Unfortunately, not everything that happens in the wireless world lends itself to a pithy column. Sometimes, an item is incredibly dry, but incredibly important. This is one of those times. Therefore, even though Jack Webb never actually said “Just the facts, m'am” on any episode of Dragnet, here are just the facts about some recent FCC decisions:

  1. The FCC made significant changes to its license-transfer process, which were permitted by an order issued last year. Now, certain types of assignments can be granted overnight (no waivers, no other issues which require review, etc.), and as such, FCC Form 603 has been significantly re-written. Please take the time to review the FCC's public notice on these changes.

  2. The FCC has completed its audit of Part 22 and Part 90 paging licensees. For more information, visit http://wireless.fcc.gov/licensing/audits/paging/index.html.

  3. The FCC released its Report & Order in WT Doc. No. 03-264. This is the biennial review item dealing with both Parts 22 and 90. The commission took action to modify or delete quite a number of rules that apply to you, including a number of items that we had requested on behalf of PCIA. In the order, the FCC took action to:

  • modify its rules to classify a deletion of a frequency and/or transmitter site from a multi-site authorization under Part 90 as a minor modification. This means that these changes will no longer require frequency coordination.

  • retain the various references to ERP and EIRP in the rules.

  • eliminate the transmitter-specific posting requirement of Part 22 licensees.

  • eliminate Part 24 transmitter output power limits.

  • retain the frequency coordination requirement for incumbent licensees operating on 800 MHz General Category frequencies and for site-based 800 MHz General Category applications filed after 800 MHz rebanding.

  • conform the Emission Mask G to a modulation-independent mask that places no limitation on the spectral power density profile within the maximum authorized bandwidth.

  • eliminate Section 90.607(a), which required the filing of certain outdated supplemental information for 800 MHz licensees. You may remember that you used to be required to provide a “system diagram,” but the FCC hasn't required that in many years, even though the rule section remained.

  • eliminate the loading requirement and references to the “waiting list” in Section 90.631(d), and eliminate Section 90.631(i), which is no longer necessary because the 900 MHz specialized mobile radio (SMR) renewal period it references has long passed.

  • modify Section 90.635 to remove the distinction between urban and suburban sites when setting the maximum-power and antenna-height limits for conventional 800 MHz and 900 MHz systems. The FCC also eliminated the power limitations on systems with operational radii of less than 32 km.

  • eliminate Section 90.653, which specifies no limitation on the number of system authorizations a licensee may operate within a given geographic area.

  • eliminate Section 90.658, which provides that site-based licensees of trunked SMR systems must provide loading data in order to acquire additional channels or renew their authorizations. Since these licenses are issued via auction only, this section is not longer needed.

  • modify Section 90.693 to eliminate the necessity of incumbent 800 MHz SMR licensees filing notifications of minor modifications in certain circumstances. Please review the new rule section closely if you are an 800 MHz incumbent SMR licensee.

  • eliminate Section 90.737, which required the filing of supplemental progress reports for 220 MHz Phase I licensees. We all know that there's no progress there (OK, I managed to fit in a pithy comment).

In the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the proceeding, the FCC seeks comment on whether to:

  • implement a spectral density model to its radiated power rules.

  • further increase its radiated power limits.

  • specify radiated power as an average rather than as a peak.

  • apply the radiated power rule changes to other services.

If you are a Part 90 licensee, one or more of these changes apply to you. While the Report & Order is 65 pages long, you will be well advised to review the item, particularly with regard to the 800 MHz changes.


Alan Tilles is counsel to numerous entities in the private radio, Internet and entertainment industries. He is a partner in the law firm of Shulman Rogers Gandal Pordy & Ecker and can be reached at atilles@srgpe.com.