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New Rules Will Maximize Unlicensed Access to Spectrum while Ensuring Licensed Services Are Protected from Harmful InterferenceFollowing the Incentive Auction

The Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report and Orderthat modernizes its Part 15 rules to accommodate growing demand for and encourage innovation in unlicenseduse. The new rules adopted today willpermit unlicensed fixed and personal/portable white space devices and unlicensed wireless microphones to use channels in the 600 MHz and television broadcast bands while continuing to protect television and other licensed services from harmful interference.

Unlicensed devices have grown from basic garage door openers and cordless phones to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies tothe“Internet of Things.”  The Commission’s Part 15 rules permit unlicenseddevices to operate on unused TV channels, the so-called “white space” spectrum. Following the upcoming incentive auction, there maybe fewer white space frequencies in the television band for use by suchdevices.

The Report and Order adopted today is designed to allow for more robust unlicensed use and to promotespectral efficiencyin the 600 MHz band.  Specifically the rules:

  • Permit more robust and efficient operation of fixedand personal/portable white space devices in television broadcast bands without increasing the risk of interference to broadcast services;
  • Provide technical parameters forfixed and personal/portable white space devices to operate in the 600 MHz band, including the duplex gap and guard bands,and channel 37 on a shared non-interference basis with medical telemetry and radio astronomy;
  • Permit sharing  of spectrum between white space devices and unlicensed microphones in the 600 MHz band;
  • Expand the location and frequency information in the white space databasesand update database procedures; and
  • Adopt transition periods for the certification, manufacturing and marketing of white space devices and wireless microphones that comply with new rules.

With today’s action, the Commission fulfills its commitment in the Incentive Auction Report and Order to provide nationwide access to spectrum for unlicensed use in the 600 MHz band.
Action by the Commission August 6, 2015 by Report and Order (FCC 15-99). Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel approving. Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly approving in part and concurring in part. Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai and O’Rielly issuing statements.

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