The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has asked for public comment regarding the possibility of permitting unlicensed transmitters to operate in additional frequency bands.
The Commission noted that under the current rules for unlicensed transmitters, a wide variety of devices have been developed and introduced for consumer and business use, including cordless telephones, home security systems, electronic toys, anti-pilfering and inventory control systems, and computer wireless local area networks.
Unlicensed transmitters may be operated under the provisions of Part 15 of the Commission’s Rules. Part 15 transmitters generally operate on frequencies shared with authorized services at relatively low power, levels and must operate on a non-interference basis.
The FCC believes that success of those rules shows that there could be significant benefits to the US economy, businesses and consumers in making additional spectrum available for unlicensed transmitters.
Specifically, the FCC is seeking comments on the feasibility of allowing unlicensed devices to operate in the TV broadcast spectrum and locations and times when spectrum is not being used. It also seeks comment on the feasibility of permitting unlicensed devices to operate in other bands, such as the 3650-3700 MHz band, at power levels higher than other unlicensed transmitters with only the minimal technical requirements necessary to prevent interference to licensed services.
The Commission noted that there have been significant advances in technology that may make it feasible to design new types of unlicensed devices that are able to share spectrum in the TV bands without causing interference to licensed services operating in those bands. Advances in computer technology make it possible to design equipment that could monitor the spectrum to detect frequencies already in use and ensure that transmissions only occur on open frequencies.
It added that the low cost of GPS equipment could allow a device to determine its location and use information from a database to determine whether there are any licensed operations in its vicinity. Equipment can be designed that is frequency agile, with the capability of changing frequency as needed to avoid interference to licensed users.