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FCC Continues Wireless Backhaul Reform

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Released: August 3, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

August 3, 2012
Cecilia Sulhoff, 202-418-0587


Actions will reduce costs of providing wireless broadband services in rural and underserved communities
Washington, D.C.—The Federal Communications Commission today adopted measures
promoting further deployment of mobile broadband service, continuing its reform of rules governing use
of microwave frequencies for wireless backhaul as part of the FCC’s Broadband Acceleration Initiative
and its regulatory reform agenda.
Building on recommendations in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, and following up on the
Commission’s August 2011 Wireless Backhaul Report and Order, today’s actions will speed the rollout
of fourth-generation (4G) broadband networks, accelerate the role of expanded wireless broadband
communications in national economic revitalization and job creation, and bring new broadband services
to rural areas. Today’s actions also continue the FCC’s regulatory reform agenda by eliminating
unneeded regulations and ensuring that necessary regulations reflect current technology.
Microwave, or wireless backhaul, facilities are an essential component of many broadband
networks, particularly mobile wireless networks, and are often used for the transmission of data between
cell sites, or between cell sites and network backbones. Service providers’ use of microwave links as a
cost-effective alternative to traditional copper circuits and fiber optic links has increased by
approximately 50 percent in recent years.
The Second Report and Order permits fixed microwave operators to use smaller antennas in
certain microwave bands, which can result in significant cost savings to operators. The Rural Microwave
Flexibility Policy adopted today will provide increased opportunities for broadband deployment in rural
areas, increasing coverage and reducing cost. The Commission also updates existing microwave
efficiency standards to reflect modern digital technologies.
The Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Second Notice of Inquiry continue the
Commission’s effort to reform and modernize its wireless backhaul rules. Among other things, the
Commission considers accommodating new types of antennas to reflect advances in technology, and
proposes to allow smaller antennas in an additional microwave band.
Action by the Commission August 3, 2012, by Second Report and Order, Second Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking, Second Notice of Inquiry, Order on Reconsideration, and Memorandum Opinion
and Order (FCC 12-87). Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners McDowell, Clyburn, Rosenworcel and
Pai. Separate statements issued by Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners McDowell, Clyburn,
Rosenworcel and Pai.

Docket No.: WT Docket No. 10-153.
For further information, contact John Schauble (202-418-0797;, or Charles
Oliver (202-418-1325;
News and information about the Federal Communications Commission is available at

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