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25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
A series of posts describing how this all came about. (Click on picture above)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Biennial Review: Your Blogger's Proposals

Previously we have written about the FCC's biennial review process and encouraged readers to get involved. Perhaps everyone was distracted by the election, but not much has been filed.

To simplify things for the FCC staff, the public notice announcing requests for input on the biennial review assigned different docket numbers to each bureau. The table below gives the responses to each bureau:

Note: some filings were submitted in multiple dockets

Note that nothing is given for the Media Bureau because they are never mentioned in the PN. Apparently this is because FCC took a narrow interpretation of 47 USC 161 and what is meant by " any provider of telecommunications service". Perhaps they concluded that nothing in either Part 73 or Part 74 is a "telecommunications service"? If so this is odd because the attachment to the PN clearly shows that Part 18 (which regulates microwave overs and other ISM equipment) was included in the context of review. A call to a senior manager in MB to ask about this was not returned. MB may be too busy with the DTV transition to get involved in this matter mandated by law.

Your blogger's consulting arm, submitted its own proposals to both OET and WTB. These proposals deal with two issues: Unintentional emissions by receivers and out-of-band emission (OOBE) regulations.

In the receiver emission area, it points out that under the present §15.101(a) only “those receivers that operate (tune) within the frequency range of 30-960 MHz, CB receivers and radar detectors” are subject to a priori emission standards. When this basic provision was written decades ago, it was unlikely that consumer equipment would ever operate above 960 MHz. However, a visit to a consumer electronics store will find dozens of consumer products that send or receive above 960 MHz including PCS and 3G/AWS cell phones, GPS receivers, DBS (e.g. DirecTV), SDARS (e.g. XM/Sirius), Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. As often happens FCC rules have not kept up with the times.

If you say FCC can always address this issue when there is a problem consider this: The radar detector clause in §15.101(a) was added in Docket 01-278 in response to complaints that consumer police radar detectors were interfering with 12 GHz VSAT receivers. What the FCC documents in that proceeding do not acknowledge is that FCC knew about this problem for more than a decade and failed to act until the crescendo of complaints forced them to. This is related to my previous "buying IBM" posting.

The filing urges FCC to adopt one of several possible approaches to either prevent receiver emissions from causing harmful interference or that would allow it to act more quickly if it happened.

The other issue deals with OOBE regulation. It reviews various sections of the FCC rules dealing with OOBE and points out various ambiguities in many of them with respect to issues such as measurement bandwidth and what power the emission limit is referenced to (carrier power or total power). These ambiguities did not exist when all emissions were analog, but are a result of changes to the rules to allow digital emissions that were done at different times and in inconsistent ways. It urges a resolution of these ambiguities on a slow and deliberate basis.

Readers are urged to review these issues and comment to FCC on their viewpoints.

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