FCC Provides Guidance on New Facilities During Rebanding (12/20)
Monday, January 01, 2007 | Comments
The FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) provided guidance regarding license application and special temporary authorization (STA) procedures and payment of costs for rebanding new or expanded public-safety facilities authorized during the transition period. The FCC clarified that once the negotiation period in a region has begun, permanent licensing on the prerebanding frequencies should cease and subsequent licensing should be in accordance with the new, post-rebanding band plan. Thus, license applications are not accepted during the freeze period, and once the freeze in a given region ends, new applicants will be expected to file for available frequencies based on their eligibility under the new band plan. The FCC also said some spectrum will not become immediately available for licensing after the freeze. In particular, spectrum in the interleaved band that has been vacated by Sprint Nextel or other ESMR licensees and that is not used for rebanding of former channel 1-120 licensees will be held in reserve until the conclusion of rebanding, at which point it will be made available for exclusive licensing to public safety for a period of three years and to public safety and critical infrastructure for an additional two years. Similarly, spectrum in the new NPSPAC band at 806-809 MHz/851-854 MHz band will not become available until Sprint Nextel has cleared the band and relocation of existing NPSPAC licensees has been completed. The FCC recognized that some licensees may have a compelling need to expand their facilities on prerebanding frequencies before channels become available under the new band plan. Therefore, during the freeze and post-freeze period, the FCC will accept requests for STAs on pre-rebanding frequencies, pursuant to Section 1.931 of its rules. The FCC also offered guidance on the issue of when Sprint Nextel will be required to pay for the frequency relocation of facilities authorized and activated on a licensee's old frequency band during the transition period. As a rule, Sprint must pay the cost of relocating facilities that are authorized on a licensee's old frequency band before the end of the freeze in the applicable region, including facilities authorized by STAs or waivers granted during the freeze. Sprint Nextel is not required to pay to relocate frequency relocation costs of facilities authorized by STA on prerebanding frequencies after the freeze has ended. However, a public-safety licensee may request that Sprint Nextel be responsible for payment of the frequency relocation costs of these facilities and that it be allowed to reopen negotiations with Sprint Nextel to include such added costs.

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