Arizona County Gets Waiver for 10 800 MHz Frequencies for P25 Talkaround
Tuesday, June 05, 2018 | Comments

The FCC waived the 800 MHz Wave 4 application freeze along the U.S./Mexico border to permit Maricopa County, Arizona, to operate on 10 National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) frequencies for mobile-only communications in the conventional mode.

Maricopa County requested FCC approval to deploy 800 MHz spectrum as a platform for a talkaround capability of a new Project 25 (P25) public-safety radio system designed to serve the county’s population of more than 4 million people. The county states that the frequencies at issue would be used in coordination with adjacent counties that use those frequencies for law enforcement.

Although the area of operation for the requested 800 MHz frequencies is within the Wave 4 freeze area, Maricopa County asserts that it has completed, and complied with, the rebanding process and that it is in the close-out phase of that process. In addition, Maricopa County states that it “has selected frequencies within the rebanded portion of the spectrum to facilitate a long-term solution with minimal impact to the ongoing rebanding process.” The county said the vacant frequencies will be “left vacant for subsequent users, thereby ‘packing’ of the 800 MHz rebanded spectrum in favor of frequency re-use.”

Indeed, the application includes a letter of consent to secondary use from the NPSPAC Region 3 regional planning committee (RPC). Additionally, the 800 MHz Transition Administrator (TA) concurs that Maricopa County’s proposed operation would not impede 800 MHz rebanding.

Maricopa County indicates that it will suffer harm if it cannot use the requested frequencies until the conclusion of rebanding in the Wave 4 freeze area. Specifically, it asserted that lengthening the project will increase its costs above the more than $130 million that it has invested in its new radio system. Maricopa County also said that the inability to use the requested frequencies could unreasonably delay critical talkaround radio coverage in the Maricopa County area, placing “law enforcement officers in additional jeopardy through lack of communications in tactical response situations …”

The commission said the public interest is best served by granting the waiver.

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