Alaska Carrier Seeks Waiver of Power Restrictions for U-NII Devices in the 5.725-5.85 GHz Band

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The Office of Engineering and Technology seeks comment on Alaska Communications Internet, LLC’s (ACI) request for a waiver of rule section 15.407(a)(3) to allow the operation of unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices in the 5.725-5.85 GHz band that emit multiple directional beams at power levels that exceed the limits for point-to-multipoint systems. ACI asserts that it intends to provide broadband service to sparsely populated areas in Alaska and needs to use antennas with a higher gain than permitted to reach unserved customers within a 40-mile radius of Chena Hot Springs and Ninilchik from available towers. ACI also states that this increased range is necessary to meet its Connect America Fund Phase II broadband deployment commitment. The FCC’s rules permit U-NII devices in this band but limit the maximum conducted power output to one watt. If an antenna has a maximum directional gain of 6 dBi or greater, the power output must be reduced below one watt by the amount of antenna dB that exceeds 6 dBi. However, there is an exception to the power reduction rule for fixed point-to-point applications. Point-to-multipoint systems are explicitly excluded from this exception. ACI is seeking a waiver to operate point-to-multipoint systems under the power reduction exception that applies only to point-to-point systems. Comments are due by October 22, 2018, and reply comments are due November 6, 2018.

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