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ARRL Comments on Proposed Expansion of 5 GHz Unlicensed Broadband


Observing that “a decision in the near term with respect to the addition of [unlicensed National Information Infrastructure] U-NII devices to the 5.85-5.925 GHz band would be premature,” the ARRL has commented in response to an FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ET Docket No. 13-49) that proposes to authorize U-NII use of an additional 195 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.35-5.47 GHz and 5.85-5.925 GHz bands. The Commission was obligated, pursuant to Section 6406(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Public Law No. 112-96), to begin a proceeding to allow U-NII devices in the 5.35-5.47 GHz band. As the ARRL comments note, “There is no legislative obligation, however, to make available the 5.85-5.925 GHz band for U-NII use.”

The Amateur Radio Service has a longstanding secondary allocation of 5.65-5.925 GHz, with an amateur-satellite uplink band at 5.65-5.67 GHz and a downlink at 5.83-5.85 GHz. In its 14-page filing, the ARRL traces the history of “a continuing series of overlays” to which the band has been subjected over the past 16 years, progressively reducing the utility of the amateur allocation. In 1999, the Commission allocated 5.85-5.925 GHz for direct vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-roadside, or “Dedicated Short Range Communications” (DSRC). Amateurs may continue to operate in this segment, but only to the extent that they do not interfere with DSRC operations. In support of its argument that the introduction of U-NII into this segment would be premature, the ARRL observes that “…a U-NII overlay at the present time requires a good deal of compatibility analysis, none of which has been completed to date.”

The full text of the ARRL’s comments is available below. The comments were filed on the deadline date of May 28, 2013. Reply comments are due by June 24.




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