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Reply Comment Deadline Extended in Proposed 5 GHz Unlicensed Broadband Expansion


The FCC this week extended until July 24 the deadline to file reply comments in its proceeding to allow unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices at 5 GHz. The FCC in February sought comment on making available an additional 195 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.35-5.47 GHz and 5.85-5.925 GHz bands for U-NII use. Reply comments are responses to comments already filed in the proceeding, ET Docket 13-49. In comments filed in May on the FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), the ARRL told the FCC that a near-term decision with respect to adding U-NII devices to the 5.85-5.925 GHz band “would be premature.”

“[A] U-NII overlay at the present time requires a good deal of compatibility analysis, none of which has been completed to date,” the League asserted.

U-NII devices use “wideband digital modulation techniques to provide a wide array of high data rate mobile and fixed communications for individuals, businesses, and institutions,” the FCC explained in its NPRM. The FCC was obligated by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (PL 112-96) to begin a proceeding to amend its Part 15 rules to allow unlicensed U-NII devices to operate in the 5.35-5.47 GHz bands.

As the ARRL’s comments point out, “There is no legislative obligation, however, to make available the 5.85-5.925 GHz band for U-NII use.” Amateur Radio 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.

The FCC extended the reply comment deadline in response to requests from two industry groups, IEEE 802 and the Wi-Fi Alliance.



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