FCC July Open Meeting Focuses on Supply Chain Reimbursement and Radar Operations in the 60 GHz Band

The FCC released a light agenda for its next Commission Open Meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, July 13, 2021. The meeting will kick off by first considering a Third Report and Order (“Order”) to amend the agency’s rules for the Secure and Trusted Communications Network Reimbursement Program. The Order would expand eligibility for reimbursement to providers with ten million or fewer customers for the replacement of all equipment and services provided or produced by Huawei or ZTE obtained on or before June 30, 2020. The FCC will next consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that would propose revisions to the agency’s rules governing short range radar operations in the 57-71 GHz frequency band. The NPRM proposes technical rule changes that would aim to provide expanded operational flexibility to unlicensed field disturbance sensor (“FDS”)/radar devices that operate under section 15.255 of the Commission’s rules, while promoting compatibility with unlicensed and licensed devices operating in the 60 GHz band. The agency will also consider an NPRM updating the technical rules for radio broadcasters, and an Order mandating electronic filing for all International Bureau applications and filings. To close out the meeting, the FCC will consider an enforcement action.

You will find more information about the most significant items after the break:

Securing Communications Networks – The Third Report and Order would amend the FCC’s rules for the Secure and Trusted Communications Network Reimbursement Program, consistent with the guidance in the Consolidated Appropriations Act (“CAA”). As proposed in a February 2021 Third FNPRM, the Order would increase the eligibility cap for participation in the Reimbursement Program from providers with two million or fewer customers to providers with ten million or fewer customers, and would modify the equipment and services eligible for reimbursement to all communications equipment and services provided or produced by Huawei or ZTE. The Order would also establish June 30, 2020 as the date by which equipment and services must have been obtained to be eligible for reimbursement. Additionally, the Order would make several other changes to the Commission’s rules to align the prioritization scheme and definition of advanced communications service” with the CAA framework, and would clarify certain aspects of the Reimbursement Program rules.

Radar Sensing Technologies in the 60 GHz Band – The draft NPRM would recognize the recent technological advancements for FDS/radar devices and increased demand for unlicensed mobile radar operations in the 57-64 GHz portion of the 57-71 GHz band. It would therefore ease technical restrictions on the operation of unlicensed FDS/radar devices consistent with recent waivers while continuing to protect other unlicensed users of the 57-71 GHz band like WiGig wireless local area networking (“WLAN”) devices and outdoor fixed point-to-point communication links. The Office of Engineering and Technology (“OET”) has granted several waivers of Section 15.255 of the FCC’s rules for FDS/radar operations to operate at higher power levels without any reported cases of harmful interference, starting with the Google waiver in 2018 for short-range gesture sensing radars incorporated into phones and tablets.

Among other things, the NPRM would (1) allow all unlicensed FDS/radar devices to operate in the 57-64 GHz portion of the band at a maximum of 20 dBm average EIRP, 13 dBm/MHz average EIRP power spectral density, and 10 dBm transmitter conducted output power, along with a maximum 10% duty cycle restriction within any 33 ms interval; and (2) seek comment on whether the Commission could allow FDS/radar devices that use listen-before-talk, spectrum sensing or other similar methods of technical coexistence to operate across the entire 57-71 GHz band at the same power level (40 dBm EIRP) as is currently permitted for communications devices in the band.

Updating International Filing Requirements – The Order would modify the Commission’s rules to require electronic filing of all remaining applications or reports to the International Bureau previously requiring paper filing or alternative filing processes. Specifically, the Order would mandate the electronic filing of Section 325(c) applications, applications for International High Frequency Broadcast (“IHF”) Stations, and Dominant Carrier Section 63.10(c) Quarterly Reports. It would also remove a duplicate paper filing requirement for satellite cost-recovery declarations. With this Order, all applications and filings to the International Bureau would require electronic filing in the International Bureau Filing System (“IBFS”).