800 MHz Band Reconfiguration in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region
Wednesday, January 02, 2013 | Comments
Significant progress has been made in the 800 MHz band reconfiguration program toward  eliminating interference to public safety and non-public safety 800 MHz radio systems across the United States. There have been several recent developments that impact licensees affected by the U.S.-Mexico Border Region. This includes licensees with licensed repeater locations  within 110 kilometers of the Mexican border (the Sharing Zone) and many licensees located within the NPSPAC Regions along the Mexican border but north of the Sharing Zone (collectively, “Mexican border region licensees”): 
• On June 8, 2012, the FCC announced that the United States and Mexico signed an amended Protocol for sharing spectrum in the 800 MHz band along the U.S.-Mexico border. This agreement paves the way for completion of reconfiguration by Mexican border region licensees. 
• On August 17, 2012, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (“PSHSB”) released a Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Fourth FNPRM”) seeking comment on proposals for establishing and implementing the reconfigured 800 MHz band plan along the U.S.-Mexico border. Comments on the Fourth FNPRM were due by October 1, 2012 with reply comments due by October 15, 2012. 
The reconfiguration process consists of planning for reconfiguration, negotiating a Frequency Reconfiguration Agreement (“FRA”) with Sprint Nextel, implementing the reconfiguration, and  closing the FRA. During the planning process, a licensee and its vendors plan for reconfiguration and prepare a Cost Estimate – an estimate of the costs associated with the reconfiguration of the licensee’s radio system. 
The TA will issue proposed replacement frequencies to Mexican border region licensees at a later date. Although licensees are not required to engage in planning or negotiation activities prior to receiving proposed replacement frequencies from the TA, the FCC encourages licensees to engage in such activities to the extent that they are not frequency-dependent and would not result in unnecessary duplication of costs. If planning funding is required, licensees should submit a Request for Planning Funding (“RFPF”) to the TA and negotiate a Planning Funding Agreement (“PFA”) with Sprint Nextel. The RFPF Form and Instructions are available on the TA’s website at www.800TA.org/content/resources/forms.asp
Licensees may undertake the following activities to facilitate the rebanding process: 
• Submit a Point of Contact (POC) Form (available on the TA’s website) to the TA to ensure that the TA has the correct address for mailing frequency proposals and other communications. 
• Review and update the contact and frequency information on FCC licenses in the FCC's Universal Licensing System (“ULS”) database to ensure that it is correct and up-to-date. Please note that it is the licensee’s regulatory obligation to ensure the accuracy of all information on FCC licenses. 
• Identify and contact vendors and/or consultants that can assist with the reconfiguration of the radio system. 
• Conduct subscriber unit inventory. 
• Conduct infrastructure inventory. 
• Determine whether any special radio systems have special consideration for reconfiguration. Examples include bi-directional amplifiers (“BDAs”), Vehicular Repeater Systems (“VRS”), SCADA systems (e.g. for irrigation), siren control systems, and wireless monitoring and alarm equipment in nuclear power plant. 
• Conduct non-frequency-specific engineering and implementation planning. 
• Define the interoperability environment. 
Additional information regarding the reconfiguration process for Mexican border region licensees is available on the TA’s website at www.800TA.org/content/resources/mexicoborder.asp
The TA is available to answer questions regarding the reconfiguration program via email at comments@800TA.org or by phone at 888-800-8220. 
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