[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 143 (Wednesday, July 25, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 43567-43570]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-18098]



47 CFR Parts 2 and 95

[ET Docket No. 08-59; FCC 12-54]

Medical Area Body Network

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: This document requests comment on a number of issues related 
to the designation of Medical Body Area Network (``MBAN'') 
coordinator(s) for the 2360-2390 MHz band. Although the

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Commission adopted a coordination requirement in the First Report and 
Order that was concurrently adopted in this proceeding, it also 
determined that additional notice and comment was required on key 
aspects related to the process and criteria for designating an MBAN 

DATES: Comments must be filed on or before September 10, 2012, and 
reply comments must be filed on or before September 28, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Butler, Office of Engineering 
and Technology, (202) 418-0577, email: [email protected], TTY (202) 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by [docket number and/or 
rulemaking number], by any of the following methods:
    [ssquf] Federal Communications Commission's Web Site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting 
    [ssquf] Mail: Brian Butler, Office of Engineering and Technology, 
Room 7-A125, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th SW., 
Washington, DC 20554.
    [ssquf] People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request 
reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language 
interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: [email protected] or phone: 202-418-
0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.
    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's 
Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FNPRM), ET Docket No. 08-59, 
FCC 12-54, adopted May 24, 2012, and released May 24, 2012. The full 
text of this document is available for inspection and copying during 
normal business hours in the FCC Reference Center (Room CY-A257), 445 
12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. The complete text of this 
document also may be purchased from the Commission's copy contractor, 
Best Copy and Printing, Inc., 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-B402, 
Washington, DC 20554. The full text may also be downloaded at: 
    Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 
CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply 
comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this 
document. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic 
Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in 
Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
    [ssquf] Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.
    [ssquf] Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file 
an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or 
rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers 
must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or 
rulemaking number.
    Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial 
overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service 
mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, 
Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
    [ssquf] All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for 
the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 
12th St. SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 
8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with 
rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of 
before entering the building.
    [ssquf] Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service 
Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton 
Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
    [ssquf] U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail 
must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.
    People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible 
formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic 
files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the 
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-
418-0432 (tty).

Summary of Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    1. This FNPRM seeks comment on whether the Commission should 
designate one or more MBAN coordinators, the term of service for an 
MBAN coordinator, the qualifying criteria that should guide our 
selection of an MBAN coordinator, and fees to register with an MBAN 
coordinator and to coordinate MBAN and aeronautical mobile telemetry 
(AMT) operations.
    2. Number of coordinators. General Electric Healthcare (GEHC), 
Philips Healthcare Systems (Philips), and Aerospace and Flight Test 
Radio Coordinating Council (AFTRCC) (hereinafter ``the Joint Parties'') 
collectively have asked that only one MBAN coordinator be designated, 
arguing that MBAN coordination should be viewed as an extension of WMTS 
coordination for health care facilities. The American Society for 
Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), which is now the WMTS coordinator, has 
expressed its interest in being the MBAN coordinator as well. Philips 
and GEHC previously pointed out that the Commission has designated only 
one WMTS coordinator and one AMT coordinator, and a single MBAN 
coordinator would likewise simplify the coordination process, reduce 
costs and, expedite deployment of MBAN equipment. They assert that a 
process relying on multiple MBAN coordinators could delay coordination 
and compromise accuracy, as well as increase costs for users by, for 
example, requiring each coordinator to maintain its own proprietary 
    3. The Commission has proposed to select only one MBAN coordinator. 
Because the MBAN and AMT coordinators will have to mutually agree to 
coordination procedures, the Commission believes that it will be easier 
for a single MBAN coordinator to work with the AMT coordinator to 
develop these coordination procedures. Use of a single MBAN coordinator 
will also provide both the health care community and the AMT 
coordinator a single point of contact for obtaining all the information 
needed regarding potential frequency conflicts. As with WMTS, a single 
MBAN coordinator will simplify the registration process for the health 
care community and provide a single database of all registered MBAN 
equipment in the 2360-2390 MHz band. The Commission believes that using 
a model that is similar to WMTS will make it easier for the health care 
community to understand and comply with the MBAN rules that it is 
adopting. If we were to designate multiple coordinators, each would be 
expected to abide by jointly-crafted coordination procedures that 
specify the regular and timely sharing of information, such that each 
coordinator is capable of maintaining a complete registration database 
and providing consistent coordination results and services without 
undue delay. This would likely add costs that would have to be shared 
among the relatively small and specialized health care user community, 
and the Commission does not believe that the costs incurred by having 
multiple coordinators would spur a competitive environment that would 
provide sufficient benefits to offset these

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costs. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal.
    4. Term of Service. The Commission proposes to require that any 
designated MBAN coordinator agrees to serve a ten-year term, subject to 
renewal by the Commission. Further, in the event that the MBAN 
coordinator is unable to or chooses not to complete its term, it will 
have to transfer its MBAN database to another entity designated by the 
Commission. The Commission believes that a ten-year term is appropriate 
for several reasons. Because MBAN equipment might not be deployed for 
several years, a shorter term (e.g., five years) may not provide enough 
time for the user communities and the coordinators to develop a working 
relationship to facilitate MBAN deployment while protecting AMT 
operations. A ten-year term also will provide a substantial time period 
for the Commission to evaluate the coordinator's performance. The 
Commission seeks comment on this proposal.
    5. Qualifying Criteria. The Commission proposes to establish 
minimum qualifying criteria for selecting an MBAN coordinator. These 
minimum qualifying criteria are intended to ensure that a designated 
coordinator can successfully accomplish the functions required by our 
rules. The Commission proposes to require that parties interested in 
being designated as an MBAN coordinator demonstrate that they meet the 
following criteria:
     Ability to register and maintain a database of MBAN 
transmitter locations and operational parameters;
     Knowledge of or experience with medical wireless systems 
in health care facilities (e.g., WMTS);
     Knowledge of or experience with AMT operations;
     Ability to calculate and measure interference potential 
between MBAN and AMT operations and to enter into mutually satisfactory 
coordination agreements with the AMT coordinator based on the 
requirements in Sec.  95.1223(c);
     Ability to develop procedures to ensure that registered 
health care facilities operate an MBAN consistent with the requirements 
in Sec.  95.1223.
    6. Philips and GEHC suggested additional requirements for an MBAN 
coordinator which emphasize, for example, experience working with 
hospitals and medical device vendors; institutional knowledge of the 
health care industry; and having an MBAN user community as its core 
constituency. The Commission believes that these types of requirements 
may have been useful had it adopted certain elements of the joint 
parties' coordination plan, e.g., the transition plan requirement, but 
they may not be necessary under the coordination rules the Commission 
adopted. The Commission seeks comment on the minimum qualifying 
criteria that should be established for selecting an MBAN coordinator, 
and whether those it proposed are sufficient. The Commission also seeks 
comment on whether it should require that service should be provided on 
a non-discriminatory basis.
    7. ASHE, the WMTS coordinator, has expressed an interest in being 
designated the MBAN coordinator. ASHE contracts with Comsearch as its 
technical partner in providing WMTS coordination services. When the 
Commission designated ASHE as the WMTS coordinator, it found that 
ASHE's lack of frequency coordination experience and need to contract 
with a third party to provide technical and administrative support, was 
not a significant factor arguing against ASHE's selection because the 
WMTS coordinator would not have to resolve frequency conflicts. Since 
AMT is a primary service entitled to interference protection from MBAN 
operations, the MBAN coordinator will have broader responsibilities 
than the WMTS coordinator and will have to resolve frequency conflicts 
with the AMT coordinator. Thus, the Commission believes it is important 
for us to be confident that any designated MBAN coordinator can perform 
the required functions under the rules and will be directly responsible 
to the Commission if it has to intervene in resolving any coordination 
disputes that may arise. The Commission seeks comment on whether third 
party contractual arrangements should be permitted to qualify an entity 
for designation as an MBAN coordinator and, if so, what amount of 
disclosure of a contractual arrangement should the Commission require 
as part of the selection process.
    8. Fees for Service. The Commission does not propose to prescribe 
fees for MBAN registration and coordination services and instead 
proposes to let an MBAN coordinator establish service fees. 
Nonetheless, the Commission recognizes that, if we choose to designate 
only one MBAN coordinator, fees for service will not be disciplined by 
competition from several coordinators. Philips and GEHC have asked 
that, we require that an entity be ``willing to operate the 
coordination process and MBANS database at cost, ideally on a non-
profit basis.'' The Commission noted that it did not prescribe any 
service fees for WMTS coordination, allowing the designated WMTS 
coordinator ``to set the fee structure necessary to recoup costs.'' The 
Commission also seeks comment on whether it should adopt any fee 
requirements for MBAN registration and coordination, including, for 
example, whether service fees should only recoup costs and how such a 
requirement should be evaluated, and whether service fees should be 
reasonable and non-discriminatory.
    9. AFTRCC has established coordination service fees for FCC 
licensees in the aeronautical services. The Joint Parties have asked 
that we codify, as part of the MBAN coordination rules, a requirement 
that health care facilities ``bear responsibility for reasonable costs 
incurred by the aeronautical telemetry coordinator in effecting the 
coordination.'' The Commission seeks comment on this request. It also 
seeks comment on how ``reasonable costs'' should be evaluated, and, if 
it were to codify this requirement, what oversight the Commission 
should exercise over AMT-MBAN coordination fees. Should the Commission 
require that service should be provided on a non-discriminatory basis 
and that fees should be reasonable and non-discriminatory? The 
Commission also seeks comment on the procedures that would apply to 
health care facilities that pay these costs. For example, would a 
health care facility apply to AFTRCC for coordination, or would it pay 
these fees to the MBAN coordinator who, in turn, would pass along the 
fees to AFTRCC? As discussed, AFTRCC coordinates Federal AMT 
operations, in conjunction with the Federal Government Area Frequency 
Coordinators for day-to-day scheduling of missions. Should service fees 
for MBAN coordination exclude costs that AFTRCC may incur for 
coordinating Federal AMT operations?

MBAN Coordinator Selection

    10. Under the Commission's rules, the Wireless Telecommunications 
Bureau (WTB) has delegated authority to certify frequency coordinators 
for the services that it administers, including the Medical Device 
Radiocommunications (MedRadio) Service under part 95 of the 
Commission's rules. The Commission proposes that, under its delegated 
authority, WTB would select the MBAN coordinator using the same 
procedures that were implemented for selecting the WMTS coordinator. 
The WTB would issue a public notice to announce procedures for 
interested parties to submit applications for consideration as an MBAN 
coordinator. It would issue an Order to designate the MBAN

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coordinator, and execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the 
selected coordinator that will set forth the coordinator's authority 
and responsibilities. The MBAN coordinator would assume its duties upon 
the execution of the Memorandum of Understanding. The Commission seeks 
comment on whether this process, which worked well for selecting the 
WMTS coordinator, would permit the Commission to complete the MBAN 
coordinator selection process in a timely and efficient manner.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Certification

    11. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),\1\ 
requires that an initial regulatory flexibility analysis be prepared 
for notice and comment rulemaking proceedings, unless the agency 
certifies that ``the rule will not, if promulgated, have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.'' \2\ The 
RFA generally defines the term ``small entity'' as having the same 
meaning as the terms ``small business,'' ``small organization,'' and 
``small governmental jurisdiction.'' \3\ In addition, the term ``small 
business'' has the same meaning as the term ``small business concern'' 
under the Small Business Act.\4\ A ``small business concern'' is one 
which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in 
its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria 
established by the Small Business Administration (SBA).\5\

    \1\ The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. 601-612, has been amended by the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), 
Public Law No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
    \2\ 5 U.S.C. 605(b).
    \3\ 5 U.S.C. 601(6).
    \4\ 5 U.S.C. 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition 
of ``small business concern'' in the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 
632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 601(3), the statutory definition of a 
small business applies ``unless an agency, after consultation with 
the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and 
after opportunity for public comment, establishes one or more 
definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of 
the agency and publishes such definition(s) in the Federal 
    \5\ 15 U.S.C. 632.

    12. The FNPRM addresses a number of issues related to designating 
an MBAN coordinator for the 2360-2390 MHz band. The joint parties have 
asked that only one MBAN coordinator be designated. ASHE, who is now 
the WMTS coordinator, has expressed its interest in being the MBAN 
coordinator as well. Although the NPRM sought comment on coordination 
procedures and generated a record upon which we are able to adopt 
coordination requirements in the Report and Order, the NPRM did not 
address other issues that would guide the selection and designation of 
an MBAN coordinator. The Commission addressed those issues in this 
FNPRM. The Commission seeks comment on whether it should designate one 
or more MBAN coordinators, the terms of service for an MBAN 
coordinator, the qualifying criteria that should guide our selection of 
an MBAN coordinator, and fees to register with an MBAN coordinator and 
to coordinate MBAN and AMT operations.
    13. Therefore, the Commission certifies that the proposals in this 
FNPRM, if adopted will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. If commenters believe that the 
proposals discussed in the FNPRM require additional RFA analysis, they 
should include a discussion of these issues in their comments and 
additionally label them as RFA comments. The Commission will send a 
copy of the FNPRM, including a copy of this initial certification to 
the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA.\6\

    \6\ See 5 U.S.C. 605(b).

    14. Pursuant to sections 1.4(b)(1) and 1.103(a) of the Commission's 
rules, 47 CFR 1.4(b)(1) and 1.103(a), the Further Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking is adopted and comments will be sought on these proposals.

Federal Communications Commission.
Marlene H. Dortch,
[FR Doc. 2012-18098 Filed 7-24-12; 8:45 am]