EWA: Let T-Band, 900 MHz B/I Incumbents Move to 800 MHz Guard Band
Friday, April 19, 2019 | Comments

The Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) asked the FCC to designate the Part 90 800 MHz guard band spectrum as “green space” for the relocation of business/industrial/land transportation (B/ILT) incumbents operating on T-band channels and certain 900 MHz narrowband channels.

T-band (470 – 512 MHz) and 900 MHz ((896 – 901/935 – 940 MHz) incumbents may need to be relocated to comparable facilities because of pending legislative and regulatory changes. Identifying replacement channels that can be assigned on an exclusive basis in bands with coverage that approximates the incumbents’ current spectrum is an essential part of both processes.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, passed by Congress in 2012, mandates repurposing the T-band spectrum for consumer-based uses following an FCC auction in 2021. In March, the FCC proposed sweeping changes to the 900 MHz band, suggesting a realignment to create broadband licenses and moving incumbent narrowband licensees to other spectrum within the band.

Although the FCC last fall released rules making 40 800 MHz guard band channels (816 – 817/861 – 862 MHz) in National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) regions where 800 MHz rebanding is completed available, the spectrum can’t yet be licensed because FCC-certified frequency advisory committees (FACs) can’t agree on 800 MHz application processing protocols after a year of effort.

“Some [900 MHz] incumbents whose channels would need to be exchanged to create contiguous spectrum for a broadband service might prefer to relocate to 800 MHz with its more extensive equipment options,” the petition for rulemaking said.

Mark Crosby, president and CEO of EWA, said public-safety entities aren’t interested in the 800 MHz guard band because it’s next to cellular spectrum where there can be interference concerns.

Although the legislation that mandates repurposing T-band spectrum mandates public-safety licenses relocate to other spectrum in the 11 metropolitan markets where T-band spectrum is in use, it doesn’t mention business/industrial (B/I) users in the same spectrum.

“It’s a solution for business/industrial guys at T-band because no one’s paying attention to business/industrial,” Crosby said.

Critics of the FCC’s 900 MHz realignment proposal note that they currently have nearly 200 narrowband channels at 900 MHz, but they would have only 160 channels under the FCC’s proposed plan. The 40 25-kilohertz GB channels are equal to 80 900 MHz channels, Crosby said.

“People [at 900 MHz] are concerned rightfully about system design, channel spacing, enough capacity …,” he said. “All the major vendors have technology at 800 MHz that can use 12.5-kilohertz channel spacing. And most have dual-band 800/900 MHz equipment.”

Crosby urged the commission to release a public notice on the petition to gather feedback. He said the EWA board unanimously voted in favor of the proposal, and a public-safety group said it had no issues with it.

“Put it out on notice and see what happens,” he said. “This is an elegant solution for these channels. It could be a significant benefit.”

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On 5/23/19, Tom Parker said:
This does us no good at all for our NEXEDGE and LTR channels in the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex. We have a mixture of 450 – 490 MHz channels in our channel plans. Some sites are T-band only, and others are a mixture. 700/800 MHz does us no good.

On 4/24/19, Sean Johnson said:
Wouldn't the B/ILT incumbents have the same concerns about interference from the cellular bands if they're adjacent to them?

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