[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 101 (Friday, May 24, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 31472-31475]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-12484]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 27

[GN Docket No. 12-268; DA 13-1157]


Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Seeks To Supplement the Record 
on the 600 MHz Band Plan

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Commission's Wireless Telecommunications 
Bureau seeks further comment on how certain band plan approaches can 
best accommodate market variation, particularly in markets where 
available spectrum is constrained. Although the Commission continues to 
consider all band plan proposals in the record, this document seeks 
additional comment on certain variations of the ``Down from 51'' band 
plan framework in order to develop a more robust record on these 
concepts.

DATES: Submit comments on or before June 14, 2013. Submit reply 
comments on or before June 28, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., 
Washington, DC 20554. You may submit comments, identified by GN Docket 
No. 12-268, DA 13-1157, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request 
reasonable

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accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language 
interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: FCC504@fcc.gov or phone: (202) 418-
0530 or TTY: (202) 418-0432.
    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Malmud at 202-418-0006, or via 
email at Paul.Malmud@fcc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's 
supplemental public notice on the 600 MHz Band Plan, GN Docket No. 12-
268, DA 13-1157, released on May 17, 2013. The full text of this 
document is available for inspection and copying during normal business 
hours in the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th 
Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The complete text may 
be purchased from the Commission's duplicating contractor, Best Copy 
and Printing, Inc. (BCPI), Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-
B402, Washington, DC 20554, (202) 488-5300, facsimile (202) 488-5563, 
TTY (202) 488-5562, or via email at fcc@bcpiweb.com. The complete text 
is also available on the Commission's Web site at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachment/DA 13-1157A1doc. Alternative 
formats (computer diskette, large print, audio cassette, and Braille) 
are available by contacting Brian Millin at (202) 418-7426, TTY (202) 
418-7365, or via email to bmillin@fcc.gov.
    Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 
47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply 
comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this 
document. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic 
Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in 
Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
     Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.
     For ECFS filers, generally, only one copy of an electronic 
submission must be filed. If multiple docket or rulemaking numbers 
appear in the caption of the proceeding, commenters must transmit one 
electronic copy of the comments to each docket or rulemaking number 
referenced in the caption. In completing the transmittal screen, 
commenters should include their full name, U.S. Postal Service mailing 
address, and the applicable docket or rulemaking numbers. Parties may 
also submit an electronic comment by Internet email. To get filing 
instructions for email comments, commenters should send an email to 
ecfs@fcc.gov, and should include the following words in the body of the 
message, ``get form.'' A sample form and directions will be sent in 
reply.
     Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must 
file an original and four copies of each filing. If more than one 
docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, 
commenters must submit two additional copies for each additional docket 
or rulemaking number.
     Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by 
commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. 
Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's 
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 
445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.
     All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings 
for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 
445 12th Street SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing 
hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held 
together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must 
be disposed of before entering the building.
     Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service 
Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton 
Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
     U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority 
mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.
     Parties shall also serve one copy with the Commission's 
copy contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc. (BCPI), Portals II, 445 
12th Street SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, (202) 488-5300, or 
via email to fcc@bcpiweb.com.
     People with Disabilities. To request materials in 
accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, 
electronic files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or 
call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 
(voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).
     Availability of Documents. Comments, reply comments, and 
ex parte submissions will be available for public inspection during 
regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Federal 
Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., CY-A257, Washington, DC 
20554. These documents will also be available via ECFS. Documents will 
be available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe 
Acrobat.

Summary

I. Introduction

    1. In Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of 
Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions 77 FR 69934 November 21, 2012 
(NPRM), the Commission sought public comment on creating a 600 MHz 
wireless band plan from the spectrum made available for flexible use 
through the broadcast television incentive auction. The Commission 
identified five key policy goals that would provide the framework for 
adopting a wireless band plan: Utility, certainty, interchangeability, 
quantity and interoperability. The majority of commenters support many 
features of the proposed band plan framework that aim to achieve these 
goals, but express a broader range of views on how and where to 
configure the uplink and downlink blocks in the band plan. To evaluate 
and quantify the technical tradeoffs associated with configuring the 
uplink and downlink bands, the Commission hosted a public workshop. At 
the workshop, stakeholders discussed a variety of technical aspects to 
consider in creating a 600 MHz wireless band plan, including mobile 
antenna issues, harmonics interference, intermodulation, and high power 
services in the duplex gap.
    2. As discussed in the workshop, many stakeholders support the 
``Down from 51'' band plan proposal--or a variation of it--in which the 
Commission would clear broadcast television channels starting at 
channel 51 and expand downward: The uplink band would begin at channel 
51 (698 MHz), followed by a duplex gap, and then the downlink band. The 
workshop made clear that support for a Down from 51 band plan framework 
is primarily based on concerns over high power services in the duplex 
gap and antenna design issues.
    3. The Down from 51 proposals in the record generally limit the 
amount of market variation that can be achieved, however. Specifically, 
most of these proposals are targeted at repurposing a specific amount 
of paired spectrum nationwide, and provide limited options for how to 
offer less spectrum in constrained markets, or additional spectrum in 
individual markets, and only under certain scenarios. In the NPRM, the 
Commission expressed a strong interest in establishing a band

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plan framework that is flexible enough to accommodate market variation, 
i.e., offering varying amounts of spectrum in different geographic 
locations, depending on the spectrum available. Further, although the 
majority of commenters argue that the Commission should prioritize 
offering paired spectrum blocks over unpaired blocks, some variations 
of the Down from 51 band plan limit the amount of paired spectrum that 
can be offered. Under the policy framework set forth by the Commission, 
the Down from 51 approaches in the record appear to favor certainty of 
the operating environment over the utility of providing the maximum 
amount of spectrum through flexibility to offer a greater quantity of 
spectrum in geographic areas where more spectrum is available.
    4. In the NPRM, the Commission sought comment on a number of band 
plan proposals. Emphasizing its goals of balancing flexibility with 
certainty while maximizing the amount of spectrum we can make available 
for wireless broadband services in each geographic area, the Commission 
recognized that other band plans are possible that may achieve the 
Commission's goals. Consequently, the Commission sought comment on the 
band plan approaches described in the NPRM, any variations on those 
approaches, and also invited commenters to propose their own band 
plans. To advance the Commission's goal of maintaining flexibility to 
offer different amounts of spectrum in different geographic markets, we 
seek further comment on how certain Down from 51 band plan approaches 
can best address the potential for market variation, particularly in 
markets where available spectrum is constrained. Although the 
Commission continues to consider all band plan proposals in the record, 
we seek additional comment on certain variations of the Down from 51 
band plan, as described below, to develop a more robust record on these 
concepts. We invite commenters to discuss the relative merits of all of 
the band plan proposals and their variations in the record. Further, we 
also seek comment on which band plan other countries would be most 
likely to adopt to allow for global harmonization of the 600 MHz 
spectrum.

II. ``Down From 51 Reversed'' Band Plan Variation

    5. We seek comment on a variation of the Down from 51 band plan in 
which we reverse the configuration of the uplink and downlink blocks 
(``Down from 51 Reversed''). Under a Down from 51 Reversed band plan, 
the Commission would clear broadcast television channels starting at 
channel 51 and expand downward: the downlink band would begin after a 
guard band at channel 51 (698 MHz), followed by a duplex gap, and then 
the uplink band. The uplink band could extend past channel 37, either 
nationwide or in certain markets, depending on the amount of repurposed 
spectrum.
    6. As discussed in the NPRM, the Commission proposed a structure to 
keep the downlink spectrum band consistent nationwide while allowing 
variations in the amount of uplink spectrum available in any geographic 
area to promote interoperability and accommodate market variation. By 
reversing the uplink and downlink bands, the Down from 51 Reversed band 
plan framework can maintain a uniform downlink band nationwide and 
allow for market variation in the amount of uplink spectrum offered 
without placing high power services in the duplex gap.
    7. We seek comment on the Down from 51 Reversed band plan 
variation. Are there any special considerations or rules that would be 
necessary in implementing this approach? We also seek comment on 
technical issues associated with the Down from 51 Reversed band plan. 
Specifically, we request comment on how this band plan approach would 
affect the ability of wireless broadband providers to utilize the 600 
MHz band effectively, particularly in terms of network and device 
design. Further, we seek comment on whether the Down from 51 Reversed 
approach would provide greater flexibility with respect to market 
variation than other Down from 51 band plan proposals. We ask 
commenters to discuss the tradeoffs associated with accommodating 
market variation under the Down from 51 Reversed band plan and the 
other band plan proposals in the record.
    8. Guard Bands. Like other band plan proposals, in a Down from 51 
Reversed band plan, we must implement guard bands to ensure all 
spectrum blocks are as technically and functionally interchangeable as 
possible. Specifically, we would need to implement a guard band at the 
top of the 600 MHz wireless band between the 600 MHz downlink band and 
the lower 700 MHz uplink band to protect these services from 
interfering with one another. Similarly, we would need to implement a 
guard band at the lower end of the 600 MHz wireless band between the 
600 MHz uplink band and broadcast television stations. We seek comment 
on the appropriate size of the guard bands under this proposal.
    9. Channel 37. Under a Down from 51 Reversed band plan, it is 
possible that 600 MHz wireless operations could be adjacent to radio 
astronomy (RA) and wireless medical telemetry services (WMTS) 
operations in channel 37, conceivably on both sides, if the 600 MHz 
uplink band extends below channel 37. Would the Down from 51 Reversed 
band plan require additional measures to protect existing channel 37 
operations? If so, how would these measures affect the ability of 
wireless providers to utilize the adjacent spectrum? We also seek 
comment on a proposal to apply the spectral mask for TV white space 
devices (47 CFR 15.709(c)(4)) to prevent interference and protect 
existing channel 37 WMTS operations from interference if mobile uplink 
operations (rather than wireless downlink operations) are on both sides 
of channel 37. Further, in the event that the Commission can repurpose 
more than 84 megahertz of spectrum, yielding an uplink band that would 
extend below channel 37, wireless uplink operations will be both above 
and below channel 37. If this occurs, the duplex spacing for paired 
blocks with uplink blocks below channel 37 would be greater than for 
paired blocks with uplink blocks above channel 37 because wireless 
operations cannot operate on channel 37. We seek comment on the effects 
of this variable duplex spacing, and how this affects network and/or 
device design. We seek comment on other issues relating to existing 
channel 37 operations under the Down from 51 Reversed band plan 
approach.

III. Down From 51 With TV In the Duplex Gap In Constrained Markets

    10. We also seek comment on how the Commission should address 
constrained markets where less spectrum is available if it adopts a 
version of the Down from 51 band plan that has been more generally 
discussed in the record and the workshop, with the 600 MHz uplink band 
beginning at channel 51, adjacent to the 700 MHz band uplink band. 
Specifically, should the Commission place television stations in the 
duplex gap in more constrained markets? Although we recognize that some 
commenters have concerns about allowing high power services to operate 
in the duplex gap, is this less problematic if it occurs only in 
certain markets? As compared to a Down from 51 Reversed band plan, 
which alternative would allow the Commission to offer as many paired 
spectrum blocks as possible? Which band plan approach is preferable if 
the Commission decides to accommodate market variation?

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IV. Down From 51 TDD Approach

    11. In addition, we seek further comment on using a Down from 51 
band plan framework with unpaired TDD blocks (``Down from 51 TDD''). 
Under a Down from 51 TDD band plan, the band would begin after a guard 
band at channel 51 (698 MHz) and expand downward, followed by a guard 
band between wireless operations and broadcast television operations at 
the lower edge of the 600 MHz wireless band. As in the other Down from 
51 band plan proposals, the band could extend past channel 37, either 
nationwide or in certain markets, depending on the amount of repurposed 
spectrum, which may also require the Commission to protect existing 
channel 37 operations.
    12. Although the Down from 51 TDD band plan would require guard 
bands at both ends of the 600 MHz wireless band, no duplex gap is 
necessary. Further, the Down from 51 TDD band plan would allow for 
market variation without placing television stations in the duplex gap. 
Although a TDD band plan could not support market variation through 
variable uplink, it could support market variation through an 
alternative approach that aligns the amount of repurposed spectrum in 
constrained markets with the expected filter configurations.
    13. We seek additional comment on this Down from 51 TDD band plan. 
Specifically, we seek comment on the tradeoffs associated with 
implementing the Down from 51 TDD band plan as compared to the other 
Down from 51 band plan variations that also accommodate market 
variation. Which band plan provides the most flexibility while 
maintaining the best certainty about the operating environment?

V. Procedural Matters

    14. Ex Parte Presentations--Permit-But-Disclose Proceeding: This 
matter shall be treated as a ``permit-but-disclose'' proceeding in 
accordance with the ex parte rules. Persons making oral ex parte 
presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentations 
must contain summaries of the substance of the presentations and not 
merely a listing of the subjects discussed. More than a one- or two-
sentence description of the views and arguments presented generally is 
required. Other requirements pertaining to oral and written 
presentations are set forth in Sec.  1.1206(b) of the rules.
    15. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis: The NPRM in this 
proceeding included an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) 
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 603, exploring the potential impact of the 
Commission's proposal on small entities. The matters discussed in this 
notice do not modify in any way the IRFA we previously issued.

Federal Communications Commission.
Ruth Milkman,
Chief. Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.
[FR Doc. 2013-12484 Filed 5-23-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P