Southern Urges FCC to ‘Refrain’ from Additional 6 GHz Actions, Citing Congress
Southern Company last week urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC, the Commission) not to take action that would permit expanded unlicensed use in the 6 GHz band until it has reported to Congress on its testing progress.
Tucked inside the massive federal funding/COVID relief bill signed into law late last year, Congress directed the FCC to report on testing in the 6 GHz spectrum band.
The congressional language specifically notes that appropriators are concerned about the impact of the 6 GHz rulemaking on the electric transmission and distribution system. It requires the FCC to report “within 90 days” on it progress “in ensuring rigorous testing related to unlicensed use in the 6 GHz band.”
In its Jan. 7 letter to outgoing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the four other FCC commissioners, Southern Company noted that it has raised concerns about the commission’s 6 GHz efforts in numerous comments and filings. It noted that last fall, it submitted a study with CTIA finding that low-power indoor and outdoor very low-power devices caused harmful interference to existing 6 GHz links.
“Accordingly, consistent with the clear direction of Congress as expressed in the
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, Southern urges the Commission to refrain from adopting any measures that would expand unlicensed use of the 6 GHz band until after rigorous testing of such unlicensed use has been performed,” the letter said.
UTC is working on filing an ex parte in support of the Southern letter and is working to schedule meetings with FCC officials in relation to the congressional requirement.
Senate appropriators included the requirement as part of the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) FY2021 legislation it passed last year.
Please contact the UTC Public Policy Team with any questions.