FCC Seeks Comment on EWA/PDV Proposal to Realign the 900 MHz Band
The FCC is asking for comments on a proposal to realign the 900 MHz band filed in November by Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) and Pacific DataVision, Inc. (PDV). The Petition for Rulemaking, (PFR) seeks to create a private enterprise broadband allocation by realigning the existing 900 MHz allocation.
The 900 MHz band currently consists of 399 narrowband (12.5 kHz) frequencies grouped into ten-channel blocks alternating between geographically licensed Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) blocks and site-specific-licensed frequencies available to Business/Industrial/Land Transportation (B/ILT) eligibles.
The PFR suggests that the band be divided into a 3/3 MHz broadband segment (937-940 MHz) and a 2/2 MHz narrowband segment (935-937 MHz). The Petitioners propose that the broadband segment be assigned in each MTA to the licensee that already holds at least 15 of the twenty SMR licenses for that MTA. That licensee would be the Private Enterprise Broadband (PEBB) licensee and would be required to fund the relocation of all B/ILT incumbents in the 937-940 MHz segment to comparable facilities in 935-937 MHz.
Incumbent SMRs in 937-940 MHz would have two options. Any SMR incumbent in 937-940 MHz that wished to continue to operate in narrowband mode would have relocation costs paid by the PEBB. SMR incumbents who wished to remain in the band could negotiate with the PEBB to incorporate their spectrum into the broadband network.
Licensees on frequencies between 937-940 MHz would be required to negotiate with the PEBB; remaining on the broadband segment apart from the PEBB licensee would not be possible. After band realignment and relocation of incumbents, the PEBB would be required to offer a build-to-suit broadband solution to any B/ILT entity who requested such service; priority access for critical infrastructure industry (CII) would be mandatory.
The 935-937 MHz band segment would continue to be used for MTA SMR and site-based B/ILT narrowband operations. Narrowband 900 MHz licensees who already operate on frequencies between 935-937 MHz would be unaffected by the proposal.
The FCC is seeking comment on:
- Do B/ILT eligibles, particularly CII entities, have a need for broadband services that could be provided in a 3/3 MHz channel that cannot be provided by existing broadband providers?
- What functionality do CII and B/ILT entities lack that could be provided by the PEBB? Does this need exist nationwide?
- Other than realigning the band, what other technical rule changes would be required to enable the proposed service?
- What are the needed rule changes to prevent interference between the PEBB and adjacent-channel operations?
- What would the relocation of incumbents from 937-940 MHz cost? Is there enough spectrum in the narrowband segment to accommodate all incumbents?
- If the technical rules are modified to permit broadband service, can spectrum aggregation be done by other means? Would the existing secondary markets rules allow realignment that would separate narrowband and broadband operations?
Comments are due January 12, 2015; Reply Comments are due January 27. The text of the Public Notice is available at: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-14-1723A1.pdf
Sprint Granted Waivers to Deploy 800 MHz Wideband Operations in Certain NPSPAC Regions
Sprint Corporation has been granted waivers that will allow it to deploy 800 MHz wideband operations in three NPSPAC Regions that have not fully completed the 800 MHz band reconfiguration.
In the first decision, Sprint was granted a waiver to deploy LTE in the 30 counties within Region 53 (Texas-San Antonio) where rebanding is complete. There are thirteen public safety licensees in Region 53 who have not yet retuned from the “old NPSPAC” band (866-869 MHz) but those licensees are concentrated along the US/Mexico border. The Region 53 waiver was granted with the following conditions:
- Sprint may deploy LTE technology in the 30 counties listed in Attachment A. Sprint must maintain a minimum 110 mile co-channel separation between its LTE operations and any incumbent still operating in 866-869 MHz.
- Each public safety licensee listed in Attachment C of the waiver must be provided 30-days advance notice of Sprint’s deployment and the planned start date in Region 53.
- Sprint may not deploy LTE in the 17 counties listed in Attachment B until rebanding is entirely complete in Region 53.
- If Sprint’s operations cause harmful interference to a public safety licensee in Region 53 it must immediately stop and may only resume operation after the interference has been successfully mitigated.
The text of the decision granting the waiver for Region 53 is available at:
A few days later the FCC granted Sprint’s waiver request for Regions 50 (Texas-El Paso) and 29 (New Mexico). In Region 50, only two licensees remain in the “old NPSPAC” band while only one licensee remains in the band in New Mexico. The waivers were granted with these conditions:
- Sprint may deploy LTE technology in the forty-six Region 50 counties listed in Attachment A. Sprint must maintain a minimum 80 mile co-channel separation between its LTE operations and the closest City of El Paso or Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo site still operating in 866-869 MHz.
- Sprint may deploy LTE technology in the twenty-eight Region 29 counties listed in Attachment A and must maintain a minimum 80 mile co-channel separation between its LTE operations and the closest City of Las Cruces site still operating in 866-869 MHz
- The City of El Paso, Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo and the City of Las Cruces must be provided 30-days advance notice of Sprint’s deployment and the planned start date of LTE operations in Region 50 or Region 29
- Sprint may not deploy LTE in the three Region 50 counties and the five Region 29 counties listed in Attachment B until rebanding is entirely complete in the respective Region.
- If Sprint’s operations cause harmful interference to a public safety licensee in Region 50 or Region 29 it must immediately stop and may only resume operation after the interference has been successfully mitigated.
The text of the decision granting the waivers for Region 50 and Region 29 is available at:
Nearly 200 Submit Applications to Participate in Rural Broadband Experiments
Nearly 200 applications from a diverse group of entities including electric utilities, commercial providers and WISPs were filed in response to the FCC’s request for participants interested in exploring cost-effective ways to expand broadband in rural areas.
FCC staff will now review the applications to identify the provisionally winning bidders. Those bidders will then be required to provide information demonstrating their technical and financial ability to participate. Experiments could be launched as early as spring 2015.The text of the News Release is available at: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-330454A1.pdf