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Fixed Microwave Services


About Fixed Microwave Service

About Fixed Microwave Services

Early technology limited the operations of these systems to radio spectrum in the 1 GHz range; but due to improvements in solid state technology, commercial systems are transmitting in ranges up to 90 GHz. In recognition of these changes, the Commission adopted rules allowing the use of spectrum above 40 GHz (See Millimeter Wave 70-80-90 GHz). This spectrum offers a variety of possibilities, such as use in, among other things, short range, high capacity wireless systems that support educational and medical applications, wireless access to libraries or other information databases.
For years the Commission regulated point-to-point microwave services essentially under two distinct parts of it rules: Part 21 governed common carrier users and Part 94 served the same purpose for private operators. Since these services have much in common, e.g., they share many frequency bands, use the same type of equipment, and now a single Commission office process the applications, the rules were consolidated into a singe rule part, Part 101.
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Private Operational Fixed Microwave

In 1963 the FCC reallocated certain microwave bands to the Safety and Special Radio Services, ending the necessity for private users to share those frequencies with common carriers. Provisions for microwave operations were added to the rule parts governing Marine, Aviation, Public Safety, Industrial, and Land Transportation Radio Services. The FCC consolidated and updated those provisions into Part 94 in 1975, creating the Private Operational-Fixed Microwave Service. In 1996, the Private Operational-Fixed Microwave Service was combined with the Common Carrier Microwave Service to form Part 101.
The Private Operational-Fixed Microwave Service can be used by persons eligible under Parts 80, 87 or 90 for communications related to their activities. Stations in this service are called operational-fixed to distinguish them from common carrier and public fixed stations. The licensee may use an operational-fixed station, for communications related to the licensee's commercial, industrial, or safety operations, may share the station on a for profit or not for profit basis with other entities who are eligible under Part 80,87 or 90, or may lease it’s facilities to common carriers.
Private operational-fixed microwave systems serve many different purposes. They are meant to carry or relay voice, teletype, telemetering, facsimile and digital communications associated with Aviation, Marine, Public Safety, Industrial, and the Land Transportation Radio Services. For example, these systems are used to operate unattended equipment; open and close switches or valves; record data like pressure, temperature, or speed of machines; telemeter voltage and current in power lines; and perform other control or monitoring functions. Microwave systems are especially useful for controlling and monitoring various operations along installations like pipelines, railroads, and highways.
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Common Carrier Microwave

Common Carrier microwave stations are generally used in a point-to-point configuration for long-haul backbone connections or to connect points on the telephone network which cannot be connected using standard wire line or fiber optic because of cost or terrain. These systems are also used to connect cellular sites to the telephone network, and to relay television signals.
Common Carrier microwave stations are licensed to applicants who intend to provide communications service to the public. Whereas, Private Operational Fixed stations are licensed to applicants for their own internal communications requirements.
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