Refineries Oppose 900 MHz LMR Network Relocation
Thursday, November 15, 2018 | Comments

The Ad Hoc Refiners Group told FCC officials that availability of 900 MHz LMR spectrum to support trunked networks at their refineries is critical, and the group does not support mandatory relocation of existing 900 MHz LMR systems within the bands. Representatives from Phillips 66 and Exxon Mobil participated in the teleconference.

Refiners are increasing capacity, and portable radios are provided to contractors to maximize communications on site. During Hurricane Harvey, private 900 MHz systems proved more reliable and resilient than wireline and wireless services, the groups said.

The members told the FCC that 900 MHz LMR networks provide excellent coverage within refineries, and additional infrastructure would be needed for Long Term Evolution (LTE) systems to maintain signal coverage throughout the refineries. In addition a 3-by-3 megahertz band will not be sufficient bandwidth to support the “refinery of the future.”

“The costs of mandatory relocation in terms of downtime and disruption to refinery operations and likelihood that licensees interested in 3-by-3 megahertz channelization will push for narrowly defined relocation costs, and potential, if not inevitable, disputes over allowable costs calling for FCC oversight, underscore significant drawbacks in a mandatory spectrum relocation.”

During a call with investors this month, pdvWireless CEO Morgan O’Brien said he is pleased with the FCC’s September freeze of the 900 MHz band. O’Brien dismissed concerns from the Critical Infrastructure Coalition, saying the groups are “repackaging the same arguments, which the FCC has been considering” since pdvWireless’ initial 2014 filing. “… The passage of time has only made our position stronger,” he said.

The full Ad Hoc Refiners Group filing is here.

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