47 CFR 22.911 - Cellular geographic service area.

The Cellular Geographic Service Area (CGSA) of a Cellular system is the geographic area considered by the FCC to be served by the Cellular system and is the area within which cellular systems are entitled to protection and adverse effects for the purpose of determining whether a petitioner has standing are recognized. The CGSA is the composite of the service areas of all of the cells in the system, excluding any Unserved Area (even if it is served on a secondary basis) or area within the CGSA of another Cellular system. The service area of a cell is the area within its service area boundary (SAB). Licensees that use power spectral density (PSD) at cell sites within their licensed geographic area are subject to paragraph (c) of this section; all other licensees are subject to paragraph (a) (or, as applicable, paragraph (b)) of this section. If the calculation under paragraph (a), (b), or (c) of this section (as applicable) yields an SAB extension comprising at least 130 contiguous square kilometers (50 contiguous square miles), the licensee must submit an application for major modification of the CGSA using FCC Form 601. See also §§ 22.912, 22.949, and 22.953.

(a)CGSA determination (non-PSD). For the purpose of calculating the SABs for cell sites and determining CGSA expansion areas for Cellular base stations that do not operate using PSD (as permitted under § 22.913), the distance to the SAB is calculated as a function of effective radiated power (ERP) and antenna center of radiation height above average terrain (HAAT), height above sea level (HASL), or height above mean sea level (HAMSL).

(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (a)(2) and (b) of this section, the distance from a cell transmitting antenna to its SAB along each cardinal radial is calculated as follows:

d = 2.531 × h 0.34 × p 0.17
where:
d is the radial distance in kilometers
h is the radial antenna HAAT in meters
p is the radial ERP in Watts

(2) The distance from a cell transmitting antenna located in the Gulf of Mexico Service Area (GMSA) to its SAB along each cardinal radial is calculated as follows:

d = 6.895 × h 0.30 × p 0.15
Where:
d is the radial distance in kilometers
h is the radial antenna HAAT in meters
p is the radial ERP in Watts

(3) The value used for h in the formula in paragraph (a)(2) of this section must not be less than 8 meters (26 feet) HASL (or HAMSL, as appropriate for the support structure). The value used for h in the formula in paragraph (a)(1) of this section must not be less than 30 meters (98 feet) HAAT, except that for unserved area applications proposing a cell with an ERP not exceeding 10 Watts, the value for h used in the formula in paragraph (a)(1) of this section to determine the service area boundary for that cell may be less than 30 meters (98 feet) HAAT, but not less than 3 meters (10 feet) HAAT.

(4) The value used for p in the formulas in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section must not be less than 0.1 Watt or 27 dB less than (1/500 of) the maximum ERP in any direction, whichever is more.

(5) Whenever use of the formula in paragraph (a)(1) of this section pursuant to the exception contained in paragraph (a)(3) of this section results in a calculated distance that is less than 5.4 kilometers (3.4 miles), the radial distance to the service area boundary is deemed to be 5.4 kilometers (3.4 miles).

(6) The distance from a cell transmitting antenna to the SAB along any radial other than the eight cardinal radials is calculated by linear interpolation of distance as a function of angle.

(b)Alternative CGSA determination (non-PSD). If a carrier believes that the method described in paragraph (a) of this section produces a CGSA that departs significantly (±20% in the service area of any cell) from the geographic area where reliable cellular service is actually provided, the carrier may submit, as an exhibit to an application for modification of the CGSA using FCC Form 601, a depiction of what the carrier believes the CGSA should be. Such submissions must be accompanied by one or more supporting propagation studies using methods appropriate for the 800-900 MHz frequency range, including all supporting data and calculations, and/or by extensive field strength measurement data. For the purpose of such submissions, cellular service is considered to be provided in all areas, including “dead spots”, between the transmitter location and the locus of points where the predicted or measured median field strength finally drops to 32 dBµV/m (i.e. does not exceed 32 dBµV/m further out). If, after consideration of such submissions, the FCC finds that adjustment to a CGSA is warranted, the FCC may grant the application.

(1) The alternative CGSA determination must define the CGSA in terms of distances from the cell sites to the 32 dBµV/m contour along the eight cardinal radials, with points in other azimuthal directions determined by the method given in paragraph (a)(6) of this section. The distances used must be representative of the coverage within the eight cardinal radials, as depicted by the alternative CGSA determination.

(2) If an uncalibrated predictive model is used to depict the CGSA, the alternative CGSA determination must identify factors (e.g. terrain roughness or features) that could plausibly account for the difference between actual coverage and that defined by the formula in paragraph (a)(1) of this section. If actual measurements or a measurement-calibrated predictive model are used to depict the CGSA, and this fact is disclosed in the alternative CGSA determination, it is not necessary to offer an explanation of the difference between actual coverage and that defined by the formula in paragraph (a)(1) of this section. If the formula in paragraph (a)(1) of this section is clearly inapplicable for the cell(s) in question (e.g. for microcells), this should be disclosed in the alternative CGSA determination.

(3) The provision for alternative CGSA determinations was made in recognition that the formula in paragraph (a)(1) of this section is a general model that provides a reasonable approximation of coverage in most land areas, but may under-predict or over-predict coverage in specific areas with unusual terrain roughness or features, and may be inapplicable for certain purposes, e.g., cells with a coverage radius of less than 8 kilometers (5 miles). In such cases, alternative methods that utilize more specific models are appropriate. Accordingly, the FCC does not consider use of the formula in paragraph (a)(1) of this section with parameters outside of the limits in paragraphs (a)(3), (a)(4) and (a)(5) of this section or with data for radials other than the cardinal radials to be a valid alternative method for determining the CGSA of a cellular system.

(c)CGSA determination (PSD).

(1) For the purpose of calculating the SABs for cell sites and determining CGSA expansion areas for Cellular base stations that operate using PSD (as permitted under § 22.913), the licensee must use a predictive propagation model that is appropriate for the service provided, taking into account terrain and local conditions. The SAB and CGSA boundary must be defined in terms of distances from the cell site to the 32 dBµV/m contour along the eight cardinal radials, with points in other azimuthal directions determined by the method set forth in paragraph (a)(6) of this section. The distances used must be representative of the coverage within the eight cardinal radials.

(2) An application for major modification of the CGSA under this paragraph (c) must include, as an exhibit, a depiction of the CGSA accompanied by one or more supporting propagation studies using methods appropriate for the 800-900 MHz frequency range, including all supporting data and calculations, and/or by extensive field strength measurement data. For the purpose of such submissions, Cellular service is considered to be provided in all areas, including “dead spots,” between the transmitter location and the locus of points where the predicted or measured median field strength finally drops to 32 dBµV/m (i.e., does not exceed 32 dBµV/m further out). If, after consideration of such submissions, the FCC finds that adjustment to a CGSA is warranted, the FCC may grant the application.

(d)Protection afforded. Cellular systems are entitled to protection only within the CGSA (as determined in accordance with this section) from co-channel and first-adjacent channel interference (see § 22.983). Licensees must cooperate in resolving co-channel and first-adjacent channel interference by changing channels used at specific cells or by other technical means.

(e) [Reserved]

[ 59 FR 59507, Nov. 17, 1994, as amended at 59 FR 59954, Nov. 21, 1994; 63 FR 68951, Dec. 14, 1998; 67 FR 9609, Mar. 4, 2002; 67 FR 77191, Dec. 17, 2002; 68 FR 42295, July 17, 2003; 79 FR 72151, Dec. 5, 2014; 82 FR 17582, Apr. 12, 2017]
Effective Date Note:
At 82 FR 17582, Apr. 12, 2017, § 22.911 was amended in part by revising the introductory text, paragraph (a) heading and introductory text, paragraph (b) heading, and paragraph (b)(1) and adding paragraph (c). Paragraphs (a) through (c) contain information collection and recordkeeping requirements and will not become effective until approval has been given by the Office of Management and Budget.

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