FCC eases microwave backhaul rules

The FCC issued an order designed to reduce operational costs and facilitate the use of wireless backhaul in rural areas. In particular, the commission will allow the use of smaller antennas in the 6, 18, and 23 GHz bands and will permit microwave operators to create higher capacity links by licensing 60 and 80 megahertz channels in the 6 and 11 GHz microwave bands, respectively. Authorizing wider channels will allow fixed-service operators to achieve faster data rates, said the FCC. The commission also updated efficiency standards to specify those rates in terms of bits/second/Hertz rather than outdated specifications from the circuit-switched era. The FCC also adopted a rural flexibility policy with respect to its efficiency standards in order to facilitate the use of microwave backhaul in rural areas by allowing substantial cost savings in deployment. For more see this FCC order.