The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted permission to Kongsberg to use the 5.725-5.850 GHz communications band for its Maritime Broadband Radio (MBR) products. The permission was granted in 2022, with a focus on deliveries in 2023 and beyond.
The FCC is an independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress and is the federal agency responsible for implementing and enforcing America’s communications law and regulations. This includes interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.
“Waivers like this are hard to get and the process normally takes several years, however it does happen for new technology or operations that do not completely fit into existing regulations,” said Vidar Bjørkedal, Vice President of Kongsberg Discovery. “Only experimental operations were permitted before the waiver was in place. This ruling gives Kongsberg a competitive advantage in the US market.”
Kongsberg’s MBR products transfer large volumes of data between vessels, between vessels and shore, and between vessels and their remote or autonomous vehicles. Kongsberg MBR’s have been used around the global to support maritime applications where digital high-speed reliable communication and data transfer are crucial for efficient and safe operations. MBR products are the key to making autonomous surface vehicles or remotely operated vehicles effective.
The MBR 179 MK2 and the MBR 189 MK2 have radiate power that exceeds the FCC 15.407 regulation, thus requiring a waiver for operating in the US market. The FCC waiver allows the use of the two full array products divided into four available frequencies for maritime operations.
All radio products for sale in the US require an equipment specific FCC ID. With the waiver in place, the MBR 179 and 189 units can be certified under FCC 15.407 and obtain an FCC ID and market access. The MBR 144 product line was already available in the US with certification under FCC 15.407 directly.
Some territorial limitations still apply on some channels around Patrick Air Force base in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, as well as zones around Wallops Islands, Virginia and Coquina, North Carolina.