Not as momentous as the Julian-Gregorian shift, but changes you might want to note nonetheless

Back in January we reported on a proposal to allow unlicensed operation in the 77-81 GHz band for “tank radar” use. The Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making has now been published in the Federal Register, which in turn has established the deadlines for comments and reply comments. Comments are due by June 2, 2010 reply comments by July 2, 2010.

And in February, we called readers’ attention to the First Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FRO/NPRM) in the rural radio proceeding. There the Commission adopted a Section 307(b)-based “tribal priority” for new AM and FM allotments, and separately invited comments on possible further tweaks to that priority (e.g., whether and how to apply that priority to Native American Tribes who do not possess tribal lands). The FRO/NPRM has also been published in the Federal Register. That publication sets the comment deadlines for the NPRM section of item (comments are due by May 3, 2010, reply comments by June 2, 2010). Additionally, the publication makes the “tribal priority” and other changes adopted in the R&O portion effective as of April 5, 2010. (Check out our earlier post on this for a summary of the various changes.) 

While the “tribal priority” is not likely to affect the lay of the AM and noncommercial FM land for the time being – since new allotment proposals there require the opening of a “filing window” by the Commission, and no such windows are currently on the horizon, as far as we can see – it could affect commercial FM drop-in proposals early on. However, in view of the lag time between (a) the inclusion of new commercial channels in the Table of Allotments and (b) the opening of a window opportunity to file for those channels, increased service to Native American tribal lands as a result of the “tribal priority” is still probably a ways away.