) band to obtain FCC certification for operation in the 5150-5250 MHz (U-NII-1)

band.

In your letter filed July 29, 2014 you request that Comcast’s outdoor access points currently

authorized to operate in the U-NII-3 band be permitted to operate outdoors in the U-NII-1

band with up to 250 mW of conducted power and a power spectral density of 11 dBm/MHz

with a 6 dBi gain antenna, rather than limiting the maximum EIRP above 30 degrees

elevation to 125 mW (21 dBm) EIRP as required by section 15.407(a)(1)(i). You state such a

waiver would serve the public interest by providing Comcast with immediate flexibility to

use the U-NII-1 band, in addition to the U-NII-3 band, to provide outdoor Wi-Fi access to its

customers.2 You further state that Comcast has 20,820 deployed outdoor access points

certified to operate in the U-NII-3 band. You also provide the general location of each of

Comcast’s deployments by state, and request confidential treatment for this information

under separate cover.3

You assert that the location, but not the total number, of deployments

may change depending on the business needs in each region, and you request that Comcast be

permitted to update OET when it makes a location change for these access points. 4

You also

1 See 47 C.F.R § 15.407 (a)(1)(i).

2 See Comcast Corporation Petition for Waiver of Section 15.407(a)(1)(i) of the FCC’s Rules for Outdoor

Access Points Operating in the U-NII-1 Band-SUPPLEMENT(Supplemental Request) dated July 29, 2014,

from David Don, Comcast Corporation. On July, 2 2014, Comcast submitted a Petition for Waiver of

Section 15.407(a)(1)(i) for currently deployed devices and yet-to-be deployed devices. The Supplemental

Request clarifies Comcast’s initial waiver request by specifying the number of devices that are currently

deployed in the field.

3 See Comcast Corporation Petition for Waiver of Section 15.407(a)(1)(i) of the FCC’s Rules for Outdoor

Access Points Operating in the U-NII-1 Band-Confidential Treatment Requested, dated July 29, 2014, from

David Don, Comcast Corporation.

4 See Supplemental Request at 3.

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David Don

August 20, 2014

Page 2 of 3

confirm that Comcast has the ability to configure attenuation settings, and therefore can cause

the device to operate below its maximum authorized transmit power.5

Finally, you state

Comcast could reduce the transmit power, disable the 5 GHz radio, or prevent access by

client devices, all from its central network management system.6

In the First Report and Order (First R&O) in U-NII 5 GHz proceeding, the Commission

adopted rule Section 15.407(a)(1)(a) which allows fixed outdoor access points in the U-NII-1

band at a maximum conducted output power level not to exceed 1 W and a PSD not to

exceed 17 dBm/MHz with an allowance for a 6 dBi antenna gain; the rule limits the

maximum EIRP to 125 mW (21 dBm) at any elevation angle above 30 degrees measured

from the horizon.7

In other words, each outdoor access point must limit the energy directed

upward so that, in the aggregate, they would avoid causing interference to satellites operating

in the U-NII-1 band.8

The Commission recognized that some U-NII-3 fixed access points

already deployed could potentially be reprogrammed to meet the new U-NII-1 power limits

and thus quickly begin more flexible operation in the U-NII-1 band using this exiting

equipment.9

The Commission stated that, if outdoor U-NII-3 band systems installed prior to

the effective date of the new rules were not able to comply with the 125 mW EIRP

requirements of Section 15.407(a)(1)(i) to limit energy directed upward, manufacturers or

equipment operators could file for a waiver of this provision for operation in the U-NII-1

band,10 no later than 30 days after of the effective date of the new rules. The Commission

stated that if the waiver is designed to enable existing deployments to operate with up to 250

mW of conducted power and a PSD of 11 dBm/MHz with a 6 dBi gain antenna, the

Commission could make a quick and likely favorable good cause determination sufficient to

grant the waiver request.

The Commission asked for the following information about the petitioner’s existing

deployments to assess the waiver requests: the number of devices installed, general location

of each deployment, ability to reprogram the devices, and ability to adjust operating power

from a central network management system. The Commission concluded that waiver

requests meeting these parameters and made within a short period of time are likely to serve

the public interest because granting them is highly unlikely to create any risk of harmful

interference, given the small numbers involved and the limited departure from the new

5

Id.

6

Id.

7 See, Revision of Part 15 of the Commission’s Rules to Permit Unlicensed National Information

Infrastructure (U-NII) Devices in the 5 GHz Band, First Report and Order, ET Docket No. 13-49 , 29 FCC

Rcd. 4127 (2014) (First R&O) at 4138.

8 Id. at 4138.

9 Id. at 4139.

10 Id. at 4139 – 4140. See also 47 C.F.R. § 1.3. See also WAIT Radio v. FCC, 418 F.2d 1153 (1969).

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David Don

August 20, 2014

Page 3 of 3

technical requirements for the U-NII-1 band.11

In addition, the comparatively small number

of installed devices strongly suggests a negligible risk of harmful interference from allowing

this exception and the expedient approval of such waivers would benefit the public by

promptly and efficiently expanding broadband use in this band.12

The Commission delegated

authority to the Office of Engineering and Technology to consider and act on all such waiver

petitions received within 30 days of the effective date of the new rules, i.e., June 2, 2014.13

We find that the information you provide regarding the existing deployed systems satisfies

the requirements the Commission outlined in the First R&O for OET to act on your waiver

request, and we conclude that a waiver of Section 15.407 (a)(1)(i) is in the public interest.

That is, these currently deployed systems should not pose a threat of harmful interference to

the incumbent services in the U-NII-1 band because, as you represent, these systems can be

configured for operation in the U-NII-1 band at the 250 mW operational parameters and these

systems can be configured to reduce the transmit power, disable the 5 GHz radio, or prevent

access by client devices, from a central network management system. This waiver applies

only to the 20,820 outdoor access points systems at the locations that you identify as being

installed in the field as of June 2, 2014, and does not apply to any future deployments. If you

need to change the location, but not the total number, of your deployments, please provide

OET with the modified deployment information. You must demonstrate compliance with the

technical requirements through the equipment certification process by filing a permissive

change request along with a copy of the approved waiver.

Accordingly, pursuant to the delegated authority in Sections 0.31 and 0.241 of the

Commission’s rules and Section 1.3 of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.31, 0.241,

1.3, we waive the requirements of Section 15.407(a)(1)(i) of our rules to allow Comcast

Corporation to obtain FCC certification, consistent with the terms of this waiver, for the U-

NII-3 band outdoor access points you have identified to operate in the U-NII-1 band with up

to 250 mW of conducted power and a PSD of 11 dBm/MHz with a 6 dBi antenna gain.

Sincerely,

Julius P. Knapp

Chief

Office of Engineering and Technology

11 See First R&O at 4139.

12 Id. at 4140.

13

Id.

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