What you need to know about licensing a microwave radio system with the FCC

July 19th, 2018

Licensed microwave offers a lot of advantages when it comes to wireless backhaul. However, the biggest detractor is the fact that you have to figure out how to actually license it with the FCC and, of course, pay for the license. That cost can certainly add a lot of your overall project.

Alliance’s broadband wireless team are very familiar with this process and offer the following answers:

Licensed Microwave Radio FAQ – USA (FCC)

Q: How long does it take to get a system licensed?

A: This can vary somewhat, but if an FCC approved Frequency Coordinator is used, the time frame is generally 30 days. If coordination with Canada or Mexico required, this can add up to six weeks to the time.

Q: How much does it cost for the license?

A: License fees are per-site and vary depending on whether single or dual channel systems are employed. It would be wise to budget $1,500 to $2,500 per link.

Q: Who pays for the license?

A: The cost of the license is born by the licensee. If you’re an integrator, this is your customer, the end-user of the system.

Q: I’ve heard that all licensed radios are full-duplex. Why is this when unlicensed radios use TDD?

A: There are provisions for single-frequency TDD products in the licensed bands as new technologies become available.

Q: Can the FCC cancel the license after ten years has elapsed?

A: No. It may be renewed indefinitely.

Q. Can anyone help me get the license?

A. We’d be happy to assist in coordinating your FCC fixed microwave licenses and help out here with our coordination partners.

Q: I have more questions about all this, who do I talk to?
A: Call us at Alliance, we can help.