Bennet & Bennet, PLLC

Posts Tagged ‘Licensing

WTB Stops Paper Authorizations – Looks to Save $304,000 Per Year

Posted on October 14, 2014

In 2013, the FCC printed and mailed out 451,072 paper antenna structure registrations and wireless licenses at a cost of nearly $304,000.  For this reason, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau of the FCC has announced that it will make changes to the Universal Licensing System (ULS) and Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) system by eliminating paper copies of authorizations, unless an entity notifies the Bureau that it wants to continue to receive paper copies.  After an interim test period, the Bureau will no longer automatically print and mail out paper copies of authorizations. Licensees and registrants will be able to access official electronic authorizations through the License Manager in ULS or the ASR Dashboard.  The Bureau is considering automatically sending official electronic authorizations via e-mail when an application or ASR has been approved and seeks comment on this proposal as well as its processes for continuing to provide options for parties that want to receive official paper authorizations.  Comments are due November 10, 2014.

Unlicensed Devices and Wireless Microphones on FCC Radar

Posted on October 1, 2014

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.

FCC Proposes to Further Streamline Satellite Licensing Rules

Posted on October 1, 2014

The FCC has issued a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to further streamline its satellite licensing rules by proposing rules that would make it easier to coordinate international satellite networks, eliminate the need to assess regulatory compliance with interim milestone requirements, revise bond requirements to deter spectrum warehousing, clarify the requirements for routine earth station licensing and simplify the process for routine earth station licensing.  Comments on the proposed rule changes will be due 45 days after the FNPRM has been published in the Federal Register (which has not yet occurred) and reply comments will be due 30 days later.

Application Fee Increases Go Into Effect July 3

Posted on June 5, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission adopted its Fiscal Year 2014 Application Fee Order on March 24, 2014.  The Order was published in the Federal Register on May 7, 2014.  Due to an error, the last page of the Order was not published at that time.  As a result, a correction was published in the Federal Register on June 3, 2014.  Based on this correction date, the effective date of FY 2014 Application Fees will be July 3, 2014 (30 days after publication of the correction).  The FY 2014 Fee Filing Guides for all the respective Bureaus will be posted at the “Application Processing Fees” link located at www.fcc.gov/fees before July 3, 2014.

 

License Eligibility Expanded for Wireless Microphones

Posted on May 16, 2014

The FCC has expanded licensing eligibility for certain classes of wireless microphone users, thereby allowing such users to receive interference protection from unlicensed white spaces devices that operate in the same frequency bands.  Traditionally, eligibility for wireless microphone licenses has been limited to broadcasters, cable television operators and certain motion picture productions.  However, unlicensed wireless microphone use has also grown exponentially as houses of worship, Broadway theaters, entertainers, and businesses have incorporated wireless microphones into their activities. Given that the amount of spectrum available for wireless microphones will be reduced substantially as broadcast spectrum is reclaimed and auctioned for commercial wireless voice and data services, the Commission’s action is designed to ensure that certain wireless microphone activities will continue to have priority use of the remaining spectrum that is shared with unlicensed users.  The Commission’s new rules will expand licensing eligibility to include professional sound companies and venues that routinely use 50 or more wireless microphones and where the use of wireless microphones is an integral part of the major productions or events they host.   These rule changes would for the first time expand licensing eligibility to venues such as the Broadway theater district and events such as Cirque du Soleil.

Net Neutrality, Wireless Mics, Incentive Auction, and Wireless Mobile Holdings Set for May Open Meeting

Posted on May 9, 2014

The FCC has released the final agenda for its next open meeting on Thursday, May 15, 2014.  It contains the following four items:

  • Net Neutrality: The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ remand of portions of the Commission’s 2010 Open Internet Order and proposing enforceable rules to protect and promote the open Internet.
  • Wireless Mics: The Commission will consider a Report and Order that provides a limited expansion to the class of wireless microphone users eligible for a license.
  • Incentive Auction: The Commission will consider a Report and Order that adopts key policies and rules for the broadcast television spectrum incentive auction, laying the groundwork for an unprecedented, market-driven process for repurposing spectrum for mobile broadband use, and promoting competition and innovation.
  • Mobile Spectrum Holdings: The Commission will consider a Report and Order that modifies the Commission’s policies and adopts rules regarding the aggregation of spectrum for mobile wireless services through initial licensing and secondary market transactions to preserve and promote competition.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m.  The meeting will be shown online at www.fcc.gov/live.

GAO Releases Wireless Buildout Requirements Report

Posted on April 1, 2014

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s use and enforcement of buildout requirements. The report: (1) describes the buildout requirements the FCC has established for wireless services; (2) assesses the extent to which the FCC follows its process to enforce those requirements; and (3) examines stakeholder opinions on the extent to which commonly cited goals of buildout requirements have been met. To research the report, GAO staff reviewed FCC regulations and guidance on buildout requirements and examined FCC license data on outcomes of buildout requirements. GAO also interviewed FCC officials, commercial spectrum licensees, industry associations, and spectrum policy experts. The report only reports on GAO’s findings; it does not include any recommendations.