FCC Proposes Several Part 90 Rule Changes
Thursday, August 18, 2016 | Comments

In a long-awaited notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the 800 MHz band and other pending issues, the FCC proposed changes to its Part 90 rules, which it said would expand access to private land mobile radio (PLMR) spectrum.

The FCC granted in part petitions for rulemaking filed by the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) proposing to give 806 – 824/851 – 869 MHz band incumbent licensees in a market a six-month period in which to apply for expansion and guard band frequencies before the frequencies are made available to applicants for new systems. The FCC also proposed to extend conditional licensing authority to applicants for site-based licenses in the 800 MHz and 896 – 901/935 – 940 MHz bands.

On its own motion but suggested by recent waiver requests, the FCC proposed to make available for PLMR use frequencies that are on the band edge between the industrial/business (I/B) pool and either general mobile radio service (GMRS) or broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) spectrum, to make certain frequencies that are designated for central station alarm operations available for other PLMR uses. The FCC also made certain updates and corrections and amended its rules to accommodate certain railroad operations.

Specifically in the I/B pool, the FCC proposed to amend the frequency table to add frequency pairs 451/456.00625 MHz and 451/456.0125 MHz, with the limitation that the authorized bandwidth not exceed 6 kilohertz. The commission also proposed to amend the I/B pool frequency table to add frequency pairs 462/467.5375 MHz and 462/467.7375 MHz, with the limitation that the authorized bandwidth not exceed 4 kilohertz.

“We tentatively conclude that it would be in the public interest to make additional frequencies available to PLMR applicants that can be utilized without overlapping the occupied bandwidth of currently assignable frequencies and without causing harmful interference,” the NPRM said.

In addition, certain frequencies are designated for the use of persons rendering a central station commercial protection service in 88 urbanized areas, and the FCC suggested modifying Section 95.35(c)(63) to remove the use limitation in the urbanized areas where the urban frequencies are not in use.

The LMCC argued in a conditional authority petition that expansion of conditional authority to 470 – 512 MHz (T band), 800 MHz and 900 MHz PLMR frequencies is now appropriate. The FCC is seeking comment on issues surrounding the request, although it did not propose to extend the conditional licensing to the T band.

The FCC in 2014 granted in part a request of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) for a waiver to use signal boosters to maintain communications between the front and rear of trains, and the commission proposed codifying the terms of the waiver.

Regarding the 800 MHz expansion and guard bands, the commission proposed to provide a window for incumbent 800 MHz licensees in the market to acquire or expand coverage and improve their quality of service on expansion band (EB) B/ILT pool channels before accepting applications from new entrants. The FCC also proposed to provide this window to public-safety licensees that elected to remain in the EB to expand coverage on their existing EB channels. The FCC is asking for comment on the window timeframe and other related issues.

Comments are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, and reply comments are due 90 days after publication.

Find the full notice here.

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