Arizona Utility Seeks Waiver for 800 MHz Channels for P25 System
Friday, June 16, 2017 | Comments

Between October 16, 2016, and April 17, 2017, Arizona Public Service Co. (APSC) filed 54 applications for 800 MHz channels at 53 locations for a new statewide trunked radio system. APSC seeks waiver relief to permit licensing and implementation of the new system.

APSC is Arizona’s largest electric service company, serving more than 1.2 million customers. APSC states that its legacy 800 MHz radio system relies on equipment that has been discontinued and will no longer be supported by the manufacturer, so APSC proposes to implement a completely new Project 25 (P25) radio system in parallel with the existing system to facilitate uninterrupted service. The proposed system also will improve coverage in APSC’s service area and along key transmission line corridors.

APSC states that it needs additional spectrum to accommodate the simultaneous operation and addition of tower sites. The applications seek two new channels at sites where APSC has an existing license and three channels at new sites.

The requested operations are in National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) regions along the border with Mexico.  These areas are subject to a freeze on 800 MHz nonrebanding applications, to preserve vacant channels for licensees retuning their systems according to the FCC’s updated band plan for licensees operating along the border with Mexico. APSC states that it selected frequencies that will neither cause interference to incumbent licensees nor disrupt the rebanding process. Consequently, it requests a waiver of the licensing freeze.

We note that many of the applications request frequencies in the 800 MHz expansion band. Expansion band frequencies do not become available for licensing until the FCC announces that the required level of clearing has been achieved in that NPSPAC region. Moreover, the commission concluded that expansion band frequencies should not be made available for licensing even in NPSPAC regions where rebanding is complete, because doing so would prejudice the pending rulemaking proceeding regarding a proposal to afford filing priority to 800 MHz incumbent licensees.

Commenters should address whether the public interest would be served by granting a waiver to allow APSC to operate its proposed new 800 MHz trunked radio system. In particular, The FCC is seeking comment from parties whose operations could be impacted by grant of a waiver.

The comment date is July 31, and the reply comment date is Aug. 15.

The full public notice is here.

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