FCC Requests Comment on WiMAX Forum’s AeroMACS Petition
Wednesday, July 19, 2017 | Comments

The FCC requested comment on a petition filed by the WiMAX Forum that proposed service rules for the Aeronautical Mobile Airport Communications System (AeroMACS). AeroMACS refers to a collection of high data rate wireless networks that are used in accordance with international standards for airport surface operations to provide broadband communications between aircraft and other vehicles, as well as between fixed critical assets.

The system operates in the 5 – 5.03 and 5.09 – 5.15 GHz bands and will be used by both federal and non-federal users. Proposed uses include air traffic management, including air traffic control; aeronautical operations communications; and communications related to airport operations, safety and security. Non-federal users may include airport owners and operators, airline carriers, aeronautical communications network providers (ACNPs) and other entities that engage in airport communications relating to safety and the regularity of flights.

The WiMAX forum proposed sharing AeroMACS spectrum between federal and non-federal users pursuant to a memorandum of agreement (MoA) negotiated between the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on behalf of federal users and a private entity designated as the channel manager by the NTIA.

The forum argued that using an MoA instead of prescribing sharing mechanisms will allow NTIA and the channel manager to employ whatever sharing approaches work best for a particular airport in order to promote efficient use of the AeroMACS spectrum.

Non-federal AeroMACS operations would be licensed by rule under part 95 of the commission’s rules with users required to register proposed sites in a database administered by the channel manager, which would determine eligibility and assign channels. The WiMAX forum said that a centralized channel manager and database will promote efficient and equitable coordination among eligible non-federal users, ensure nationwide consistency in the assignment and use of available channels, and facilitate sharing of the AeroMACS bands with federal users in a way that will avoid interference.

The FCC said that, in particular, it is looking for comments on the proposed licensing scheme and use of a channel manager to determine eligibility and coordinate non-federal channel usage, as well as comments on what non-federal entities should be authorized to use AeroMACS.

Comments are due Sept. 5. Find the full notice here.

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