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Millimeter Wave 70-80-90 GHz Service


About the Millimeter Wave 70-80-90 GHz Service

The term “millimeter wave” derives from the wavelength of radio signals on frequencies between 30 GHz and 300 GHz, which ranges between 1 and 10 millimeters.
Uses of the millimeter wave bands include radio astronomy, spaceborne cloud radars, and military applications. There also is the potential to use the spectrum for other applications such as passive imaging of airport runways (when obscured by fog or smoke), imaging to display hidden contraband, weapons and nonmetal objects, point-to-point communications, and point-to-multipoint communications. These special uses are possible because of the shorter wavelengths, which are about three to five millimeters, and because of other technical characteristics that differentiate the 71-76, 81-86, and 92-95 GHz bands from other frequency bands.
Because of shorter wavelengths, the 71-76, 81-86, and 92-95 GHz bands permit the use of smaller antennas than would be required for similar circumstances in the lower bands, to achieve the same high directivity and high gain. The immediate consequence of this high directivity, coupled with the high free space loss at these frequencies, is the possibility of a more efficient use of the spectrum for point-to-multipoint applications. Since a greater number of high directive antennas can be placed than less directive antennas in a given area, the net result is higher reuse of the spectrum, and higher density of users, as compared to lower frequencies. Furthermore, due to the fact that one can place more voice channels or broadband information using a higher frequency to transmit the information, this spectrum could potentially be used as a replacement for or supplement to fiber optics.
On October 16, 2003, the Commission adopted a Report and Order establishing service rules to promote non-Federal Government development and use of the “millimeter wave” spectrum in the 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz bands on a shared basis with Federal Government operations. The Commission adopted a flexible and innovative regulatory framework for the 71-95 GHz bands. Rights with regard to specific links will be established based upon the date and time of link registration.
On February 23, 2004, The Wireless Communications Association International, Inc. filed a petition for reconsideration of certain aspects of the Report and Order relating to the 71-76 and 81-86 GHz bands. The reconsideration was granted in part and denied in part by Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 05-45)pdf (pdf)
In the Report and Order, the Commission explained that the licensing and link registration process would be detailed in subsequent public notices. See Public Notice DA-04-1493 for the filing procedures that detail the licensing process and the interim process for registering links and Public Notice DA 05-311 for the details about the permanent process for registering links with a third party database manager.
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