UTC Seeks Reconsideration, Clarification of 900 MHz Band Freeze

The Utilities Technology Council has filed a petition for reconsideration or clarification of a September public notice in which the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau announced an immediate, temporary freeze on the filing of applications for new or expanded use of part 90 900 megahertz band channels (TR Daily, Sept. 13).

In its petition in WT docket 17-200, UTC said it “requests that the Commission reconsider or clarify the Bureau’s decision so that the 900 MHz freeze would only apply to applications by entities that are not affiliated with current licensees in the 900 MHz band (i.e., non-incumbents). This would effectively serve the purpose of the freeze by preserving the 900 MHz band and limiting the potential for speculative applications while the Commission considers possible rule changes affecting the band. At the same time, it would enable utilities and other incumbent licensees with legitimate needs for the spectrum to continue to upgrade their networks, thereby ensuring reliable communications and avoiding stranded investment that is currently being made in the band.

“In this regard, it is important to note that proponents of realigning the 900 MHz band likewise suggested in their petition to limit the freeze to apply only to non-incumbents and that none of the comments that were filed in response to the petition supported expanding the freeze more broadly to incumbents,” UTC added. “Finally, it would be consistent with Commission precedent and would serve the public interest, as well as avoid causing undue burden and overbroad application to incumbents in the band.” —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com