FCC Proposes NJ Transit, SEPTA License Changes to Boost PTC
Monday, December 19, 2016 | Comments

The FCC proposed to modify 218 – 219 MHz service station license KIVD0007 to facilitate positive train control (PTC) implementation by New Jersey Transit, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and certain freight railroads.

Station KIVD0007 includes 500 kilohertz of spectrum (218 – 218.5 MHz) in eight counties where NJ Transit and SEPTA must deploy PTC. However, NJ Transit and SEPTA also must deploy PTC in eight additional counties, bordering the current license area.

PTC-220 requested that the FCC modify station KIVD0007 by authorizing the use of 250 kilohertz of spectrum from the commission’s 218 – 219 MHz band inventory in the eight additional counties. PTC-220 further requests that the FCC modify station KIVD0007 to return 250 kilohertz of spectrum from each of the eight counties comprising the license area to the FCC.

The modifications would result in a 16-county, 250-kilohertz spectrum license. PTC-220 committed to partition the modified license between NJ Transit and SEPTA to implement PTC.

The FCC proposed modifying Station KIVD0007 as requested by PTC-220. The proposed license modification will serve the public interest in rail safety first by providing NJ Transit access to suitable spectrum in an area where it has encountered challenges in obtaining spectrum to deploy PTC. Second, it will enable SEPTA to transition its PTC operations to the 218 – 219 MHz band, providing needed spectral separation from potentially interfering freight railroad PTC operations in the 220-222 MHz band.

Additionally, to facilitate the PTC deployments of NJ Transit and SEPTA, the FCC proposed granting a limited waiver of the effective radiated power (ERP) limits specified in Section 95.855 of the FCC’s rules — from 4 to 8 watts for mobile operations and from 20 to 30 watts for fixed and base station operations.

The commission also proposed granting a waiver of Section 95.815(b), which requires 218 – 219 MHz licensees to notify the commission when they modify certain base stations, and Section 1.955(a)(3), which provides that authorizations automatically terminate if service is permanently discontinued.

Both rail authorities are under a congressional mandate to implement PTC by the end of 2018. The full proposed order of modification is here.

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