TR Daily NAB Files Legal Challenge to FCC’s 6 GHz Band Order
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Friday, July 24, 2020

NAB Files Legal Challenge to FCC’s 6 GHz Band Order

The National Association of Broadcasters today filed a legal challenge to the 6 gigahertz band order adopted by the FCC in April, arguing that the item failed to protect incumbent broadcast operations from interference by new unlicensed devices.

The FCC’s unanimous order freed up 1,200 megahertz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use (TR Daily, April 23).

NAB joined AT&T, Inc., and the Edison Electric Institute in challenging the order in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. AT&T and EEI also contend that the Commission failed to protect incumbent operations (TR Daily, June 12 and June 22). Those two cases have been consolidated.

Specifically, incumbents in the 6 GHz band have argued that the Commission erred in not requiring the use of automated frequency coordination (AFC) for all unlicensed use.

“The 6 GHz band is currently allocated for licensed use by broadcasters, public safety entities, wireless communications providers and utilities, all of whom use this spectrum to provide important services to the public. In the Order, the Commission adopted new rules permitting uncoordinated unlicensed operations across the entire 6 GHz band. The Order unlawfully fails to protect the myriad existing licensed users in the band from potential interference arising from such unlicensed use,” NAB said in its petition for review. “Television broadcasters in particular have both fixed and mobile operations in the 6 GHz band, which require different protective measures to be adequately insulated from harmful interference. The Order neglects to include proper safeguards for either type of broadcast operation.

“The Order is a final agency action that has significant and immediate adverse consequences for NAB and its members because broadcasters rely on interference-free spectrum in the 6 GHz band for important operations, including those needed for the production of highly-valued news and sports programming,” the filing continued. “NAB now seeks relief from the Order on the grounds that it: (1) is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion under 5 U.S.C. § 706; (2) violates federal law, including, but not limited to, the Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Commission regulations promulgated thereunder; and (3) is otherwise contrary to law. Accordingly, NAB respectfully requests that this Court hold unlawful, vacate, enjoin and set aside the Order and grant such additional relief as may be necessary and appropriate.”

CTIA, Verizon Communications, Inc., the Fixed Wireless Communication Coalition, and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International have asked the FCC to reconsider portions of the 6 GHz band order, and APCO has sought a stay pending review of its petition while EEI wants a stay pending resolution of its legal challenge (TR Daily, June 26). —Paul Kirby, [email protected]

MainStory: Courts FCC FederalNews SpectrumAllocation WirelessDeployment

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