LMCC Seeks Ruling on Eligibility for Frequencies In 800 MHz Expansion/Guard Band Spectrum

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(Herndon, VA) The Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) has requested that the Commission initiate a rulemaking proceeding governing eligibility for frequencies in the 800 MHz Expansion Band and Guard Band, so that 800 MHz incumbent licensees be allowed a six-month period in which to apply for available EB/GB frequencies before making them available for new 800 MHz systems. In their Petition for Rulemaking submitted March 27, the LMCC explained that “Providing a time-limited opportunity for 800 MHz incumbents to expand the capabilities of existing systems by adding frequencies and/or sites will maximize the efficient use of this spectrum to meet public safety, critical infrastructure, business enterprise, and commercial service needs, without foreclosing opportunities for new entrants”.

This would, the LMCC explained, “produce the greatest spectrum efficiency improvements”. The LMCC clarified that this time-limited provision would serve several important policies, including taking advantage of the multiplier effect in trunked technology where most urgently needed in congested urban areas. It would also act as a powerful incentive for existing licensees to invest in digital technology, as appropriate to their operations. Also, existing licensees that have already deployed facilities and demonstrated a commitment to utilizing 800 MHz spectrum in a given market are unlikely to acquire spectrum for other than operational purposes. Finally, it would recognize that incumbent 800 MHz licensees in major urban markets have waited substantially longer than originally expected to access any expansion spectrum and should have the first opportunity to do so once the spectrum becomes available.

In their Petition, The LMCC pointed out that the expansion 800 MHz channels in urbanized areas where digital trunked systems are most urgently needed has been “severely limited in recent years” and that the process involved in rebanding 800 MHz systems has taken “substantially longer than originally anticipated”. The LMCC acknowledged that the timing of making the EB/GB channels available in urban markets is outside the control of the FCC because they cannot be released until the NPSPAC channels have been cleared, however, the FCC can and should, according to the LMCC, “modify its rules to provide a six-month opportunity for incumbent licensees to acquire the released channels to expand existing systems before accepting applications from new entities in the market”.

The LMCC is a nonprofit association of nineteen organizations that represent the wireless communications interests of public safety, critical infrastructure, business, industrial, transportation, private and common carriers, and manufacturers of wireless communications equipment.

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