On August 6, 2021, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing two new Innovation Zones for Program Experimental Licenses and expanding the geographical boundary of previously established Innovation Zones, which was adopted at the August Open Meeting. The Public Notice describes the new Innovation Zones and provides instruction to Program Licensees wishing to conduct experimental tests within one of the Innovation Zones.
- NC State Innovation Zone: The Commission will designate the areas in and nearby the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina as an Innovation Zone intended to study new use cases for advanced wireless technologies emerging in unmanned aerial systems. The PN details the specific Geographical Locations and Technical Limits and Band Information for the Innovation Zone. The NC State Innovation Zone is established for a five year term.
- Northeastern Innovation Zone: The Commission will designate the areas in and around Northeastern University in Boston as an Innovation Zone intended to enable researchers to use the Colosseum wireless network emulator to extend and accelerate research of wireless networked systems. The PN details the specific Geographical Locations and Technical Limits and Band Information for the Innovation Zone. The Northeastern Innovation Zone is established for a five year term.
- New York City Innovation Zone: The Commission will expand the geographic boundaries of the already established NYC Innovation Zone and increase the permitted maximum power for certain frequency bands within the Innovation Zone.
- Program Licenses Requirements: The PN describes the procedures for Program Licensees who wish to conduct experimental tests with the Innovation Zones. As a reminder, the Innovation Zones allow Program Licensees to operate under the parameters set for the Zone, without having to modify their licenses to cover the new location.
- Program Requirements: Program Licensees must meet the eligibility requirements, hold an existing Program License, and operate in accordance with the geographic areas and technical limits established for the Innovation Zone. Further, Program Licensees must meet the timing requirements prescribed by the Commission’s rules and agreements with other Federal agencies.
- Registration: Program Licensees must register through the Office of Engineering and Technology’s (“OET”) Experiments Licensing System. The registration must include the licensee’s call sign and the licensee must identify the Innovation Zones in which it will operate. Further, the registration must provide specific technical data, a description of the experiment, and a stop buzzer contact person for the experiment.
- Frequency Coordination: The Program Licensee must coordinate its operations with the PAWR Project Office, prior to beginning experiments. The PAWR Project Office will coordinate the specific times and locations for each Program Licensee’s operations to avoid interference to other spectrum users and other Project Licensee’s tests.
Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel and Commissioner Starks both issued separate statements supporting the item.
On Thursday, July 15, 2021, the FCC released a Draft Public Notice (“Draft PN”). There were no substantive changes between the adopted Notice.
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