FCC Grants 700 MHz Substantial Service Waivers in Utah, North Carolina
Thursday, June 04, 2015 | Comments

The FCC granted waivers of section 90.529(b)(1) to Utah and North Carolina to permit late-filed interim substantial service showings for licenses for 700 MHz state channels. The commission’s rules required licensees on state channels to certify they were providing or prepared to provide substantial service to one-third of their population or territory by June 13, 2014.

In order to ensure efficient use of the state channels, the commission established a five-year interim and a ten-year final benchmark for state licensees to provide specified levels of substantial service within their statewide license areas.

Utah’s state channels, operating under call sign WPTZ788, consist of 96 channel pairs with 12.5-kilohertz bandwidth from the public-safety narrowband segment of the 700 MHz band reserved for use by each state, territory, district or possession. Prior to the June 13, 2014 deadline, Utah deployed an IP-based mobile data system on state channels serving 70 percent of its population. Commission staff confirmed that Utah satisfied the interim substantial service benchmark. In making its decision, the commission determined that the state needed a waiver only because it failed to file its certification of the 70 percent threshold prior to the deadline.

North Carolina’s channels, operating under call sign WPTZ771, consist of 96 channel pairs with 12.5-kilohertz bandwidth from the public-safety narrowband segment of the 700 MHz state channels. The state claimed it missed the filing deadline because construction and operation of the state’s 700 MHz facilities was delayed until the state could complete conversion of its statewide trunked radio system to Project 25 (P25) technology. North Carolina said it completed the conversion on July 31, 2014.

“Commission staff confirmed that North Carolina satisfied the interim substantial service benchmark,” said the order. “North Carolina demonstrated that it was ‘prepared’ to provide substantial service to more than one-third of its population by purchasing base station equipment capable of operating on the state channels prior to the June 13, 2014, deadline. It later deployed these base stations at various locations throughout the state in order to establish a composite footprint on the state channels, which serves more than 46 percent of its population. Thus, North Carolina needs a waiver solely because it failed to file its certification prior to the deadline.”

Find the Utah waiver here and the North Carolina waiver here.

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