NTIA Comments, Amendment of Part 22 of the Commission's Rules to Benefit the Consumers of Air-Ground Telecommunications Services

Docket Number: 
WT Docket No. 03-103
Date: 
November 25, 2003

Before the

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

Washington, DC 20554

In the Matter of                                                              )
                                                                                      )
                                                                                      )
Amendment of Part 22 of the Commission’s Rules          )                   WT Docket No. 03-103
To Benefit the Consumers of Air-Ground                        )
Telecommunications Services                                          )
                                                                                      )
Biennial Regulatory Review -- Amendment of                 )
Parts 1, 22, and 90 of the Commission’s Rules                )

COMMENTS OF THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS
AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) supports the efforts of the Commission to update Part 22 of its Rules through this rulemaking. [1]   NTIA also applauds and encourages the close working relationship between the Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration on issues related to air flight safety. 

NTIA’s comments deal solely with the Commission’s consideration of changes to emission masks for Public Mobile Services (PMS).   The Commission asks whether it should continue to specify emission masks or use some other approach for PMS devices such as out-of-band emission (OOBE) limits. [2]   As discussed below, NTIA recommends that the Commission use internationally recognized terms to characterize unwanted emissions and ensure its rules address all unwanted emissions.

I.  The Commission’s Rules Should Use to Internationally Recognized Terms.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations (RRs) define “out-of-band emissions,” “spurious emissions,” and “unwanted emissions” in RRs 1.144, 1.145, and 1.146. [3]   The ITU uses the terms “out-of-band domain” (No. 1.146 bis) and “spurious domain” (No. 1.146 ter) to distinguish unwanted emissions based on their frequency.  Limits in Sections I and II of Appendix 3 of the ITU RRs apply, respectively, to spurious emissions and to unwanted emissions in the spurious domain. The ITU does not specify out-of-band emission limits for the out-of-band domain.  NTIA recommends that the Commission consider using the ITU’s definitional approach to be consistent with international standards and to avoid misunderstanding by users in this community.

II.  The Commission’s Rules Should Address All Unwanted Emissions.

The Commission’s emission masks are defined currently as multiple-component or step limits in Sections 22.357, 22.359, and 22.861 of the Commission’s Rules and cover the entire unwanted emission range of transmitting devices, which includes both spurious emissions and OOBEs.  In this proceeding, the Commission seeks comments on eliminating these provisions and replacing them with OOBE limits. [4]

NTIA is concerned that the Commission’s proposal could be read to suggest that the Commission intends to eliminate restrictions on spurious emissions because the term “OOBE” has not traditionally covered both forms of unwanted emissions - - spurious emissions and OOBEs. [5]   Within a particular user’s assigned frequency range and allocated band, users are generally motivated to control OOBEs to preclude intra-system interference and to use the band to its maximum practical extent.  However, the same incentives do not exist between service providers in different services, and therefore, some form of spurious emission limits on transmitters in these bands would be appropriate. Moreover, unwanted emissions may fall beyond the edge of the band allocated to any specific service.  In this case, out-of-band domain emissions from PMS operators close to the edge of an allocated band and spurious domain emissions from PMS operators throughout that band may cause interference into other bands.  Specification of limits on all the unwanted emissions, both in the out-of-band domain and in the spurious domain, remains the best way to address that issue. 

III.  Conclusion

NTIA therefore recommends that the Commission clarify the unwanted emissions to be covered by the term “OOBE” consistent with the ITU definition and also ensure that any rules adopted provide appropriate restrictions on all unwanted emissions.  NTIA also recommends that the Commission should either maintain the masks or provide a set of out-of-band and spurious domain emission limits that can be applied to all PMS equipment. Given the need for improved spectrum efficiency and interference avoidance, the rules the Commission adopts should be both 
consistent with the ITU rules and provide limits equal to or more stringent than the current Commission limits.

                                                                                                Respectfully submitted,

Michael D. Gallagher                                                                Kathy Smith
Acting Assistant Secretary for                                                   Chief Counsel
Communications and Information

Fredrick R. Wentland
Associate Administrator
Office of Spectrum Management

                                                                                                National Telecommunications and
                                                                                                  Information Administration
                                                                                                U.S. Department of Commerce
                                                                                                1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
                                                                                                Room 4713
                                                                                                Washington, DC  20230
November 25, 2003                                                                 (202) 482-1816


 


[1]    Amendment of Part 22 of the Commission’s Rules to Benefit Consumers of Air-Ground Telecommunications Services, Biennial Regulatory Review - - Amendment of Parts 1, 22 and 90 of the Commission’s Rules, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, WT Docket No. 03-103, 18 F.C.C. Rcd. 8380 (2003).

[2]    Id. at ¶ 38.

[3]    Out-of-band and spurious emissions are the two subsets of unwanted emissions.  Spurious emissions are outside the necessary bandwidth and their level may be reduced without affecting the corresponding transmission of information.  They include harmonic and parasitic emissions and intermodulations and frequency conversion products.  Out-of-band emissions are immediately outside the necessary bandwidth and are the result of modulation process.

[4]    Id. at ¶ 38.

[5] The language in footnote 106 further confuses the issue by discussing OOBE in terms of a receiver’s frequency,  when OOBE is generally discussed in terms of transmitters.  See id. at ¶ 38, n. 106.