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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB009 (2014)

ARLB009 Petition to Expand RFID Use on 70 Centimeters Withdrawn

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 9  ARLB009
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  May 15, 2014
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB009 Petition to Expand RFID Use on 70 Centimeters Withdrawn

The FCC has dismissed without prejudice a Petition for Rule Making
(RM-11651) by Lockheed Martin that would have amended the
Commission's Part 15 rules to expand deployment of the company's
radio frequency identification (RFID) system in the 433 MHz band
(433.5-434.5 MHz). Lockheed Martin sold its RFID business 2 years
ago, but the company only this month requested that the Petition be
withdrawn and the proceeding terminated.

The ARRL had staunchly opposed the Lockheed Martin petition, which
the firm filed on behalf of its subsidiary, Savi Technology. The
League locked horns with Savi years ago, when the company
successfully petitioned the FCC to amend its Part 15 rules governing
periodic radiators to permit high-power, near-continuous duty RFID
tags in the 433 MHz band. As a concession to opponents, the FCC
limited deployment of the devices to "commercial and industrial
areas" and allowed their use only for tracking "commercial shipping
containers." Lockheed Martin acquired Savi Technologies in 2006.

The now-dismissed petition would have expanded the frequency range
of the RFID tags to 433.05-434.79 MHz, required
listen-before-transmit protocols to avoid interference to Amateur
Radio, eliminated a manufacturer registration requirement, and
dropped rules that prohibited deploying the devices outside
"commercial or industrial areas" and limited their application to
"commercial shipping containers."

The ARRL filed vigorous opposition to the Lockheed Martin Petition
in January 2012, saying that Lockheed's petition "seeks to undo
virtually all of the few interference protections" the FCC had
adopted in 2004, "solely on the basis of vaguely stated advances in
RFID technology." Other Part 15 device manufacturers also opposed
any expansion of the high-power application.

A May 14 Commission letter from FCC Office of Engineering and
Technology Chief Julius P. Knapp said that on the basis of Lockheed
Martin's Petition and the comments filed on it, "we do not find
sufficient basis to propose rules," and determined that the original
petition "does not warrant" FCC consideration. Knapp added, however,
"Any party interested in pursuing changes to the rules for RFID
operations in the 433 MHz band may file a new petition."


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