News from November 26-30, 2003

FCC Releases NOI/NPRM on Interference Temperature Approach

11/28. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its Notice of Inquiry and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOI & NPRM) [31 pages in PDF] in its proceeding titled "In the matter of Establishment of an Interference Temperature Metric to Quantify and Manage Interference and to Expand Available Unlicensed Operation in Certain Fixed, Mobile and Satellite Frequency Bands". This is FCC 03-289 in ET Docket No. 03-237.

The FCC announced, but did not release, this item at its November 13 meeting. See, story titled "FCC Announces NOI/NPRM on Interference Temperature Model" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 779, November 14, 2003.

This item states that the FCC "seeks comment on a new ``interference temperature´´ model for quantifying and managing interference. This new concept could shift the current method for assessing interference which is based on transmitter operations, to an approach that is based on the actual radiofrequency (RF) environment, taking into account the interactions between transmitters and receivers. The interference temperature model could represent a fundamental paradigm shift in the Commission's approach to spectrum management by specifying a potentially more accurate measure of interference that takes into account the cumulative effects of all undesired RF energy, i.e., energy that may result in interference from both transmitters and noise sources, that is present at a receiver at any instant of time."

The NOI seeks "comment, information, and research on a number of issues relating to the development and use of the interference temperature metric and for managing a possible transition from the current transmitter-based approach for interference management to the new interference temperature paradigm. In particular, we are posing questions concerning the development of the interference temperature metric, including the determination of interference temperature limits for specific frequency bands, and an assessment of the cumulative noise and interference environment in radiofrequency bands, including standard methodologies for making assessments, to support the selection of those limits. We are also requesting responses on issues concerning the process that would be involved in possible transitioning to the new interference control methods in the various frequency bands."

The NPRM seeks comments on "technical rules that would establish interference temperature limits and procedures for assessing the interference temperature in specific frequency bands used by fixed satellite uplinks and by terrestrial fixed point-to-point links". It also seeks comments on "whether the operating circumstances of these facilities would allow for simple and reliable measurement of the interference temperature at a variety of receive sites under diverse situations and circumstances". It further states that "If we ultimately adopt new technical rules, we seek comment on whether unlicensed devices should be allowed to operate at higher power levels than currently allowed by the rules, so long as they do not cause the interference temperature to exceed the established limits."

Comments will be due 75 days after publication of a notice in the Federal Register. Reply comment will be due 105 days from publication of a notice in the Federal Register. The FCC has not yet published this notice in the Federal Register.

FCC Sets Deadlines for Comments in Digital Plug and Play Proceeding

11/28. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a notice in the Federal Register that summarizes, and sets deadlines for comments on, its Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding digital plug and play compatibility.

The FCC announced its Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its September 10, 2003 meeting. See, story titled "FCC Adopts Digital Plug and Play Cable Compatibility Rules" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 737, September 11, 2003. See also, FCC press release [4 pages PDF] and summary [2 pages PDF] of September 10, 2003 describing this item.

The Report and Order (R&O) is based upon the December 19, 2002 Memorandum of Understanding negotiated by consumer electronics and cable companies. The FCC also published a separate notice of this R&O in the Federal Register, November 28, 2003, Vol. 68, Number 229, at Pages 66728 - 66738.

The notice in the Federal Register states that the NPRM seeks public comments "on the mechanisms and standards by which new connectors and associated content protection technologies can be approved for use with unidirectional digital cable products". It further seeks comments on "the potential extension of digital cable system transmission requirements to digital cable systems with an activated channel capacity of 550 MHz or higher; whether it is necessary to require consumer electronics manufacturers to provide pre-sale information to consumers regarding the functionalities of unidirectional digital cable televisions; and whether the Commission should ban or permit the down-resolution of non-broadcast MVPD programming." See, Federal Register, November 28, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 229, at Pages 66776 - 66781.

The deadline to submit comments is January 14, 2004. Reply comments are due February 13, 2004.

On December 19, 2002, 14 consumer electronics companies and seven cable operators announced that they had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding a national plug and play standard between digital television (DTV) products and digital cable systems. See, document [78 pages in PDF] consisting of the MOU, proposed rules to be promulgated by the FCC, and a letter to FCC Chairman Powell. See also, story titled "Cable and Consumer Electronics Companies Announce DTV Agreement" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 572, December 20, 2002.

This proposal required implementation by the FCC. On January 7, 2003, the FCC announced a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) seeking comment on the rules proposed by the MOU. See, story titled "FCC Seeks Comments on Cable TV Plug and Play MOU" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 581, January 13, 2003. See also, notice in the Federal Register, January 16, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 11, at Pages 2278 - 2283. See also, story titled "Comment Period Closes in FCC's Plug and Play Cable Compatibility Rulemaking Proceeding" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 655, May 5, 2003.

This item is FCC 03-225 in CS Docket 97-80 and PP Docket 00-67. For more information, contact Susan Mort at 202 418-1043 or

People and Appointments

11/28. Robert Carroll was named Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis. He will replace Andrew Lyon. See, Treasury release.

People and Appointments

11/26. Elizabeth Jacobs was named Deputy Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Office of International Affairs. She has worked at the SEC since 1984. See, SEC release.

More News

11/26. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) a pleading [PDF] titled "Opposition of the Federal Communications Commission to Emergency Motion For Stay" in the case U.S. Telecom Association v. FCC & USA, No. 03-1414.

Go to News from November 21-25, 2003.