FCC Freezes 900 MHz Band
Thursday, September 13, 2018 | Comments

The FCC announced a temporary freeze, effective Sept. 13, on the acceptance of certain applications related to Part 90 services operating in the 896 – 901/935 – 940 MHz spectrum band until further notice. The suspension applies only to applications for new or expanded use of 900 MHz band frequencies.

Last year, the FCC released a notice of inquiry (NOI) to examine whether rule changes in the 900 MHz are needed to increase access to spectrum, improve spectrum efficiency or expand flexibility in the 900 MHz band to better serve private LMR users’ needs. The FCC said the freeze’s purpose is to preserve the current landscape of authorized operations in the 900 MHz band pending commission action as part of its ongoing inquiry into potential rule changes to promote next-generation technologies and services in the band.

The notice implies the FCC is likely close to a rulemaking on changes in the band.

“The ‘freeze’ on 900 MHz land mobile applications, except renewal filings, indicates the FCC sees merit in proposing changes to the 900 MHz land mobile band rules," said Doug Jarrett, partner at Keller and Heckman. "Based on comments filed in response to the NOI, the FCC could propose any number of revisions or seek comments on several options and approaches."

Comments for the NOI were mixed in response to a petition to realign the 900 MHz band for broadband operations, with most utilities opposing any realignment and other critical infrastructure industries (CII) entities saying it would benefit future networks and licensees.

In May, pdvWireless revised its spectrum proposal to the FCC, which asks the FCC to realign the 900 MHz band for broadband operations. The comments, filed jointly with partner Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA), addressed issues raised by parties that supported and opposed the original proposal.

The FCC’s 900 MHz filing suspension applies to applications regarding site-based stations in the band, specifically, the following radio services: 900 MHz industrial/land transportation (B/ILT), conventional (radio service code GI); 900 MHz SMR, site-specific, conventional (radio service code GR); 900 MHz business, conventional (radio service code GU); 900 MHz I/LT, trunked (radio service code YI); 900 MHz SMR, site-specific, trunked (radio service code YS); and 900 MHz business, trunked (radio service code YU).

The portion of the 900 MHz band that is frozen by the FCC differs from the portion of the 900 MHz band that is used by critical infrastructure industries (CII) entities for multiple address systems (MAS), a Keller and Heckman blog said.

The full notice is here.

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