FCC Asked to Confirm Treatment of Non-Compliant Wideband Licenses

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On November 4, the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) asked the Wireless Telecommunications and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureaus of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to confirm the intent of FCC Rule Section 90.187(d)(ii)(1)(D). Today, Business/Industrial Land Transportation (B/ILT) and Public Safety frequency advisory committees routinely process requests for exclusive-use channels (FB8/MO8) without regard to licenses that identify only a non-compliant, wideband emission designator. Justification for this frequency coordination procedure is based on an understandable interpretation of this rule section to mean that wideband-only licenses are not affected parties, have no spectrum rights, and would be obligated to vacate the channel in order to address the interference it might receive and/or cause. Some and perhaps all coordinators attempt to avoid instances of interference by notifying applicants for FB8/MO8 channels of the presence of wideband-only license that would be considered an affected license if it were authorized for narrowband operation. Recently, however, a source within the FCC noted that frequency advisory committees were to assume that the non-compliant licenses should be considered as operating the minimum acceptable narrowband emission designator, which necessitated the LMCC confirmation letter. Since exclusive-use channels are being certified and licensed with perhaps the presence of non-compliant wideband operations, the LMCC also requested the FCC to eliminate the Universal Licensing System (ULS) tool that presently allows “licensees” to modify from exclusively non-compliant to compliant emission designators without prior frequency coordination.

“LMCC members need to have confidence that the exclusive-use channels they license in compliance with these critical rules will be upheld if questioned,” said LMCC President Gregory Kunkle. Mr. Kunkle added, “Exclusive-use channels are difficult to locate, especially in more populated areas of the country, and are critical for the efficient deployment of trunked radio systems used by business enterprises, private carriers and public safety entities. It would not be fair to licensees that are playing by the rules to lose opportunities for exclusive-channels due to licenses that have been out of compliance for several years.”

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Author: Andrea Cumpston