FCC Requests Proposals for 6 GHz AFC Systems
Thursday, September 30, 2021 | Comments

The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) requested that parties interested in becoming automatic frequency coordination (AFC) system operators for the 6 GHz band submit proposals.

Proposals are due November 30. The public will then have an opportunity to review and comment on these proposals, including on each prospective operator’s fitness to operate an AFC system, as well as the technical and operational description of each proposed AFC system. Comments on these proposals will be due by December 21.

OET will review all proposals submitted by November 30, concurrently and with equal priority. Proposals submitted after this date will be considered by OET, but they may not be considered concurrently with proposals submitted by November 30. For any proposal received after November 30, OET will issue a public notice announcing receipt of the proposal and establishing a period for the public to review and comment on the proposal.

Proposals will not be considered mutually exclusive and OET will conditionally approve as many proposals as are found to satisfy all AFC system requirements.

Applicants who receive a conditional approval will then be required to allow access to their AFC system for a public trial period to provide interested parties an opportunity to check that it provides accurate results. The trial period will include thorough testing, both in a controlled environment and through demonstration projects.

Last year, the FCC approved new rules that allow unlicensed use of the 6 GHz bands. The AFC systems are intended to help prevent interference to incumbent microwave links in the band.

“This item is another step towards fully unleashing the potential of the 6 GHz band, by beginning the process of authorizing automated frequency control (AFC) system operators to offer their services to parties seeking to operate in certain portions of the 6 GHz band outdoors at standard power levels,” said FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks. “Through such AFC systems, standard power unlicensed devices will be able to coexist in the 6 GHz band with incumbent fixed microwave links and radio astronomy observatories. I look forward to reviewing the applications and continuing our progress in making unlicensed spectrum available on a noninterference basis.”

Find the full request for proposals here.

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