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FCC Modifies Part 15 Rules for Unlicensed Operation in 57-64 GHz Band

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Released: August 9, 2013

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 9, 2013
Bruce Romano, 202-418-2124
Action boosts uses of unlicensed spectrum in broadband operations

Washington, D.C.

Today, the Federal Communications Commission moved to significantly modify the
Commission's Part 15 rules governing unlicensed communication equipment in the 57-64 GHz band.
Taken together, the new rules will enhance the use of unlicensed spectrum as a relatively low-cost,
high-capacity short-range backhaul alternative to connect wireless broadband networks and for other
wireless applications. Unlicensed spectrum technologies have the potential to encourage competition in
the broadband market, promote efficient delivery of broadband services in residences and businesses, and
improve user experience with consumer devices needing short-range but high data rate communications.
These modifications could provide wireless broadband network connectivity over distances up to a mile
at data rates of 7 Gb/s, potentially relieving the need and expense of wiring facilities or using existing
facilities with less capability. At the same time the rules for equipment located indoors will remain
unchanged, providing regulatory certainty for an emerging family of products that can provide data rates
of 7 Gb/s for applications such as wireless docking of digital devices and distribution of uncompressed
video to TV receivers and video displays.
In the 1990s, the Commission adopted rules for unlicensed operations over a 7-gigahertz wide bandwidth,
in the 57-64 GHz band. Because of the wide bandwidth, this spectrum is very desirable for high-capacity
uses, both in point-to-point fixed operations outdoors (extending the reach of fiber optic networks by
providing broadband access to adjacent structures in commercial facilities), and as networking equipment
indoors (enabling users to send data between entertainment equipment such as high-definition televisions
and video players within the same room, eliminating the need for complex wiring).
Responding to a petition by the industry, the Commission increased the power permitted for outdoor
operations between fixed points using highly directional antennas, and tied the maximum power permitted
to the precision of the antenna beam which determines its potential for causing interference to other users,
including to indoor low-power networks. This rule change would permit outdoor devices to deliver high-
capacity communication links over longer distances, enhancing the utility of the unlicensed 57-64 GHz
band as a vehicle for broadband. It will also facilitate the use of this unlicensed spectrum as a backhaul
alternative in densely-populated areas where 4G and other wireless services are experiencing an
ever-increasing need for additional spectrum.

The Commission also took additional actions to reduce the regulatory burden on these operations by
eliminating a station identification rule that has become unnecessary, and by modifying the measurement
units to promote uniformity and consistency.
Action by the Commission August 9, 2013, by Report and Order (FCC 13-112). Acting Chairwoman
Clyburn, Commissioners Rosenworcel and Pai issuing separate statements.
ET Docket No. 07-113 and RM- 11104
For further information, contact Anh Wride (202-418-0577);

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