Before the
                     Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of                        )
Amendment of the Commission's Rules to  )    ET Docket No. 96-102
Provide for Unlicensed NII/SUPERNet     )
Operations in the 5 GHz Frequency       )
Range                                   )

To:  The Commission


      The American Radio Relay League, Incorporated (the League),
the national association of amateur radio operators in the United
States,  by  counsel  and  pursuant  to  Section  1.415  of   the
Commission's   Rules  [47  C.F.R.  1.415],  hereby   respectfully
submits  its comments in response to the Notice of Proposed  Rule
Making (the Notice), FCC 96-193, released May 6, 1996. The Notice
proposes to amend Part 15 of the Commission's rules to permit use
of 350 MHz of spectrum at 5.15-5.35 GHz and 5.725-5.875 GHz by  a
new   category   of  unlicensed  equipment,  called  NII/SUPERNet
devices.  These  would provide short-range,  high-speed  wireless
digital  communications on an unlicensed basis. The  Commission's
goal  in the Notice proposal is to create new wireless local area
networks   (LANs)  in  furtherance  of  the  so-called  "National
Information   Infrastructure"  (NII),  a  group  of   interlinked
networks  of all types of communications facilities to serve  the
people  of the United States in the future. With respect  to  the
frequency  bands proposed and the compatibility  of  the  instant
proposal  with continued operation by incumbent users,  including
the Amateur Service, the League states as follows:

                        I. Introduction

      1.  The Commission's Notice in this proceeding is based  on
two  petitions for rule making, RM-8648 and RM-8653. The  latter,
filed  by  Apple Computer, Inc., proposed the use of  the  5.725-
5.875  GHz  band  for so-called "NII" operation. What  the  Apple
petition entailed, far different from the short-range, high-speed
digital communications proposed by the WINForum petition,  was  a
community network with path lengths up to 15 km, power levels for
non-spread-spectrum  devices at up to  one  watt,  and  unlimited
antenna  gain  (and apparently unlimited antenna beamwidth).  The
WINForum and Apple concepts were radically different in scope and
concept. The League objected, in comments filed July 10, 1995, to
the  expansion  of the Part 15 regulatory concept for  unlicensed
devices,  proposed by Apple, especially in an amateur allocation.
The League did not object to the WINForum proposal for use of the
lower  portion of the 5 GHz band. Most importantly, and as  noted
by  the  Commission  in the instant Notice,  the  Apple  proposal
sought  a  change  in  the  table of allocations,  which  is  not
possible for Part 15 devices. (See, the Notice, at Footnote  34).
Rather,  those devices are merely permitted to operate  in  bands
allocated to other services on a non-interference basis.

      2.  The Apple petition, when filed, was woefully incomplete
in terms of technical specifications and sharing studies relative
to  incumbent  users. As the League noted in its  July  10,  1995

     The  Apple petition is amorphous, in that it  does  not
     propose   any   specific  rules  changes  (other   than
     amendment  of  the Table of Frequency  Allocations,  47
     C.F.R.  2.106,  to  make  spectrum  available  for  the
     proposed new service). It contains no technical showing
     to  support  the  proposed allocation  whatsoever;  and
     there  is no showing of compatibility between  the  so-
     called "NII" (National Information Infrastructure) band
     allocation  proposed by Apple, and existing  Government
     and  non-government users (including Part 15,  Part  18
     and  Part 97 users). The petition is rife with  glowing
     predictions  of  universal access  by  the  public  for
     whatever  communications purposes are desired,  but  it
     contains  no real information about the possibility  of
     coordination of use between and among unlicensed  users
     in  the bands, or coordination between and among inter-
     service  users. It contains only the vaguest references
     to  compatibility with existing services in  the  5150-
     5300  and  5725-5875 MHz bands. One can  only  conclude
     from the absence of any proposed operational rules  and
     the  lack  of any technical compatibility showing  that
     there  is  in fact no possibility of coordination,  and
     that  the  opportunities  for  compatible  sharing  are
     little  more  than hopeful, but baseless,  predictions.
     Neither   does   the  petition  contain   an   adequate
     discussion  of alternatives to the specific allocations
     proposed  in  the  petition; Apple indicates  that  the
     proposed 5 GHz allocations would be used both for  long
     and   short  distance  communications,  but  does   not
     establish  that frequencies above 40 GHz would  not  be
     sufficient  (or indeed preferable to the  5  GHz  bands
     proposed) for short-range paths.

   II. The Notice Proposal Should Limit NII/SUPERNet Devices
                   To the 5.15-5.35 GHz Band

      3.  The  Commission has solved some, but not all, of  these
problems  by virtue of the proposed technical rules contained  in
the  Notice,  including the proposed power limitation  of  -10dBW
(0.1 watt) peak EIRP; the limitation on power spectral density to
a maximum of 0.03 milliwatts in any 3 kHz segment; the limitation
on  height  of  outdoor  antennas; and  the  "listen-before-talk"
protocol   standard.  There  is  no  significant   antenna   gain
characteristic  proposed to be permitted, though  the  Commission
seeks  information  on  the  appropriate  regulation  applied  to

      4. Thus, the Commission has essentially adopted the concept
of  short-range, high-speed networks proposed by WINForum in  the
lower  portion of the 5 GHz band, and proposed a full 200 MHz  of
spectrum  for  use  by  Part 15 unlicensed  NII/SUPERNet  devices
therein at 5.15-5.35 GHz [1].  It has rejected  in  principle  the
proposal  of Apple Computer for long-range, high power unlicensed
devices.  Notwithstanding the proper rejection of the concept  of
15  km  path  lengths from Part 15 unlicensed devices  in  shared
bands, the Commission nonetheless proposes to permit lower  power
devices to operate in an additional 150 MHz of spectrum at 5.725-
5.875 GHz, to conduct the same types of communications that would
be conducted in the 200 MHz of spectrum at 5.15-5.35 GHz.

     5. The Notice is silent as to the Commission's rationale for
the  necessity  of  the  additional frequency  authorization  for
NII/SUPERNet Part 15 devices in the upper 150 MHz, except to  say
that  "(w)e  also  believe  that  the  5.725-5.875  GHz  band  is
appropriate  spectrum for NII/SUPERNet operations and  that  with
appropriate technical constraints, these devices can  share  with
existing amateur, unlicensed and ISM operations, as well as  with
FSS  uplinks in the 5.850-5.875 GHz band." It is not  clear  that
the   Commission  substantively  addressed  the   contention   of
commenters such as Andrew Corporation, which, in response to  the
two  petitions for rule making, supported the use  of  the  lower
portion  of  the 5 GHz band for NII/SUPERNet devices, but  stated
that  the  need  to  make available more than 150  MHz  for  such
devices  now is far too speculative to warrant the disruption  of
existing services at 5.8 GHz. The League agreed with that prudent
warning  then,  and  agrees with it now:  unless  and  until  the
Commission determines the adequacy and sufficiency of  the  5.15-
5.35  GHz  band for NII/SUPERNet devices, it should not make  the
5.725-5.875 GHz segment available.

       III. The Commission Has Pushed The Part 15 Concept
                      As Far As It Can Go

      6.  The  League, in its comments in RM-8653, suggested  not
only  that  the  Apple  proposal for  NII  use  of  5.7  GHz  was
premature,  it misunderstood the entire regulatory framework  for
Part 15 unlicensed devices:

     The  concept  of  "community networks" and  local  area
     networks  as  Apple proposes appears better facilitated
     by  the use of existing services such as private, fixed
     point-to-point microwave facilities now licensed by the
     Commission under Part 94; by frequencies above 40  GHz;
     by licensed and unlicensed PCS facilities for which the
     Commission has just allocated a substantial  amount  of
     spectrum  at  and near 2 GHz; and by existing  wireline
     facilities... Part 15 operation is itself  questionable
     under  the terms of the present Communications Act;  an
     allocation  for  unlicensed communications  devices  as
     proposed by Apple would be plainly impermissible.  Part
     15  devices  have no allocation status,  and  have  had
     none,  internationally or domestically... These devices
     are  permitted on an "at-sufferance" basis:  they  must
     not  cause interference to licensed radio services, and
     they  must tolerate interference received from licensed
     radio  services  in the same bands. The  Communications
     Act  of 1934 is devoid of any authority to accord  Part
     15  ... devices any allocation status at all; the  only
     authority to permit unlicensed devices under the Act is
     with  respect  to  radio control  and  citizen's  radio
     service   facilities.  47  U.S.C.  307(e).   The   only
     provision for Part 15 devices in the Communications Act
     is  for  the  Commission to regulate  the  interference
     potential  of  such devices by "reasonable regulation".
     47  U.S.C.  302.   This  the  Commission  has  done  by
     permitting   operation  of  such   devices   in   bands
     allocated, on a primary basis, to one or more  licensed
     radio  services, where the operation of the  unlicensed
     devices  has  been determined to be unlikely  to  cause
     interference to the licensed radio services. [2]

      7.  The  instant  Notice  proposal  would  permit  wireless
interconnection of computers into local area networks over  short
distances   of  several  hundred  yards,  at  power  levels   and
bandwidths  that are presumptively unlikely to cause  significant
interference to amateur or other communications, except in  quite
close  geographic proximity. The main problem is  the  ubiquitous
nature   of  the  devices,  their  mobility,  and  the  potential
aggregate  interference  potential,  which  has  not   yet   been
determined. Thus, whether the NII/SUPERNet devices can operate in
the  same  environment  as amateur radio at  5.725-5.875  GHz  is
unclear.  This  is a significant additional basis  for  presently
limiting  the  authorization of the devices to the 5.15-5.35  GHz
band.  The  League would be willing and able to  conduct  sharing
studies  with  manufacturers of the devices in the near  term  to
determine whether NII/SUPERNet devices could conform to  Part  15
concepts   and  still  be  useful  consistent  with  interference
susceptibility,  and  the overall compatibility  of  NII/SUPERNet
devices with co-channel amateur operation.

     8. Assuming, however, that the Commission decides to proceed
with  the 5.725-5.875 GHz authorization at present, the technical
rules proposed would have to be strictly adhered to, in order  to
protect  licensed radio services with allocations in the  subject
bands   from   interference.  The  proposed   General   Technical
Requirements,  Section  15.407 in the proposed  Appendix  to  the
Notice, sets forth reasonable criteria which could be assumed  to
permit  minimal  interaction  with amateur  communications.  This
proposal, however, is as far as the Commission could go with  the
Part  15  unlicensed  device concept. To  permit  either  greater
transmitter  power than one-tenth of a watt, or to  permit  high-
gain antennas for non-spread-spectrum devices in the subject band
would   signal  a  significant  departure  from  the   conceptual
framework  for Part 15 unlicensed devices. Part 15  and  Part  18
devices   are  permitted  under  present  rules  to  operate   at
relatively  limited field strengths and operate over  very  short
range, thus to protect licensed services against interference; [3]
only  spread-spectrum devices are permitted to operate at  up  to
one  watt  of  power,  as the result of the reduced  interference
potential  from  true spread-spectrum systems to  narrowband  co-
channel  services.  As  to  adherence  to  the  technical   rules
proposed,  the  Commission can be assured of  no  voluntary  rule
compliance;  the  marketing of Part 15 devices is  as  a  general
matter not confidence inspiring, when one considers the marketing
rules  violations  and  the inability  or  unwillingness  of  the
Commission to police these violations. It could be expected  that
the  NII/SUPERNet devices would be marketed in configurations  in
excess  of  authorized parameters. Because  of  the  interservice
interference potential and the proliferation of the devices,  and
because  control  over  unlicensed  facilities  is  non-existent,
higher-power devices must be licensed devices.

      9.  Notwithstanding  the  stated concern  that  "permitting
higher   power,  longer  range  links  would  pose   unacceptable
interference  risks  to other services..." the  Commission  notes
that  it  finds  "merit in the concept of longer range  community
networks  and  seek(s) comment on whether to permit  such  higher
power  operation  at  up  to 1 watt of transmitter  output  power
within the 5.725-5.875 GHz band."  Such is ill-advised and  would
go  well  beyond  the Commission's authority,  since  non-spread-
spectrum  devices, with no bandwidth limitations, at  significant
power and antenna gain, operating over the 15 km paths that Apple
envisions,  are not compatible with co-channel amateur operation.
Purely  and simply, higher powered transmitters and high  antenna
gain have significant interference potential and must, under  the
regulatory requirements of the Communications Act, be operated on
a licensed basis. Any interconnection of schools, for example, as
Apple  proposes,  should be done through 2  GHz  PCS  facilities,
millimeter-wave   facilities,  licensed,   fixed   point-to-point
microwave facilities, or via cable systems or the public switched
telephone  network. Furthermore, it would appear  to  the  League
incompatible  to  mix  the  lower power, unlicensed  NII/SUPERNet
devices  with higher power unlicensed community networks  in  the
same  bands; the intermixture would frustrate the entire  concept
of short range localized communications.

       10.  Taking  into  account  the  virtual  absence  of  any
enforcement activity of the Commission, in recent years, in  non-
safety-of-life   interference  incidents,  and  the   anticipated
continuation  of  the  problem in the near future,  it  would  be
entirely  inappropriate (even assuming that unlicensed  operation
at  higher power with high-gain antennas was possible as a matter
of law), to authorize such. The interaction that would inevitably
result  from co-channel amateur operation would never be resolved
as  a  matter of fact, and the absence of any regulatory priority
of  such devices relative to licensed services is not an adequate
explanation in the minds of the consumers of such devices.

        IV. The Proposed Rules for NII/SUPERNet Devices
   Appear To Be Sufficient to Avoid Significant Interference
   To the Amateur Service, But Sharing Studies are Necessary

      11.  While,  as  noted  above,  the  ubiquitous  nature  of
NII/SUPERNet   devices  makes  it  difficult  to  determine   the
aggregate interference potential of these devices relative to the
Amateur  Service,  the operational limitations  proposed  in  the
Notice, and only those, taken together, [4] appear to be facially
sufficient  to  avoid  significant interference  to  present  and
future  amateur service communications generally.  These  include
the following:

A)   Limitation of peak EIRP to -10dBW (0.1 watt).

B)   Limitation of power spectral density of 0.03 mW in any 3 kHz
     bandwidth as measured with a spectrum analyzer.

C)   Typical communications distances of 50 to 100 meters.

D)   Attenuation of emissions outside the band of operation by 50
     dB below the fundamental emission or as per existing Part
     15 requirements.

E)   Compliance with ANSI/IEEE 1992 RF Exposure standard.

F)   Spectrum etiquette provisions of Proposed Section 15.411.

G)   Antenna limitations for presumption of non-interference  to
     licensed services: either indoor antennas or outdoor antennas
     not higher than 15 meters above ground.

H)   Requirement of automatic discontinuation of transmission in
     absence of information to transmit or operational failure.

      12.  Thus, while the League does not agree at all with  the
Commission  that  there  is  any  demonstrated  need  to   permit
NII/SUPERNet devices to operate in both the 5.15-5.35 GHz and the
5.725-5.875 GHz bands at the present time, and suggests that  the
lower  segment is ample spectrum space to launch the  concept  in
the  United  States, the League does not take  significant  issue
with the Commission that, "with appropriate technical constraints
these devices can share with existing amateur, unlicensed and ISM
operations  as  well as with FSS uplinks...". It must  be  noted,
however,  that  these technical constraints  have  not  yet  been
developed and do not now exist.

      13.  NTIA has recommended, and the League heartily concurs,
that additional studies of spectrum sharing should be (and should
have  been)  conducted between the proposed unlicensed operations
and  existing  and  proposed  operations  in  the  subject  bands
(Notice, at paragraph 35). The League remains willing and able to
conduct sharing studies with Apple Computer or others as  to  the
feasibility  of  compatible sharing with amateurs at  5.725-5.875
GHz. Such studies should be conducted before any decision is made
with  respect  to 5.725-5.875 GHz. The burden of conducting  such
studies should be on the proponents of the authorization, and  at
least  preliminary  studies  by  those  proponents  should   have
preceded the filing of their petitions, or at least prior to  the
issuance  of  the Commission's Notice in this proceeding.  It  is
rather  late  on,  procedurally, for the Commission  to  ask  for
sharing studies to be conducted in the time available between the
issuance of the Notice and the comment dates.

      14. This proceeding points up one of the flaws inherent  in
the notice-and-comment process presently utilized with respect to
spectrum  allocations  issues;  it  does  not  mandate  that  the
proponent  of  a new use or an allocation change  make  at  least
preliminary   technical  investigation  of   compatibility   with
existing  users.  What  has resulted  from  the  failure  of  the
petitioners  in this proceeding to do exactly that  is  that  the
Commission itself has had to cobble together technical rules  for
NII/SUPERNet devices based largely on assumptions of interference
potential. While it has done in this instance a creditable job, a
more  scientific approach is called for in this,  and  in  future
allocations proceedings.

                         V. Conclusions

      15. In this proceeding, the Commission has proposed only to
permit  short-range,  wideband Part 15, unlicensed  wireless  LAN
devices  to interconnect computer systems as part of the NII.  It
has  specifically  not proposed, but it did request  comment  on,
long-range, higher power, non-spread-spectrum devices of the same
type,   also  unlicensed,  for  community  networks.  The  Notice
proposal,  including all of its interference avoidance  elements,
is  in keeping with the regulatory scheme for unlicensed devices,
though it pushes the regulatory premises for unlicensed operation
as far as they will conceptually go. The long-range, high powered
devices  and  path  distances of 15 km do not  provide  a  proper
framework   for  Part  15  devices.  Such  should   be   licensed
transmitters,  operated as fixed, point-to-point microwave  links
on  a  licensed  basis,  or  provided alternatively  through  PCS
carriers  or  switched telephone services.  An  unlicensed  radio
service  with the characteristics proposed by Apple  Computer  is
ill-advised,   and   not  in  accordance   with   the   licensing
requirements of the Communications Act of 1934.

      16.  The  League  sees  no  need,  given  the  Commission's
proposal, for the availability of both the 5.15-5.35 GHz and  the
5.725-5.875 GHz bands for NII/SUPERNet devices. The lower 200 MHz
is ample for development of NII systems. Use of the upper segment
would  place  a  large  number  of these  devices,  with  unknown
aggregate  interference potential, in close geographic  proximity
to co-channel amateur operations.

      17.  Should  the  Commission decide nonetheless  to  permit
NII/SUPERNet devices in the upper segment as well as  the  lower,
the  League  suggests  that the Commission's  proposed  technical
operational  rules and interference avoidance criteria,  only  if
taken together (and if strictly enforced), might be sufficient to
avoid  widespread interference to amateur communications  in  the
5.650-5.925  GHz band. This cannot be confirmed,  however,  since
the  proponents  of the authorization have not conducted  sharing
studies  in  advance  of  their  proposal,  nor  has  there  been
sufficient time following the release of the Notice to  do  such.
As  suggested by NTIA and others, such is desirable in advance of
formal  rule  making in this proceeding and in other  allocations

      Therefore,  the  foregoing considered, the  American  Radio
Relay League, Incorporated,  requests that the Commission take no
further  action  toward Part 15 use of the 5.725-5.875 GHz band
except  in accordance with these comments.

Respectfully submitted,


225 Main Street
Newington, CT 06111
By __________________________
Christopher D. Imlay
General Counsel

1233 20th Street, N. W.
Suite 204
Washington, D. C.  20036
(202) 296-9100

July 15, 1996

[1]  See, the Notice, at Paragraph 34.

[2]  The Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-104,  110
Stat.   56,  Feb.  8,  1996,  amended  Section  307(e)   of   the
Communications Act of 1934 to add to those services which may  by
FCC  rule operate without individual licenses the aviation  radio
service  for aircraft stations operated on domestic flights  when
such  aircraft  are  not  otherwise required  to  carry  a  radio
station;  and  the  maritime  radio  service  for  ship  stations
navigated  on domestic voyages when such ships are not  otherwise
required to carry a radio station.

[3]  The  Notice,  at Paragraph 47, states that  the  instant
proposal  would  permit  operation  of  NII/SUPERNet  devices  at
approximately  21  dB  EIRP  higher  than  existing,  non-spread-
spectrum  Part  15 intentional radiators in the  5.725-5.875  GHz

[4]  The  League  would  emphasize that  only  these  measures
together  appear  sufficient to mitigate interference;  none  are
sufficient  alone, or in combination with less than  all  of  the
listed items.