Fixed wireless broadband is becoming more and more popular. In fact, some of the biggest names in telecommunications are providing wireless network options to many rural areas in the United States.

But let’s say you are starting your own broadband network. You may be too worried about getting the equipment than to realize that you’re going to need an FCC license for all that equipment. But why? And how do you go about getting one?

Why Do You Need an FCC License?

Yes, it is possible to get unlicensed equipment. So why do you need an FCC license?

It has to do with the scarcity of radio bandwidths. The radio frequency is sliced up so various services, such as satellite, fixed broadband, mobile, and broadcast, can use the spectrum. However, only one radio can use a specific frequency at any time. In addition, these airwaves must be shared with others; that means the frequencies must be assigned to prevent overcrowding. And too many people on a frequency can result in messing with a WiFi signal, causing interference.

In an effort to prevent too many people using the same channels, the FCC has determined guidelines for how to assign these frequencies to various groups. By licensing your equipment with the FCC, the agency will make sure that no one will step on your signal. That means by not having a license, you could be subjected to interference with your signal.

It can also open you up to legal action. If it’s discovered you are using unlicensed equipment by a licensed user, a complaint with the FCC may be filed against you.

The FCC Licensing Process

The first thing you need to figure out is to choose the proper spectrum. There are a few things you need to consider before deploying a wireless broadband system, such as:

  • The type of service
  • The range of operation
  • End users
  • Protection from interference
  • The availability of the spectrum
  • And the equipment you will be using

Once you plan out your network, you need to know a little bit about the frequency assignments. They are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. You can do a search on the FFC website for a specific licensee information to see if anyone has claimed the spectrum you’re applying for. It’s also important to note that the FCC does hold auctions for licenses for specific geographic license areas, spectrum block sizes, and other information.

An exclusive licensee will receive a specific geographic and spectrum block. That licensee must have equipment that meets the basic technical requirements and have the flexibility to offer new applications. You will also need to notify other users within the range of your proposed system and receive clearance from those users.

Once you have everything you need, you will have to fill out the proper paperwork (Form 601) and send it to the FCC. Within a few weeks, you should hear back about whether you received a license or not.

SWG, Inc. Can Help

Confused? The process can be if you’ve never done it before. That’s why it’s best to talk to SWG, Inc. Our broadband experts can help plan and coordinate the channels available for the project, as well as complete all licensing so you don’t have to.

If you need help with deploying or licensing your network, we can help. Contact SWG, Inc. today for more information.