Tweaks what?? (We had to look it up, too.)

Another in our continuing series of items that, frankly, some of us here think are pretty obscure, but which are doubtless of vital interest to somebody, somewhere.

Most of the 1.9 GHz PCS spectrum is earmarked for voice and text cell-phone service, and very widely used. But the FCC also set aside 20 MHz at 1910-1930 MHz for unlicensed operation. The sub-band at 1920-1930 MHz, used mostly for cordless telephones, is subject to the rules at issue here.

Unlike most unlicensed bands, 1920-1930 MHz has a “listen before talk” requirement.  A device must monitor a channel before using it, and can transmit when signal levels are below a certain threshold. If the unit has monitored at least 40 channels and found signals to be too high on all of them, it can transmit on the quietest, so long as the activity there is below a second, higher threshold.

The FCC proposes to change these rules.

One change would raise the first threshold that makes a channel available for operation, so that a unit is more likely to find a channel it can use.

Another change would reduce the number of channels that device must check from 40 to 20. This would allow the use of wider channels, and hence make the band more suitable for broadband transmission. (Practitioners’ tip: nowadays every proposal for an FCC rule change should include the word “broadband”.)

The FCC also proposes to: remove a rule section on coordination with the microwave fixed service, which no longer uses the band; drop a corresponding labeling requirement; and make other conforming and administrative changes.

Comment and reply dates have not yet been announced.