Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved amendments to its rules regarding the 70 GHz, 80 GHz, and 90 GHz spectrum bands. These updates aim to facilitate easier access to broadband for waterborne and airborne vehicles, as well as to provide backhaul service for 5G. These changes are expected to promote more efficient use of the spectrum and open doors for innovative broadband service options.
The newly adopted Report and Order establishes fresh regulations and enhancements to the current rules for the 71–76 GHz, 81–86 GHz, 92–94 GHz, and 94.1–95 GHz bands. Noticeably, the regulations now permit point-to-point connections to moving endpoints in the 70 GHz and 80 GHz bands. This change is aimed at improving access to broadband services on both ships and aircraft.
In addition, there is now an allowance for the use of smaller, lower-cost antennas in the provision of backhaul services in both the 70 GHz and 80 GHz bands, which will likely expand the reach and usage of these bands. Furthermore, the Report and Order modifies the link registration process in the 70/80/90 GHz bands to mandate the certification of construction for registered links. This alteration is designed to heighten the precision of the link registration database and optimize the use of the spectrum.
Interestingly, the FCC also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that initiates a call for comments on adding a new type of link as part of maritime operations, as authorized in the recent Report and Order, along with the incorporation of Fixed Satellite Service earth stations in the light-licensing regime for the 70 GHz and 80 GHz bands.