Mandatory registration is one element of FCC’s expansion of wireless backhaul opportunities.

If you’ve got a TV pickup license in the 6875-7125 MHz or 12700-13200 MHz bands, you’ll be needing to register your stationary receive-only sites in the Commission’s Universal Licensing System (ULS) in the near future (if you haven’t done so already). Section 74.605, the Commission’s rule requiring such registration will finally become effective April 1, 2013, according to a notice in the Federal Register.

Long in the works, the “new” requirement was actually adopted nearly 18 months ago – back in August, 2011 – as part of the Commission’s overhaul of the wireless backhaul process. That overhaul is intended to make more spectrum available for fixed wireless operations serving as the “middle mile” links that move end-user traffic between cell towers and the core network. The increased spectrum availability is to be accomplished by allowing such services to share spectrum already used by TV pickup licenses in the 6875-7125 MHz or 12700-13200 MHz bands. But effective sharing will require coordination of use of the frequencies, and mandatory registration of receive-only sites will obviously facilitate such coordination.

Of course, it’s been a good idea to register such sites for some time, as we (and our friend and reader, Dane Ericksen) were recommending nearly two years ago. The Commission has permitted ULS registration of TV pickups since 2008 as an optional aid to coordination in the band. But come April, “optional” registration will become “mandatory” registration.

The delay in making Section 74.605 effective is a bit puzzling. Since the rule constitutes an “information collection”, it had to be run through the Paperwork Reduction Act process at the Office of Management and Budget. But according to the FCC’s Federal Register notice, OMB had signed off on the rule back on March 27, 2012. Whatever the reason for the one-year hold-up in making the rule effective, though, the fact of the matter is that we now know that it will be effective on April Fool’s Day. If you’ve got a TV pickup license in the 6875-7125 MHz or 12700-13200 MHz bands and you’ve been dragging your feet as far as registration goes, now would be a good time to get that job done.