NPSTC Regulatory News January 2014

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   Articles by Bette Rinehart, NPSTC Editorial Chair

Regulatory News

EWA Request to  Extend Conditional Licensing Waiver Granted

Comment Dates Set for Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Vehicular Repeater Systems

Comment Dates  Established for NPRM Seeking Comment on Improving Wireless Tower Siting

Signal Booster  Manufacturers Reminded of March 1, 2014 Equipment Compliance Deadline  Urged to File Equipment Certifications Promptly

Comment Sought on ClearRF Request to Waive the March 1, 2014, Signal Booster Equipment Compliance Deadline

Comment Sought on Somerset County, Maine Waiver Request to Use a Narrowband Telemetry Frequency for Vehicular Repeater Service

 800 MHz News

Rebanding Timeline Extensions Granted:  Kali  Bottling, Kelly Communications, and McAllen Independent School District  Police Department

FCC Grants Several Cost Estimate Deadline Extension Requests

Financial True-Up  Deadline Postponed

700 MHz News

First Narrowband State License Implementation Deadlines Approaching 

Regulatory News

EWA Request to Extend Conditional Licensing Waiver Granted:  Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) had sought and obtained a waiver of 90.159(b), to apply the provisions of conditional licensing to applicants seeking authorization above 470 MHz but which otherwise met the requirements.  Rule Section 90.159(b) limits conditional licensing to applications for operations below 470 MHz, once they have received frequency coordination and have been pending at the Commission for 10 business days.  EWA’s initial waiver request was for those applications filed on or before December 31, 2013. 

While the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau speed of service has improved since EWA’s initial waiver request was filed, it still is not back to its prior levels so EWA asked to extend its temporary conditional licensing waiver for six months.  The FCC granted the extension.

Applications for operations in 470-512 MHz, 800 MHz, or 900 MHz filed on or before June 30, 2014 can operate subject to conditional licensing provisions.  Application must:

  • Have received frequency coordination
  • Been pending for 10 business days.
  • Not include a waiver request
  • Be for operations south of Line A
  • Seek operation on a tower that either have already      received FAA clearance or does not require it
  • Be outside the Quiet Zone
  • Not have a significant environmental impact

Conditional authorization is valid for 180 days.  The waiver does not apply to public safety applications.

The text of the Order is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-2476A1.doc

Comment Dates Set for Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Vehicular Repeater Systems:  The FCC has announced Comment and Reply Comment deadlines for a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released in September seeking comment on allocating additional VHF spectrum for Vehicular Repeater Systems (VRS).  Comments were due December 31, 2013; Reply Comments are due January 30, 2014.

The text of the Public Notice is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-2302A1.doc

The text of the NPRM is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-13-121A1.docx

Comment Dates Established for NPRM Seeking Comment on Improving Wireless Tower Siting:  A Public Notice has been released announcing the comment dates for providing input on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released in September seeking to simplify and improve regulations surrounding the issue of wireless tower siting.  Further information on the NPRM is available in the September issue of “The Communicator.”  Comments are due February 3, 2014; Reply Comments are due March 5, 2014.

The text of the Public Notice is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-2324A1.docx

The text of the NPRM is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-13-122A1.docx

Signal Booster Manufacturers Reminded of March 1, 2014 Equipment Compliance Deadline Urged to File Equipment Certifications Promptly:  In February of 2013, the FCC adopted new rules related to the manufacture and use of signal boosters.  See the February 2013 issue of “The Communicator” for a detailed summary of the decision.  As of March 1, 2014, all signal boosters offered for sale must comply with the new requirements and be properly labeled.  The new technical requirements will increase processing time for equipment certification applications. Signal Booster manufacturers were urged to file applications for equipment certification promptly in order to meet the March 2014 deadline.

The text of the Public Notice is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-2389A1.docx

Comment Sought on ClearRF Request to Waive the March 1, 2014, Signal Booster Equipment Compliance Deadline:   As noted in the previous article, as of March 1, 2014, all signal boosters manufactured and sold must be properly labeled and comply with the technical requirements established in February of 2013.  ClearRF, a signal booster manufacturer, has filed a waiver request seeking to be able to continue to sell non-compliant signal boosters for an additional 6 to 10 months past the March 1 deadline.  The FCC seeks comment on ClearRF’s waiver request.

Comments were due January 14, 2014; Reply Comments were due January 21. The text of the Public Notice is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-2465A1.doc

Comment Sought on Somerset County, Maine Waiver Request to Use a Narrowband Telemetry Frequency for Vehicular Repeater Service:  Somerset County, ME has filed a waiver request seeking to use a narrowband telemetry frequency (173.210) for vehicular repeater operations.  Somerset seeks to conduct 11.25 kHz voice operations on the frequency.  Current restrictions on this frequency limit it to 3 kHz bandwidth and only for remote control and telemetry data operations.

In its waiver request, Somerset County asserted that it had no reasonable alternative for its vehicular repeater operations.  The county operates a VHF system under 17 call signs to cover its 3600 miles of hilly terrain.  Somerset contends that its deputies are almost totally unable to communicate on their portable units when outside of their vehicles.  The County’s existing VRS are “inoperable” so they are seeking this waiver in order to deploy current technology VRS.

Somerset’s waiver request goes on to explain that its proposed VRS operations have to be separated by at least 2 MHz from its current base/mobile operations and no public safety frequency in the 150-160 MHz range meets this criteria.

The County examined public safety frequencies available in the 170-174 MHz range and selected 173.210 as its only viable option.  It cited a successful waiver request filed by Wayne County, Indiana on the same frequency.  Somerset’s waiver request indicates that it conducted an interference study which concluded that “there is nearly zero probability of any interference” to the co- and adjacent channel licensees.

Comment is sought on Somerset’s waiver request and interference study conclusions.  In the Public Notice the FCC notes that it has an open proceeding examining whether to allow VRS on six frequencies in the 173 MHz band and seeks comment on whether Somerset’s waiver (if granted) should be conditioned on the outcome of that proceeding.

Comments were due January 15, 2014; Reply Comments are due January 30. The text of the Public Notice is available at:http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-2396A1.docx

800 MHz News

Rebanding Timeline Extensions Granted:  In December the FCC resolved a number of requests from licensees in the Mexican border area seeking extensions of time to provide cost estimates.  In the decisions, the FCC stressed that it did not routinely grant extensions of time, particularly extensions related to the rebanding process since a delay by one party can have a domino effect and create an overall delay in the program.  However, since the extensions requested were of a short duration, the requests were granted. The specific cases are:

Kalil Bottling:  Kalil Bottling personnel had been uncertain about the requirements of the FCC’s rebanding order until speaking to their local radio shop who explained the proceeding to them.  They are now committed to “prompt participation” in the process but need a little extra time to obtain quotes from vendors.  Kalil Bottling was given until December 9 to provide a rebanding cost proposal to Sprint.The text of the Order is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-2339A1.docx

Key Communications:  Key Communications sought a short extension (until December 13, 2013) of the November 20 deadline to submit its cost estimate to Sprint Nextel.  It was waiting on a “cost related to subscriber equipment reconfiguration and FCC licensing work.”  Key has a plan in place to deploy three retuned repeaters once an agreement is in place.  The extension request was granted. The text of the Order is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-2338A1.docx

McAllen Independent School District Police Department: McAllen Independent School District sought an extension of the deadline to submit its cost estimate to Sprint because it needed additional time to work out some technical issues at its tower site.  McAllen ISD was given until December 11 to submit its cost estimate. The text of the Order is available at:http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-2337A1.docx

FCC Grants Several Cost Estimate Deadline Extension Requests:  After acting on a few extension requests individually, the FCC released an Order collectively addressing several requests to extend the November 20, 2013 deadline to submit cost estimates to Sprint.

In the Christmas Eve Order the FCC granted those extension requests it had received that sought a new deadline of March 10, 2014 or sooner.  The Commission found that those applicants (listed in Appendix A of the Order) had demonstrated diligence, good faith and made substantial progress towards completing their cost estimates.  The extensions were granted with the understanding that once the cost proposals were submitted, the licensees would diligently pursue the negotiation process with Sprint and complete a Frequency Relocation Agreement in a timely manner.

Those seeking extensions later than March 10, 2014 were given until that date to complete their cost estimates or to file a waiver request seeking additional time. Any requests for a further extension must include details of the licensee’s progress thus far and milestones for finishing each uncompleted cost estimate step.  A list of the licensees receiving partial waivers is provided in Appendix B of the Order.

The text of the Order is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-2469A1.docx

Financial True-Up Deadline Postponed:  Sprint’s financial true-up deadline has been extended from December 31, 2013 until June 30, 2014.  The TA must file a report by May 15, 2014 indicating whether the deadline should be further extended. The text of the Order is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-2477A1.doc

700 MHz News

First Narrowband State License Implementation Deadlines ApproachingIn 2002, each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands was granted a geographic license for 2.5 MHz of narrowband spectrum.  The first build-out deadline for those licenses is fast approaching.  By June 13, 2014, each state licensee must be providing or be “prepared to provide” service to 1/3 of the state population or territory.  States must provide a certification to the FCC that they have met this build-out requirement.  Failure to do so could result in the state’s licensed narrowband spectrum reverting to the control of the relevant Regional Planning Committee.

NPSPTC’s Spectrum Committee developed a sample build-out certification filing and an FAQ document which is posted on its website.  For guidance on filing the build-out certification and the information that should be provided to the FCC, visit the National Public Safety Telecommunications Committee (NPSTC) website at 12-01-26 State License Construction FCC Notification FINAL.pdf and FAQ Document  FINAL.pdf