FCC Denies T-Band Related Requests in New Jersey
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 | Comments

The FCC ruled on two T-band-related matters in New Jersey.

In January 2012, Fire District No. 1, Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey (CFD1) filed an application for a new public-safety radio station to operate in the 470 – 512 MHz T-band. The fire district subsequently requested a waiver of the FCC’s suspension of processing certain T-band applications.

In April 2012, the FCC suspended the acceptance and processing of certain applications for T-band UHF frequencies that could alter the spectrum landscape. The notice sought to stabilize the spectral environment while the commission considers issues surrounding future use of the T-band. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 that created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) also directed the FCC to auction the UHF T-band spectrum at 470 – 512 MHz by 2021.

The FCC said the fire district would be a new entrant to the T-band spectrum. “A grant of its application would not serve the purpose of the suspension notice since it would alter the spectrum landscape, thereby complicating the process of finding replacement frequencies for dislocated T-band licensees,” the order said. “Accordingly, CFD1 does not satisfy the first prong of the waiver standard.”

The commission also said 12 unassigned 700 MHz band general use channels are available in Somerset County and were not addressed in the application. “We therefore find that CFD1 has a reasonable alternative, i.e., to use 700 MHz band general use spectrum for its command and on-scene communications,” the FCC said. “Therefore, we find that a waiver of the suspension notice is unwarranted, and the waiver request is denied. Since we will not process the associated application, it will be dismissed.”

Separately, the Union County, New Jersey, sought to operate a control station on frequency 504.1875 MHz, which falls in the T-band, to control dispatch operations of call sign WPIG291 assigned to the borough of Roselle, New Jersey. Accordingly, the county filed an application and request for waiver in March 2012.

The county asserted that Roselle requested that the county take over dispatch operations for the Roselle Fire Department. The county seeks a waiver because the control station would operate in the TV channel 19 band at a location farther than 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the center of Philadelphia, where the channel is allocated for LMR use.

The FCC said Union did not detail why the underlying purpose of the rule would not be served by application to the instant case or why grant of the requested waiver would be in the public interest. Union has also not provided any evidence of Roselle’s concurrence to the proposed control station arrangement, the commission said.

Union also has reasonable alternatives contingent upon Roselle’s cooperation: Roselle could modify station WPIG291 to add the control station, then enter into a sharing agreement with the county to allow Union to operate the control station while Roselle remains the licensee; or Roselle could transfer control of station WPIG291 to the county. The county could then apply for modification of Station WPIG291 to add a control station.

The Franklin Township order is here. The Union County order is here.

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