In Draft Language, Senate Approps Seek FCC Commitment to 6 GHz Testing
The Senate Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations draft report language bill for FY2021 includes a provision (page 61) requiring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to report back on its efforts to ensure that new unlicensed devices in the 6 GHz band do not cause harmful interference to incumbent users.
The language denotes the Appropriations Committee’s concerns “about the potential effects on reliability of the electric transmission and distribution systems” stemming from the FCC’s April 2020 order permitting unlicensed use in the band.
Report language typically accompanies congressional appropriations legislation which funds the federal government. The language is used to provide specific direction to federal agencies as to what Congress expects the agencies to do—or not do—with their congressionally approved budgets.
In this case, the draft report language states that it expects the FCC to ensure that any mitigation technologies “are rigorously tested” in coordination with relevant federal agencies and that such mechanisms are “found to be effective in order to protect the electric transmission system.”
UTC joined a broad array of organizations in sending a letter to Senate Appropriations leadership expressing support for the language, which will likely come under attack by the proponents of unlicensed use of the 6 GHz band. The letter notes that the FCC downplayed the reports and analyses which demonstrated the very high likelihood of harmful interference to existing users in the band.
Aside from UTC, organizations signing the letter include the American Gas Association, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Public Power Association, the American Water Works Association, the Edison Electric Institute, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
For a copy of the letter or if you have any questions, please contact the UTC Public Policy Team.