NPSTC Regulatory Update February 2014

newsheaderArticles provided by Bette Rinehart, NPSTC Editorial Task Group Chair

 

Regulatory News

  • Signal Booster Registration Database Available
  • Office of  Engineering and Technology Seeks to Augment the Incentive Auction Proceeding by Seeking Comment on Proposed Methodology to Predict Interference between Broadcast and Wireless Services
  • Comment Sought on Draft Program Comment for Positive Train Control Stations to Comply with Historic Preservation Act

800 MHz News

  • FCC Response to EWA Request for Clarification of Process for Coordination of PS entities Seeking I/B pool frequencies

Regulatory News

Signal Booster Registration Database Available:  All existing Part 90 Class B signal boosters must be registered in the FCC’s Signal Booster Database by November 1, 2014.  After that date, Class B signal boosters must be registered prior to operation.  The FCC has announced the availability of the database to be used by licensees to register their Class B signal boosters and provided a short set of instructions.  The registration database is available at: www.fcc.gov/signal-boosters/registration.

Each Class B signal booster must be registered separately.  Licensees must sign on to the database using their FRN and password.  On the Signal Booster Information page, licensees can then enter either the coordinates or the street address of the signal booster site.  A map will appear allowing the licensee to verify that the address/coordinates are correct.  The frequencies within the operating range of the signal booster must be selected from a drop down list and at least one call sign must be associated with the signal booster.  The licensee’s name and address must be provided as well as contact information (if different from the licensee name).  The registration must be signed by providing signatory name and title and then submitted to the FCC.  The system will generate a confirmation and a booster ID number which can be printed for the licensee’s station records.

The signal booster database is searchable by call sign, county, state, city, zip code, booster ID number or filer’s name.  To make identifying the source of possible interference easier, a licensee should identify every call sign associated with a signal booster. The text of the Public Notice is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-14-15A1.doc

Office of Engineering and Technology Seeks To Augment the Record in the Incentive Auction Proceeding by Requesting Comments on a Proposed Methodology to Predict Interference Between Broadcast and Wireless Services:  The Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) hopes to augment the record in the Incentive Auction proceeding by getting public comments on its proposed methodology to predict potential interference between broadcast and wireless services.

In the Broadcast Incentive Auction NPRM, the FCC received a number of comments raising concerns about the potential for interference between co- and adjacent channel broadcast and wireless services in nearby markets.  The commenters suggested using a pre-defined mileage separation requirement to avoid interference.  OET is concerned that a strict mileage separation requirement might be overly conservative and result in inefficient spectrum re-use.  The Public Notice released this month includes a proposed Methodology that uses industry standards and established planning factors to define thresholds of coverage and interference and applies commonly used propagation models, protocols and databases to create a predictive model that can be run on a computer.

Comment is sought on the proposed Methodology.

  • Is it more accurate than a standard mileage  separation?
  • How should the information obtained from the Methodology be used in the Incentive Auction?

Comments are due February 28, 2014.  The text of the Public Notice is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-14-98A1.docx

Comment Sought on Draft Program Comment to Govern Review of Positive Train Control Facilities Under Section 106 of the Historic Preservation Act:  The railroad industry is required to implement a Positive Train Control (PTC) system with the goal of improving safety along the tracks.  Implementation of PTC will require the implementation/construction of thousands of “wayside” poles along the tracks on which to mount equipment that will provide communications between trains and a land-based network.  The railroads will also have to mount 3,000-4,000 antennas farther away from the track to serve as base stations.  Each of these new installations is subject to review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.  Because of the large number of antenna structures and the deadline imposed by Rail Safety Improvement Act, the FCC has worked in consultation with the Tribal Nations, the State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs), the Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) to develop a Program Comment to be used in lieu of individual review.

The FCC is seeking comment on its Proposed Program Comment which is detailed in the Public Notice.  Once it has reviewed and incorporated the public comment, the FCC will submit the Program Comment to the ACHP for review and possible adoption. Among the recommendations included in the draft Program Comment are:

  • Infrastructure eligible for the Program Comment would be wayside antennas or base stations with antenna no taller than  75’, require a foundation no deeper than 15’ and must be located within the railroad right-of-way
  • The Program Comment does not apply to Tribal Lands
  • Facilities constructed in or within a 50’ right-of-way designated for the location of communications towers or above-ground utility transmission or distribution lines would be excluded from review
  • May exclude facilities located on the rails or track beds themselves
  • Batch filing of Tower Construction Notifications  and E106 submissions (for SHPOs) would be permitted or encouraged
  • To avoid delays, applicants using the Program Comment must include a cultural resources report and batched submissions      must include a Google earth overlay map
  • The assumed Area of Potential Effects (APE) is reduced from ½ mile to ¼ mile
  • Tribal Nations will have a total of 40 days to review submissions;

Comments were due February 12, 2014.  The text of the Public Notice which contains the entire draft Program Comment and a proposed list of material to be included in submissions to Tribal Nations and SHPOs is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-14-97A1.docx

800 MHz News

FCC Response to EWA Request for Clarification of Process for Coordination of PS Entities Seeking I/B Pool Spectrum:  The Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) had asked the Wireless Telecommunication Bureau (WTB) and the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) for guidance on an appropriate standard by which an I/B pool frequency coordinator should evaluate a request from a public safety entity seeking a waiver to operate on I/B pool frequencies below 470 MHz. 

This month the two Bureaus responded to EWA’s request and provided clarification of the FCC’s process for reviewing such waiver requests.  The FCC reviews waiver requests on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the request meets the waiver standards of Part 1 – no reasonable alternative within the rules, compliance with the rule would be unduly burdensome, grant of the waiver would not subvert the original intent of the rule and would be in the public interest.

EWA had proposed two standards to be used when PS entities sought the use of I/B pool frequencies.  The first proposed standard required conventional public safety applicants to share PS pool frequencies with other PS licensees and disqualified them from applying for I/B pool frequencies.  The second standard required a PS entity proposing a trunked system to demonstrate that all potentially available PS pool frequencies were already licensed as FB8 (exclusive use) rendering them unavailable for shared PS use.

In its response, the FCC stated its belief that its existing processes address the scenarios described by EWA.  Rule section 90.175 does not discriminate between I/B and PS pool eligibles and requires a frequency coordinator to recommend the “most appropriate frequency.”  The rule section does not limit a coordinator to recommending the most appropriate frequency only within the applicant’s eligibility pool.  The Commission envisioned a case in which a new PS pool applicant’s frequency request could not be satisfied within the PS pool without deteriorating the grade of service required by incumbent licensees.  In this case, the most appropriate frequency might be an unused I/B pool frequency even if both the new applicant and the incumbents were operating in conventional mode.

The Commission’s response did emphasize that frequency coordinators “must carefully and accurately ascertain that no suitable public safety pool frequencies are available” before recommending an Industrial/Business pool frequency.

The text of the response is available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-14-35A1.doc