AT&T Asks FCC to Reject Compensation Condition Sought by NPSTC for Waiver

AT&T, Inc., has asked the FCC to reject a compensation condition proposed by the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council if the agency decides to grant AT&T a waiver request.

AT&T has asked the FCC for a limited waiver to allow the use of power spectral density (PSD) measurements for certain 800 megahertz band cellular operations in four Missouri markets until the FCC completes action in a proceeding in which it is considering modernizing its cellular licensing rules (TRDaily, Nov. 10, 2014). AT&T has proposed a PSD limit of 250 watts/MHz in non-rural areas and 500 watts/MHz in rural areas.

In comments filed recently in WT docket 15-86 (TRDaily, May 1), NPSTC said the FCC should address changes to cellular service power limit rules through a rulemaking proceeding rather than through waiver requests, but it said if the Commission does grant AT&T’s request, it should specify that “a) AT&T must investigate and resolve interference complaints from Part 90 licensees in the 800 MHz band expeditiously; b) AT&T must notify the Commission of any interference complaints received, pursuant to the provisions of Sections 22.970-22.973 of the cellular service rules; and c) AT&T must compensate public safety entities that receive interference for legitimate costs incurred as part of the investigation and resolution of the interference complaints.”

But in an ex parte filing today in WT dockets 12-40 and 15-86 reporting on a May 19 meeting with FCC officials, AT&T said it “reiterated its commitment to continuing to work with public safety organizations to address interference issues expeditiously, as required by existing Commission Part 22 and Part 90 rules. AT&T explained that those interference mitigation processes have been in effect for years, have led to interactions as needed between Cellular licensees and public safety, and have worked well to address interference scenarios, many of which were not caused by AT&T. AT&T also explained that it does not expect the use of PSD in Missouri to increase the potential for interference and thus, there is no need for alternate processes to address interference concerns, including requiring reimbursement of public safety costs when interference inquiries occur.

“Based upon these factors, AT&T urged the Commission to grant the PSD waiver for base station operations in the four requested Missouri markets without the following conditions, as were imposed on the South Florida and Vermont PSD waivers: (1) notice to public safety of the antenna radiation center and beam tilt, (2) establishment of an 800 number that is monitored 24/7, and (3) immediate suspension of PSD operations upon receipt of a public safety interference complaint,” AT&T added. “These processes are administratively burdensome and unnecessary. All other conditions imposed on the South Florida and Vermont waivers are workable, including notice to public safety organizations of the location of the base stations operating at PSD, when that base station will begin PSD operations, and the availability of the antenna radiation center and beam tilt information upon request. The existing Part 22/Part 90 public safety interference mitigation process is sufficient to address any issues that might arise with the use of PSD, and is likely to allow AT&T to respond just as quickly.”- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com