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On the theory that old news is still interesting from time to time, we will archive FCC news articles so they may age gracefully on this page. Look around and see what was big "back when!"

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FCC Proposed Rulemaking to Permit W-OFDM

The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on May 10, 2001, to improve spectrum sharing by unlicensed devices operating in the 2.4 GHz band (2400 - 2483.5 MHz), provide for introduction of new digital transmission technologies, and eliminate unnecessary regulations for spread spectrum systems. Specifically, this Further Notice proposes to revise the rules for frequency hopping spread spectrum systems operating in the 2.4 GHz band to reduce the amount of spectrum that must be used with certain types of operation, and to allow new digital transmission technologies to operate pursuant to the same rules as spread spectrum systems. It also proposes to liminate the processing gain requirement for direct sequence spread spectrum systems, which will provide manufacturers with increased flexibility and regulatory certainty in the design of their products. FCC is taking these actions to facilitate the continued development and deployment of new wireless devices for businesses and consumers.

FCC's Complete Docket File on the Proposed Rulemaking currently contains more than 350 documents. In the dialog box you reach via this link, enter "99-231" in box 1, "Proceeding" and press the "Retrieve Document List" button at the bottom of the screen. This will bring up the complete list of documents on this issue -- happy reading!

For more information on this topic, see our OFDM page.

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FCC UWB Rulemaking

The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on May 10, 2000, to modify Part 15 Rules to allow license-free use of UWB transmitters. The public comment period ended October 27, 2000, but FCC is still allowing late comments. Following this step, FCC will respond to the comments and may issue a final rule, but there is no set time frame for when this will happen.

The key issue is the interference potential of unfettered UWB use with traditional weak signal radio services, such as GPS. Some UWB proponents argue that very brief UWB pulses will not cause significant interference. Others think that some forms of UWB will cause interference and believe that UWB emissions should not be allowed in any critical weak signal frequency, mainly those below 3 GHz.

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has issued a series of reports on UWB that address these issues. These reports have also been filed with the FCC for inclusion in the public record in their ongoing UWB proceeding, and will undoubtedly have an important impact on the FCC's UWB rulemaking. The reports are available in a variety of formats at the links below:

FCC's Complete Docket File on the Proposed Rulemaking to Amend Part 15 to permit UWB now contains more than 650 documents. In the dialog box you reach via this link, enter "98-153" in box 1, "Proceeding" and press the "Retrieve Document List" button at the bottom of the screen. This will bring up the complete list of documents, from the first FCC Notice of Inquiry to the most recently received comments. You can scroll through the list and view full text files from the FCC and a wide range of commenters including individuals, labor unions, other government agencies, and numerous corporations -- fascinating reading!

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Part 97 Amendment Proposed


Download Full Text of FCC NRPM WT 97-12 (~ 1.5 MB .pdf file)

WT Docket No. 97 -- The ARRL on December 12, 1995 asked the FCC for rulemaking to modify existing Part 97 Amateur Radio regulations on SS.


The American Radio Relay League, Incorporated (the League), the national association of amateur radio operators in the United States, respectfully requests that the Commission issue a Notice of Proposed Rule Making at an early date, looking toward the amendment of the Commission's Rules and Regulations regarding the Amateur Radio Service, in order to facilitate, to a greater extent than is done by the present rules, the contributions of the Amateur Service to the development of spread- spectrum communications.

The petition proposes
  1. to permit brief test transmissions using SS emissions;

  2. to permit international SS communications between United States' amateurs and amateurs in countries that permit amateur use of those emissions;

  3. deletion of unnecessary restrictions on spreading codes and repetitive definitions of "harmful interference", and

  4. to provide for automatic power control to insure use of minimum necessary power to conduct SS communications.

The League urges that the Commission propose and ultimately adopt these proposed rule changes. These are, in the League's opinion, the minimum changes necessary in order to foster SS experimentation in the Amateur Service, while at the same time preserving those necessary existing protections against those who might conceivably exploit the amateur bands for non-amateur purposes. Spread-spectrum techniques are in regular use in Part 15 applications, but have not been given the attention deserved in other communications systems, such as the land mobile services, as a means of increasing the efficiency of use of crowded shared bands. The Amateur Service regularly functions as a provider of refinements of new technologies and provides means of deployment of those technologies on a cost-effective basis. In order to permit the degree of flexibility in use of this technology in particular, the Commission should provide the necessary regulatory environment to do so. These rule changes represent a conservative, and yet functional approach to reform of SS rules.

View Full Text of ARRL Petition RM-8737

FCC Grants TAPR's Spread Spectrum STA!

Congress & FCC Stealing 2.3 GHz Ham Band!
Apple Computer's NII SuperNet Petition & Related Information

More Spectrum Proposed

FCC EXTRA: SS NRPM / ET Docket No. 96-8



-- ET Docket No. 96-102 (Report No. DC 96-36, Action in Docket Case) The Commission has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to make available 350 megahertz of spectrum at 5.15 - 5.35 GHz and 5.725 - 5.875 GHz for use by a new category of unlicensed equipment called NII/SUPERNet devices. Action by the Commission April 25, 1996, by NPRM (FCC 96-193). News Media contact: Rochelle Cohen at (202) 418- 0500. Office of Engineering and Technology contacts: Tom Derenge at (202) 418-2451 and Fred Thomas at (202) 418- 2449. [Internet file name: nret6007.txt]


NEWSReport No. DC 96-36       ACTION IN DOCKET CASE       April 25, 1996

NII/SUPERNet Devices Would Facilitate Interconnection to NII
(ET Docket No. 96-102)

The Commission has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to make available 350 megahertz of spectrum at 5.15 - 5.35 GHz and 5.725 - 5.875 GHz for use by a new category of unlicensed equipment called NII/SUPERNet devices. The Commission stated the proposed rules would foster the development of a broad range of new devices, stimulate the growth of new industries, and promote the ability of U.S. manufacturers to compete globally by enabling them to develop unlicensed digital products for the world market.

NII/SUPERNet devices would provide short-range, high-speed wireless digital information transfer and could support the creation of new wireless local area networks (LANs) as well as facilitate access to the National Information Infrastructure without the expense of wiring. These devices may further the universal service goals of the Telecommunications Act by offering classrooms, libraries, health care providers, and other users inexpensive networking alternatives which may access advanced telecommunications services.

To further promote technical and operational flexibility, the Commission has proposed to regulate NII/SUPERNet devices under Part 15 of the FCC rules. Unlicensed Part 15 status would facilitate spectrum reuse and provide protection to incumbent and proposed primary operations.

The Commission also has proposed only the minimum technical standards necessary to prevent interference to other unlicensed devices and incumbent services and to ensure that the spectrum is used efficiently. The proposed rules specify power limits, out-of-band emission limits, and a basic "listen-before-talk" protocol standard. The industry is encouraged to develop any additional protocol standards believed necessary.

The Commission initiated this proceeding in response to Petitions for Rule Making submitted by Wireless Information Networks Forum (WINForum) and Apple Computer, Inc.

- FCC -

Action by the Commission April 25, 1996, by Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FCC 96-193). Chairman Hundt, Commissioners Quello, Ness, and Chong, with Commissioner Ness issuing a statement.

News Media contact: Rochelle Cohen at (202) 418-0500.
Office of Engineering and Technology contacts: Tom Derenge at (202) 418-2451 and Fred Thomas at (202) 418-2449.


Re: Amendment of the Commission's Rules to Provide for Unlicensed NII/SUPERNet Operations in the 5 GHz Frequency Range

The rulemaking we are initiating forcefully demonstrates how wise spectrum management can deliver valuable new services to American homes, schools, businesses, and other institutions.

The radio spectrum is a precious national resource. Responsible stewardship of the spectrum is a primary mission of this Commission. As part of that stewardship, I believe setting aside some portion of the spectrum for shared, unlicensed use is of demonstrable benefit. Today's Notice heralds a new generation of unlicensed devices, with great potential for innovation, economic growth, and international trade.

Unlicensed devices include a growing array of products that improve the quality of life. Cordless telephones, garage door openers, security and alarm systems, electronic toys, and baby monitors are some of the most notable examples of unlicensed devices found in the home or in the car.

Unlicensed devices are also increasingly essential to businesses. Remote meter reading, medical patient monitoring, inventory control systems, and antipilferage systems are already widely deployed. Literally billions of dollars have already been invested in the development of unlicensed devices, and the benefits have been considerable.

But the future holds still greater promise.

Based on the WINForum and Apple Computer proposals which led us to initiate this rulemaking, I believe unlicensed devices using radio spectrum above 5 GHz can play a vital role in meeting established and incipient needs for communications offering mobility, flexibility, versatility, and economy.

Especially enticing are the prospects for wireless local area networks to connect classroom computers to each other -- and to the world beyond. Low-power radio technology can serve as a low-cost, high-bandwidth, on-ramp to the Information Superhighway for the leaders and workers of tomorrow. Such an application would be directly responsive to the wishes of Congress, as reflected in Sections 254(b)(6), 254(c)(3), 254(h)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Health care providers and their patients may also be among the main beneficiaries of this kind of technology.

What is more, unlicensed devices are consistent with the objectives of reinventing government. The costs, fees, and delays of licensing can be avoided; equipment authorization can be streamlined, reducing time to market. Minimal technical standards to prevent harmful interference can leave maximum opportunities for innovation. A modest enabling gesture by government can give dozens or even hundreds of entrepreneurs incentives to translate good ideas into useful products.

I am especially enthusiastic about the proposal tendered by WINForum for short-haul transmissions. The plan is sufficiently concrete that we can easily foresee how the promised benefits can be realized. The HIPERLAN experience proves the feasibility of spectrum sharing with mobile satellite services. International commonality maximizes the market base over which product development costs can be spread. Enabling simultaneous operation of multiple units at 24 Mbps will support computing, video, and multimedia applications, thereby meeting the needs of Information Age users.

I am also intrigued by the Apple long-haul proposal, which contemplates low-cost broadband links from homes to schools and libraries. It may also solve some of the special problems of providing broadband service in rural areas. The use of higher power levels, however, requires that we proceed more cautiously. How do we prevent interference to the wireless LANs and other low-power unlicensed devices that will be sharing the same frequencies? Also, at what point do the characteristics of a service make it more appropriate for provision on a licensed basis? These and other questions remain to be answered.

Because of the need for compatibility, I believe manufacturers of unlicensed products using shared frequency bands have strong marketplace incentives to develop a workable spectrum etiquette. As in the case of unlicensed PCS at 2 GHz, a spectrum etiquette may minimize the potential for interference while providing maximum flexibility for technological innovation and spectrum efficiency. I hope commenting parties will assist us in thinking through this issue.

Overall, I believe we are on a course that will bring substantial benefits, with no intrusive governmental intervention. This is responsible spectrum management -- and good public policy.

I look forward to completing this rulemaking expeditiously.

FCC NOPR on Part 15, February 5, 1996

On February 5, 1996 the FCC released ET Docket No. 96-8 (which is also known as FCC 96-36). This Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NRPM) is most important to the SS and Wireless industry.

Contained within this document are several FCC actions and recommendations on a number of Petitions for Rulemaking which have been submitted by a number of companies. Also included is the FCC's position on the future of SS and Part 15.247 rules. Specifically the FCC will do a number of things:

  1. Since this is still just an NRPM, all issues are open for comment until 75 days from the release date.

  2. The FCC specifically requests comments on a number of the proposed provisions and issues dealt with in this NRPM.

  3. The FCC will eliminate the limit on directional gain anttennas for the 5800 MHz ISM band [ref: Western Multiplex Petition].

  4. The FCC will reduce the required number of frequewncy hops from 50 to 25, in the 915 MHz ISM band [ref: SpectraLink Petition].

  5. The FCC denies the Petition of Symbol Technologies for an even further reduction in Frequency Hop requirements for 915 MHz.

  6. The FCC clarifies a number of important points and definitions for both DS and FH SS emissions.

  7. The FCC adopts a new procedure [Appendix C] "Guidance on Measurements for Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Systems."

  8. The FCC specifically OUTLAWS add-on Power Amplifiers AND after-market antennas for all SS equipment which is type accepted under Part 15.247!

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