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FCC Terminates Proceedings Affecting the Amateur Radio Service

11/02/2011

The FCC issued an Order on November 1 that terminated hundreds of proceedings, including six proceedings that members of the public, including the ARRL, had asked not to be terminated. Two of these six proceedings involved the Amateur Radio Service. This follows a June 2011 Public Notice that sought comments on whether or not it should terminate approximately 800 docketed proceedings.

On July 20, 2011, the ARRL filed comments with the FCC on this matter, explaining that it had no objection to the termination of the proceedings in the Public Notice, save for one item: The ARRL’s Petition for Rulemaking (RM-10165) Amendment of Parts 2 and 97 of the Commission’s Rules Regarding the 2300-2305 MHz Band. In this Petition, the ARRL requested that the FCC change the Amateur Radio Service’s allocation in that band from Secondary to Primary. This Petition was one of the six items to be terminated.

RM-10165

The ARRL’s Petition was filed May 7, 2001 and on July 2, 2001, it was placed on Public Notice. In October 2002, the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) issued an Order dismissing this and two other petitions pertaining to the 2300-2305 MHz band. The ARRL noted in its comments July 2011 that “the Order did not finally resolve the issue of the allocation status of the Amateur Service in the 2300-2305 MHz band, or the ARRL’s request for a Primary allocation. Rather, the Commission merely postponed a decision with respect to the allocation status of that band until some unspecified future time.”

The ARRL maintains that the status of the Amateur Radio Service allocation at 2300-2305 MHz remains relevant because of actions taken by the Commission, with respect to an adjacent band at 2305-2320 MHz and because the ARRL has filed a Petition for Reconsideration regarding the actions taken in the 2305-2320 MHz band, as well as other unrelated proposals for use of the 2300-2305 MHz band, including Medical Body Area Networks.

“Regarding the 2305-2320 MHz band, in May 2010, the Commission issued an Order that amended certain rules governing the Wireless Communications Service (WCS) to enable WCS licensees to provide mobile broadband services,” the FCC stated in its Order. “In doing so, the Commission acknowledged that out-of-band emissions that could result from expanded use of WCS mobile devices in the 2305-2320 MHz band have the potential to increase interference to amateur radio operations in the 2300-2305 MHz band. During the course of the WCS proceeding, however, ARRL did not file any comments raising the issue of whether the Amateur Radio Service allocation status in the 2300-2305 MHz band should be modified. Although ARRL filed a Petition for Reconsideration of the WCS Order, it did not request a change in the status of the Amateur Radio Service allocation at 2300-2305 MHz in that filing. In its Reply Comments to the Opposition to its WCS Petition, ARRL specifically stated that it was not asking the Commission to revisit any aspect of its past decisions regarding that status.”

The FCC stated that it believes that the RM-10165 proceeding concerning the ARRL’s request to change the status of the Amateur Radio Service to primary in the 2300-2305 MHz band should be terminated, “since its request was dismissed and ARRL did not file a Petition for Reconsideration of that dismissal. Although the Commission’s dismissal of RM-10165 left open the possibility that the allocation status for the Amateur Radio Service in this band could be considered again when the reserve status of that spectrum is evaluated, there has been no activity in that proceeding since October 2002. Furthermore, although ARRL raises a concern that a 2009 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposed a secondary allocation in the 2300-2305 MHz band for Medical Body Area Networks, in that proceeding, the Commission did not seek comment on or propose to modify the Amateur Radio Service allocation in the 2300-2305 MHz band. In addition, we do not believe that the issues ARRL has raised on reconsideration in the WCS proceeding warrant holding open the RM-10165 proceeding. If ARRL still desires a change in the Amateur Radio Service allocation status in the 2300-2305 MHz band, it can file a new petition for rulemaking. Accordingly, RM-10165 is terminated.”

Nickolaus Leggett, N3NL

Nickolaus Leggett, N3NL, of Reston, Virginia, requested that the FCC keep Docket No. RM-10412 open “to allow various parties to submit additional comments on regulatory steps that would enhance certain aspects of the Amateur Radio Service.” On April 15, 2004, however, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order that specifically denied RM 10412. Since by this action, RM-10412 should have already have been closed, the FCC rejected Leggett’s request to keep it open

According to the FCC, the termination of these proceedings “furthers the Commission’s organizational goals of increasing the efficiency of its decision-making, modernizing the agency’s processes in the digital age and enhancing the openness and transparency of Commission proceedings for practitioners and the public.” Upon publication of this Order in the Federal Register, these proceedings will be terminated in the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). The record in the terminated proceedings will remain part of the FCC’s official records, and the various pleadings, orders and other documents in these dockets will continue to be accessible to the public, post-termination.



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