New 800 MHz Spectrum Opens with Updated Part 90 Rules
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 | Comments

New Part 90 rules adopted by the FCC Oct. 23 open 800 MHz spectrum, with 318 new 800 MHz interstitial channels becoming available.

The rules also make 40 expansion band (EB) and 40 guard band (GB) channels in 800 MHz available in National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) regions where 800 MHz rebanding is completed.

After the rules are published in the Federal Register in coming weeks, they will be finalized.

“This is new spectrum in a key band, and we are expecting a lot of interest in it,” said Liz Sachs, partner at Lukas, Lafuria, Gutierrez & Sachs. “The rules probably won’t be effective until near year-end.”

Last week, a coalition of industry organizations urged the FCC to revise the draft rules on 800 MHz interstitial channels. The groups commented on two items — the placement and currency of the Adjacent Channel Reciprocal Interference Matrix and a recommendation by the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) to use an F(50/50) curve for the interference contour.

“The FCC kept the F(50/10) interference curve instead of the F(50/50) LMCC recommended, but it took the matrix out of the rules so revising it will be significantly simpler as it won’t require another full-blown rulemaking,” Sachs said. “They inserted the matrix in the text and said they would put any proposed changes out on public notice for comment, which is what they have done in the past. We’ll be putting their speed of service to the test soon because the matrix will need to change since the derating factors have to be modified to reflect the F(50/10) curve. But removing the matrix from the rules is an important change, which is appreciated.

“Of course, the LMCC may determine that the F(50/50) interference contour is integral to making optimal use of the new interstitial channels, in which case a petition for rulemaking will be needed.” 

The rules do not provide incumbent 800 MHz licensees filing priority for the EB and GB channels. The order also terminates the 1995 freeze on intercategory sharing of 800 MHz channels.

The FCC also amended its rules to add to the industrial/business (I/B) pool frequency table frequency pairs 451/456.00625 MHz and 451/456.0125 MHz, with the limitation that the authorized bandwidth not exceeds 6 kilohertz.

In addition, the FCC allowed higher power railroad signal boosters on the 452/457 MHz frequencies coordinated by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The rules make central station alarm channels at 450 – 470 MHz available for other private LMR (PLMR) purposes. Licensees have an exclusive use opportunity for the spectrum with concurrence from The Monitoring Association (TMA).

The rules also expand conditional licensing to specific bands above 470 MHz. Specifically, the FCC amended section 90.159 to expand conditional authority to 800 MHz band (including the 800 MHz NPSPAC band) PLMR applicants, and amended section 1.931 to provide an appropriate cross-reference. The commission also expanded conditional licensing to 700 MHz public-safety narrowband and 800 MHz PLMR band applicants. The FCC did not expand conditional licensing to the T-band.

The Part 90 report and order is here.

Would you like to comment on this story? Find our comments system below.

Post a comment
Name: *
Email: *
Title: *
Comment: *

On 4/15/19, Jeff Howell said:
What are the rules regarding use of the NSPAC 800 MHz interoperability channels 8CALL90 8TAC91-94? I hear highway maintenance operations on the channels regularly, and it's my understanding that the state is allowing this even though these are interoperability channels reserved for I/O use. I can't seem to find a specific citation in 47 USC 90.

On 11/13/18, Thomas Kurian said:
When will FCC start accepting applications for the interstitial 800 MHz channels?

Do we have an expected date when the coordinators will accept the application?

Editor's Note: The rules have to be published in the Federal Register before they are finalized. That should happen before the end of the year. We will do our best to cover that online when it happens. Then you can submit applications.

On 10/31/18, Norris Going said:
The last part of your article says the FCC also amended the rules regarding 700 MHz public safety freqs but doesn't say what those changes are. The linked Part 90 report doesn't mention 700 MHz as far as I can see. What are the changes for 700 MHz?

Editor's Note: That entire paragraph refers to conditional licensing authority. See Page 27 of the FCC's order, Paragraph 66. We have clarified the story.


November 2021

2 - 3
Wireless Leadership Summit (WLS)
Austin, Texas

3 - 5
Critical Communications World 2021
Madrid, Spain

23 - 25
Cologne, Germany

More Events >

Site Navigation