The Federal Communications Commission, in continuing its reform of rules governing the use of microwave frequencies for wireless backhaul, has recently issued a Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that amends portions of Part 101 of the FCC’s rules. The ruling permits smaller antennas for systems operating in the 6-GHz, 18- GHz and 23-GHz bands, and permits aggregation of adjacent 30-megahertz-wide and 40-megahertz-wide channels in the 6-GHz and 11-GHz bands. It also relaxes the waiver requirements for microwave systems falling within the arc of geostationary satellites.
The revision permits fixed microwave operators to use smaller antennas in certain microwave bands, which can result in significant cost savings to operators. The Rural Microwave Flexibility Policy will provide increased opportunities for broadband deployment in rural areas, increasing coverage and reducing cost. The FCC also updates existing microwave efficiency standards to reflect modern digital technologies.