FCC Issues Public Notice on Spectrum Allocations for UAS Operations

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The FCC recently issued a Public Notice that sought comment on whether to make the 960-1164 MHz and 5030-5091 MHz bands available to support unmanned aerial system operations (UAS).

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 required the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the FCC to submit a report to Congress on whether to allow UAS communications in these frequencies. The joint agency report must discuss: (1) whether the FCC should permit, but not require, UAS operations in these bands on an unlicensed, shared, or exclusive-use basis; (2) any technological, statutory, regulatory or operational barriers to the use of the spectrum for UAS purposes; and (3) recommendations of other spectrum bands if the agencies conclude that the 900 MHz and 5 GHz bands are not suitable to support UAS operations.

As part of the public notice soliciting public comment for the joint agency report, the FCC has also asked for public input on several related issues, including: (1) actions the FCC might take to promote the use of licensed commercial spectrum for UAS operations; (2) information on UAS applications and deployment scenarios wireless service providers and equipment manufacturers are considering; and (3) potential interference concerns and other technical issues associated with UAS operations that might inform the FCC’s decision making.

Comments are due Thursday, December 26, 2019, and reply comments are due Monday, January 27, 2020.

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