GWTCA Asks LMCC to Withdraw 800 MHz Guard, Expansion Band Petition
Wednesday, October 18, 2017 | Comments

The Government Wireless Technology & Communications Association (GWTCA), a trade association that advocate on behalf of public service industries such as public transit, asked the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) to withdraw an FCC petition asking the FCC to provide incumbent preference for the 800 MHz guard and expansion bands.

In 2014, LMCC submitted the petition for rulemaking, requesting that the FCC provide a preference for incumbent licensees when the FCC releases additional 800 MHz guard and expansion band frequencies. LMCC said that speculation for such frequencies was impeding the ability of businesses to access the spectrum.

The FCC in August 2016 issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that granted in part the LMCC petition, 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 extending conditional licensing authority to applicants for site-based licenses in the 800 MHz and 896 – 901/935 – 940 MHz bands.

GWTCA said there is a significant problem with private LMR (PLMR) entities being unable to access additional 800 MHz spectrum. GWTCA members reported numerous instances of entities, including incumbent licensees, unable to obtain spectrum for their business needs. For example, the FCC recently denied a request by the American Electric Power Service Corp. for access to 800 MHz expansion band spectrum, citing the ongoing proceeding.

The letter said GWTCA’s consultation with the FCC suggests that action in this rulemaking is not imminent, nor a priority. Further, it was suggested that, should LMCC withdraw its petition, the commission would be willing to take action in upcoming months to release 800 MHz expansion and guard band spectrum.

“It is the request of GWTCA that LMCC withdraw its petition,” the letter said. “While the LMCC petition expressed a very valid concern at the time, GWTCA would like to suggest that recent actions, and the continued delay in access to spectrum for all parties, mitigates significantly the value of advocacy on this issue.”

First, the FCC has taken steps to terminate licenses in the 800 MHz expansion band for non-construction. Further, the U.S. District Court of Arizona found in favor of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and ordered Janus Spectrum to pay more than $7 million in fines regarding allegations concerning 800 MHz expansion band spectrum.

“It is the belief of GWTCA that these actions sufficiently negate the opportunities or threats of rampant speculation in the band to warrant withdrawal of the LMCC petition, particularly in the light of the harm that is being caused to legitimate interests in the band through continued delays,” the letter said. “It is GWTCA’s position that, at a time when continued access to narrowband PLMR spectrum is being threatened (for example in the 470-512 MHz band and the 900 MHz band), opportunities for members of LMCC’s member organizations should not be further delayed.”

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