The Government Wireless Technology & Communications Association (GWTCA) asked the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) today to withdraw a 2014 petition in which it asked the FCC to give 800 megahertz band incumbents six months to apply for guard band and expansion band licenses before making them available to applicants for new systems (TR Daily, April 24, 2014). In a letter to LMCC that was filed in joint Wireless Telecommunications–Public Safety (WP) docket 16-261, GWTCA stressed the shortage of available private land mobile radio frequencies and said that circumstances have changed since the petition was filed.
“It was LMCC’s expressed concern that speculation for such frequencies was impeding the ability of businesses to access this spectrum,” today’s filing said, noting that the FCC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on the issue last year (TR Daily, Aug. 18, 2016). “At this time, there is a significant problem with private land mobile radio entities being unable to access additional 800 MHz spectrum. GWTCA members have reported numerous incidences of entities, including incumbent licensees, unable to obtain spectrum for their very real business needs. For example, the FCC recently denied a request by the American Electric Power Service Corporation for access to 800 MHz Expansion Band spectrum, citing the ongoing proceeding.
“Our consultation with the FCC suggests that Commission action in this rule making is not imminent, nor a priority. Further, it has been suggested that, should LMCC withdraw its Petition, the Commission would be willing to take action in the upcoming months to release 800 Expansion Band and Guard Band spectrum,” GWTCA said. “It is the request of GWTCA that LMCC withdraw its Petition. While the
LMCC Petition expressed a very valid concern at the time, GWTCA would like to suggest that recent actions, and the continued delay in access to spectrum for all parties, mitigates significantly the value of advocacy on this issue.
“First, the Commission has taken active steps to terminate licenses in the 800 MHz Expansion Band for non-construction,” the filing continued. “Further, the U.S. District Court of Arizona found in favor of the Securities and Exchange Commission (‘SEC’) and ordered Janus Spectrum to pay more than $7 million … in fines regarding allegations concerning 800 MHz Expansion Band spectrum [TR Daily, Oct. 6]. It is the belief of GWTCA that these actions sufficiently negate the opportunities or threats of rampant speculation in the band to warrant withdrawal of the LMCC Petition, particularly in the light of the harm that is being caused to legitimate interests in the band through continued delays. It is GWTCA’s position that, at a time when continued access to narrowband private land mobile radio spectrum is being threatened (for example in the 470-512 MHz band, and the 900 MHz band), opportunities for members of LMCC’s member organizations should not be further delayed.” —Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org