Unlicensed Devices and Wireless Microphones on FCC Radar

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The FCC has adopted two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) to deal with the anticipated loss of UHF spectrum, used by unlicensed White Spaces Devices (WSDs), unlicensed wireless microphones and licensed wireless microphones, as it prepares to reclaim and auction portions of the television broadcast band for commercial wireless applications.  Following the upcoming incentive auction, with the repacking of the television band and the repurposing of current television spectrum for wireless services, there will be fewer frequencies in the UHF band available for use by unlicensed fixed and personal/portable white space devices and wireless microphones.  In its Part 15 NPRM, the Commission is proposing to allow WSDs and unlicensed wireless microphones to operate within portions of the newly created guard bands that will separate newly auctioned reclaimed broadcast spectrum from the spectrum that will continue to be used for television broadcast services, as well as in the duplex gap that will separate upstream and downstream commercial traffic on spectrum that is auctioned.  Licensed wireless microphones would be permitted to operate on an separate portion of the duplex gap. Additionally, the Part 15 NPRM proposes to allow WSDs to operate on channel 37, which is currently used for medical telemetry and radio astronomy, and would relax adjacent channel restrictions and other technical requirements contained in the existing rules applicable to fixed WSDs and unlicensed wireless microphones, while still protecting licensed services from harmful interference from unlicensed devices. Finally, in the Wireless Microphone NPRM, the Commission seeks comment on revisions to existing rules that would improve performance and efficiency of microphone operations, as well as on possible additional spectrum bands that could be made available for licensed wireless microphone use.

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