Draft Order Slates End of 800 MHz Rebanding


Courtesy: TR Daily

Saying the process that began in 2004 is “essentially complete,” the FCC today released a draft order in WT docket 02-55 that would end a rebanding program that moved Sprint Corp.’s commercial services to the upper portion of the 800 megahertz band and relocated public safety services to the lower end of the band.  

The process which aimed to avoid harmful interference has resulted in more than 2,100 licensees being relocated, the FCC says in the draft order, which it plans to consider at its April 22 meeting.  The draft order would direct the transition administrator to take any actions needed to terminate the program and to cease operations once that is done.  

“Nearly seventeen years after the 800 MHz Report and Order, the 800 MHz band reconfiguration program has achieved its objective — substantially alleviating the interference risk to public safety in the 800 MHz band,” the FCC draft order says. 

T-Mobile US, Inc., which acquired Sprint last year (TR Daily, April 1, 2020), asked the FCC in February to declare the rebanding project complete, and the administrator of the program subsequently submitted documentation asserting the effort was complete, the FCC draft says.  

The order would also grant T-Mobile’s request to terminate the letter of credit the company used to secure its financial obligation to pay for the costs of relocation incurred by public safety and other licensees, as well as its own relocation costs.  

In addition, the order would conclude that outstanding issues related to two 800 MHz licensees — the city of El Paso, Texas, and License Acquisitions LLC — can be addressed outside of the rebanding program, and thus do not pose an obstacle to ending the program.  

The FCC draft says the Commission accepts the administrator’s various certifications related to the completion of the program, as well as the certifications that all of the licensees, other than El Paso and License Acquisitions, have “completed their physical reconsideration activities, relocated to their post-rebanding frequencies and modified their licenses to delete their pre-rebanding frequencies or cancelled their license.” 

The order would also delete rebanding-related rules and approve the disposal of records that are no longer necessary after the termination of the rebanding program.  

The draft item is one of eight items listed on the tentative agenda for the April 22 meeting released today (see separate stories.) —Jeff Williams 

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