August 4, 2016–The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued an order today conditionally granting a waiver request filed by the state of Ohio and three electric utilities that will allow the state to share its spectrum with the utilities. The Multi-Agency Radio Communications System (MARCS) Program, which is a public safety radio network, filed the waiver request with wholly-owned subsidiaries of FirstEnergy Corp. “to permit the FirstEnergy Companies to operate on a non-profit, cost shared basis on Public Safety frequencies licensed to MARCS in the 700 and 800 MHz bands,” the order noted.
“We condition our finding that FirstEnergy’s operations on the 700 MHz public safety narrowband channels are permissible on the outcome of the Commission’s pending rulemaking addressing non-governmental use of 700 MHz public safety broadband spectrum under Section 337,” the order stressed. “We further condition the instant Order on MARCS receiving prior approval from the Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau should MARCS seek to enter into sharing arrangements with any other non-governmental entity. Finally, we condition the instant Order on the MARCS obtaining prior Commission approval for any changes it seeks to make to the list of MARCS licenses and frequencies contained in Schedule 1 of Amendment No. 2 to the Agreement, in order for such changes to be deemed included in the instant waiver.”
The order dismissed as moot a request for a waiver to allows MARCS to operate on 800 MHz band business/industrial/land transportation (B/ILT) channels licensed to FirstEnergy because the FCC’s rules already permit that. – Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org