Google files confidential experimental radio application at the FCC (updated)

On January 22 Google filed an experimental radio application at the FCC. The company has requested confidential treatment of the application, so significant portions aren’t publicly available.

As part of the filing, Google filed a request for confidentiality, which is public. It contains a few technical details. Two separate transmitter types are identified, both operating at low power in the range 76-77 GHz, and using FM and BPSK modulation. The 76-77 GHz band is used for short-range vehicular radar and, knowing Google’s interest in vehicles, it’s reasonable to assume that is what the experiment involves.

Some non-technical detail gleaned from the confidentiality request:

  • Other “parties” are involved in the experiment, with whom confidentiality must be maintained.
  • The experiment is “expected to lead to material developments in markets subject to fierce competition from multiple U.S. and non-U.S. third parties.”
  • Experimental authority is sought for a period of 24 months beginning no later than March 1, 2014.
  • Authority is sought to test across the U.S.

UPDATE January 28, 2014

On January 24 FCC staff emailed Google suggesting that the application form itself be released from Google’s request for confidentiality. Google responded on January 27 saying that was fine, and now the form is available for public inspection.

Even though it’s a secret project, the FCC wants minimal RF characteristics to be available to the public so someone that might be subject to interference can do an independent assessment. The form is the first place one would look for those parameters. In this case, basically the same RF information was included in the confidentially request I linked to in my January 23 post, but it’s good practice to make the form publicly available so one doesn’t have to go fishing for the data.



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