Docstoc

Reforming Policy to Incorporate Emerging Technologies

Document Sample
Reforming Policy to Incorporate Emerging Technologies Powered By Docstoc
					Reforming Policy to
Incorporate
Emerging
Technologies




          Joe Bravo
          Heather Kopeck
          Robert Tai
          Josette Velasco
          Dale Wong
      FCC Spectrum Policy:
Reforming Policy to Incorporate Emerging
              Technologies




                   Joe Bravo
                 Heather Kopeck
                   Robert Tai
                 Josette Velasco
                   Dale Wong

  UCLA School of Public Policy & Social Research

                 March 25, 2004
Acknowledgements
First and foremost we would like to thank our advisor Professor JR DeShazo for his
invaluable assistance and generous support during this intensive process. Special thanks
to our classmates Demetrius Chapin-Rienzo, Sabina Dewan, Lisa Fox, Monica Gomez,
Rachel Freitas, Marian Fowler, Jessica Nierenberg, Diana Simpson, and Russell Vare for
their many helpful comments and feedback. Thank you to Dr. Gadh with WINMEC and
the UCLA Engineering Department, for educating us on the more technical aspects of our
research. Without his assistance we would have never grasped the complicated subject of
wireless devices and spectrum propagation characteristics. Special thanks to Professor
Jeff Cole, Director of the Communications Policy Center at UCLA and professor at the
Anderson School of Management for working with us and introducing us to experts in the
field. Thanks to FCC staff Dr. Robert Pepper, Chief of Policy Development, and Lauren
Van Wazer, Special Counsel to the Office Chief, in the Office of Engineering and
Technology for taking time out of their busy schedules to meet with us. And for those in
the experimental license division of the FCC who were patient enough to explain the
process of experimental testing. We would also like to thank Daniel Sepulveda,
Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. Thanks to Dr. Jim Davis at UCLA
for his input on societal impacts of technological advancements. Finally we would like to
thank James Snyder at The New America Foundation, author of The Citizens Guide to the
Airwaves.
                                               TABLE OF CONTENTS




Executive Summary .............................................................................................1
I. Introduction......................................................................................................5
        Regulatory Reform ..................................................................................6
        FCC Looks Forward................................................................................8
        Our Contribution to the Reform Effort ...................................................9
II. Issue Background .........................................................................................11
        What is Radio Spectrum?......................................................................11
        What are the Characteristics of Spectrum?...........................................12
        What is Government’s Role? ................................................................13
        Licensed versus Unlicensed ..................................................................14
        The Spectrum Policy Task Force Report..............................................17
III. Spectrum Sharing Mechanisms ..................................................................19
        Increasing Unlicensed Spectrum...........................................................19
        Underlay Sharing...................................................................................20
        Opportunistic Sharing............................................................................20
        Secondary Markets ................................................................................21
        Interference Metric ................................................................................22
IV. Towards a New Definition of Spectrum Rights ......................................23
V. FCC Notices Arising from the 2002 SPTF Report ....................................27
        NOI on Additional Spectrum for Unlicensed Devices.........................27
        NOI on "Interference Temperature" for Interference Management.....33
        NPRM on Cognitive Radio Technologies (CRTs)...............................39
VI. Summary of Analysis ................................................................................44
VII. Recommendations .....................................................................................48

Bibliography.......................................................................................................56
Appendix A: FCC Background ................................................................................... 60
Executive Summary

       The FCC’s Predicament

       Currently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) faces the challenge of

managing spectrum policy in a way that meets today’s consumer demands and

incorporates emerging technologies. Spectrum access demands have not been met as a

result of antiquated spectrum policies.       Emerging technologies can increase the

opportunities for spectrum access and utilization, but the FCC must undertake spectrum

policy reform in order for their benefits to be realized. The critical question focuses on

what kind of reform. This report addresses the following question:

       What strategy should the FCC pursue to achieve spectrum policy that effectively
incorporates emerging technologies to facilitate efficient spectrum use?


       The delivery of the full benefits of these technologies is impeded by three major

factors. The first impediment is the uncertainty regarding the technical capabilities of

new spectrum sharing technologies, such as cognitive radio technologies. The second

impediment is the political opposition by current licensees to changing spectrum policy

and usage rights.    Finally, there is the impediment created by current regulatory

constraints. The FCC has already begun rethinking its management of spectrum policy,

but has yet to establish a clear outline of the shape that policy reform will take. The FCC

has already created the momentum for spectrum policy change. By examining three

recent formal notices introduced by the FCC, this report provides an analysis of the

nature and dimensions of the political debate over spectrum policy reform, the arguments

regarding technological uncertainty, and regulatory limitations of the FCC.




                                                                                     1
       Recommendations

       This report examines the near-term and long-term barriers that these impediments

will create for the FCC. Spectrum policy reform will likely take many years, and this

report makes recommendations that provide a road map for the FCC’s reform efforts. In

order to effectively incorporate emerging technologies in the most feasible manner

possible given impediments to change, we recommend a phased implementation plan.

This phased approach, consisting of two non-concurrent phases, will allow the FCC to

strategically target the impediments to spectrum reform.     Phase I targets technological

uncertainty and political opposition to the utilization of spectrum sharing mechanisms.

Phase II targets the regulatory constraints to spectrum change.

       Phase I: Increase Unlicensed Spectrum AND Develop a Metric for Measuring

Interference

       Phase I has two aspects. The first aspect is maintaining the momentum for

increased unlicensed spectrum and the second is developing an interference metric.

       Increasing Unlicensed Spectrum

       It is recommended that the FCC allocate more dedicated unlicensed spectrum.

Increasing unlicensed spectrum is the most feasible initial step in spectrum policy reform

because it allows for the use and experimentation of cognitive radio technologies in order

to better prove and establish their capabilities. Increasing unlicensed spectrum serves

two objectives: first, it allows for the incorporation of emerging technologies in the

shortest term possible and second, it provides an experimental arena for these emerging

technologies to establish proof for their capabilities. Increased spectrum will encourage




                                                                                     2
growth of the market for spectrum sharing devices and create a political constituency that

can challenge the power of incumbents. It will also reduce technological uncertainty

through “real-life” experimentation.

       Developing an Interference Metric

       The FCC must develop an interference metric. A robust interference metric can

be used to overcome all three impediments to spectrum reform. If the FCC is able to

provide an interference metric, many of the arguments against spectrum sharing can be

diverted. The FCC should continue evaluating the Interference Temperature Approach

for Interference Management as it relates to various forms of spectrum sharing.


       Phase II: Implementing Spectrum Sharing through Smart Technologies in
Licensed Bands


       There are certain conditions that must be met prior to moving on to Phase II.

Phase II is contingent upon both establishing the proven capabilities of cognitive radio

technologies, and the development of robust interference metric for different bands.

Once these are met, the FCC can begin implementing some form of spectrum sharing,

whether through opportunistic sharing or underlay sharing or both, in the licensed bands.

The use of these interference mitigating mechanisms however, will depend on the

characteristics of the licensed band. Both underlay and opportunistic sharing will use the

interference temperature metric in its protocols for operating in the licensed bands. It is

recommended that the FCC first allow for underlay sharing because it utilizes proven

technology. Then, it should pursue the use of cognitive radio technologies through

opportunistic sharing.




                                                                                     3
       Phase II may not be ready for implementation for at least another ten years. The

pace of achieving the goals of Phase I will determine the readiness of the FCC to

implement Phase II.    The conditional nature of Phase II makes it imperative that

overwhelming support be given for the objectives laid out in Phase I. This gives the FCC

a more tenable position on the issue of spectrum sharing using cognitive radio

technologies.




                                                                                   4
I. Introduction
       Whether we are listening to the radio, talking on a mobile phone, or accessing the

Internet wirelessly, the use of the radio spectrum permeates our everyday life. The radio

spectrum is the invisible medium through which everyday wireless devices operate. TV

and radio broadcasters, cellular phone companies, and wireless Internet providers offer

the most prominent uses for devices utilizing the radio spectrum. The radio spectrum

allows information to travel freely through the airwaves, unencumbered from costly

infrastructure and most physical barriers.

       In this high tech era, the ability to have mobile access to information and

communications at high speeds is increasingly valuable. As technology has advanced,

the demand for radio spectrum has grown dramatically. This demand has been

constrained by old spectrum policies and outdated conceptions about how spectrum is

used. Demand has increased across the nation for services and devices that use spectrum.

Many areas such as rural America have previously been underserved and denied access to

low cost, high-speed information because of the high costs of infrastructure to bring these

services to those areas. Spectrum reform is needed to meet increasing demand, but

reform will be difficult.

       Spectrum policy reform is encumbered by several factors. These are uncertainty

regarding the technical capabilities of new spectrum sharing devices, political opposition

to changing spectrum usage rights, and regulatory impediments. As a result, the focus of

this paper will be on overcoming these barriers. Specifically, we will address the question

       What strategy should the FCC pursue to achieve spectrum policy that effectively
incorporates emerging technologies to facilitate efficient spectrum use?




                                                                                      5
Regulatory Reform

           The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the federal agency

responsible for setting spectrum policy and determining who is able to use specific parts

of the spectrum for various purposes. Therefore, we will focus on current FCC policies

and pending changes to these policies. The FCC has the authority to allocate licenses to

parts of the spectrum, known as frequencies, for various uses. Such designation of

frequencies aims to minimize radio interference between signals, which degrade signal

quality to wireless devices. The Communications Act of 1934 directed the FCC to

develop models of “property rights” for license holders. Historically, the allocation of

licenses, which granted holders the ability to access and utilize spectrum for specific

services and uses, was crucial to ensuring customer protection from harmful interference.

           The earliest rights models were based on the engineering capabilities of the

1920’s and 1930’s. Licenses were based on the specific frequencies, geographic location,

power levels, and rules regarding the particular types of services a licensee could offer.

This allowed consumers of radio and later television broadcasting to listen and view the

services provided by broadcasters without interference.                 These strict rules protected

broadcasters against interference, and also provided exclusive use to a band of

frequencies. Because access to a band was restricted, spectrum became increasingly

valuable and scarce. In 2002, the New America Foundation estimated the value of

spectrum to be $782 billion.1 By comparison McDonalds and Bill Gates combined have

an estimated worth of less than $85 billion.2




1
    J.H. Snider, “The Citizen’s Guide to the Airwaves”, New America Foundation p. 11
2
    Ibid


                                                                                               6
       Spectrum acts as a prime source to deliver information, either through

broadcasting, cellular service, wireless Internet access, and communication between

emergency service providers. Currently, there is no substitute for the use of spectrum to

deliver these types of wireless services, which makes access and use of spectrum

incredibly valuable. Prior to the adoption of the Communications Act of 1934 spectrum

operated under a commons environment.         This created a free -for –all that caused

rampant device interference and eventually, spectrum suffered from the “tragedy of

commons.” In order to control against interference, the 1934 Act authorized the FCC to

grant spectrum licenses which conferred specific usage rights.

       As a scarce resource incumbent license holders have operated with a limited

number of competitors. While incumbent license holders do have interference concerns,

they are also aware that an increase in access to spectrum may cause unwanted

competition. The advent of new technology that avoids radio signal interference may

eventually render current FCC regulations obsolete. Such technology includes both

software that dynamically allows devises to share frequencies and devices that utilize low

powered signals. The most valuable and useful part of the radio spectrum has already

been allocated and licensed. This inhibits the innovation of future wireless uses and

devices. In addition, new technologies, which take advantage of more efficient spectrum

management, will likely boost economic growth. The full benefits of these technologies

however, cannot be realized because current regulations do not foster sharing of

frequencies.




                                                                                     7
FCC Looks Forward

          To take full advantage of new technology, the FCC has been rethinking the way it

manages spectrum. In November 2002 the Spectrum Policy Task Force (SPTF), an

advisory body under the direction of Chairman Michael Powell, examined the state of

spectrum management. The SPTF report urged the Commission to define spectrum use in

four dimensions- frequency, space (location), power, and time,- a dimension previously

not considered. The report also noted that technological advances may allow for greater

access to spectrum without creating harmful interference.

          The task force considered several policy mechanisms, which could be used to

change spectrum management. These are increasing unlicensed spectrum, secondary

markets, underlay sharing, opportunistic sharing, and the creation of an interference

metric.     In response to the report the FCC introduced three formal notices which

proposed regulatory changes to encourage development and use of these mechanisms.

While increasing the amount of dedicated unlicensed spectrum and the use of secondary

markets are generally supported by both license holders and spectrum sharing advocates,

the use of underlays, opportunistic sharing, and the creation of an interference metric are

highly contentious.     There is little agreement on the technical feasibility of these

approaches and uncertainty as to how use of these mechanisms will affect spectrum

rights. Unless this uncertainty is addressed, the regulatory changes that can capitalize on

these spectrum sharing mechanisms will not be realized.




                                                                                     8
Our Contribution to the Reform Effort

       To understand how impediments to spectrum policy reform can be overcome, we

will undertake an analysis of three notices and their comments. Through careful analysis

of these notices, their comments, and interviews with policy-makers and technical

experts, we attempt to carefully identify the nature of these impediments and recommend

a mitigation strategy. These notices were chosen because they exemplify the debate over

how policy should be changed. The three notices are:

   •   Notice of Inquiry (NOI) for Additional Spectrum for Unlicensed Devices; ET

       Docket No. 02-380; December 2002

   •   Notice of Inquiry (NOI) Regarding "Interference Temperature" Approach for

       Interference Management; ET Docket No. 03-237; November 2003

   •   Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order (NPRM) regarding Cognitive Radio

       Technologies; ET Docket No. 03-108; December 2003

       We will examine the policy changes proposed in each notice and their effects.

Each notice has received public comments from various stakeholders and incumbent

license holders and illustrates key issues that must be dealt with prior to implementation.

The FCC must make several decisions related to each notice. Changes to spectrum

policy will likely take many years, and therefore we propose that changes be phased in

over time. A phased plan will strategically target political opposition and technological

uncertainty. Our recommendations will advise the FCC on how to proceed.




                                                                                     9
       Organization of the Report

       Section II will provide background information on spectrum usage as well as the

government’s role.   Section III provides a description of the mechanisms for spectrum

sharing. In Section IV outlines current rights models and how utilization of spectrum

alters licensee rights. In Section V illustrates the political response to FCC notices that

proposed changes to spectrum policy that will allow greater sharing. Section VI will

provide a summary of analysis pertaining to the spectrum sharing mechanisms. Finally,

Section VII provides recommendations on how the FCC should proceed.




                                                                                    10
II. Issue Background
                                         What is Radio Spectrum?

                                         Wireless communication is found in everyday devices

                                         such as cordless phones, broadcast television, cellular

                                         phones, AM/FM radio, and even garage door openers.

                                         Wireless devices communicate with each other by
Figure 1: Cell towers transmit signals
to cell phones over spectrum             transmitting and receiving signals over the airwaves,

                                         otherwise known as the electromagnetic spectrum.

Transmitters, such as cellular phone towers, radiate signals to receivers, in this case

cellular phones.

         The electromagnetic spectrum is composed of invisible electromagnetic radiation,

which is measured by frequency. Radio spectrum is the part of the electromagnetic

radiation lying between the frequency limits of 9 kilohertz (thousand hertz) and 300

gigahertz (billion hertz). The radio spectrum is divided into sections of frequencies

called “bands”. The wider the band, the more information capacity that band can carry.

This concept is known as bandwidth. Different devices operate on specific frequency

bands, as shown in Figure 2, which represents the broadcast bands.           For example, FM

radio transmits in a band of frequencies between 88 megahertz (million hertz) and 108

megahertz. Stations broadcast on specific frequencies, and FM radios tune to those

frequencies. This band of spectrum is solely for the use of FM radio broadcasts, and

nothing else. Frequency bands that are licensed are similarly restricted to only licensee

devices.




                                                                                         11
Figure 2: Sample of Frequency Assignments Used by Everyday Devices




Source: J.H. Snyder; “The Citizen’s Guide to the Airwaves”; New America Foundation 2003




What are the Characteristics of Spectrum?

        Lower frequency bands are more valuable

        Like real estate, certain bands of spectrum are more valuable than others. Lower

frequency spectrum bands have longer wavelengths, which allow for penetration through

barriers such as walls, trees, and bad weather better than higher frequency spectrum.

Higher frequency signals have a lower ability to permeate through a barrier. Therefore

barrier penetration dictates that lower frequency bands are far more valuable than higher

frequency bands.

                                                    Interference
                       ?
                                                    When two or more signals share the same

                                                    frequency   space,    receivers       may    have




  Figure 3: Interference occurs in receivers when
  two or more signals occupy the same space                                                     12
difficulty distinguishing between them. This phenomenon is called interference. In

physical terms, interference is analogous to trying to hold a conversation with another

person at a loud party. A fuzzy TV picture is a common example of interference.

Interference is the primary reason why the US government regulates spectrum.



What is Government’s Role?

       In 1934 Congress passed the first Communications Act, which established the

FCC and set the basis for spectrum regulation. The FCC was placed in charge of

protecting radio broadcasters and other spectrum license holders from interference that

would infringe on their services. To ensure interference protection, the FCC strictly

regulates license holders’ usage of their assigned spectrum allocations, such as what

services they could provide, the location and signal power of their transmitters, and

specifications on their receiver devices. Prior to 1994, the FCC licensed spectrum at no

charge. Currently, it employs an auction mechanism for new licenses.            For a full

explanation of the FCC’s rule changing process, see Appendix A.

       The FCC does not regulate the spectrum frequencies that are designated for

federal use. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

regulates the large portions of the radio spectrum reserved for federal and military use.

The uses of these undisclosed frequencies are kept secret due to national security reasons.

This report does not address the spectrum bands regulated by the NTIA.

       Though the FCC, under the Communications Act has the authority to create

spectrum allocation policy, Congress retains the authority to negate FCC decisions as

well as to create new legislation. Over the past twenty years, the rise of wireless devices




                                                                                    13
and innovations has compelled legislative changes to the 1934 Communications Act.

This has enabled the FCC to implement more flexible spectrum policies. In the 1983,

Congress amended the Communications Act to encourage technological advances and

gave the FCC authority to change regulations whenever technological advances present

themselves.   The amendment states, “It shall be the policy of the United States to

encourage the provision of new technologies and services to the public. Any person or

party (other than the Commission) who opposes a new technology or service proposed to

be permitted under this Act shall have the burden to demonstrate that such proposal is

inconsistent with the public interest.”3

       The rights of licensees was also expanded by the Communications Act of 1996,

which gave license holders greater discretion over how they could use their spectrum

allocation. To help accommodate the rapid proliferation of wireless markets, Congress

transferred more than 200 MHz of federal spectrum to nonfederal use in 1990s4. Despite

some headway by the FCC in adopting more flexible policies, modern spectrum

management continues to rely on outmoded procedures and policies that fail to

incorporate technologies that would mitigate the need for strict regulation.



Licensed versus Unlicensed

       Greater than 98% of the spectrum that the FCC manages is licensed to users that

hold exclusive rights to operate on those bands. 5 The remaining spectrum under FCC

jurisdiction is unlicensed, which means that anyone can use those frequencies, but


3
  Communications Act 1934, 47 U.S.C. § 157
4
  US GAO 03-277, “Telecommunications, Comprehensive Review of Spectrum Management with Broad
Stakeholder Involvement is Needed”, January 2003.
5
  Snider, J.H., “The Citizen’s Guide to the Airwaves”, New America Foundation, 2003


                                                                                       14
without guarantee against interference.6 In addition to no protection against interference,

FCC rules dictate that unlicensed devices must not cause harmful interference to licensed

services. 7 Radios, TVs, and cellular phones operate on licensed frequency bands where

service providers are granted exclusive use for their devices. Unlicensed spectrum, on

the other hand is shared, open to all, and self managed. Like public parks, highways, and

waterways, unlicensed spectrum is a “commons” environment. Even though unlicensed

spectrum accounts for such a small portion of the entire radio spectrum, the majority of

household wireless devices operate on it. Devices that operate on unlicensed spectrum

include cordless telephones, remote controls, microwave ovens, walkie-talkies, baby

monitors, and Wi-Fi local area networks that provide high-speed wireless Internet access.

        So why does not the unlicensed parts of spectrum suffer from the “tragedy of the

commons?” The answer primarily lies in the fact that all unlicensed devices are mandated

by the FCC to operate at a very low power, often limiting transmission range. Therefore

spectrum use for unlicensed devices is often highly localized, where most unlicensed

devices’ range are measured in mere yards rather than miles. Short signal ranges lessen

the instances of interference from devices using similar frequencies. For example, a

person’s cordless telephone most likely will not interfere with her neighbor’s cordless

telephone because of the limited range of the device signals.

        Based on this concept, a revolutionary engineering technique known as “spread

spectrum” has emerged in the unlicensed spectrum world.                 The idea behind spread

spectrum is that low-powered transmission spread throughout many frequencies, not only



6
  Unlicensed spectrum bands include the following: 902-928 MHz, 1.91-1.93 GHz, 2.39-2.4835 GHz, 5.15-
5.35 GHz, 5.725-5.825 GHz, 57-64 GHz.
7
  Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 15


                                                                                              15
mitigates interference, but also increase transmission range for wide broadcast services

(Werbach).8

Figure 4: Examples of Devices using Licensed and Unlicensed Spectrum

Using Licensed Spectrum                               Using Unlicensed Spectrum
Broadcast TV, Cell phones, AM/FM radio                Remote Controls, Cordless phones, Wi-Fi
                                                      networks, walkie-talkies, E-Z pass tolls,
                                                      security systems, microwaves



        Spread Spectrum technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other computer

networking applications have thrived in recent years within unlicensed spectrum. Figure

5 illustrates the recent tremendous growth of spread spectrum technologies operating in

unlicensed spectrum.9           Since unlicensed spectrum is fostering such tremendous

advancement in new wireless devices, the FCC is considering more flexible spectrum

management policies that would accommodate reform. In 2002, FCC Chairman Michael

Powell established the Spectrum Policy Task Force to investigate new technologies and

mechanisms that would allow for changes to spectrum policy.




8
  Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi), which is the most prominent spread spectrum technology operating in
unlicensed spectrum space, offers wireless broadband Internet networking at data transmission speeds of 11
to 54 Mbps. Conventional Wi-Fi only extends to a few hundred feet in range from its transmission point.
However, using multiple transmission points and dynamically linking them together allows for wider
service Wi-Fi coverage. This technique is known as mesh networking. In addition to low-power
transmission across multiple frequency channels, high-powered transmission over a very narrow beam can
also mitigate harmful interference. This particular spread spectrum technique employs the use of
directional antennas. While it is possible to implement wide area wireless services through spread
spectrum techniques across unlicensed bands, the complexity and equipment cost needed to do so would
put such a plan at a distinct disadvantage to licensed, high-power broadcast service.
9
  FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force, Report of the Unlicensed Devices & Experimental Licenses Working
Group, November 15, 2002


                                                                                                  16
      Figure 5: Spread Spectrum Equipment Authorizations in
                      Part 15 Spread Spectrum Equipment
      Unlicensed Spectrum
                                  Authorizations

             600


             500


             400


             300


             200


             100


               0
               1988    1990    1992   1994     1996   1998   2000     2002
                                                                    (T hr ough
                                      Calendar Year                  8/ 02)




The Spectrum Policy Task Force Report



       The Spectrum Policy Task Force was comprised of senior staff from a cross

section of the various FCC bureaus and offices. Members included policy makers,

attorneys, engineers, and economists from within the FCC to ensure a diverse approach to

the issue of spectrum management. The mission of the task force was to evaluate

spectrum management and recommend changes to spectrum policy. Furthermore, the

task force considered policy mechanisms that could allow for more efficient use of

spectrum. These mechanisms are increasing unlicensed spectrum, underlay sharing,

opportunistic sharing, secondary markets, and the interference metric. In November

2002, the task force issued its full report and concluded that addressing the problem of

access to the spectrum goes beyond traditional thinking. Such conventional wisdom



                                                                                 17
about spectrum has centered on the idea that spectrum is a finite public resource and that

management policies should focus on scarcity of spectrum. However, the notion of

scarcity was challenged by the identification of spectrum sharing mechanisms.




                                                                                   18
III. Spectrum Sharing Mechanisms

   There are five spectrum sharing mechanisms that allow for the incorporation of

emerging technologies into spectrum policy. They are:

   1.   Increasing unlicensed spectrum
   2.   Underlay Sharing
   3.   Opportunistic Sharing
   4.   Secondary Markets
   5.   Interference Metric


1. Increasing Unlicensed Spectrum

        In the 1980s, two particular changes to FCC rules for unlicensed devices fostered

the development of new and innovative technologies. In 1985, a change to the FCC rules

allowed certain unlicensed transmitters to operate in bands allocated for industrial,

scientific, and medical (ISM) equipment. In 1989, another change to the FCC rules

allowed for even more flexibility in the type of unlicensed transmitter permitted to

operate in the ISM bands.

        Under these revised rules for unlicensed devices, a multitude of devices have been

developed for consumer and business use within the ISM bands. For example, wireless

Internet devices, certain cordless phones, home security systems, anti-theft systems, and

wireless computer keyboards are among the products that have been developed and point

to the success of this policy mechanism. Increasing unlicensed spectrum will further

expand public use and acceptance of devices, which share the same spectrum.




                                                                                   19
2. Underlay Sharing

                                                            Part 15 of the FCC Rules10 allows

                                                            unlicensed    spread    spectrum    devices,
                             High-powered
       Device
                             Licensed Devices               subject to strict power limits, to operate in
       Power
                        Interference Threshold
                                            Low-power       certain    licensed    frequency        bands.
                                            Underlay
                                            Devices         Licensed     transmitters   routinely    emit

Figure 6: Underlay sharing: Unlicensed low-powered          signals at high power levels, to maximize
devices avoid interference and share spectrum bands with
licensed devices by operating below the interference
                                                            coverage. Licensed device receivers are

geared toward these high-powered signals, and thus ignore lower-powered signals below

a certain interference threshold. Therefore in an underlay sharing scheme, unlicensed

transmitters with power restrictions can operate in the same frequency bands as high-

powered licensed devices without causing harmful interference. The caveat to low-power

device restrictions is that the range of transmission is often highly localized to short

distances. However, multiple underlay transmission points can be dynamically meshed

together to expand the area of service transmission. The major drawback to this practice

is the added cost of equipment needed to provide a suitable wide service area

environment to rival that of licensed broadcasters.



3. Opportunistic Sharing

           Opportunistic sharing incorporates the use of software-defined “smart” or

cognitive devices.           These cognitive radio devices automatically detect and occupy

unused portions of spectrum within bands at any given time, frequency, power, location

or any other dimension for which spectrum fluctuates. It is this exploitation of spectrum
10
     Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 15


                                                                                                    20
dimensions that makes the use of cognitive, spectrum sensing devices so promising for

future spectrum management. Cognitive radio technologies (CRTs), which operate on

defined guidelines enabled by its software, can opportunistically sense and seek out

unused spectrum within a licensed environment. The unused or idle portions of licensed

spectrum are called “white-space”. CRTs can also exploit “guard bands”, which are

unused spectrum surrounding licensed bands that were assigned to protect licensed

signals from neighboring interference. Exploitation of white-space and guard bands

through opportunistic sharing can effectively increase the capacity of radio spectrum.



4. Secondary Markets

          The use of secondary markets provides an alternative to overcome regulatory

impediments that hinder spectrum reform. The creation of a secondary market where a

licensee would lease its part of the spectrum to another party that uses CRTs represents a

shared spectrum access opportunity.

          Though certain secondary markets have already been established in spectrum such

as with many wireless radio services, the incorporation of emerging cognitive

technologies can make the whole process easier and even more flexible11.               This is

because the access mechanism, which identifies available leasing opportunities, and the

reversion mechanism, which reclaims spectrum from the lessee, would be automated

functions of the cognitive radio device throughout the secondary market process.




11
     December 2003 FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order, ET Docket No. 03-108


                                                                                        21
5. Interference Metric

       The FCC lacks a metric by which it measures levels of interference. Historically,

the Commission has arbitrated interference complaints by license holders on a case-by-

case basis. The task force has noted that qualitative measurement of interference is not

an effective long-term approach to interference management or protection. Instead, they

recommend that the FCC develop quantitative metrics for interference levels. The task

force report introduced the concept of an “interference temperature” as a quantitative

solution for underlay sharing specifically. Interference temperature refers to the total

cumulative effect of all undesired radio frequency “noise” that a receiver picks up at any

given time. With a metric to measure ambient interference, interference caps could be

established. The caps would define the maximum permissible interference for licensed

spectrum bands, and therefore would promote new opportunities for underlay sharing.




                                                                                   22
IV. Towards a New Definition of Spectrum Rights

 Spectrum Rights Models

        The rights models describe the extent to which spectrum users are subject to

 license requirements and the levels of interference protection, if any, they are entitled to

 from the FCC. The FCC primarily has used three rights models. These rights models are

 used simultaneously and apply to different services and frequency bands.



        Command and Control Model

        This is the traditional model of rights. The majority of spectrum that is licensed

 operates under this model. Broadcasting bands, both television and radio, exist under

 strict and very specific rules. License holders have exclusive rights to a particular

 frequency and rights to protection against harmful interference. This rights model also

 has many specific regulations attached to the access to a frequency. Under Command

 and Control, the FCC regulates many aspects of the use including: the specific type of

 service provided, specific location, height, and power levels of transmitter towers. Any

 license holder who wishes to change the terms of their license must gain approval of the

 FCC first.



        Exclusive Use Model

        Under this model, licensees have some of the same rights as they do under the

 Command and Control Model.          However, the Exclusive Use Model is much more

 flexible and allows licensee to transfer their rights.      License holders have formal

 protection from interference. Aside from being subject to some limited technical rules,




                                                                                      23
license holders under this model have flexibility to determine services, and the manner in

which a service is provided. Cellular PCS rules are an example of the exclusive use

model. The license holder does not have to gain FCC approval for any changes to the

service they provide or the manner in which they provide it. For example, cellular

service providers are limited to place their towers in a general geographic area but they

do not have the same tower regulations that a television broadcaster must have. Cellular

service providers are free to determine the best way to serve their customers, be it with

one large tower, or several towers.



       Commons Model

       The Commons Model allows for the sharing of frequencies.              An unlimited

number of users may access these frequencies. Use is only governed by certain technical

standards placed on devices that access the frequencies.           Those using the common

frequencies do not have the right to protection from interference. Wi-Fi devices utilize

unlicensed frequencies. Users of the commons model do not have any protection against

interference nor can they cause interference to license holders.

       The Spectrum Policy Task Force highlighted the need for the FCC to move

towards a more flexible rights model. Historically the FCC has primarily used the

Command & Control model. This model is very cumbersome and inflexible. Over the

past few decades the FCC has increased its use of the Exclusive Use model. However,

the FCC now realizes the benefits of the Commons Model, which has proven to be a

viable alternative by which to increase access to spectrum. It has also induced advances

in consumer goods and services, and has spurred competition. In facilitating the use of




                                                                                   24
the policy mechanisms identified earlier, the FCC can move towards greater use of the

commons model.



   Towards Greater Use of the Commons Model




       Command          Exclusive     Secondary      Underlay    Opportunistic Commons
       & Control         Rights        Markets       Sharing       Sharing



                 Increase Unlicensed Spectrum Throughout



       The diagram above shows the relationship between the policy mechanisms and

the rights models. Opportunistic sharing is most akin to the Commons Model than any of

the other spectrum sharing policy mechanisms. By incorporating each of the spectrum

sharing mechanisms, the Commission is encouraging more efficient use of spectrum and

greater competition. This competition in turn will spur advances in technology and

greater benefits to the public. Incorporating these mechanisms will also redefine rights to

spectrum use and may lead to the diminishing need for exclusive use licenses.

       As the FCC moves to the right of the continuum, it is unlikely that license holders

will go quietly. In fact, license holders such as broadcasting corporations (both radio and

television), cellular service providers, satellite television providers, government agencies

at all levels, and many others all have a huge stake in ensuring their dedicated spectrum

remains within their control. Collectively, these incumbents control virtually all of the




                                                                                     25
value of the spectrum. Any additional players on the spectrum field will only make their

piece of the pie smaller.

       A string of FCC Notices followed the SPTF Report that attempted to utilize these

policy mechanisms to move towards more commons. These notices highlight the key

impediments to implementing these mechanisms.




                                                                                 26
V. FCC Notices Arising From 2002 SPTF Report



        In reaction to the findings of the report the FCC has released the following three

 notices that attempt to utilize the aforementioned policy mechanisms by which spectrum

 management may be changed. These notices are interrelated and complement each other.

    •   Notice of Inquiry (NOI) for Additional Spectrum for Unlicensed Devices; ET

        Docket No. 02-380; December 2002

    •   Notice of Inquiry (NOI) Regarding "Interference Temperature" Approach for

        Interference Management; ET Docket No. 03-237; November 2003

    •   Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order (NPRM) regarding Cognitive Radio

        Technologies; ET Docket No. 03-108; December 2003



 NOI for Additional Spectrum for Unlicensed Devices


        Under the FCC’s revised rules for unlicensed devices, a multitude of devices have

 been developed for consumer and business use within the ISM bands. Recognizing the

 tremendous economic and public benefits that could be reaped as a result of allowing the

 use of unlicensed devices in additional bands, the FCC identified the TV broadcast

 frequencies as potential bands for the use of such unlicensed devices. However, as

 evidenced by the comments to this NOI, political opposition to allowing unlicensed users

 in the broadcast band is strong. Moreover, there is substantial uncertainty regarding the

 technical feasibility of using various opportunistic and underlay mechanisms to share

 licensed spectrum.




                                                                                   27
       On December 20, 2002, the FCC released an NOI in the matter of “Additional

Spectrum for Unlicensed Devices Below 900 MHz and in the 3 GHz Band”. The inquiry

sought public comments regarding the possibility of permitting the use of unlicensed

devices in the TV broadcast spectrum, which lies below 900 MHz. Furthermore, the

inquiry sought comments on the requirements for interference mitigation to make sure

that such unlicensed operations do not harm licensed and incumbent services.



       Potential Access for Unlicensed Spectrum in Broadcast Bands

       The allocation of dedicated unlicensed spectrum has previously only occurred in

higher, less valuable, frequency bands. The proposed rules would provide access for

unlicensed users in the more valuable lower frequency bands that had previously been

considered scarce. Access to these bands could further spawn innovative technologies.

This NOI focuses on the unused TV channel bands that at any given time or location are

free as a result of interference prevention rules. FCC rules require certain separation

between channels to inhibit interference.     The bands of empty space that separate

broadcast frequencies from one another are referred to as guard bands. These rules give

rise to empty bands within the TV broadcast spectrum. These guard bands could provide

access for unlicensed spectrum activities.

       This NOI also considers the effects of the FCC mandated transition for TV

stations from analog to digital transmissions. The efficiencies gained from the transition

include the fact that digital TV stations will use only channels 2-51, thereby freeing

channels 52-69 which have been reassigned for other purposes. During the transition

phase, each station is allowed to broadcast on one digital channel and one analog channel.




                                                                                   28
Upon completion of the transition, each station will broadcast only on one digital

channel. Again, interference prevention rules will mean that certain TV channels in a

given area will not be fully utilized due to separation requirements. Vacant bands exist

during the digital TV transition and will exist afterwards.



       Comments to this NOI

       Many of those who filed comments to this NOI underscore the importance of

innovative technologies and the corresponding benefits to society.      To unleash the

potential of unlicensed wireless technologies, these commenters believe that the FCC

should continue to explore the viability of unlicensed operations in the TV broadcast

bands. Supporters of the expansion of unlicensed operations include companies in the

technology sector, including Microsoft and Intel. In their respective comments, AT&T

and Microsoft express optimism that allocating additional spectrum for unlicensed

devices would ultimately lead to more broadband alternatives for consumers. Intel also

mentions that it has conducted experiments to demonstrate that space exists for sharing

spectrum within the TV broadcast bands and that unlicensed devices can operate near TV

receivers without causing interference.

       Following this line of thought, the New America Foundation comments that a

large portion of the TV broadcast spectrum remains unused and that the guard bands

should be immediately dedicated to unlicensed use. Moreover, it believes that unlicensed

devices should be permitted throughout the entire TV broadcast spectrum. The use of a

low power underlay would allow unlicensed operations on a shared basis with licensed

users. Also, because vacant bands exist at any given time, the New America Foundation




                                                                                 29
believes that the FCC should allocate the entire TV broadcast spectrum to unlicensed

devices on an opportunistic basis. Finally, they emphasize that consumers should decide

acceptable levels of interference rather than incumbent licensees.

       Despite the recognized value of spurring greater technological innovation, a

number of commenters voiced opposition to the allocation of additional spectrum for

unlicensed devices due to interference concerns.     Indicating that there is no assurance

that the licensed users would be protected from interference, these commenters opposed

opening lower frequency bands for unlicensed use.           Those in opposition include

commercial two-way dispatch service, electrical, gas and utility members, public safety

agencies, cellular service providers, and broadcasters.

       Public safety agencies fear that potential interference from unlicensed operations

would hamper their abilities to perform first-responder, emergency services.             For

example, the County of Los Angeles is moving to digital systems, which are susceptible

to losing transmissions completely in the presence of interference. Therefore, the risk of

sharing spectrum with unlicensed operations is too great.            With regard to mobile

emergency communications, predicting the time and location of transmissions is an

obstacle to protecting against interference. As Motorola and AT&T Wireless point out,

interference problems may be better managed when licensed operations are fixed. The

United Telecom Council notes the need to protect the communication activities of utility

workers who operate in dangerous situations around power lines, gas pipelines, nuclear

power plants, and other stations.        Additionally, several commenters assert their

opposition to allowing unlicensed operations in bands where wireless medical telemetry

service (WMTS) and radio astronomy operations exist.             The American Hospital




                                                                                    30
Association comments that WMTS devices are highly sensitive and would be vulnerable

to interference from unlicensed devices.              Thus, critical patient monitoring activities

would be at risk.

         Finally, broadcasters were strongly opposed to unlicensed sharing of their band.

With the transition from analog to digital TV systems, TV channels 52-69 will be

available for other uses12. Indeed, most of this band has already been reallocated. The

Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), the National Association of

Broadcasters (NAB), and the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) issued

joint comments stating that allowing unlicensed devices in the TV broadcast band would

pose significant risks to the digital TV transition. MSTV, NAB, and APTS believe that

unlicensed devices are not likely to have sufficient interference mitigation mechanisms.

They also note that interference may cause a complete loss of service due to the nature of

digital systems. Furthermore, the digital TV transition is already experiencing complex

issues in need of resolution, and potential interference issues from unlicensed operations

would only worsen the situation. Qualcomm and Cox Broadcasting are among the

commenters who also agree that unlicensed operations in the TV broadcast band should

not be considered until the end of the digital TV transition.




12
  Because digital signals require less spectrum than analog signals, moving towards uniform digital
broadcasting will free up additional capacity. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 basically required
Broadcasters to transition to a digital signal. However, the transition is not considered complete until
Broadcasters reach a penetration rate of 85% (i.e. 85% of households must be able to receive a digital
signal).



                                                                                                     31
       Analysis of Comments to NOI for Additional Spectrum for Unlicensed Devices

       The general consensus is that there is great uncertainty as to whether underlay and

opportunistic sharing of the licensed broadcast spectrum would cause harmful

interference to licensed users. Broadcasters, public safety agencies, hospitals, and

wireless component manufacturers all expressed skepticism about whether new

technology can effectively prevent interference to vital public services. Given the fact

that there is little agreement regarding the technical feasibility of smart devices to

mitigate interference, incumbent interests, in particular broadcasters and public safety

agencies, are likely to exert tremendous political pressure on both the FCC and Congress.

These incumbents represent a very powerful political constituency. Should the FCC

allow unlicensed devices in these politically contentious bands, it is likely that Congress

would overturn any decision that threatens these interests.

       Increasing unlicensed use in lower frequency bands will require a shift in political

power. Currently, the biggest supporters of increasing unlicensed use in this band are

technology firms such as Intel and Microsoft, and organizations such as the New America

Foundation. In order for supporters to gain political power, the market for unlicensed

wireless devices must increase substantially. To achieve this, the FCC should continue to

allocate unlicensed spectrum in higher frequency bands.         Bands not inhabited by

broadcasters and public safety agencies would be easier targets for increasing unlicensed

spectrum. Those interests opposed to unlicensed spectrum use in lower frequency bands

generally support unlicensed use in higher, less congested, frequency bands. Additional

unlicensed spectrum will create additional space in which new firms may enter the




                                                                                    32
market for unlicensed devises. It will also allow technologies to further mature and

reduce uncertainty surrounding sharing of frequencies.

           Measures that could speed up the transition to digital broadcasting could create

more opportunities for increasing unlicensed use of lower band spectrum. The most

prevalent objection from broadcasters to the introduction of unlicensed spectrum in

broadcast bands centers on this transition. The National Association of Broadcasters

strongly opposes any FCC actions in their bands until the transition is complete. There

are methods that could speed up the transition process. Measures such as lobbying

Congress to lower the penetration requirement or requiring cable providers to carry

digital broadcasts will speed up the transition. However, these proposals will likely

generate intense political opposition from both broadcasters and cable providers.

Therefore, this approach may not be feasible in the near future.



NOI Regarding "Interference Temperature" for Interference Management

           The idea of an interference temperature metric emerged from the Spectrum Policy

Task Force (SPTF) workshops that identified the need to clarify the meaning of harmful

interference. According to the SPTF Report, “although the Commission’s rules and

processes for managing interference have historically been effective in many bands,

current interference management approaches and tools need to be reexamined.”13

Moreover, many participants in the workshops noted that the idea of “harmful

interference” is “subjective and does not reflect modern technology and communications

markets.”14 In order to provide greater certainty in determining acceptable interference,


13
     Spectrum Policy Task Force Report at 26
14
     Ibid.


                                                                                    33
the SPTF recommended that the Commission adopt “a more quantitative approach to

interference management or quantitatively augment its existing rules.”15 This approach,

in its view, would augment and clarify the existing definitions of interference and provide

licensees greater protection against harmful interference.

           In addition to greater regulatory certainty, an interference temperature metric

would identify underutilized bands of spectrum, via underlay sharing. The metric would

establish an acceptable limit of interference in each particular band depending on

geography and service type. In doing so, the Commission would be able to highlight

those bands where unlicensed devices can share spectrum if the interference limit is not

exceeded. The FCC hopes this will allow greater flexibility in service through the use of

technology, which could access underutilized spectrum. Once the interference limit is

identified, a network of devices could be set up to monitor the interference temperature

for a given frequency and geography.                Users would be allowed to operate on

underutilized portions of the spectrum when the interference limit is low and would be

prohibited when the limit is exceeded.

           The FCC, in November of 2003 issued a Notice of Inquiry to explore the issue of

establishing an “Interference Temperature Metric.” The purpose of this metric would be

to “quantify and manage interference and to expand available unlicensed operation in

certain fixed, mobile, and satellite frequency bands.”16 By issuing the NOI, the FCC

sought public comment on the technical feasibility of establishing an interference

temperature metric as well as whether the Commission could use the metric to allow

underlay sharing of underutilized spectrum by unlicensed devices.


15
     November 2003 FCC Notice of Inquiry and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, ET Docket No. 03-237
16
     November 2003 FCC Notice of Inquiry and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, ET Docket No. 03-237


                                                                                             34
           Comments on this NOI

           Although there have been few comments to the Notice of Inquiry, the idea

received a volume of comments in response to the SPTF Report. It can be assumed that

comments to the NOI will closely resemble comments to the SPTF Report. While many

agreed that the idea of monitoring the real-time interference environment is necessary,

several commenting parties disagreed on the technical feasibility of establishing a metric.

Additionally, incumbent licensees generally disagreed with the intended use of the metric

as a mechanism to identify bands where unlicensed devices could share spectrum through

underlays or by using cognitive devices.

           Because of the uncertainty surrounding the development of the interference

metric, incumbents generally supported further study of the interference environment but

opposed the use of a new metric to allow unlicensed users into their bands. Broadcasters

expressed doubts about the technical feasibility of establishing an interference

temperature metric. The National Association of Broadcasters and Maximum Service

Television, Inc. in addition to Cingular, Verizon Wireless, Wireless Communications

Association, Motorola, AT&T Wireless, CTIA, and the Wi-Fi Alliance, all claimed that

the interference environment is extremely difficult to monitor. Several recommended

that the metric should be developed and tested in non-broadcast bands, “particularly

where the licensee controls both the transmitters and the receivers and can, therefore,

efficiently monitor and control interference problems.”17 They also question the ability

of cognitive devices to utilize the interference metric, particularly because they “do not

exist in today’s marketplace”18


17
     Verizon Wireless Comments at 10, WT Docket No. 02-135.
18
     Verizon Wireless Comments at 15, WT Docket No. 02-135


                                                                                     35
           Public safety agencies also expressed concerns about the use of the interference

temperature metric. In response to the SPTF report, the New York State Office of

Technology criticized the use of the interference metric to allow unlicensed use in the

public safety band.          They asserted that, “the State feels that this concept, while

interesting, does not translate well into public safety operations because it assumes an

interference limited environment, which already has been shown to result in harmful loss

of Public Safety communications.” They also agreed with other commenters that stated

that the interference environment is too difficult to measure.

           Those who support the idea of the interference temperature metric expressed

caution in utilizing the idea to manage spectrum and agreed that the plan should be a

long-term goal. The Wi-Fi Alliance, which is composed of wireless Ethernet component

manufacturers including 3Com, AMD, Cisco, Dell, Gateway, Sun, Intel, Motorola, and

Sony, commented that the idea of the interference metric is needed to better understand

the radio frequency environment. However, they stated that:

           If flexible and efficient use of the spectrum is to be fully realized, it will
           become increasingly difficult to pre-determine interference ranges, as the
           predictive modeling used to demonstrate the spectrum sharing
           compatibility of two or more waveforms will become increasingly
           complicated, time-consuming and costly.19

The Alliance’s basic claim echoes incumbent licensees’ claims that it is very difficult to

accurately measure the interference environment. However, the Alliance does recognize

that this approach is a long-term goal and something that should be pursued despite the

inherent difficulty. Consequently, they recommend that the Commission “approach the

development of quantitative standards cautiously.”20


19
     Comments of the Wi-Fi Alliance at 5-6, ET Docket No. 02-135
20
     Ibid. at 7


                                                                                            36
        The general consensus on establishing an interference temperature metric is that

further study of the “RF noise floor” or interference environment is useful and needed but

should not yet determine policy. Even strong opponents to the use of the metric to free

up spectrum for unlicensed sharing, such as Verizon, agree that “despite the flaws

inherent in the proposed temperature model…there is a need for a more quantitative

approach to addressing interference.”21        The NAB also stated that the idea “holds

significant potential as a monitoring mechanism for quantifying and understanding the

interference environment.”22 Moreover, many comments stated that prior to establishing

an interference temperature metric the Commission should “undertake a systematic study

of the noise floor.”23      Clearly there is a need for further study of the inference

environment, despite disagreement over its application.



        Analysis of Comments to NOI on “Interference Temperature”

        The majority of the comments to this NOI expressed skepticism regarding the use

of an interference temperature to manage spectrum, although almost all acknowledged

the need for an interference metric. Almost all of the incumbents support the idea of the

interference temperature metric but not its application to spectrum use. The metric may

ultimately provide quantitative proof that spectrum sharing in certain cases does not

cause harmful interference. Should this, or another metric be tied to spectrum use

licensees will be forced to share spectrum with other users. An increase of spectrum

users will increase competition for licensees.



21
   Verizon Wireless Comments at 15, WT Docket No. 02-135
22
   Joint Comments of MSTV and NAB at 10
23
   Verizon Wireless Comments at 15, WT Docket No. 02-135


                                                                                   37
       The move towards establishing an interference temperature metric also signals a

dramatic change in the way the FCC regulates spectrum use. The development of a

metric could potentially weaken the ability of incumbent license holders to challenge

FCC policy changes on interference grounds. If a temperature metric is established there

will be substantial controversy in setting interference limits. Any increase in sharing

spectrum will diminish an incumbent’s monopoly on specific frequency use.

Consequently, policies designed to use the interference temperature metric to free up

additional unlicensed spectrum will meet strong opposition from incumbent licensees

who will most likely lobby Congress to overturn these rules.



       Retrospective Analysis

       Much of the negative reaction to the idea of interference temperature could have

been avoided had the notice sought comment only on the development of an interference

temperature to protect licensees from harmful interference or to further study the noise

floor in different bands. As a practical approach, the FCC should not have linked

spectrum management to the development of the interference temperature metric.

Because there is so much controversy over how interference can be measured, the FCC

should not have added contention by linking the metric to increasing unlicensed spectrum

in licensed bands. Only when the metric gathers support and adequate research of the

noise floor in different bands is undertaken, can the metric realistically be proposed as a

tool for spectrum management.




                                                                                    38
NPRM on Cognitive Radio Technologies (CRTs)

        The ability of cognitive radios to operate while avoiding interference has made

the use of cognitive radio technologies (CRTs) an important issue. However, they raise

increasingly complex questions about how to improve access and usage. Though a

limited version of cognitive radio devices are in use today in applications such as wireless

LANs and mobile wireless service networks, their ability to effectively manage

interference has yet to be proven.        Currently these limited devices operate within

designated frequency bands, but there is uncertainty as to whether cognitive devices

would work across frequency bands. In its 2002 Report, the SPTF recommended that the

FCC should strive to remove regulatory barriers to the use of cognitive radio

technologies. According to the task force, CRTs can enable more efficient use of the

radio spectrum because it operates in the white or unused spaces of spectrum.24 In

addition, cognitive radio technologies can facilitate secondary markets.         However, the

nature of cognitive radios and their ability to manage spectrum, at the device level,

without formal FCC rules will create fierce political opposition.

        Opportunistic sharing may be possible through the use of cognitive radio

technologies, which open spectrum for use in space, time, power, and frequency. They

have the ability to sense their radiofrequency (RF) environment, and adapt their use of

spectrum in response to information external to the radio.25 By using the information

gathered about its RF environment, a cognitive radio would be able to determine the

optimal frequencies and transmission powers to use while avoiding interference. In



24
 November 2002 FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force Report (“Task Force Report”) ET Docket No. 02-135.
25
 December 2003 FCC News announcement: “FCC Opens Proceeding on Smart Radios,” ref: ET Docket
No. 03-108.


                                                                                         39
theory, frequency licenses which were designed to prevent interference will be

unnecessary.

       In December of 2003 the FCC began its latest spectrum related proceeding, a

Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order (NPRM) in the matter of facilitating

opportunities for flexible, efficient, and reliable spectrum use employing cognitive radio

technologies. The purpose of this current Notice is to set proposals and seek comment on

the use and applications for cognitive radio systems, and ways to provide more flexibility

for service providers, especially in rural and underserved areas. The Commission also

seeks to explore ways to encourage development and deployment of these technologies,

while protecting incumbents from interference. Possibilities include allowing licensed

spectrum users to deploy CRTs for their own use, as well as to introduce secondary

markets, in which licensees could enter into voluntary leasing agreements with third

parties that use cognitive devices.



       Comments to this NPRM

       Currently, the 75-day time limit allowed for the submission of comments has not

been reached. There have been few comments posted at this time. We anticipate that

many comments will be centered on the question: can cognitive radio technologies

opportunistically function in licensed frequency bands while avoiding harmful

interference to license holders?

       Incumbents, particularly Broadcasters, Cellular Companies, and Public Safety

Agencies, will undoubtedly argue that cognitive radio devices are not yet a mature

technology. There is a significant lack of adequate testing and proof that they can avoid




                                                                                   40
causing harmful interference if employed as part of a shared spectrum program.

Proponents of the use of cognitive technologies, which most likely would include

wireless component manufacturers and shared spectrum advocates, will have a hard time

justifying rules that depend on the use of technologies that do not exist. However, they

will argue that continued development of cognitive devices is crucial for increasing

access for unlicensed devices in licensed bands.

       Proponents and opponents may also disagree on the value of using secondary

markets to improve access for unlicensed devices. Secondary markets would increase the

value of licensed spectrum for license holders. Licensees would gain the ability to enter

into profitable agreements with those seeking access to spectrum, particularly in the

lower frequency bands.     However, the benefits of secondary markets to incumbent

licensees will depend on the lease terms. Incumbents will predictably want to set the

terms of leases in order to ensure they are protected from interference. Moreover, they

will want to set the price of these leases to ensure profitability. Conversely, those

seeking unlicensed spectrum through secondary markets will likely oppose rules that give

incumbents too much power over the terms of the leases.



       Analysis of Expected Comments to Notice Regarding the Use of Cognitive Radios

       This Notice is by far the most radical step towards allowing for flexible use of

spectrum. Cognitive radios at present are in the developmental stage. While less robust,

“smart” technologies do exist in cellular phones, the technical capabilities are restricted

to frequency hopping within the licensed band. Moreover, these technologies cannot

adjust power levels or predict the presence of other devices outside their service




                                                                                    41
provider’s control. The ability to predict the RF environment still depends on the

development of an interference temperature metric whose feasibility, as previously

discussed, is hotly debated.

       The introduction of rule changes to facilitate use of cognitive technologies is also

radical because it portends a significant shift in spectrum rights. Because cognitive

radios could theoretically manage interference without formal FCC protection, the

potential exists for a restructuring of spectrum rights. Currently, incumbent licensees

have exclusive access to bands of spectrum because of rules designed to prevent

interference. This protection creates a form of scarcity, which ultimately makes access to

a band extremely valuable, because it limits competition.        Current licensed service

providers charge consumers for access to their spectrum, which is guaranteed against

harmful outside interference.    If interference rules are made irrelevant by cognitive

devices, consumers will ultimately decide which services they want to use at a particular

time. Therefore, users would not have the exclusive right to operate in a specific band.

Demand would dictate spectrum use rather than FCC rules.                Protection against

interference will be achieved through technical protocols built into cognitive devices.

       This new model of spectrum rights would fundamentally change the current

business models of license holders. Opportunistic sharing of previously exclusive use

spectrum will increase access to spectrum thereby increasing competition.           License

holders who currently provide services to consumers will not want any additional

competition, because it will lower the value of the spectrum they currently control. Of

course, all of this depends on the details of interference rights as well as the development




                                                                                     42
of robust cognitive devices. Consequently, a shift in policy towards the use of cognitive

radios to manage interference will be fiercely opposed by incumbent licensees.




                                                                                  43
VI. Summary of Analysis
          By analyzing three recent formal notices introduced by the FCC regarding the

spectrum sharing mechanisms, this report lays out the debate over spectrum policy

reform.     It also highlights the technological uncertainty, political opposition, and

regulatory constraints which inhibit the use of these mechanisms. Each mechanism faces

distinct obstacles and requires specific strategies to overcome them. The following is a

summary of the analysis of the obstacles to implementing these mechanisms.



1. Increasing Unlicensed Spectrum

          Following the commercial success of Wi-Fi and other unlicensed networking

technologies, the wireless industry will continue to clamor for new markets using

unlicensed spectrum. As services and devices operating in unlicensed spectrum continue

to proliferate, so will the demands of the wireless industry for more unlicensed bands.

Unused and underutilized spectrum within the licensed broadcast bands will be

specifically targeted for unlicensed expansion.      Incumbent license holders will feel

growing pressure from not only industry, but also the growing wireless community.

Incumbent licensees will then need to be more accommodating to this evolution of public

behavior. Wide public acceptance of increasing unlicensed spectrum is likely to reduce

political impediments to spectrum reform, and thereby increase the likelihood that

regulatory change will occur. Spectrum reform advocates recognize the tremendous

economic and public benefits that could be reaped as a result of allowing the use of

unlicensed devices in additional bands, and thus the notion of more dedicated spectrum

for unlicensed operations is a distinct consideration.




                                                                                  44
2. Underlay Sharing

         In 2002, the FCC authorized the use of ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, a form

of spread spectrum technology limited to a range of 10 meters, to underlay some licensed

bands. The FCC’s decision to allow the use of UWB in licensed bands indicates that

emerging underlay-sharing technologies will be a prominent mechanism for future

spectrum policy reform.

         The possibility of unfettered underlay sharing in licensed bands is plausible, given

the FCC’s stance on UWB.          In addition, the spread spectrum technology used for

underlay schemes is relatively advanced and successful, especially within unlicensed

bands.    This should help satisfy technical uncertainty impediments with regard to

spectrum reform. The FCC should emphasize the successes and advancements of spread

spectrum to quell opposition from license holders.          This would diminish political

obstacles toward spectrum sharing and reform.



3. Opportunistic Sharing

          License holders continue to question the maturation of CRTs, and feel that

opportunistic sharing technology does not properly protect their services from harmful

interference. Like underlay, opportunistic sharing allows for the possibility of more

effective and efficient spectrum use. Ultimately it could even lead to the elimination of

most spectrum regulations. However the development of CRTs for opportunistic sharing

is far behind the advancements of underlay sharing. This makes opportunistic sharing a

far more politically contentious issue among license holders.




                                                                                      45
4. Secondary Markets

             The wider use of secondary markets reduces political barriers to spectrum reform

by allowing licensees to be compensated for sharing their spectrum. Thus, incumbent

licensees would be more agreeable to spectrum reform that includes secondary markets.

             Technical requirements, however, may inhibit the outright use of CRTs as part of

leasing agreements. This secondary market application would be best suited for the

public safety spectrum because much of that part of the spectrum goes unused for most of

the time, except during emergencies, when it is used intensively. “Interruptible spectrum

leasing” is a type of secondary market agreement that can be considered.26 In this leasing

arrangement, the public safety entity can lease its spectrum space to a provider and be

able to “interrupt” their service during emergencies. Cognitive radio technologies are

crucial in the development of this type of arrangement because the “interruption” would

be communicated between the devices rather than the users, due to the inherent access

and reversion mechanisms of these smart devices.



5. Interference Metric

             Additional interference metrics should also be devised for opportunistic sharing.

By providing a measure by which to judge spectrum sharing technologies, such a metric

would help to overcome the uncertainty impediment as to technologies which promote

spectrum efficiency actually work. An interference temperature metric would clarify the

existing definitions of interference and provide licensees greater protection against

harmful interference.            In addition to greater regulatory certainty, an interference

temperature metric would identify underutilized bands of spectrum.              However, both
26
     Ibid.


                                                                                         46
proponents and opponents of the interference temperature are wary of this particular

metric. Opponents do not believe the metric will lead to sufficient protection from

harmful interference.   Proponents do not necessarily want to be beholden to the

interference caps, which interference temperature would create.




                                                                              47
VII. Recommendations
       Based on our analysis of the FCC notices and the spectrum sharing policy

mechanisms we will recommend a phased implementation plan that will strategically

target the impediments to utilizing the spectrum sharing mechanisms.

       Phased Implementation Plan

       Spectrum policy reform will likely take many years, and this report’s

recommendations offer a road map for the FCC’s reform efforts. In order to effectively

incorporate emerging technologies in the most feasible manner possible given

impediments to change, we recommend a phased implementation plan. This phased

approach, consisting of two non-concurrent phases, will allow the FCC to strategically

target the impediments to spectrum change. Again these impediments are: technological

uncertainty, political opposition, and regulatory constraints.

       Phase I: Increase Unlicensed Spectrum AND Develop Interference Metric

       Phase I has two aspects. The first aspect is maintaining the momentum for

increased unlicensed spectrum and the second is developing interference metrics.



       Increasing Unlicensed Spectrum

       It is recommended that the FCC allocate more dedicated unlicensed spectrum for

use. Increasing unlicensed spectrum serves two objectives. First, it encourages the

incorporation of emerging spectrum sharing technologies in the near term. Second, it

provides an experimental arena for these emerging interference mitigating technologies,

such as cognitive radio devices for opportunistic sharing, and underlay sharing.

Increasing unlicensed spectrum continues the trends started by the Spectrum Policy Task




                                                                                   48
Force.     We recommend that the FCC accelerate the process of reaching the two

objectives by enacting regulatory change that can feasibly overcome regulatory

constraints, technological uncertainty, and political opposition.

         Increasing unlicensed spectrum will allow a wider range for use. This extended

range will promote greater technological development and innovation and increase the

market for wireless devices. Wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) are an example

of the possibilities created by increased unlicensed spectrum. WISPs use innovative

wireless technologies in unlicensed bands to bring broadband services. Wi-Fi is the most

prominent service among WISPs.27 Thus far, the FCC has been relatively successful in

opening up parts of the spectrum for unlicensed use because it has focused on less

politically contentious bands. It is recommended that the FCC stay clear of the broadcast

bands during Phase I.

         The second objective served by increasing unlicensed spectrum is that unlicensed

spectrum can be used as the experimental arena for spectrum sharing technologies.

Increasing unlicensed spectrum is the most feasible initial step in spectrum policy reform

because it allows for the use and experimentation of spectrum sharing technologies in

order to better prove and establish their capabilities. Greater experimentation will have

the effects of reducing technological uncertainty and creating room for growth of the

market. By increasing the unlicensed part of the spectrum, the FCC will continue to

foster an environment conducive to technological innovation. With fewer constraints,



27
  Wi-Max is another kind of networking technology designed to offer tremendous bandwidth capacity of
70 Mbps over an enormous area as large as 30 miles. However unlike Wi-Fi, which creates a network that
connects with individual wireless devices, Wi-Max is only able to connect to fixed, stationary sites such as
buildings or homes. WISPs, through Wi-Fi, the aforementioned mesh networking, Wi-Max or other
wireless broadband innovations will especially be beneficial to underserved areas of the nation without
being impeded by regulations.


                                                                                                     49
private sector innovation in technologies utilizing unlicensed spectrum can more readily

demonstrate the capabilities of spectrum sharing technologies.

       Since there are no interference protection guarantees for technologies operating in

unlicensed spectrum, market viability for these private sector innovators is dependent on

their ability to utilize spectrum sharing technologies. The growing market of unlicensed

spectrum applications should provide a “real life” testing environment for spectrum

sharing innovations. The proliferation of consumer wireless devices has the potential to

be the primary driver for spectrum management reform. Growing consumer demand for

wireless devices and services will help the FCC in its current efforts to open more

spectrum. Consumers and the industries that provide the wireless devices will compel

incumbent licensees to be more accommodating to spectrum management reform.

       An increase in dedicated unlicensed spectrum will help mitigate two impediments

to reform. As the market for unlicensed devices increases existing and new firms who

provide unlicensed devices will become a strong political constituency. As a “real-life”

experimental arena, dedicated unlicensed will help to reduce technological uncertainty

surrounding the ability of spectrum sharing technologies to manage interference

concerns. Therefore, the first aspect of Phase I will help set the stage for unlicensed

devices to operate in licensed bands.



       Developing an Interference Metric

       The second aspect of Phase I is continuing the FCC’s development of robust

interference metrics. Support and adequate research of the noise floor in different bands

must be undertaken in order for the interference temperature metric to be realistically




                                                                                   50
proposed as a tool for spectrum management. We are not explicitly endorsing the

interference temperature metric, but some interference metric must be developed in order

to have quantitative standards. These standards will be used to objectively evaluate

interference complaints. We are not recommending a specific metric for interference

because there will substantial debate on how to develop a specific metric and setting

interference standards.

        First and foremost, the FCC must de-link the development of an interference

metric with the use of spectrum sharing technologies in licensed bands. It was a mistake

to link spectrum management to the development of the interference temperature metric.

The opposition to the Notice has the potential to kill the development of the metric

entirely.   By de-linking the two, the development of the metric will be given a greater

chance of being realized. An interference metric must be developed in order to have

quantitative standards. These standards will be used to objectively evaluate interference

complaints.

        A robust interference metric can be used to overcome all three impediments to

utilizing spectrum sharing technologies.    The primary argument posed by incumbents

against the use of these technologies in licensed frequency bands is that they will cause

interference. The development of an interference metric will allow the FCC to more

effectively dispel the arguments of incumbents. The use of a quantitative metric will

reduce the uncertainty surrounding interference creation.           If spectrum sharing

technologies demonstrate that they do not cause interference, incumbents will not have

any regulatory recourse to challenge the introduction of unlicensed devices in their bands.




                                                                                    51
This will enable the FCC to change the current regulatory prohibitions against the use of

these devices.

         Although spectrum sharing technology can be used and tested in the unlicensed

bands, setting a uniform standard of acceptable interference is crucial for the transition to

sharing of the licensed bands. The development of an interference temperature metric

will be the trigger mechanism that sets the stage for Phase II. To this end, efforts towards

the establishment of the interference temperature metric will have to advance

substantially in order to shorten the timeline between Phase I and Phase II.



       Phase II: Implementing Spectrum Sharing through “Smart” Technologies in
Licensed Bands


         Phase I heavily involved strategic targeting of the major impediments to spectrum

policy reform. Once metrics are adopted and technologies evaluated, the FCC can begin

implementing spectrum sharing techniques in the licensed bands.          Phase II can only

begin once technological uncertainty and political opposition are overcome.         Political

opposition will be overcome by a political constituency that can effectively challenge the

power of current incumbents. Regulatory constraints will be targeted during Phase II.

         Phase II advocates the gradual introduction of underlay and opportunistic sharing

in licensed bands. The use of these interference mitigating mechanisms will depend on

the characteristics of the licensed band.      Because underlay technologies are more

developed, the FCC should first allow for the increased use of underlays in more licensed

bands.




                                                                                      52
       Both underlay and opportunistic sharing can use the interference temperature

metric in its protocols for operating in the licensed bands. Underlay sharing will allow

for unlicensed transmitters with low power restrictions to operate in the same frequency

bands as high-powered licensed devices without causing harmful interference. A fully

realized interference metric will allow for the potential for underlay sharing to become

maximized. Interference metrics will justify increases to the power and range of underlay

sharing technologies. Opportunistic sharing will allow for cognitive radio technologies to

operate using defined guidelines enabled by its software in order to opportunistically

sense and seek out unused spectrum within a licensed environment. Exploitation of

white-space and guard bands through opportunistic sharing can effectively eliminate the

notion of spectrum scarcity.

       Phase II will directly go against the “Not In My Back Yard” mentality of

licensees. Political opposition can be expected to continue, and possibly escalate as

Phase II is being implemented. In order to keep the opposition at least amenable to the

idea, the FCC must make certain that the interference metric protocols are maintained in

order to ensure the integrity of the licensee’s signal.    Public and political support,

experimental justification, and qualifying standards developed in Phase I, should help

subdue Phase II opposition.

       Phase II may not be ready for implementation for at least another ten years. The

pace of achieving the goals of Phase I will determine the readiness of the FCC to

implement Phase II. The conditional nature of Phase II requires overwhelming support

for the objectives laid out in Phase I.




                                                                                   53
Limitations to our Recommendations


       Increasing Unlicensed Spectrum

       Our recommendation to increase unlicensed spectrum does not identify specific

frequency bands. Different bands have different technical characteristics, and our limited

technical knowledge of these bands does not allow us to recommend specific frequency

bands over others.   Due to our limited technical knowledge it is impossible for us to

predict which frequency bands would foster the greatest amount of technological

innovation. However, once additional spectrum is allocated those who engineer and

manufacture unlicensed devices can develop them based on the propagation

characteristics of the band.    Although the opportunities for increasing unlicensed

spectrum in higher bands may be more immediately promising, we chose to highlight

much of our discussion on the lower bands which comprise the most valuable part of the

spectrum.



       Secondary Markets

       By implementing underlay and opportunistic sharing in Phase II, the FCC should

not rule out the use of secondary markets to expand access to licensed bands. Secondary

markets are currently allowed through leasing agreements in limited cases. It is difficult

for us to predict how secondary markets would aid in the proliferation of spectrum

sharing devices. The mere ability of a licensed user to enter into a voluntary leasing

agreement does not mean that they will do so. For this reason we cannot make the

assumption that FCC changes to secondary market restrictions would foster use of




                                                                                   54
spectrum sharing technologies. In secondary markets, it is the licensee who profits and

controls the access once the FCC has given them authorization so, one could expect them

to want to engage in agreements. For example, cellular service providers are allowed to

lease their additional spectrum space, however we have yet to see cellular providers do

so. We could argue that they do not because of interference concerns however, we

cannot know for sure. Generally, it is recommended that the FCC continue authorization

of secondary markets on a case-by-case.



       The Interference Temperature Metric

       Finally, our recommendations do not specify a specific method for measuring

interference. The interference temperature metric provides promise, but taken alone, it

does not sufficiently address interference concerns for the entire spectrum.      Other

methods of measuring interference are likely to complement the interference temperature

metric and should be explored. However, reaching agreement on specific interference

metrics to be used as standards will undoubtedly involve controversial debate. The

creation of an agreed upon interference metric will have its own political and technical

uncertainty impediments.




                                                                                 55
Bibliography

       Comments of American Hospital Association, ET Docket No. 02-380, May 16,
2003

       Comments of the Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc. and the
National Association of Broadcasters, ET Docket No. 02-135, July 8, 2002

       Comments of the Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc. and the
National Association of Broadcasters, ET Docket No. 02-135, January 27, 2003

       Comments of the Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc. and the
National Association of Broadcasters, ET Docket No. 02-135, February 28, 2003

       Comments of AT&T Corporation, ET Docket No. 02-380, April 17, 2003

       Comments of AT&T Wireless, ET Docket No. 02-135, July 12, 2002

       Comments of AT&T Wireless, ET Docket No. 02-135, January 27, 2003

       Comments of AT&T Wireless, ET Docket No. 02-380, May 16, 2003

       Comments of Atlantic Telecommunications, ET Docket No. 02-380, April 17,
2003

       Comments of Motorola, ET Docket No. 02-380, April 17, 2003

       Comments of Cingular Wireless, ET Docket No. 02-135, January 27, 2003

       Comments of Cingular Wireless, ET Docket No. 02-380, April 17, 2003

       Comments of the City and County of San Francisco, ET Docket No. 02-380, June
16, 2003

       Comments of the Consumer Electronics Association, ET Docket No. 02-380,
April 17, 2003

       Comments of Cox Broadcasting, Inc., ET Docket No. 02-380, April 17, 2003

       Comments of Ericsson, ET Docket No. 02-380, April 17, 2003

       Comments of the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition, ET Docket No. 02-
135




                                                                               56
       Comments of the Information Technology Industry Council, ET Docket No. 02-
380, April 17, 2003

       Comments of Intel Corporation, ET Docket No. 02-380, August 22, 2003

       Comments of Los Angeles County, ET Docket No. 02-380, April 15, 2003

       Comments of Microsoft, ET Docket No. 02-380, May 16, 2003

       Comments of the National Association of Broadcasters, Association of Public
Television Stations, Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc. (joint reply), ET
Docket No. 02-380, April 17, 2003

       Comments of National Public Radio, Inc., ET Docket No. 02-135, July 8, 2002

      Comments of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration,
ET Docket No. 02-380, May 7, 2003

       Comments of the New America Foundation, et al., ET Docket No. 02-380, April
17, 2003

       Comments of PCIA, the Wireless Infrastructure Association, ET Docket No. 02-
135

       Comments of the Public Safety Wireless Network Program, ET Docket No. 02-
125, February 10, 2003

       Comments of Qualcomm, ET Docket No. 02-380, May 16, 2003

       Comments of Stateside Wireless Network, ET Docket No. 02-135, February 27,
2003

       Comments of the Telecommunications Industry Association, ET Docket No. 02-
135, November 25, 2002

       Comments of United Telecom Council, ET Docket No. 02-380, May 16, 2003

       Comments of Verizon Wireless, ET Docket No. 02-135, February 28, 2003

       Comments of Weblink Wireless, Inc., ET Docket No. 02-135, January 27, 2003

       Comments of the Wi-Fi Alliance, ET Docket No. 02-135

      Comments of the Wireless Communication Association International, Inc., ET
Docket No. 02-135, January 27, 2003




                                                                                  57
       Comments of the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance, ET Docket No. 02-
135

       Communications Act 1934, 47 U.S.C. § 157

      Federal Communications Commission, Spectrum Policy Task Force Report, ET
Docket No. 02-135, November 11, 2002

       Federal Communications Commission, Spectrum Policy Task Force, “Report of
the Unlicensed Devices and Experimental Licenses Working Group”, November 15,
2002

       Federal Communications Commission, Spectrum Policy Task Force, “Report of
the Spectrum Rights and Responsibilities Working Group”, November 15, 2002

        Federal Communications Commission, Spectrum Policy Task Force, “Report of
the Interference Protection Working Group”, November 15, 2002

       Federal Communications Commission, Spectrum Policy Task Force, “Report of
the Spectrum Efficiency Working Group”, November 15, 2002

       Federal Communications Commission, Notice of Inquiry: In the Matter of
Additional Spectrum for Unlicensed Devices Below 900 MHz and in the 3 GHz Band,
ET Docket No. 02-380, December 20, 2002

       Federal Communications Commission, Notice of Inquiry and Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking: In the matter of Establishment of an Interference Temperature Metric to
Quantify and Manage Interference and to Expand Available Unlicensed Operation in
Certain Fixed, Mobile and Satellite Frequency Bands, ET Docket No. 03-237; November
28, 2003

       Federal Communications Commission, Notice of Proposed Rule Making and
Order: In the Matter of Facilitating Opportunities for Flexible, Efficient, and Reliable
Spectrum Use Employing Cognitive Radio Technologies, ET Docket No. 03-108,
December 30, 2003

       Interview with Daniel Sepulveda, Legislative Assistant to Senator Barbara Boxer,
Staff Coordinator, Democratic Technology and Innovation Working Group, February 20,
2004

       Interview with James H. Snyder, The New America Foundation, February 19,
2004

       Interview with Jim Davis, Director, UCLA Wireless, January 26, 2004




                                                                                      58
       Interview with Professor Jeffrey Cole, Director of the Communications Policy
Center at UCLA and professor at the Anderson School of Management, January 26, 2004
and February 19, 2004

       Interview with Lauren Van Wazer, Special Counsel to the Office Chief, in the
Office of Engineering and Technology, February 20, 2004

      Interview with Dr. Rajit Gadh, WINMEC and Professor at UCLA Engineering
Department, January 22, 2004

     Interview with Robert M. Pepper, Chief Policy Development, Federal
Communications Commission, February 19, 2004

      Rothkopf, Michael H. & Bazelon, Coleman, “Interlicense Competition: Spectrum
Deregulation Without Confiscation or Givaways,” New America Foundation, August
2003

       Snider, J.H, “Citizen’s Guide to the Airwaves,” New America Foundation, 2003

      Snider, J.H, “An Explanation of the Citizen’s Guide to the Airwaves,” New
America Foundation, 2003

       Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 15

      US General Accounting Office 03-277, “Telecommunications, Comprehensive
Review of Spectrum Management with Broad Stakeholder Involvement is Needed,”
GAO-03-277, January 2003.

     Werbach, Kevin, “Radio Revolution: The Coming Age of Unlicensed Wireless,”
New America Foundation, December 15, 2003




                                                                                  59
Appendix A
FCC Background

Regulatory Environment

   Formal FCC Decision-Making Process

   The FCC is mandated by Congress to adopt new rules or to amend existing rules in

order to implement Communications legislation. The official process by which the FCC

adopts rules takes several steps. Each of these steps allows for comments and replies to

the comments to be made by consumers, service providers, and manufacturers for 75

days after publication. Each of the comments and reply comments provided to the FCC

become formal public records associated with the proceedings. The official decision

making process includes:

   •   Notice of Inquiry (NOI): Used by the Commission generate ideas and information

       on a particular issue of concern. NOIs are generally initiated after an internal

       FCC study, or through an outside request.

   •   Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM): NPRM lists and describe proposed

       FCC rules or rule changes. An NPRM can be initiated in one of two ways, 1) as a

       response to a previous NOI after comments have been reviewed, or 2) as the first

       step in a rule making procedure.

   •   Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FNPRM): Once comments have been

       reviewed from the NPRM the FCC may opt to issue a further notice. These

       respond specifically to issues raised in previous public comments. FNPRM allow

       for additional public comment only on the issues addressed in the FNPRM.

   •   Report & Order (R&O): An R&O is issued by the Commission after comments

       have been reviewed in a NPRM, a FNPRM or both. The Commission then can


                                                                                  60
       decide to leave the rules alone or change them and/or develop new detailed rules.

       A summary of an R&O is then published in the Federal Register, and will list the

       date upon which rules will become effective.

       Should an interested party disagree with a R&O they may file a Petition for

Reconsideration. A petition can be filed up to 30 days after the date an R&O is published

in the Federal Register. After a petition has been filed, the FCC will review it and will

then issue a Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O). This will detail the FCC’s

position on if they will or will not change the new rule in question.

       Other important actions by the FCC in the decision making process include:

   •   Public Notice (PN): These provide notice to the public of an action taken by the

       FCC or of an event. Comments may or may not be requested.

   •   En Banc: An En Banc meeting follows a Public Notice. In these meetings the

       FCC will ask specific witnesses to prepare and present information.

   •   Ex Parte: Ex Parte rules ensure that those who participate in FCC proceedings are

       treated fairly and have equal opportunity to give comment and information to

       support their respective positions.
                                Figure 5: FCC rulemaking process

                  Start here    NOI

                     OR
                                                               Publish in Federal
                  Start here   NPRM                            Registry
                                            R&O




                               FNPR                              Petition for
                                                               Reconsideration



                                                                   MO&O




                                                                                    61
       Rule Changes

       Rule changes are often initiated in several ways. In general there are three

methods to initiate the rule changing process within the FCC. First, private individuals,

academics, consumer goods manufacturer, or service provider may petition the FCC for

rule making. Second, FCC employees can initiate the process from within their bureau.

Finally, the Commission themselves may initiate the rule changing process. The three

methods can be characterized as an outside in approach, within the organization up, or

from the Commission down.

       First Method: From Outside the FCC

       A company or individual may have an idea for a product or service that is not

currently allowed by FCC regulations. The company may then file a petition for rule

making. The petition will be put out for public comment and will then become either a

NOI or an NPRM. The FCC does have experimental authority and will often grant

experimental licenses, rights to use specific frequency designated for experimental

purposes only, so that testing can be performed on a device. After a group has tested

their product they may then petition the FCC as well. At this point the petition must

make its way through the appropriate bureau of the FCC. This process can be long and

arduous. Under the past regulatory environment of the FCC many petitions would be

stalled in bureaucratic red tape. Nextel is an example of a company that diligently

worked through the difficult process. Nextel used a series of experimental licenses, and a

series of incremental rule changes to gain approval of their products and services. Nextel

was created by former FCC employees who had a detailed understanding of how to work




                                                                                   62
towards changes in FCC regulations. Even with insider knowledge of the process they

took approximately ten years to change regulations.

       Second Method: From within a Bureau

       Changes in rule making are also initiated from within the bureaus of the FCC.

FCC staff may become aware of a new technology. Staff may then champion ideas for

rule changes and work internally to create either an NOI or NPRM. In this case the rule

change need not go through the same first step of the external petition.

       Third Method: From the Commission or the Chairman

Changes to FCC policies and rules are also driven by the desires and vision of either the

Commission or the Chairman himself. In the case of spectrum management, Chairman

Michael Powell prompted a reexamination of spectrum management policy.                 He

recognized that spectrum management policies are based on 75 year-old engineering

standards and 75 year-old legal language.




                                                                                  63

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:5
posted:7/19/2011
language:English
pages:67