King County Receives Waiver for 800 MHz Mobile-Only Use
Thursday, November 30, 2017 | Comments

The FCC granted King County, Washington, a waiver of its rules to operate on 11 800 MHz frequencies for mobile-only, on-scene, mutual-aid communications in the conventional mode. The commission will also process the associated application.

King County operates a wide-area public-safety 800 MHz trunked radio system serving the county’s population of more than 2 million people. King County said that a “significant majority” of the county’s public-safety radio communications occur over the trunked radio system, but it seeks to license the 11 800 MHz frequencies for “on-scene, mobile-only simplex” radio communications. In particular, King County said it intends to use the mobile-only channels for “critical on-scene tactical public-safety communications by fire, emergency medical service (EMS) and law-enforcement users” at locations where service from its 800 MHz trunked radio system is “inadequate or unavailable, such as inside of buildings or in underground parking structures.”

King County asked to license its mobile-only communications on frequencies that are reserved, within the U.S.-Canada sharing zone, for primary use by licensees in Canada. The FCC said the proposal would not frustrate the underlying purpose of its rules since those frequencies are of limited value for base station operations within the portion of the county covered by the U.S-Canada sharing zone.

King County included a letter of support from its regional planning committee (RPC) to use the frequency for mobile-only communications throughout the county.

“We agree with King County that it has no reasonable alternative to operating in the conventional mode when using frequencies for on-scene, mobile-only simplex radio communications,” the order said. “We are not aware of any technology which performs trunking without use of a base station transmitting on a control channel.”

The full order is here.

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