[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 10 (Wednesday, January 15, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 2615-2631]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-31203]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Parts 22, 24, 27, 87, and 90

[WT Docket No. 13-301; FCC 13-157]


Expanding Access to Mobile Wireless Services Onboard Aircraft

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the Commission 
proposes to revise outdated rules and adopt consistent new rules 
governing mobile communications services aboard airborne aircraft. 
These rule changes would give airlines, subject to applicable Federal 
Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Transportation (DoT) 
rules, the choice of whether to enable mobile communications services 
using an Airborne Access System and, if so, which specific services to 
enable. The proposed rules would also replace an existing patchwork of 
regulatory prohibitions on airborne use of mobile services in some, but 
not all, of the heavily used mobile wireless bands with a consistent 
regulatory framework that explicitly forbids airborne use of mobile 
services in those bands unless they are operating on an aircraft 
equipped with an Airborne Access System.

DATES: Submit comments on or before February 14, 2014. Submit reply 
comments on or before March 17, 2014. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) 
comments should be submitted March 17, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by WT Docket No. 13-301 
or FCC 13-157, by any of the following methods:
    [ssquf] Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting 
comments.
    [ssquf] Mail: FCC Headquarters, 445 12th St. SW., Washington, DC 
20554.
    [ssquf] In addition to filing comments with the Secretary, a copy 
of any comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act information collection 
requirements contained herein should be submitted to the Federal 
Communications Commission via email to PRA@fcc.gov and to Nicholas A. 
Fraser, Office of Management and Budget, via email to Nicholas_A._Fraser@omb.eop.gov.
    [ssquf] People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request 
reasonable 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: Amanda Huetinck of the Mobility 
Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, at (202) 418-7090 or 
Amanda.Huetinck@fcc.gov. For additional information concerning the 
Paperwork Reduction Act information collection requirements contained 
in this document, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918, or via the 
Internet at PRA@fcc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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).
    [ssquf] Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.
    [ssquf] Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file 
an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or 
rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers 
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.
    [ssquf] All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for 
the

[[Page 2616]]

Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 
12th St. 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.
    [ssquf] 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.
    [ssquf] U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail 
must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.
    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).
    This NPRM seeks comment on a potential new or revised information 
collection requirement. If the Commission adopts any new or revised 
information collection requirement, the Commission will publish a 
notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to comment on the 
requirement, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public 
Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). In addition, pursuant to the Small 
Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 
U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission seeks specific comment on how it 
might ``further reduce the information collection burden for small 
business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.''

Synopsis

I. Introduction and Background

    1. By this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), we propose to 
revise outdated rules and adopt consistent new rules governing mobile 
communications services aboard airborne aircraft. These rule changes 
would give airlines, subject to applicable Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA) and Department of Transportation (DoT) rules, the 
choice of whether to enable mobile communications services using an 
Airborne Access System and, if so, which specific services to enable. 
The draft rules would also replace an existing patchwork of regulatory 
prohibitions on airborne use of mobile services in some, but not all, 
of the heavily used mobile bands with a consistent regulatory framework 
that explicitly forbids airborne use of mobile services in those bands 
unless they are operating on an aircraft equipped with an Airborne 
Access System. If adopted, the rule changes would reduce consumer 
confusion, increase protection against harmful interference, improve 
administrative efficiency, and facilitate expanded access to broadband 
services in flight. Additionally, while many airlines offer in-flight 
Wi-Fi broadband services, the proposals in this NPRM would give 
airlines the option to allow consumers to access broadband services 
when airborne through their existing wireless service providers, just 
as they would on the ground. The NPRM does not propose to mandate that 
airlines permit any new airborne mobile services. It does, however, 
provide a path for interested airlines to authorize increased consumer 
access to airborne mobile broadband services across licensed commercial 
mobile spectrum bands in a safe, non-interfering manner.
    2. In recent years, air carriers have been enhancing their in-
flight communications service offerings to meet the increasing consumer 
demand for broadband connectivity on aircraft. One study predicts that 
the number of aircraft offering wireless connectivity will reach 4,048 
by the end of 2013 (representing 21 percent of the global fleet), and 
will rise to 14,000 by 2022 (a 50 percent connectivity penetration in 
commercial aircraft). This study also projects that approximately 5,000 
of these aircraft will offer both Wi-Fi and cellular options. According 
to one survey of adult airline passengers, 69 percent of airline 
passengers that brought a portable electronic device (PED)--such as a 
tablet or smartphone--onto an aircraft in the past 12 months reported 
that they used their devices during flight. The report did not 
distinguish between transmitting PEDs and non-transmitting PEDs. Also, 
notably, in October 2013, the FAA announced that, after performing 
recommended assessments and tests, airlines could safely expand 
passenger use of PEDs during all phases of flight.
    3. Internationally, more than forty jurisdictions, including the 
European Union (EU), Asia, and Australia, have authorized the use of 
mobile communications services on aircraft. To the best of our 
knowledge, these services have successfully operated without causing 
harmful interference to terrestrial commercial wireless networks. 
(Throughout the NPRM we refer to networks primarily providing ground-
based network services as ``terrestrial'' networks or licensees. This 
colloquial usage is not intended to invoke technical meanings of the 
term ``terrestrial'' that may be familiar in other regulatory (e.g., 
FCC or International Telecommunication Union) contexts.) Given the 
rapidly expanding demand for mobile broadband services, our recent 
efforts to improve consumers' access to broadband services on aircraft, 
and the successful deployment of mobile communications services on 
aircraft in numerous other countries, we find that it is in the public 
interest to bring the benefits of mobile communications services on 
aircraft to domestic consumers. Specifically, we propose to:
    (1) Remove existing, narrow restrictions on airborne use of mobile 
devices in the 800 MHz cellular and Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) 
bands, replacing them with a more comprehensive framework encompassing 
access to mobile communications services in all mobile wireless bands;
    (2) Harmonize regulations governing the operation of mobile devices 
on airborne aircraft across all commercial mobile spectrum bands; \1\
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    \1\ For purposes of this Notice, ``commercial mobile spectrum 
bands'' include: (1) the 800 MHz cellular band (824-849 and 869-894 
MHz); (2) SMR spectrum within the bands (806-824 and 851-869 MHz and 
896-901 and 935-940 MHz); (3) the Broadband Personal Communications 
Service (PCS) band (1850-1915 and 1930-1995 MHz); (4) 700 MHz band 
(698-757 and 775-787 MHz); (5) the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) 
band (1710-1755 and 2110-2155 MHz); (6) the Wireless Communications 
Service (WCS) band (2305-2320 and 2345-2360 MHz); and AWS-4 (2000-
2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz). We would expect to add other spectrum 
bands if and when they are allocated for commercial mobile broadband 
use.
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    (3) Add the authority to provide mobile communications services on 
airborne aircraft across all commercial mobile spectrum bands to 
existing part 87 aircraft station licenses;
    (4) Allow mobile communications services on airborne aircraft only 
if managed by an Airborne Access System certified by the FAA, which 
would control the emissions of onboard PEDs by requiring them to remain 
at or near their lowest transmitting power level;
    (5) Limit authorization for mobile communications services to 
aircraft travelling at altitudes of more than 3,048 meters 
(approximately 10,000 feet) above the ground;
    (6) We also seek comment on alternative authorization frameworks, 
the potential impact of these proposals on public safety and national 
security, and issues related to the use of voice services onboard 
aircraft.
    4. Consistent with our continued efforts to increase consumer 
access to broadband and the FAA's recent actions, this proposal would 
provide airlines with the technological tools to

[[Page 2617]]

offer additional in-cabin communications services to their passengers 
at their discretion. Our proposal is focused on data services, but it 
is technology-neutral; we do not propose to limit the use of mobile 
communications services on airborne aircraft to non-voice applications. 
Deployment of such services, including etiquette and other rules, would 
be at the discretion of individual airlines, within the context of any 
rules or guidelines established by the FAA or DoT.

A. FCC Regulations Limiting Airborne Mobile Use

    5. Commission rules governing the use of airborne mobile devices 
vary significantly among services. Specifically, airborne use of the 
800 MHz cellular band is prohibited and airborne use of the 800 MHz SMR 
band is prohibited on aircraft that typically fly at altitudes over one 
mile. There are no such restrictions on airborne use of the AWS, PCS, 
WCS, 700 MHz, or AWS-4 bands. As noted above resolving these 
inconsistencies is one of the primary goals of this proceeding.
    6. Part 22 of the Commission's rules prohibits the airborne use of 
800 MHz cellular telephones, including the use of such phones on 
commercial and private aircraft. This prohibition was adopted in 1991 
to guard against the threat of harmful interference from airborne use 
of cellular phones to terrestrial cellular networks. The Commission's 
prohibition was not to ensure interference-free operation of avionics 
equipment. When the prohibition was adopted, the Commission noted that 
a cellular telephone used onboard an airborne aircraft would have 
greater range than a land-based handset, and its signal would be 
received by multiple terrestrial cell sites in a given market, causing 
harmful interference. Moreover, the Commission found that because a 
cellular telephone can transmit on all assigned 800 MHz cellular 
frequencies, a single handset could interfere with cellular systems in 
multiple cellular market areas simultaneously. Thus, the Commission 
concluded that ``the need for noninterference in all cellular 
transmissions outweighs the benefits that would be realized by allowing 
the public to use cellular service in airborne aircraft.''
    7. Similarly, the part 90 rules restrict the use of SMR handsets 
while airborne in certain circumstances. The altitude restriction in 
Sec.  90.423 prohibits operations on aircraft that are regularly flown 
at altitudes at one mile or above and, consequently, essentially bans 
part 90 land mobile radio use on commercial airline flights. These 
rules were enacted to prevent harmful interference with land-based 
operations by the use of land mobile frequencies aboard high-flying 
aircraft, especially aircraft operated by scheduled passenger airlines. 
The rules governing all other commercial mobile spectrum bands are 
silent with regard to airborne operations.

B. 2004 Airborne Mobile NPRM

    8. On December 15, 2004, the Commission adopted the Airborne Mobile 
NPRM, in which it proposed to relax or replace the parts 22 and 90 
restrictions on airborne use of cellular mobile handsets. The Airborne 
Mobile NPRM also included several proposals to facilitate the use of 
wireless devices onboard airborne aircraft, including those used for 
broadband applications. Overall, the proposals were intended to 
minimize the potential for harmful interference to terrestrial systems 
while providing maximum flexibility to wireless telecommunications 
carriers seeking to address consumer demand for air-ground 
connectivity.
    9. Notably, the Airborne Mobile NPRM proposed to require onboard 
use of picocells to prevent harmful interference to terrestrial mobile 
networks. Under this proposal, airborne picocells would have been used 
to manage the power levels of mobile handsets onboard aircraft to 
ensure that they operated at or near their minimum power levels. The 
Airborne Mobile NPRM also sought comment on whether this proposal 
should be applied to only the 800 MHz cellular spectrum covered by the 
current part 22 rule, or whether the picocell requirement should be 
expanded to include handsets and devices operating on spectrum bands 
under parts 24, 27, or 90.
    10. The Commission received more than 8,000 submissions in the 
docket. However, few of the commenters provided requested technical 
analyses. Citing the insufficiency of the technical record and finding 
that it would be premature to decide the issues presented in the 
Airborne Mobile NPRM without additional information, the Commission 
terminated the proceeding on March 28, 2007. The Commission, however, 
left open the possibility of revisiting the issues raised in this 
proceeding, should new technical information become available.

C. International Developments

    11. Since the Commission issued the Airborne Mobile Termination 
Order in 2007, numerous foreign communications administrations have 
issued regulations that have successfully allowed the non-interfering 
use of mobile communications services on airborne aircraft utilizing 
Airborne Access Systems.
    12. Most notably, in 2008, the European Commission (EC) mandated 
that EU member countries allocate the 1800 MHz band, which utilizes 
Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology, above 3,000 
meters for mobile communications onboard aircraft (MCA). The EC issued 
its Decision following a Report and a Decision from the Electronic 
Communications Committee (ECC) of the EU's European Conference of 
Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT). CEPT MCA Report 
16 found that operating an Airborne Access System-based mobile 
communications system above 3,000 meters above ground level prevents 
harmful interference to ground-based mobile networks (in all studied 
bands in which the onboard mobile terminals would be capable of 
transmitting).
    13. Pursuant to the EC Decision, the communications administrations 
of all twenty-seven EU member states subsequently created licensing 
mechanisms for airborne mobile services in their individual 
jurisdictions. On November 14, 2013, the EC issued a new decision 
modifying the existing EC Decision in order to allow for additional 
frequency ranges and technologies, such as UMTS and LTE, to be used in 
aircraft. Prior to this Decision, CEPT issued a Report on the technical 
aspects of adding these new frequencies and technologies.
    14. Outside of the United States, two third-party providers, OnAir 
and AeroMobile Communications Ltd. (AeroMobile), currently offer mobile 
communications services on airborne aircraft. OnAir provides such 
third-party services to airlines including British Airways, Emirates, 
and Royal Jordanian, while AeroMobile provides such third-party 
services to airlines including Emirates, SAS, and Virgin Atlantic. 
According to OnAir, approximately eighty countries across Europe, the 
Middle East, North Africa, Asia Pacific, North America, and Latin 
America have authorized the use of its service. As of May 2012, at 
least one foreign air carrier, Virgin Atlantic, has installed and is 
operating a system to provide mobile communications services on some 
aircraft on transatlantic flights from the United Kingdom to the United 
States.
    15. We are not aware of any reported cases of harmful interference 
to terrestrial systems stemming from the use of Airborne Access Systems 
since airlines began offering mobile communications services on 
airborne

[[Page 2618]]

aircraft. In response to an FAA inquiry regarding the use of PEDs 
during flight, Panasonic stated that since deployment of the eXPhone 
system--a system for providing mobile communications services on 
aircraft--there has been no harmful interference to aircraft systems or 
terrestrial networks, nor have there been any system failures. In 
comments filed by AeroMobile in the same proceeding, AeroMobile stated 
that it has operated its Airborne Access Systems since 2008 without any 
reported instances of harmful interference to avionics or other 
aircraft systems, or to terrestrial mobile networks.

D. Current FCC Authorization of Airborne Broadband Access

    16. The Commission first paved the way for in-flight voice and data 
services in 1990 when it allocated four megahertz of spectrum for 
commercial Air-Ground Radiotelephone Service. This led to the 
deployment of service offered via seat-back phones in many commercial 
aircraft. Additionally, in 1998, the Commission granted to AirCell, 
Inc. (AirCell) a waiver of Sec.  22.925's airborne cellular prohibition 
to allow AirCell to use cellular frequencies for in-flight 
communication using specially designed equipment. In 2005, the 
Commission reconfigured the 800 MHz Air-Ground Radiotelephone Service 
to facilitate the provision of broadband service to passengers aboard 
aircraft. After that, companies began to offer Wi-Fi using unlicensed 
spectrum on aircraft along with an air-to-ground link.
    17. In addition to the 800 MHz Air-Ground band, satellite spectrum 
also has been used as an air-to-ground link. The L-band Mobile 
Satellite Service (MSS) has been used to provide data service to and 
from aircraft since the 1990s. Beginning in 2001, the Commission 
authorized, on an ad hoc basis, the use of earth stations aboard 
aircraft (ESAA) communicating with Ku-band geosynchronous orbit (GSO) 
Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) space stations to provide connectivity to 
airborne aircraft. In December 2012, the Commission adopted service and 
technical rules for ESAA operations to formalize ESAA as a means of 
providing in-flight broadband services to passengers and flight crews 
aboard commercial airliners and private aircraft (in conjunction with 
in-cabin Wi-Fi).
    18. The Commission recently has taken further action to expand 
access to broadband services onboard aircraft and improve the quality 
of services offered. Notably, on March 29, 2013, the Wireless 
Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) granted Gogo's request of a waiver of 
Sec.  22.853 of the Commission's rules to allow the assignment of one 
megahertz of LiveTV Inc.'s licensed nationwide 800 MHz Air-Ground 
Radiotelephone Service license to Gogo. Gogo now has access to all four 
megahertz of nationwide 800 MHz Air-Ground spectrum, which Gogo asserts 
is necessary to provide the full array of high-speed wireless 
communications services that consumers expect.
    19. The Commission also has released a Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking that proposes to establish a new air-ground mobile broadband 
service in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band. The new service will operate on a 
secondary, non-interference basis with FSS Earth-to-space 
communications. If the rules proposed in that proceeding are adopted, 
the new service would significantly increase the capacity available to 
aircraft for broadband backhaul.

E. Other Federal Government Actions

    20. In January 2013, the FAA Administrator established the PED 
Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) in order to provide a forum for the 
U.S. aviation community and PED manufacturers to review comments 
received from the FAA's Notice of Policy/Request for Comments regarding 
PED policy and guidance. The ARC was tasked to make recommendations to 
further clarify and provide guidance on allowing additional passenger 
PED usage without compromising the continued safe operation of the 
aircraft. The ARC transmitted its report to the FAA Administrator on 
September 30, 2013, and the FAA released the report publicly on October 
31, 2013.
    21. The ARC concluded that most commercial airplanes can tolerate 
radio interference signals from PEDs. However, PEDs with cellular 
capabilities must disable those capabilities during flight. The ARC 
recommended that, subject to this condition, PEDs be permitted to 
operate ``gate-to-gate'' provided that the airline operators and 
aircraft manufacturers certify their aircraft to demonstrate 
``tolerance'' of emissions from PEDs. While cell phones were excluded 
from the scope of the ARC Report, the ARC did recommend that the FAA 
consult with the Commission to review our current rules. On October 31, 
2013, the FAA announced that, based on the ARC Report, it had 
determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of PEDs during 
all phases of flight and provided airlines with implementation 
guidelines.

II. Discussion

    22. In the six years since the Commission issued the Airborne 
Mobile Termination Order, the mobile communications landscape has 
undergone a series of dramatic changes. Global mobile data traffic 
increased by 70 percent from 2011 to 2012 and, driven by widespread 
adoption of smartphones, tablets, and other high data use devices, it 
is projected to increase thirteen-fold by 2017. Consumers are ever more 
dependent on reliable high speed connectivity for these devices for 
personal communications, business, and entertainment. Moreover, as 
noted, numerous international administrations have adopted rules for 
the safe, non-interfering use of mobile services on airborne aircraft 
utilizing Airborne Access Systems. The successful widespread 
international adoption of these systems demonstrates the technical 
viability of mobile communications services on airborne aircraft today.
    23. In light of the increasing demand for mobile communications 
services on airborne aircraft and widespread confirmation of its 
technical viability, we propose to revise our rules to enable domestic 
and international travelers to access mobile services onboard aircraft 
flying in U.S. airspace. To that end, we propose to: (1) Remove 
existing Commission restrictions on airborne use of mobile devices in 
the 800 MHz cellular and 800 MHz SMR bands; (2) harmonize regulations 
governing the operation of mobile devices on airborne aircraft across 
all commercial mobile spectrum bands; and (3) implement a comprehensive 
licensing and regulatory framework to facilitate access to mobile 
communications services on aircraft. These proposals are consistent 
with our longstanding commitment to facilitate universal broadband 
access, promote investment and innovation, and encourage efficient, 
flexible use of spectrum. We seek comment on these proposals.
    24. The proposals in this NPRM would also require airlines to 
install Airborne Access Systems if they choose to provide mobile 
communications services on airborne aircraft. As described below, the 
Airborne Access System incorporates hardware and software to enable the 
provision of service and to manage services onboard the aircraft. In 
practice, the system would connect wireless devices on the aircraft 
operating on licensed wireless frequencies to a terrestrial network via 
satellite or air-ground links. While business models may vary, under 
one

[[Page 2619]]

model, passengers on a flight with an Airborne Access System would be 
able to access the wireless service to which they subscribe when above 
3,048 meters (10,000 feet) through the Airborne Access System, and 
would be billed for the service directly by their service provider.
    25. In this NPRM, we also seek comment on the alternative licensing 
and regulatory frameworks for the provision of mobile communications 
services on airborne aircraft, the potential impact of these proposals 
on public safety and national security, and any potential operational 
issues related to the use of mobile services, including voice, onboard 
aircraft. We are committed to working closely with other federal 
agencies that have expertise and may have more appropriate jurisdiction 
over some of these operational areas.
    26. Throughout the NPRM, where we seek comment on the costs and 
benefits of a proposal, we ask that commenters take into account costs 
and benefits that result from the implementation of the particular 
rules that could be adopted, including any proposed requirement or 
potential alternative requirement. Further, to the extent possible, 
commenters should provide specific data and information, such as actual 
or estimated dollar figures for each specific cost or benefit 
addressed, including a description of how the data or information was 
calculated or obtained, and any supporting documentation or other 
evidentiary support.

A. Changes to Current Rules Restricting Airborne Mobile Broadband Use

    27. As an initial matter, we propose to remove or modify the 
current restrictions on airborne mobile operations in parts 22 and 90 
of the Commission's rules. We propose to replace these restrictions 
with references to a revised authorization regime under part 87 of the 
Commission's rules that would allow aircraft station licensees to 
provide mobile communications services using an Airborne Access System. 
We seek comment on whether, in light of the proposals set forth herein 
and recent technological advances, these restrictions remain necessary 
to prevent harmful interference to terrestrial mobile networks.
    28. We also propose to add cross references to the new part 87 
airborne mobile service authorization to parts 22, 24, 27, and 90 as 
set forth in this NPRM. (This proceeding does not address paging 
services authorized under part 22 of the Commission's rules. This NPRM 
is primarily concerned with facilitating the deployment of airborne 
mobile broadband services and, as such, paging services are beyond the 
scope of this proposal.) We propose to make the rules governing 
airborne mobile service consistent across all commercial mobile 
spectrum bands, thereby reducing confusion, improving administrative 
efficiency, and promoting Airborne Access System measures that will 
permit the provision of mobile communications services on aircraft 
across all commercial mobile spectrum bands. We seek comment on these 
proposals. Parties that oppose the removal of the extant bans or the 
harmonization of airborne mobile access rules should provide detailed 
technical and legal analyses to support their positions.

B. Airborne Access Systems

1. Potential Harmful Interference From Uncontrolled Airborne Mobile 
Devices
    29. Mobile devices typically connect to a wireless network through 
the nearest cell site that can serve the device. As the distance 
between the devices and cell sites increases, signals are attenuated by 
terrain and obstacles such as buildings, and blocked by the curvature 
of the earth. However, an uncontrolled wireless device on an airborne 
aircraft could potentially cause co-channel interference at multiple 
cell sites. This is because, even though the airborne wireless signal 
becomes weaker with increasing height above the ground, unlike the 
terrestrial case, it is not attenuated by terrain and obstacles, and it 
is not affected by the curvature of the earth. Thus, the signal from an 
airborne handset with an unobstructed line of sight may remain 
sufficiently strong as the device attempts to access multiple 
terrestrial sites, causing harmful interference or other undesirable 
effects to terrestrial systems. We concur with the conclusions in the 
CEPT MCA Reports that interactions between mobile terminals onboard 
aircraft and terrestrial mobile networks are possible unless managed 
properly. Unmanaged airborne mobile devices will attempt to connect and 
in some cases will succeed in temporarily connecting to a terrestrial 
system, causing harmful interference and disruption to the system it is 
connected to and to surrounding systems.
2. Benefits of Airborne Access Systems
    30. As set forth above, the current parts 22 and 90 prohibitions on 
mobile communications services on aircraft were designed to guard 
against the threat of harmful interference from airborne use of mobile 
devices to terrestrial wireless networks. Airborne Access Systems are 
used to minimize the potential for airborne wireless devices 
interfering with terrestrial networks. The most common Airborne Access 
System in use internationally today consists of an airborne picocell 
and a network control unit (NCU). In effect, an airborne picocell is a 
low power base station transceiver installed in the aircraft for the 
purpose of communicating with (and controlling the operations of) 
mobile handsets or other transmitting electronic devices onboard an 
aircraft. The picocell controls the power levels of all transmitting 
mobile broadband devices operating onboard aircraft, keeping them at or 
near their minimum output power. A picocell is analogous to an in-
building distributed antenna system (like those used in large 
buildings, malls, etc.) for use in the aircraft. The signal travels 
from the handset to the picocell, which then relays the call to the 
ground via a separate air-ground link, e.g., via a satellite band or 
the 800 MHz Air-Ground band, after which it can be transferred to the 
terrestrial network. In addition, the NCU raises the noise floor within 
the cabin to prevent devices from attempting to communicate with 
terrestrial networks. Under the rules proposed below, terrestrial 
service providers and aircraft station licensees would be permitted to 
negotiate commercial agreements to facilitate access to terrestrial 
networks. We note that for the Airborne Access Systems to effectively 
prevent cell phones that have the capability to operate outside the 
network from attempting to communicate with terrestrial networks and 
prevent potential interference to avionics, the noise floor likely 
would have to be raised onboard aircraft in all commercial mobile 
spectrum bands. We seek comment on whether airline passengers would be 
capable of accessing broadband services onboard aircraft over 
commercial mobile spectrum bands absent an agreement between their 
terrestrial mobile service provider and the aircraft station licensee.
    31. Used in this manner, Airborne Access Systems appear to be an 
effective means of providing airline passengers with mobile broadband 
connectivity, while preventing harmful interference to terrestrial 
wireless networks. Indeed, as noted above, Airborne Access Systems are 
used to provide mobile broadband connectivity on flights in Europe and 
Asia. To date, we are unaware of any instances of harmful interference 
to terrestrial systems

[[Page 2620]]

resulting from the use of PEDs in conjunction with an Airborne Access 
System on airborne aircraft. While these international systems 
primarily utilize GSM technology, such use also is now permissible with 
other mobile technologies such as CDMA and LTE. We seek comment on the 
use of non-GSM mobile technologies onboard aircraft and ask commenters 
to submit technical analyses and studies to support their arguments. We 
also seek comment on whether the potential for harmful interference to 
terrestrial networks could vary depending on how heavily Airborne 
Access Systems are used. Further, while we believe that airborne 
picocells are a proven technology and could be used as effective 
Airborne Access Systems on domestic flights, consistent with our 
commitment to technological neutrality, we propose to permit any type 
of Airborne Access System that meets the technical requirements set 
forth in the rules and any applicable rules and approval procedures 
required by the FAA.
3. Technical Requirements
    32. Based on the available research and international practices, we 
tentatively conclude that Airborne Access Systems can be used to 
facilitate airborne mobile broadband access without causing harmful 
interference to terrestrial networks. We therefore propose to allow 
airborne use of mobile devices controlled by a properly managed 
Airborne Access System.
    33. Our review of existing operations reveals that, for an Airborne 
Access System to effectively manage emissions from mobile broadband-
capable devices, certain technical restrictions must be enforced. 
Specifically, three types of devices transmitting aboard the aircraft 
must be limited in power to prevent harmful interference to terrestrial 
networks: (1) The mobile device; (2) the picocell; and (3) the NCU. 
Measures that may be taken to limit power include, but are not 
necessarily limited to, mobile power restrictions, aircraft picocell 
power restrictions, NCU power and/or technology limitations, altitude 
restrictions, and methods to prevent an airborne mobile phone from 
accessing the terrestrial CMRS network. We use the technical analyses 
and conclusions released by CEPT earlier this year on these matters as 
a baseline for our technical inquiries. We note that this report 
focused only on European commercial mobile spectrum bands, and believe 
that CEPT's findings are a solid foundation on which we can adopt 
technical requirements. We seek comments on this belief, as well as on 
the potential implications of the use of different spectrum bands in 
the United States. Are there any differences between the commercial 
mobile spectrum bands used in the EU and those used in the United 
States that would affect the relevant CEPT findings? We also ask 
commenters to provide us with any tests or technical analyses that have 
been performed regarding the use of Airborne Access Systems over 
commercial mobile spectrum bands in use in the United States. We note 
that the international systems appear to offer service only in a 
particular frequency band or bands. Should Airborne Access Systems be 
permitted to operate only in particular frequency bands? If so, which 
bands and what impact might this have on competition?
a. Mobile Device
    34. Unmanaged airborne PEDs will attempt to connect and in some 
cases will succeed in temporarily connecting to a terrestrial system, 
causing harmful interference and disruption to the system it is 
connected to and to surrounding systems. Thus, airborne mobile devices 
must be operated at sufficiently low power levels to prevent harmful 
interference with terrestrial broadband networks while still being able 
to communicate with the Airborne Access System.
    35. CEPT MCA Report 48 concluded that an Airborne Access System 
would not interfere with terrestrial networks provided it met certain 
technical criteria. It defined acceptable radiation from various 
sources for a point outside the aircraft at various altitudes. At 3,000 
meters (approximately 9,842 feet), the report specifies an aggregate 
effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) of 3.1 dBm/3.84 megahertz 
outside the aircraft for up to 20 individual mobile UMTS devices 
limited to -6 dBm/3.84 megahertz. The report also specifies a limit of 
1.7 dBm/5 megahertz for individual LTE devices transmitting at 5 dBm/5 
megahertz at 3,000 meters. Because the analysis in CEPT MCA Report 48 
is limited to frequency bands utilized within the EU, we request 
comment on whether the same findings are applicable to systems 
operating on bands used for commercial mobile radio services in the 
United States and whether any adjustments to CEPT MCA Report 48's 
findings or methods should be made. For example, the report assumed 
operation in the 2100 MHz and 1800 MHz bands. The limitations discussed 
above, if applicable, could be adjusted to account for changes in free 
space path loss for operation on U.S. spectrum. We encourage commenters 
to submit relevant data and studies pertaining to bands used for 
commercial mobile radio services in the United States. What, if any, 
adjustments to these assumptions must be made for other mobile 
technologies? We also request comment on whether it is necessary to 
limit the number of mobiles in operation, or if an aggregate limit for 
emissions from the aircraft is sufficient to protect terrestrial 
systems from harmful interference. Is such an approach practical? 
Should the rules require the Airborne Access System to limit the 
maximum in-cabin transmit power of individual mobile units rather than 
specifying the allowable aggregate EIRP outside the aircraft? 
Commenters should include technical analyses to support their 
proposals, including the costs and benefits of adopting a particular 
approach.
b. Aircraft Picocell
    35. The aircraft picocell communicates with the individual mobile 
devices onboard the aircraft and with its air-to-ground or satellite 
backhaul link. The power of onboard picocells must be limited to 
prevent harmful interference to the terrestrial network. CEPT MCA 
Report 48 limits the EIRP outside the aircraft from picocell 
transmissions to 1.0 dBm/3.84 megahertz for UMTS and 1.0 dBm/megahertz 
for LTE. We request comment on whether these levels are appropriate and 
can be applied to operations on U.S. commercial mobile spectrum bands. 
We also encourage commenters to submit relevant data and studies 
pertaining to bands used for commercial mobile radio services in the 
United States. What would be an appropriate method of making 
measurements or otherwise determining compliance? How should the 
Commission approach equipment authorization of picocells given that 
compliance would be determined by the aircraft in which the system is 
installed? We also request comment on whether we should limit the type 
of technology utilized for communications between the picocell and 
onboard mobiles to minimize the risk of harmful interference with 
terrestrial networks. We note that in its initial report, CEPT limited 
its analysis of communication services aboard aircraft to picocells 
operating with GSM technology but its more recent report offers 
expanded analysis on both UMTS and LTE. From an interference 
standpoint, are some technologies used on airborne aircraft less likely 
to cause harmful interference to terrestrial networks than others?

[[Page 2621]]

c. Network Control Unit
    36. The NCU prevents mobile devices from connecting to the 
terrestrial network while on the aircraft. Uncontrolled, some mobile 
devices are capable of contacting terrestrial networks, even at 
altitudes exceeding 3,048 meters (10,000 feet). The NCU raises the 
noise floor within the aircraft cabin to prevent onboard mobile devices 
from communicating with the terrestrial network. NCUs also must be 
limited in power to prevent harmful interference to terrestrial 
networks. CEPT MCA Report 48 specifies for operations in the 2600 MHz 
(2500-2570 MHz and 2620-2690 MHz) band a limit at 3000 meters of 1.9 
dBm/4.75 megahertz and for operations in the 800 MHz (790-862 MHz) band 
the limit is 0.87 dBm/10 megahertz. The EC previously established 
limits for the 460-470 MHz, 921-960 MHz, 1805-1880 MHz, and 2110-2170 
MHz bands in its Decision. Those findings were reaffirmed by CEPT MCA 
Report 48. We request comment on whether these levels are appropriate 
and can be applied to operations on domestic mobile spectrum bands. As 
CEPT MCA Report 48 limits vary by frequency band, which of these limits 
would be appropriate for each of the bands used for commercial mobile 
service in the United States? We encourage commenters to submit 
relevant data and studies pertaining to bands used for commercial 
mobile radio services in the United States. We also seek comment on 
whether there are other technical solutions that could prevent an 
onboard mobile device from accessing the terrestrial network.
    37. We also seek comment generally on CEPT's findings and technical 
proposals. We ask that commenters address: (1) Whether Airborne Access 
Systems can effectively prevent harmful interference into terrestrial 
wireless networks; (2) whether alternative or supplemental 
technological solutions would be more effective; (3) whether the 
proposed power levels are appropriate; and (4) what additional 
technical specifications may be needed to ensure that these systems and 
airborne mobile broadband devices do not interfere with existing 
terrestrial networks. We also request comment on any other technical 
restrictions or requirements that may be necessary to prevent harmful 
interference to terrestrial CMRS networks or to ensure reliable 
communications for mobile communications services on aircraft, or 
whether an alternative technical solution may be more appropriate in 
the domestic marketplace. Commenters should include technical analyses 
to support their proposals, including the costs and benefits of 
adopting a particular approach.
    38. We reiterate that the FAA is responsible for regulations 
regarding the safety of passengers and crew aboard domestic aircraft. 
As such, regardless of the ultimate disposition of this proceeding, all 
elements of the Airborne Access Systems and any permissible airborne 
mobile devices remain subject to applicable FAA rules. In addition, 
elements of these systems may be subject to FAA certification, testing, 
and approval; the FAA has a comprehensive process by which it certifies 
all aspects of commercial and general aviation aircraft, and any 
Airborne Access System presumably would be subject to these procedures. 
In addition, in response to the ARC Report, the FAA has adopted 
procedures to test and certify that aircraft manufactured in the United 
States are tolerant of PED emissions.
    39. Although any FAA actions related to the issues in this 
proceeding are outside the Commission's scope, in order to fully 
comprehend this regulatory framework, we seek information regarding any 
aspect of the FAA's authority regarding Airborne Access Systems that we 
should appropriately consider in this proceeding. We reiterate that we 
are committed to working closely with other federal agencies that have 
expertise and may have more appropriate jurisdiction in these areas.
    40. Moreover, we note that, within the context of applicable FCC, 
FAA, and DoT rules, individual airlines will have flexibility to deploy 
or not deploy mobile communications services on an aircraft-by-aircraft 
basis. For example, abroad, OnAir and AeroMobile offer airlines the 
option of selecting which type of mobile communications services they 
offer, and foreign airlines have chosen to offer the mobile 
communications services in different ways. For example, Ireland's Aer 
Lingus allows texting and Internet access using mobile communications 
but does not allow the use of voice calls in the cabin, while the UK's 
Virgin Atlantic offers passengers the option of accessing the Internet, 
texting, and making voice calls through their mobile communications 
system.

C. Airborne Commercial Mobile Use

    41. We propose to allow aircraft station licensees to provide 
airborne commercial mobile services as part of their aircraft station 
license under part 87 of the Commission's rules and seek comment on 
alternative authorization methodologies. Under any airborne 
authorization scheme, Airborne Access Systems would be required to 
manage in-flight mobile use. Mobile communications services controlled 
by authorized Airborne Access Systems would be permitted across all 
commercial mobile spectrum bands at altitudes above 3,048 meters 
(10,000 feet). These authorizations would cover only in-cabin 
operations. Moreover, any authorization method would require an 
agreement with separately authorized satellite or air-to-ground 
backhaul links to transmit mobile data from the aircraft to terrestrial 
networks.
1. Part 87 Authorization Methodology
a. Part 87 Aircraft License Modification
    42. We propose to revise part 87 of the Commission's rules to 
permit mobile communications services on aircraft as one element of an 
aircraft station license and seek comment on this proposal, as well as 
alternative authorization frameworks. Part 87 of the Commission's rules 
governs the authorization and use of radio services onboard aircraft, 
between aircraft, and between air and ground stations for aircraft 
travelling domestically and U.S. aircraft travelling to international 
destinations (including international waters). See 47 CFR 87.1, et seq. 
We note that U.S.-registered civil aircraft licensed for an Airborne 
Access System would bear the responsibility of ascertaining and 
complying with the applicable laws, regulations, and rules of any 
foreign nation in which they seek to operate. Unless exempted, airlines 
must obtain an aircraft station license to cover any radio equipment or 
services other than certain two-way VHF, radar, or emergency locator 
services. Under certain conditions, two or more aircraft having a 
common owner or operator may be issued a single fleet license to cover 
all aircraft stations in a given fleet. We seek comment on how this 
proposal would work with FAA's established airframe dependent equipment 
certification procedures.
    43. Authorizing the proposed use in this manner would allow 
airlines and other commercial aircraft operators to install and operate 
Airborne Access Systems as part of their existing aircraft station or 
fleet licenses. Aircraft station licensees would be required to file 
for a modification of their existing aircraft station or fleet licenses 
on FCC Form 605 to include the newly designated airborne mobile 
communications authorization. To the extent that an aircraft operator 
does not have an aircraft station license, that aircraft operator 
would, under this proposal, be

[[Page 2622]]

required to apply for an aircraft station license in order to operate 
an Airborne Access System. Licensees would be permitted to contract 
with third parties to install and operate Airborne Access System aboard 
licensed aircraft. However, aircraft station licensees would retain 
sole responsibility for ensuring that such equipment is installed and 
operated in accordance with all applicable rules.
    44. The airborne radio environment is interference-sensitive and 
must be closely controlled by aircraft station licensees to ensure 
stable operation of mission critical equipment, the safety of aircraft 
passengers and crew, and compliance with all applicable rules and 
regulations. Aircraft station licensees currently manage this unique 
environment for a wide variety of radio services in accordance with FCC 
and FAA rules. As such, they may be well positioned to ensure that 
Airborne Access Systems are properly operated and integrated into the 
existing device ecosystem. Indeed, regardless of the authorization 
scheme we select, no Airborne Access System could be installed and 
operated without the permission, supervision, and control of aircraft 
station licensees. In addition, modifying existing aircraft fleet or 
station licenses to include proposed airborne mobile communications use 
should not impose significant administrative burdens on applicants or 
the Commission. Finally, this proposal is roughly analogous to the 
successful authorization regimes adopted by other administrations in 
recent years.
    45. We propose to retain the current licensing assignment methods 
applicable to part 87 aircraft station licenses. Although we propose to 
permit licensees to provide a new service offering, the underlying 
functions of aircraft station licenses remains the same. Under this 
proposal, existing aircraft station licensees seeking to provide mobile 
communications services on aircraft could request a modification of 
their current authorizations to permit operation of an Airborne Access 
System, and applicants for new aircraft station authorizations could 
indicate on their applications their intention to provide mobile 
communications services on aircraft. We seek comment on whether such 
license modifications must be placed on public notice for thirty days 
pursuant to section 309 of the Communications Act. We seek comment on 
this proposed authorization approach, as well as the alternative 
authorization mechanisms listed below, and on what changes, if any, may 
need to be made to the table of allocations to reflect this licensing 
regime.
    46. We acknowledge that, with respect to the NCU transmissions and 
the communications between the picocell and the consumer mobile 
devices, the Airborne Access System proposed here would operate on 
spectrum licensed to mobile service providers for terrestrial wireless 
use. However, we do not propose to modify the existing rights of 
commercial mobile licensees or otherwise impede their ability to 
provide mobile services within their license areas. Under our proposal, 
aircraft operators should be able to offer access to wireless services 
to the limited confines of the in-cabin environment in a safe and 
effective manner--and thereby extend broadband service to an otherwise 
difficult-to-serve market segment--while protecting incumbent 
terrestrial licensees from harmful interference and without infringing 
upon incumbents' existing operations. We seek comment on this proposal, 
including potential impacts it may have on the existing rights of 
terrestrial mobile licensees.
b. Alternative Authorization Methods
    47. We also seek comment on alternative authorization methods. For 
completeness, we describe several alternatives below, although we 
acknowledge that some of these methods may suffer from deficiencies 
that make them less desirable in a public interest analysis. We also 
request comment on other approaches that are not enumerated below. We 
encourage commenters to provide details on how any authorization 
regime, including the part 87 authorization method described above, 
would work in practice (including the relationship with other licensees 
or services authorized in the same frequency bands), how it would 
further the various public interest goals enumerated in this NPRM, and 
its relative costs and benefits.
    48. Non-Exclusive License. One alternative authorization method 
would establish an Airborne Access System Service pursuant to which 
applicants could file for non-exclusive licenses to provide airborne 
mobile services. Eligibility for such licenses would be limited to 
applicants with appropriate commercial agreements with aircraft 
operators to operate such systems on specific aircraft. Would such an 
authorization system provide additional benefits to the public or to 
aircraft station licensees? Under this alternative authorization 
scheme, would the airlines retain sufficient control over the in-cabin 
environment to ensure that services are provided safely and 
effectively? Are there any additional eligibility conditions that 
should be required of licensees under this authorization method?
    49. Secondary Markets. Another option would authorize operation of 
an Airborne Access System pursuant to spectrum lease agreements with 
mobile wireless service providers. We observe that for any given 
flight, an aircraft is likely to fly above license areas for many 
different licensees. Moreover, the licensees implicated will likely 
vary throughout the course of the flight. The Commission has issued 
thousands of geographic mobile licenses. There are over 14,166 
licenses, held by approximately 788 unique entities (based on licensee 
FCC Registration Number), for the spectrum bands within the scope of 
this NPRM. Would this authorization method be administrable in 
practice? How would the Commission ensure that a leasing arrangement 
involves the necessary parties? Would it require the cooperation of 
every mobile wireless service provider? Would the use of a leasing 
framework introduce market efficiencies or inefficiencies not present 
in other authorization models? Under this alternative, how would the 
Commission determine the boundaries of mobile licenses along a flight 
path and at various altitudes, especially considering the curvature of 
the earth?
    50. Auctioned Sky Licenses. Alternately, should the Commission 
create nationwide or geographic ``sky licenses'' and allow eligible 
applicants to bid on these licenses via auction? Would such an 
authorization system provide unique benefits to the public or to 
aircraft station licensees? How would the Commission determine the 
geographic boundaries of such licenses and the proper number of 
licensees for each geographic area? How would such a licensing 
construct affect the ability of airlines to manage their in-cabin 
environment? Would such an authorization method create ``artificial'' 
limitations on market-based agreements between airlines and Airborne 
Access System providers?
    51. Unlicensed Use or License-by-Rule. Should the Commission 
authorize unlicensed use of an Airborne Access System pursuant to our 
part 15 rules? Alternatively, would a license-by-rule approach be 
appropriate? Both methods appear, on first consideration, to raise 
significant issues with respect to providing airlines sufficient 
ability to manage mobile access in flight and to mitigate potential 
harmful interference into terrestrial networks. Do commenters agree? 
How would such authorization mechanisms work in

[[Page 2623]]

practice? Would they require revisions to existing rule parts? Would 
these methodologies offer appropriate Commission oversight of the 
mobile communications services being proposed?
    52. Commenters that advocate an alternative authorization 
methodology should support their arguments with detailed technical and 
legal analyses. Commenters should also address how the issues raised in 
Sections III.C.2. and 3. below would apply for any alternative 
authorization scheme.
2. Scope of the Authorization
    53. To facilitate the widespread use of airborne mobile data 
services, we propose to authorize aircraft station licensees to operate 
Airborne Access Systems that encompass all domestic commercial mobile 
spectrum bands. Most broadband capable mobile devices are capable of 
accessing multiple commercial mobile spectrum bands which vary by 
device and mobile service provider. We tentatively conclude that 
permitting Airborne Access Systems to operate across all such bands 
would provide greater access to broadband data for the travelling 
public, and is consistent with the Commission's longstanding policy of 
technological neutrality. However, our proposal does not require a 
compliant Airborne Access System to cover all commercial mobile 
spectrum bands or wireless technologies. We seek comments on our 
proposal to not require Airborne Access Systems to cover all commercial 
mobile spectrum bands, including on whether this approach may increase 
the risk of harmful interference to terrestrial networks.
    54. We further propose that airborne commercial broadband 
operations be permitted only at altitudes exceeding 3,048 meters 
(10,000 feet). The available research suggests that, at those 
altitudes, there is little to no risk of harmful interference into 
terrestrial mobile networks from properly managed airborne mobile 
operations. Moreover, this service floor is consistent with the rules 
established by the EU for airborne GSM mobile use. As noted above, we 
are unaware of any instances of harmful interference from properly 
managed airborne mobile broadband operations at altitudes above 3,048 
meters (10,000 feet) into terrestrial mobile networks. We seek comment 
on whether the 3,048 meter (10,000 feet) service floor is appropriate 
for all mobile technologies (e.g., CDMA, GSM, and LTE) and spectrum 
bands. We also seek comment as to whether we should allow Airborne 
Access Systems to remain operational below 3,048 meters (10,000 feet), 
even if mobile communications services are not permitted at that 
altitude. Could low altitude Airborne Access System use actually help 
mitigate harmful interference by preventing activated mobile devices 
from attempting to access terrestrial networks? We encourage commenters 
to support their arguments with detailed technical studies and analyses 
for domestic commercial mobile spectrum bands and technologies, 
including detailed analyses of the costs and benefits of any such 
proposals.
    55. We tentatively conclude that, if adopted, our proposal to 
permit the provision of mobile communications services on aircraft-by-
aircraft station licensees at altitudes above 3,048 meters (10,000 
feet) would promote the public interest by expanding mobile broadband 
coverage to consumers in an efficient, non-interfering manner. The 
deployment of Airborne Access Systems aboard commercial aircraft could 
provide significant public benefits without harming existing 
terrestrial licensees in the band. Moreover, terrestrial mobile 
licensees could benefit from this new commercial service offering if 
they choose to partner with aircraft station licensees on commercial 
connection agreements. We seek comment on these proposals and 
conclusions as well as viable alternative models. Commenters should 
provide detailed legal and technical analyses in support of their 
proposals, including detailed analyses of the costs and benefits of any 
such proposals.
3. Other Authorization and Licensing Issues
    56. Regulatory Status. While aircraft stations authorized under 
part 87 are typically considered private mobile radio services, we 
propose to allow aircraft station licensees choosing to offer mobile 
communications services using an Airborne Access System to specify 
their regulatory status depending on the service they are providing. 
The Commission's current radio service license application requires an 
applicant for mobile services to identify the regulatory status of the 
service(s) it intends to provide because service offerings may bear on 
the applicant's eligibility to be a licensee, and other statutory and 
regulatory requirements. In applying that model, an applicant is 
permitted to choose among several regulatory classifications (e.g., 
common carrier, non-common carrier, or private, internal 
communications), or a combination thereof, and prospective airborne 
mobile licensees may benefit from a similar approach. We seek comment 
on the merits of applying a similar licensing approach to the provision 
of mobile communications services on aircraft and ask that commenters 
discuss the costs and benefits of this approach. We also seek comment 
on whether there are any obligations under a particular classification 
that should not apply to mobile communications services on aircraft. 
For example, should an aircraft station licensee that elects a common 
carrier regulatory status be required to comply with all rules 
applicable to CMRS licensees under part 20 of the Commission's rules 
given the limited scope of the in-cabin service offering? For example, 
Sec.  20.15 identifies requirements relating to Title II of the 
Communications Act that are applicable to CMRS licensees. See 47 CFR 
20.15. Such Title II requirements include the obligation to provide 
service ``upon reasonable request therefor,'' and at a ``just and 
reasonable'' rate, 47 U.S.C. 201, as well as the requirement to provide 
services without ``unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, 
practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services.'' 47 
U.S.C. 202. Other obligations identified in part 20 include 911 
service, hearing aid compatibility as well as roaming. See 47 CFR 
20.12, 20.18, 20.19.
    57. If the Commission permits an aircraft station licensee to 
choose its regulatory status in this manner, we propose that such 
licensees must identify their regulatory status on the FCC Form 605. 
Form 605 would be modified to incorporate this proposal. We also 
propose that if a licensee changes the service it offers such that it 
would be inconsistent with its regulatory status, the licensee must 
notify the Commission. Further, we propose that licensees must file the 
notice within 30 days of a change made without the need for prior 
Commission approval. We seek comment on whether a different time period 
should apply where the change results in the discontinuance, reduction, 
or impairment of the existing service. We seek comment on alternative 
proposals regarding changes to the regulatory status of a mobile 
communications services on aircraft provider and the costs and benefits 
of such proposals.
    58. Given our proposal to allow an aircraft station licensee to 
choose its regulatory status, we note that all Commission licensees are 
subject to the provisions of section 310 of the Act. Section 310 
requires the Commission to review foreign investment in radio station 
licenses and imposes specific restrictions on who may hold certain 
types of radio licenses. Specifically,

[[Page 2624]]

section 310(a) of the Act expressly prohibits a foreign government or 
its representative from holding any radio license. Further, section 
310(b) places additional restrictions on who can hold a broadcast, 
common carrier, aeronautical en route and aeronautical fixed radio 
station license. In particular, the foreign ownership restrictions in 
sections 310(b)(3) and (b)(4) may be implicated for those airlines that 
have foreign ownership--whether governmental or non-governmental--where 
the airline provider seeks authorization to provide a common carrier 
service under the rules adopted in this proceeding. We therefore 
tentatively conclude that we should revise FCC Form 605 to require all 
applicants to answer foreign ownership questions to ensure compliance 
with section 310. We seek comment on this tentative conclusion.
    59. Connection with Terrestrial Networks. The rules governing 
connection with terrestrial networks would vary depending on the 
regulatory classification selected by a given aircraft station 
licensee. Aircraft station licensees that choose to register as CMRS 
providers would be subject to applicable part 20 and common carrier 
obligations. The requirements applicable to a regulatory classification 
would govern the rights and obligations of licensees' connections to 
terrestrial networks. All licensees would be permitted to enter into 
commercial agreements with terrestrial mobile licensees for connection 
to their terrestrial wireless networks. We seek comment on the costs 
and benefits of this approach and any other approaches that may be used 
to connect mobile communications services on aircraft with terrestrial 
networks.
    60. Handset Authorization. Section 301 of the Communications Act 
requires a valid FCC license to operate a radio frequency transmitter, 
including a wireless handset, aircard, or other mobile broadband 
device. This statutory requirement is reflected in the Commission's 
rules, which require either an FCC license or licensee consent to 
operate a station in the Wireless Radio Services. Our proposal grants 
aircraft station licensees authorization to operate Airborne Access 
Systems on commercial mobile spectrum bands. As the definition of 
Wireless Radio Services includes services provided pursuant to part 87 
of the Commission's rules, we conclude that, for purposes of airborne 
mobile communications services operations, wireless devices can be 
operated as subscriber equipment under the aircraft station license, 
consistent with the proposed rules set forth in this NPRM. We seek 
comment on this tentative conclusion.
    61. Section 333. Section 333 of the Communications Act states that 
``[n]o person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause 
interference to any radio communications of any station licensed or 
authorized by or under this Act. . . .'' The proposed Airborne Access 
Systems likely will operate by maintaining transmissions from mobile 
devices operating on commercial mobile spectrum bands at or near their 
lowest power level, thereby preventing these devices from attempting to 
access terrestrial base stations. We tentatively conclude that, 
pursuant to Sec.  1.903 of the Commission's rules, mobile units would 
be deemed to be authorized and operated under the aircraft station 
license. Accordingly, we tentatively conclude that operation of an 
Airborne Access System to prevent mobile transmissions from affecting 
terrestrial base stations constitutes a proper network management 
function and is not the willful or malicious interference at issue in 
section 333. We seek comment on these tentative conclusions.
    62. Federal Spectrum. Most of the Airborne Access Systems currently 
authorized by foreign countries operate, at least partially, in the 
1800 MHz band, consistent with international commercial allocation of 
this band. It is conceivable that U.S.-registered aircraft that wish to 
offer airborne mobile communications services will choose Airborne 
Access Systems with the technical ability to operate in that band, 
particularly those aircraft that operate internationally. Included in 
this band are the frequencies 1755-1850 MHz, which in the United States 
currently is allocated on an exclusive basis to the United States 
federal government for fixed and mobile services, including airborne 
systems. We therefore propose requiring airlines (whether U.S.-
registered or registered by another administration) operating an 
Airborne Access System in the 1755-1850 MHz frequency band to turn off 
the Airborne Access System or otherwise disengage transmission in this 
band prior to reaching U.S. airspace. We also invite commenters to 
provide technical studies demonstrating what is sufficient to prevent 
harmful interference in the 1755-1850 MHz band. We seek comment on this 
proposal, including potential in-flight enforcement issues. We also 
note that the Commission has proposed to make the 1755-1780 MHz band 
available for shared federal and non-federal use. We seek comment on 
what, if any, impact such shared operations could have on the proposals 
set forth in this NPRM. In addition, we note that other bands are 
subject to operational limitations that could affect their availability 
for airborne commercial mobile operations. We seek comment on what, if 
any, impact such operational limitations could have on the proposals 
set forth in this NPRM. Given our proposal to prohibit operations on 
Federal frequencies, we invite comment as to whether it would be 
technologically feasible for systems designed for international flights 
to switch to authorized non-federal frequency bands in United States 
airspace.
4. Applicability to Non-U.S.-Registered Aircraft Operating in U.S. 
Airspace
    63. Non-U.S.-registered aircraft with Airborne Access Systems 
currently turn off airborne mobile communications services before 
entering U.S. airspace. We seek comment on whether it is in the public 
interest to allow aircraft authorized by a foreign government to 
provide mobile communications services to continue operating its 
Airborne Access System within U.S. airspace and thereby provide 
uninterrupted airborne mobile communications services to its 
passengers.
    64. We also seek comment on the appropriate regulatory framework 
for the operation of Airborne Access Systems on non-U.S.-registered 
aircraft within U.S. territory. The ability of a foreign entity to use 
spectrum or operate radio equipment within the United States stems from 
rights derived from international agreements, or from direct 
authorization from the United States. Accordingly, in determining how 
such use may be permitted, we must take several factors into 
consideration, including the applicability of international agreements 
to which we are a party.
    65. The United States is a signatory to the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention), which provides a 
mechanism for recognizing foreign licenses. Under the Chicago 
Convention, aircraft registered to a member country may use radio 
transmitter equipment over another country's territory provided that 
the transmitter is licensed by the country that registered the aircraft 
and that said use is in compliance with the regulations of the country 
over which the aircraft is flying. The Chicago Convention also provides 
that licenses issued by member nations must be equal to or above the 
minimum standards adopted by the International Civil Aviation 
Organization (ICAO). As we

[[Page 2625]]

interpret the Chicago Convention, foreign-registered aircraft do not 
currently have authority to operate an Airborne Access System within 
U.S. airspace as such use is not currently permitted under the 
Commission's rules.
    66. Further, to the extent the Commission adopts rules to permit 
mobile communications services on aircraft, a non-U.S.-registered 
carrier may operate an Airborne Access System that complies with such 
rules. Moreover, we are not aware that ICAO has adopted or intends to 
adopt standards and recommended practices for the operation of Airborne 
Access System pursuant to the Chicago Convention. We therefore 
tentatively conclude that the Chicago Convention is not an independent 
source of authorization for foreign airlines to operate an Airborne 
Access System within U.S. airspace. It also does not appear that other 
agreements offer a means by which the United States may recognize the 
authority of a foreign-registered aircraft to operate an Airborne 
Access System. We also are not aware of any bilateral agreements 
between the United States and any other administrations that would 
serve as a mechanism for allowing foreign-registered aircraft to 
operate an Airborne Access System over U.S. airspace.
    67. In light of these considerations, we tentatively conclude that 
current agreements do not provide non-U.S.-registered carriers 
independent authorization to operate Airborne Access Systems in U.S. 
airspace. We seek comment on these tentative conclusions. Commenters 
believing otherwise should identify the applicable agreement(s) and 
legal authority under which we may permit such operation. We also 
request comment on any other mechanisms that might allow for 
recognition of an Airborne Access System authorization issued by 
another administration.
    68. Assuming that there are no international agreements permitting 
foreign-registered aircraft to operate an Airborne Access System within 
U.S. airspace, we seek comment as to whether the Commission should 
directly authorize such use on the same terms that would apply to 
Airborne Access System operation onboard domestic aircraft. 
Specifically, operators of foreign-registered aircraft would be 
permitted to apply for an aircraft station license under part 87 for 
the purpose of providing access to airborne mobile communications 
services to passengers while within U.S. airspace. For foreign-
registered aircraft, the part 87 aircraft station license would 
authorize Airborne Access System operation only and would not cover 
other aircraft station functions. We seek comment on this proposal, as 
well as on any alternative licensing approaches. Commenters should 
discuss the costs and benefits of this or any alternative proposal. We 
note that applications for such authorizations would be subject to the 
foreign ownership provisions of sections 310(a) and (b) of the Act, 
just as they apply to operators of U.S.-registered aircraft.

D. Other Issues

1. Service Below 3,048 Meters (10,000 Feet)
    69. As noted previously, the proposed 3,048 meter (10,000 feet) 
altitude floor for airborne mobile communications services would 
minimize the risk of harmful interference with terrestrial networks and 
is consistent with FAA regulations and international practices. 
However, there may be circumstances where mobile communications 
services on aircraft operating below 3,048 meters (10,000 feet) would 
be in the public interest and would not cause harmful interference. We 
seek comment as to whether there are circumstances in which mobile 
communications services on aircraft would not raise the concerns set 
forth above (e.g., in low flying, slow moving aircraft) and whether the 
3,048 meter (10,000 feet) altitude limit and/or Airborne Access System 
requirement would be necessary in such cases. For instance, certain 
providers of critical public services routinely operate aircraft at 
altitudes below 3,048 meters (10,000 feet) and may have a need for 
mobile communications services at these altitudes. These operators 
include medical evacuation, police departments, news organizations, and 
public safety entities. Could these use cases be accommodated within 
the proposed rules? What would the appropriate regulatory and technical 
parameters be for the use of mobile communications services on aircraft 
by these and other, similarly situated entities?
    70. While we propose to authorize service only above 3,048 meters 
(10,000 feet) for all commercial aircraft, we also seek comment 
generally on the technical viability, safety, and legality of mobile 
communications services on aircraft below 3,048 meters (10,000 feet) 
(or other reasonable altitude limit adopted in this proceeding) for 
specific purposes on certain types of aircraft. Would operations below 
3,048 meters (10,000 feet) be technically viable? Should Airborne 
Access Systems be permitted to remain in operation at altitudes below 
3,048 meters (10,000 feet)? Would such low altitude operations help to 
mitigate the potential for harmful interference from mobile devices 
into terrestrial mobile networks? If allowed, would such operations 
require the permission of terrestrial CMRS licensees? We emphasize that 
nothing in this proposal should be read to contradict the FAA's 
authority to determine the proper conditions for operation of PEDs on 
aircraft.
2. Voice Service Onboard Aircraft
    71. In response to the 2004 Airborne Mobile NPRM, commenters raised 
concerns regarding the use of voice services on airborne aircraft. We 
note that airborne voice service, e.g., 800 MHz Air-Ground 
Radiotelephone Service, has been available on many airlines for years, 
although we understand that voice service has been little-used. At the 
time of the Airborne Mobile NPRM proceeding, commercial wireless was 
primarily a voice service. Today, commercial mobile services are used 
much more heavily for data services and Internet access. We appreciate 
that some people and organizations may continue to have concerns about 
permitting voice services on aircraft. We also note that international 
airlines offering airborne mobile voice and data services have not 
experienced significant problems related to voice. Yet, consistent with 
our review of our technical rules and commitment to technological 
neutrality, our proposal would create an avenue through which airlines 
may choose to offer consumers an additional way to access mobile 
broadband services while in flight.
    72. Nothing in this proposal would require or ensure the provision 
of voice service on airplanes. Individual airlines would determine 
whether this option would, in fact, be available to their passengers. 
The airlines themselves would be free to choose and manage the types of 
in-flight data and voice services they provide, subject to applicable 
FAA and DoT rules or guidelines with respect to safety and etiquette. 
These considerations notwithstanding, however, we seek comment on 
whether it is appropriate for the Commission to take concerns regarding 
the use of voice service into account in this proceeding. Specifically, 
we seek comment on the operational impacts that may stem from the 
provision of voice service, and whether the Commission has any role in 
addressing such effects. We also recognize that the provision of 
wireless services, including, but not limited to, voice onboard 
aircraft may require consumer education to ensure that consumers are 
aware of what FCC rules

[[Page 2626]]

do and do not permit. We seek comment on the ways that the Commission 
can help consumers understand our current rules and any rules that the 
Commission may ultimately adopt in this proceeding.
3. Agreements With Canada and Mexico
    73. We conclude that any Airborne Access System rules we adopt in 
this proceeding would limit such operations to U.S. airspace and would 
require such operations to comply with current and future international 
agreements with Mexico and Canada. Until such time as any agreements 
between the United States, Mexico and/or Canada can be agreed to for 
the proposed airborne mobile communications service, any operations 
conducted pursuant to rules adopted in this proceeding must not cause 
harmful interference across the border, and must operate consistent 
with the terms of the international agreements currently in force. We 
also note that it may be necessary to modify any rules adopted in this 
proceeding to codify future agreements with Canada and Mexico regarding 
the aeronautical use of these bands. We seek comment on these 
conclusions.
4. Law Enforcement and Public Safety
    74. While this NPRM focuses primarily on the technical parameters 
and licensing mechanisms by which we may allow airlines to offer mobile 
wireless services on aircraft, we recognize that our proposals may also 
raise public safety, law enforcement and national security concerns. We 
note that wireless service providers are currently obligated to provide 
assistance to law enforcement agencies with respect to the 
Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). 
Specifically, Congress enacted CALEA in 1994 in order to preserve the 
ability of law enforcement agencies to conduct electronic surveillance 
by requiring that telecommunications carriers and manufacturers of 
telecommunications equipment modify and design their equipment, 
facilities, and services to ensure that they have necessary 
surveillance capabilities. In addition to telecommunications carriers 
identified in CALEA and its legislative history, the Commission has 
concluded that facilities-based broadband Internet access providers and 
providers of interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service 
would also be deemed to be ``telecommunications carriers'' for purposes 
of applying CALEA. Accordingly, we propose that any mobile wireless 
services offered by Airborne Access System operators would be subject 
to the provisions of CALEA, regardless of whether such offerings are 
voice or data services.
    75. Beyond satisfying CALEA obligations, satellite providers, ESAA 
operators, as well as 800 MHz Air-Ground licensees address specific 
public safety, law enforcement, and national security concerns through 
individual negotiations with law enforcement agencies. We anticipate 
that an entity seeking to provide mobile wireless services through the 
use of an Airborne Access System would follow the established process 
and work diligently with law enforcement agencies to address any public 
safety, law enforcement, and national security concerns through 
individual negotiations and agreements.
    76. We seek comment on whether there are additional measures that 
the Commission should take to address in-flight safety and security 
concerns beyond CALEA obligations and individual agreements among 
service providers and law enforcement agencies. While we again 
emphasize that issues of onboard security and safety of flight are 
matters primarily reserved for the FAA, DoT, and the airlines, there 
may be measures within our regulatory purview that can be taken to 
further the Commission's interests in preserving and promoting public 
safety and homeland security. We therefore request that commenters 
identify specific public safety, law enforcement and national security-
related concerns that may stem from the Commission's proposals, and the 
steps that the Commission could take to address those concerns.

III. Ex Parte Rules

    77. The proceeding this NPRM initiates shall be treated as a 
``permit-but-disclose'' proceeding in accordance with the Commission's 
ex parte rules. Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy 
of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral 
presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a 
different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons 
making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda 
summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or 
otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte 
presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and 
arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted 
in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already 
reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda or other 
filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such 
data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other 
filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where 
such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the 
memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex 
parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must 
be filed consistent with Sec.  1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by 
Sec.  1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method 
of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda 
summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, 
must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available 
for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., 
.doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding 
should familiarize themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.

IV. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    78. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as 
amended (RFA), the Commission has prepared this Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities by the policies and rules 
proposed in this NPRM. Written comments are requested on this IRFA. 
Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed 
by the deadlines for comments on the NPRM. The Commission will send a 
copy of the NPRM, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for 
Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA). In addition, the 
NPRM and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal 
Register.

A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

    79. By this NPRM, we propose to allow airlines (or more 
specifically, station licensees) to provide mobile communications 
services on aircraft (mobile communications services on aircraft). 
Currently, the Commission's rules prohibit airborne use of mobile 
devices in the 800 MHz cellular band and restrict use in the 800 MHz 
SMR band, while the rules governing other commercial mobile spectrum 
bands are silent. Since a previous Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that 
sought to address these restrictions was terminated in 2007, more than 
forty jurisdictions, including the European

[[Page 2627]]

Union and Australia, have authorized the use of mobile communications 
services on aircraft. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no 
reports of these services causing any harmful interference to 
terrestrial networks. We believe that it is in the public interest to 
bring the benefits of mobile communications services on aircraft to 
domestic consumers and that the proposals set forth in this NPRM 
further our recent efforts to expand access to airborne broadband 
services.
    80. We propose to allow mobile communications services on aircraft 
by: (1) Removing existing restrictions on airborne use of mobile 
devices in the 800 MHz cellular and 800 MHz SMR bands; (2) harmonizing 
regulations governing the operation of mobile devices on airborne 
aircraft across all commercial mobile spectrum bands; and (3) 
implementing a comprehensive regulatory framework to promote airborne 
mobile data use using all commercial mobile spectrum bands.
    81. Under our proposal, we would add the authority to provide 
mobile communications services on aircraft across all commercial mobile 
spectrum bands (as categorized below) to the existing part 87 aircraft 
station licenses of domestic airlines. Alternatively, the NPRM seeks 
comment on whether we should permit inflight mobile wireless service 
using an alternative authorization method. Alternatives could include: 
(1) Non-exclusive licenses by which applicants, an airline or other 
entity, could file to provide airborne wireless services; (2) 
terrestrial license leases whereby an airline could provide service 
through lease agreements with mobile wireless service licensees; (3) 
auctioned ``sky licenses'' covering nationwide or geographic markets 
that would be assigned pursuant to competitive bidding, or; (4) 
unlicensed use or license-by-rule whereby eligible entities would be 
permitted to operate without the Commission issuing individual 
licenses.
    82. We propose to allow mobile communications services on aircraft 
only if managed by an Airborne Access System (Airborne Access System), 
which would control the emissions of onboard portable electronic 
devices by requiring them to remain at or near their lowest 
transmitting power level and prevent such devices from causing harmful 
interference to terrestrial networks. We also propose to limit mobile 
communications services on aircraft to aircraft travelling at altitudes 
above 3,048 meters (10,000 feet).

B. Legal Basis

    83. This action is taken under sections 1, 4(i), 11, and 303(r) and 
(y), 308, 309, and 332 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 
47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 161, 303(r), (y), 308, 309, and 332.

C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which 
the Proposed Rules Will Apply

    84. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where 
feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be 
affected by the proposed rules, if adopted herein. The RFA generally 
defines the term ``small entity'' as having the same meaning as the 
terms ``small business,'' ``small organization,'' and ``small 
governmental jurisdiction.'' In addition, the term ``small business'' 
has the same meaning as the term ``small business concern'' under the 
Small Business Act. A ``small business concern'' is one which: (1) Is 
independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of 
operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the 
SBA.
    85. In addition, we have adopted criteria for defining three groups 
of small businesses for purposes of determining their eligibility for 
special provisions such as bidding credits. We have defined a small 
business as an entity that, together with its affiliates and 
controlling principals, has average gross revenues not exceeding $40 
million for the preceding three years. A very small business is defined 
as an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling 
principals, has average gross revenues that are not more than $15 
million for the preceding three years. The SBA has approved these small 
size standards.
    86. In the following paragraphs, we further describe and estimate 
the number and type of small entities that may be affected by the 
proposals set forth in the NPRM. If our proposals are adopted, small 
airlines that choose to implement mobile communications services on 
aircraft could be required to modify their existing part 87 licenses 
and comply with new regulatory requirements, including as to the mobile 
communications services on aircraft equipment. Such compliance would 
involve, to varying degrees, the services described below. Under our 
proposals, an airline would be permitted to negotiate commercial 
agreements with the entities described in the following. It is possible 
that an airline could negotiate agreements affecting all communications 
services listed, or an airline may reach agreements involving only 
certain categories.
    87. The NPRM also request comment on whether we should permit 
inflight mobile wireless services through alternative licensing 
methodologies. In such cases, any eligible entity (airlines or others) 
would be permitted to provide mobile wireless services onboard 
aircraft. In such cases, the authorized parties could be any of the 
service providers listed below. In addition, any device manufacturers 
that choose to manufacture devices for mobile communications services 
on aircraft use will have to ensure that such devices comply with any 
rules adopted in this proceeding.
    88. Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental 
Jurisdictions. The proposals set forth in the NPRM, may, over time, 
affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. We 
therefore describe here, at the outset, three comprehensive, statutory 
small entity size standards that encompass entities that could be 
directly affected by the proposals under consideration. As of 2009, 
small businesses represented 99.9% of the 27.5 million businesses in 
the United States, according to the SBA. Additionally, a ``small 
organization'' is generally ``any not-for-profit enterprise which is 
independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.'' 
Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1,621,315 small 
organizations. Finally, the term ``small governmental jurisdiction'' is 
defined generally as ``governments of cities, counties, towns, 
townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a 
population of less than fifty thousand.'' Census Bureau data for 2007 
indicate that there were 89,527 governmental jurisdictions in the 
United States. We estimate that, of this total, as many as 88,761 
entities may qualify as ``small governmental jurisdictions.'' Thus, we 
estimate that most governmental jurisdictions are small.
    89. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). Since 
2007, the SBA has recognized wireless firms within this new, broad, 
economic census category. Prior to that time, such firms were within 
the now-superseded categories of Paging and Cellular and Other Wireless 
Telecommunications. Under the present and prior categories, the SBA has 
deemed a wireless business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer 
employees. For this category census data 2007 show that there were 
11,163 establishments that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 
10,791 establishments had employment of 999

[[Page 2628]]

or fewer employees and 372 had employment of 1000 employees or more. 
Thus, under this category and the associated small business size 
standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless 
telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities that 
may be affected by our proposed action
    90. Similarly, according to Commission data, 413 carriers reported 
that they were engaged in the provision of wireless telephony, 
including cellular service, Personal Communications Service (PCS), and 
Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) Telephony services. Of these, an 
estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 152 have more than 
1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that 
approximately half or more of these firms can be considered small. 
Thus, using available data, we estimate that the majority of wireless 
firms can be considered small.
    91. Wireless Telephony. Wireless telephony includes cellular, 
personal communications services, and specialized mobile radio 
telephony carriers. As noted, the SBA has developed a small business 
size standard for Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except 
Satellite). Under the SBA small business size standard, a business is 
small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. According to Trends in 
Telephone Service data, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in 
wireless telephony. Of these, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer 
employees and 152 have more than 1,500 employees. Therefore, more than 
half of these entities can be considered small.
    92. Cellular Licenses. The Cellular Radiotelephone (Cellular) 
Service is in the 824-849 and 869-894 MHz spectrum range. The most 
common use of cellular spectrum is mobile voice and data services, 
including cell phone, text messaging, and Internet.
    93. The Commission adopted initial rules governing allocation of 
spectrum for commercial Cellular service, including the establishment 
of two channel blocks (Blocks A and B), in 1981. To issue cellular 
licenses, the FCC divided the U.S. into 734 geographic markets called 
Cellular Market Areas (CMAs) and divided the 40 megahertz of spectrum 
into two, 20 megahertz amounts referred to as channel blocks; channel 
block A and channel block B. A single license for the A block and the B 
block were made available in each market. The B block of spectrum was 
awarded to a local wireline carrier that provided landline telephone 
service in the CMA. The A block was awarded to non-wireline carriers. 
The wireline/non-wireline distinction for cellular licenses no longer 
exists.
    94. The licensee of the initial license was provided a five-year 
period to expand coverage within the CMA. The area timely built out 
during that five-year period became the licensee's initial Cellular 
Geographic Service Area (CGSA), while any area not built out by the 
five-year mark was automatically relinquished for re-licensing on a 
site-by-site basis by the Commission.
    95. The Commission established a two phase licensing approach for 
areas that reverted back to the FCC. Phase I was a one-time process 
that started as soon as the five-year period ended and allowed parties 
to file an application to operate a new cellular system or expand an 
existing cellular system. Phase I licensing is no longer available. 
Phase II is an on-going process that allows parties to apply for 
unserved areas after Phase I ended. At this point, all cellular 
licensing is in Phase II. On June 4, 2002, the Commission completed the 
auction of three cellular Rural Service Area licenses. Three winning 
bidders won a total of 3 licenses in this auction. On June 17, 2008, 
the Commission completed the closed auction of one unserved service 
area. The auction concluded with one provisionally winning bid for the 
unserved area totaling $25,002. No bidders in either auction received 
small business bidding credits.
    96. Broadband Personal Communications Service. The broadband 
personal communications services (PCS) spectrum is divided into six 
frequency blocks designated A through F, and the Commission has held 
auctions for each block. The Commission initially defined a ``small 
business'' for C- and F-Block licenses as an entity that has average 
gross revenues of $40 million or less in the three previous years. For 
Block F licenses, an additional small business size standard for ``very 
small business'' was added and is defined as an entity that, together 
with its affiliates, has average gross revenues of not more than $15 
million for the preceding three years. These small business size 
standards, in the context of broadband PCS auctions, have been approved 
by the SBA. No small businesses within the SBA-approved small business 
size standards bid successfully for licenses in Blocks A and B. There 
were 90 winning bidders that claimed small business status in the first 
two C Block auctions. A total of 93 bidders that claimed ``small'' and 
``very small'' business status won licenses in the first auction of the 
D, E, and F Blocks. In 1999, the Commission completed a subsequent 
auction of C, D, E, and F Block licenses. Of the 57 winning bidders in 
that auction, 48 claimed small business status and won 277 licenses.
    97. In 2001, the Commission completed the auction of 422 C and F 
Block Broadband PCS licenses (Auction 35). Of the 35 winning bidders in 
that auction, 29 claimed small or very small businesses status. 
Subsequent events concerning that Auction, including judicial and 
agency determinations, resulted in only a portion of those C and F 
Block licenses being available for grant. The Commission completed an 
auction of 188 C Block licenses and 21 F Block licenses in 2005. Of the 
24 winning bidders in that auction, 16 claimed small business status 
and won 156 licenses. In 2007, the Commission completed an auction of 
licenses in the A, C, and F Blocks. Of the 12 winning bidders in that 
auction, five claimed small business status and won 18 licenses. Most 
recently, in 2008, the Commission completed the auction of C, D, E, and 
F Block Broadband PCS licenses. Of the eight winning bidders for 
Broadband PCS licenses in that auction, six claimed small business 
status and won 14 licenses.
    98. Advanced Wireless Services. In 2006, the Commission conducted 
its first auction of Advanced Wireless Services licenses in the 1710-
1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz bands (AWS-1), designated as Auction 66. For 
the AWS-1 bands, the Commission has defined a ``small business'' as an 
entity with average annual gross revenues for the preceding three years 
not exceeding $40 million, and a ``very small business'' as an entity 
with average annual gross revenues for the preceding three years not 
exceeding $15 million. In Auction 66, 31 winning bidders identified 
themselves as very small businesses and won 142 licenses. Twenty-six of 
the winning bidders identified themselves as small businesses and won 
73 licenses. In a subsequent 2008 auction, the Commission offered 35 
AWS-1 licenses. Four winning bidders identifying themselves as very 
small businesses won 17 licenses, and three winning bidders identifying 
themselves as a small business won five AWS-1 licenses.
    99. Lower 700 MHz Band Licenses. The Commission previously adopted 
criteria for defining three groups of small businesses for purposes of 
determining their eligibility for special provisions such as bidding 
credits. The Commission defined a ``small business'' as an entity that, 
together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average 
gross revenues not exceeding

[[Page 2629]]

$40 million for the preceding three years. A ``very small business'' is 
defined as an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling 
principals, has average gross revenues that are not more than $15 
million for the preceding three years. Additionally, the Lower 700 MHz 
Service had a third category of small business status for Metropolitan/
Rural Service Area (MSA/RSA) licenses --``entrepreneur''--which is 
defined as an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling 
principals, has average gross revenues that are not more than $3 
million for the preceding three years. The SBA approved these small 
size standards.
    100. An auction of 740 licenses was conducted in 2002 (one license 
in each of the 734 MSAs/RSAs and one license in each of the six 
Economic Area Groupings (EAGs). Of the 740 licenses available for 
auction, 484 licenses were won by 102 winning bidders. Seventy-two of 
the winning bidders claimed small business, very small business, or 
entrepreneur status and won a total of 329 licenses. A second auction 
commenced on May 28, 2003, closed on June 13, 2003, and included 256 
licenses. Seventeen winning bidders claimed small or very small 
business status and won 60 licenses, and nine winning bidders claimed 
entrepreneur status and won 154 licenses. In 2005, the Commission 
completed an auction of 5 licenses in the lower 700 MHz band (Auction 
60). All three winning bidders claimed small business status.
    101. In 2007, the Commission reexamined its rules governing the 700 
MHz band in the 700 MHz Second Report and Order. An auction of A, B and 
E block licenses in the Lower 700 MHz band was held in 2008. Twenty 
winning bidders claimed small business status. Thirty three winning 
bidders claimed very small business status.
    102. Upper 700 MHz Band Licenses. In the 700 MHz Second Report and 
Order, the Commission revised its rules regarding Upper 700 MHz band 
licenses. In 2008, the Commission conducted Auction 73 in which C and D 
block licenses in the Upper 700 MHz band were available. Three winning 
bidders claimed very small business status.
    103. Specialized Mobile Radio. The Commission adopted small 
business size standards for the purpose of determining eligibility for 
bidding credits in auctions of Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) 
geographic area licenses in the 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands. The 
Commission defined a ``small business'' as an entity that, together 
with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross 
revenues not exceeding $15 million for the preceding three years. The 
Commission defined a ``very small business'' as an entity that together 
with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross 
revenues not exceeding $3 million for the preceding three years. The 
SBA has approved these small business size standards for both the 800 
MHz and 900 MHz SMR Service. The first 900 MHz SMR auction was 
completed in 1996. Sixty bidders claiming that they qualified as small 
businesses under the $15 million size standard won 263 licenses in the 
900 MHz SMR band. In 2004, the Commission held a second auction of 900 
MHz SMR licenses and three winning bidders identifying themselves as 
very small businesses won 7 licenses. The auction of 800 MHz SMR 
licenses for the upper 200 channels was conducted in 1997. Ten bidders 
claiming that they qualified as small or very small businesses under 
the $15 million size standard won 38 licenses for the upper 200 
channels. A second auction of 800 MHz SMR licenses was conducted in 
2002 and included 23 BEA licenses. One bidder claiming small business 
status won five licenses.
    104. The auction of the 1,053 800 MHz SMR licenses for the General 
Category channels was conducted in 2000. Eleven bidders who won 108 
licenses for the General Category channels in the 800 MHz SMR band 
qualified as small or very small businesses. In an auction completed in 
2000, a total of 2,800 Economic Area licenses in the lower 80 channels 
of the 800 MHz SMR service were awarded. Of the 22 winning bidders, 19 
claimed small or very small business status and won 129 licenses. Thus, 
combining all three auctions, 41 winning bidders for geographic 
licenses in the 800 MHz SMR band claimed to be small businesses.
    105. In addition, there are numerous incumbent site-by-site SMR 
licensees and licensees with extended implementation authorizations in 
the 800 and 900 MHz bands. We do not know how many firms provide 800 
MHz or 900 MHz geographic area SMR pursuant to extended implementation 
authorizations, nor how many of these providers have annual revenues 
not exceeding $15 million. One firm has over $15 million in revenues. 
In addition, we do not know how many of these firms have 1500 or fewer 
employees. We assume, for purposes of this analysis, that all of the 
remaining existing extended implementation authorizations are held by 
small entities, as that small business size standard is approved by the 
SBA.
    106. Wireless Communications Services. This service can be used for 
fixed, mobile, radiolocation, and digital audio broadcasting satellite 
uses. The Commission defined ``small business'' for the wireless 
communications services (WCS) auction as an entity with average gross 
revenues of $40 million for each of the three preceding years, and a 
``very small business'' as an entity with average gross revenues of $15 
million for each of the three preceding years. The SBA approved these 
definitions.
    107. The Commission conducted an auction of geographic area 
licenses in the WCS service in 1997. In the auction, seven bidders that 
qualified as very small business entities won licenses, and one bidder 
that qualified as a small business entity won a license.
    108. Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications 
Equipment Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this category as 
follows: ``This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in 
manufacturing radio and television broadcast and wireless 
communications equipment. Examples of products made by these 
establishments are: Transmitting and receiving antennas, cable 
television equipment, GPS equipment, pagers, cellular phones, mobile 
communications equipment, and radio and television studio and 
broadcasting equipment.'' The SBA has developed a small business size 
standard for firms in this category, which is: All such firms having 
750 or fewer employees. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there 
were a total of 939 establishments in this category that operated for 
the entire year. Of this total, 912 had employment of less than 500, 
and an additional 27 had employment of 500 or more. Thus, under this 
size standard, the majority of firms can be considered small.
    109. Scheduled Passenger Air Transportation. Air transportation 
entities, specifically airlines, are implicated only to the extent that 
the Commission adopts the proposal to permit airlines to provide mobile 
wireless services. This proposal would give airlines the choice of 
whether to enable mobile communications services using an Airborne 
Access System, as well as the specific services to enable. All elements 
of the Airborne Access Systems and any permissible airborne mobile 
devices would be subject to applicable FAA and DoT rules and approval 
procedures.
    110. The Census Bureau defines this category as follows: This U.S. 
industry comprises establishments primarily

[[Page 2630]]

engaged in providing air transportation of passengers or passengers and 
freight over regular routes and on regular schedules. Establishments in 
this industry operate flights even if partially loaded. Scheduled air 
passenger carriers including commuter, and helicopter carriers (except 
scenic and sightseeing) are included in this industry. The SBA has 
developed a size standard for this industry, which is, all 
establishments having 1,500 or fewer employees. According to Census 
Bureau information for 2007, 2,569 establishments operated in that 
year. Of that number, 1,742 operated with more than 1,000 employees. 
Based on this data, we estimate that 827, or approximately 31 percent 
of these establishments, are small. However, it must be understood that 
since use of the technology necessary to provide mobile communications 
services on aircraft is permissive rather than compulsory, no data are 
available to indicate what percentage of all such passenger-carrying 
airlines establishments will use this technology after their part 87 
licenses are modified. Accordingly, the Commission cannot project at 
this time what percentage of all such licensees will be small passenger 
air transportation establishments.

D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements

    111. Under the Commission's proposal, all Airborne Access System 
devices must comply with technical and operational requirements, 
including: Measures that may be taken to limit power include, but are 
not necessarily limited to, mobile power restrictions, aircraft 
picocell power restrictions, network control unit power and/or 
technology limitations, altitude restrictions, and methods to prevent 
an airborne mobile phone from accessing the ground-based commercial 
mobile networks.
    112. While our proposals would require small airline businesses to 
modify their existing part 87 licenses if they want to provide mobile 
communications services on aircraft, airlines are not required to 
install and operate mobile communications services on aircraft 
Licensees would be permitted to contract with third parties to install 
equipment for or offer mobile communications services on aircraft. In 
addition, modifying existing aircraft fleet or station licenses to 
include proposed mobile communications services on aircraft use should 
not impose significant administrative burdens on airlines, and they 
would have the opportunity for an additional revenue stream. On 
balance, this would constitute a significant benefit for small 
business.

E. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small 
Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

    113. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, 
specifically small business, alternatives that it has considered in 
developing its approach, which may include the following four 
alternatives (among others): (1) The establishment of differing 
compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into 
account the resources available to small entities; (2) the 
clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or 
reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use 
of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an exemption 
from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.
    114. In the NPRM, the Commission proposes that domestic aircraft 
operators that want to offer mobile communications services on aircraft 
be required to file for a modification of their existing aircraft 
station or fleet licenses to include the newly designated use. Also, 
terrestrial commercial mobile providers would have the option of 
entering into permissive commercial contracts with airlines to provide 
access to wireless subscriber services.
    115. The NPRM specifically solicits alternative licensing 
proposals, especially those that would not incur significant and undue 
adverse impacts on small entities. We also specifically solicit comment 
regarding the affect our proposals may have on small business entities 
that may lack the financial and technical resources necessary to deploy 
mobile communications services on aircraft. We seek comment on factors 
that may minimize any undue impacts on parties, including small and 
very small businesses, that may be affected by our proposals. For 
example, we request comment on whether our proposals have a 
disproportionate financial impact on small businesses, e.g. smaller air 
carriers as compared to larger entities, e.g. large airlines. Will our 
proposals affect the ability of small businesses to compete with larger 
entities that may more easily afford to deploy an Airborne Access 
System? If so, we request comment on whether there are factors that 
could offset such impact. For example, could a small business enter 
into business agreements with other entities that would make the 
provision of mobile communications services more feasible for such 
entities? We seek comment on how to lessen potential burdens on these 
small carriers, including any factors or arrangements that could make 
the provision of mobile communications services more practical for 
small entities.

F. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap or Conflict With the 
Proposed Rules

    116. 14 CFR 91.21, 121.306, 125.204, and 135.144.

V. Paperwork Reduction Act

    117. This NPRM seeks comment on potential new or revised 
information collection requirement(s). If the Commission adopts any new 
or revised information collection requirement(s), the Commission will 
publish a notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to comment 
on the requirement, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 
Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). In addition, pursuant to the 
Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 
U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission seeks specific comment on how it 
might ``further reduce the information collection burden for small 
business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.''

VI. Ordering Clauses

    118. Accordingly, it is ordered that, pursuant to the authority 
contained in sections 1, 4(i), 11, 303(r), 303(y), 308, 309, and 332 of 
the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 161, 
303(r), 303(y), 308, 309, and 332, this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
is hereby adopted.

List of Subjects

47 CFR Parts 22, 24, 27, 87, and 90

    Radio.

47 CFR Parts 22, 24, 27, and 90

    Communications common carriers.

47 CFR Parts 22, 24, 87, and 90

    Communications equipment.

47 CFR Part 87

    Air transportation.

47 CFR Part 24

    Telecommunications.

47 CFR Part 90

    Business and industry.

Federal Communications Commission.
Sheryl D. Todd,
Deputy Secretary.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal 
Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR parts 22, 24, 27, 
87, and 90 as follows:

[[Page 2631]]

PART 22--PUBLIC MOBILE SERVICES

0
1. The authority citation for part 22 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  47 U.S.C. 154, 222, 303, 309, and 332.

0
2. Section 22.925 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  22.925  Airborne operation of mobile devices

    Devices using frequencies licensed under this subpart are 
prohibited from operating onboard airborne aircraft except as 
authorized by Sec.  87.205, et seq.

PART 24--PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

0
3. The authority citation for part 24 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  47 U.S.C. 154, 301, 302, 303, 309, and 332.

0
4. Section 24.3 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  24.3  Permissible communications.

    PCS licensees may provide any mobile communications service on 
their assigned spectrum. Fixed services may be provided on a co-primary 
basis with mobile operations. Broadcasting as defined in the 
Communications Act is prohibited. Devices using frequencies licensed 
under this rule part are prohibited from operating onboard airborne 
aircraft except as authorized by Sec.  87.205, et seq.

PART 27--MISCELLANEOUS WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

0
5. The authority citation for part 27 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  47 U.S.C. 154, 301, 302(a), 303, 307, 309, 332, 336, 
337, 1403, 1404, and 1451 unless otherwise noted.

0
6. Section 27.2 is amended by revising paragraph (a) and adding 
paragraph (f) to read as follows:


Sec.  27.2  Permissible communications.

    (a) Miscellaneous wireless communications services. Except as 
provided in paragraph (b), (d), or (e) of this section and subject to 
technical and other rules contained in this part, a licensee in the 
frequency bands specified in Sec.  27.5 may provide any services for 
which its frequency bands are allocated, as set forth in the non-
Federal Government column of the Table of Allocations in Sec.  2.106 of 
this chapter (column 5).
* * * * *
    (f) Devices using frequencies licensed under this part are 
prohibited from operating onboard airborne aircraft except as 
authorized by Sec.  87.205, et seq.

PART 87--AVIATION SERVICES

0
7. The authority citation for part 87 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303 and 307 (e) unless otherwise 
noted.

0
8. Add Sec. Sec.  87.205 through 87.207 and the undesignated center 
heading ``Airborne Mobile Service'' to Subpart F to read as follows:

Subpart F--Aircraft Stations

Sec.
* * * * *

Airborne Mobile Service

87.205 Scope of service.
87.206 Frequencies.
87.207 Technical requirements.


Sec.  87.205  Scope of service.

    Aircraft Station Licensees shall be permitted to provide mobile 
broadband service under this rule part subject to the following 
conditions:
    (a) Mobile broadband services shall be authorized only within 
aircraft cabins;
    (b) Mobile broadband service shall be authorized only over the 
frequencies designated in Sec.  87.206;
    (c) Aircraft station licensees must utilize an airborne access 
system that complies with the technical rules set forth in Sec.  
87.207.
    (d) The Airborne Mobile Service shall be authorized only at 
altitudes above 3,048 meters (~10,000) feet. No transmissions shall be 
authorized over designated frequencies below this altitude.


Sec.  87.206  Frequencies.

    The frequencies 698-757 MHz, 775-787 MHz, SMR spectrum within the 
bands (806-824 MHz, 851-869 MHz, 896-901 MHz, and 935-940 MHz), 824-849 
MHz, 869-894 MHz, 1850-1915 MHz, 1930-1995 MHz, 1710-1755 MHz, 2000-
2020 MHz, 2110-2155 MHz, 2180-2200 MHz, 2305-2320 MHz, and 2345-2360 
MHz are authorized for airborne in-cabin use consistent with the 
requirements and Sec.  87.205, et seq.


Sec.  87.207  Technical requirements.

    Airborne access systems on licensed aircraft must:
    (a) Utilize only frequencies authorized in Sec.  87.206 for the 
provision of Airborne Mobile Service;
    (b) Manage all in-cabin transmissions from mobile devices 
transmitting on frequencies listed in Sec.  87.206;
    (c) Prevent in-cabin mobile devices transmitting on frequencies 
listed in Sec.  87.206 from operating at power levels sufficient to 
potentially cause harmful interference to terrestrial mobile networks;
    (d) Ensure that each transmitting component of the airborne access 
system maintains minimal emissions, as measured outside the aircraft 
cabin, to ensure that airborne operations do not cause harmful 
interference to terrestrial mobile networks;
    (e) Otherwise comply with technical rules applicable to terrestrial 
base stations operating on the frequencies listed in Sec.  87.206;

PART 90--PRIVATE LAND MOBILE RADIO SERVICES

0
9. The authority citation for part 90 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: Sections 4(i), 11, 303(g), 303(r), and 332(c)(7) of 
the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 161, 
303(g), 303(r), and 332(c)(7), and Title VI of the Middle Class Tax 
Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. 112-96, 126 Stat. 156.

0
10. Section 90.423 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  90.423  Airborne operation of mobile devices.

    Devices using frequencies licensed under this rule part are 
prohibited from operating onboard airborne aircraft except as 
authorized by Sec.  87.205, et seq.

[FR Doc. 2013-31203 Filed 1-14-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P