FCC Passes Rules to Streamline Conclusion of 800 MHz Reconfiguration
Friday, October 25, 2019 | Comments

The FCC today streamlined rules and procedures to reduce administrative costs and accelerate the successful conclusion of its 800 MHz band reconfiguration program, which was designed to enable public-safety, critical infrastructure and other licensees in the band to operate free of the interference that previously plagued first responder communications.

In 2004, the Commission launched its 800 MHz reconfiguration program, known as rebanding, to eliminate harmful interference to public-safety radio systems and other licensees caused by Sprint and other commercial operators. The initiative involves relocating Sprint’s system to the upper end of the 800 MHz band and public-safety licensees to the lower end. The commission required Sprint to pay the relocation costs incurred by public safety and other licensees, in addition to its own relocation costs. The commission also required Sprint to make an “anti-windfall” payment to the U.S. Treasury if the company’s total rebanding expenses were less than the value of spectrum rights it was awarded in the 1.9 GHz band as part of this initiative. The commission appointed a transition administrator to manage the rebanding program under the commission’s direction.

The rebanding process is now nearly complete, with more than 2,000 licensees relocated to new channels in the band and only 19 licensees yet to be relocated. In addition, the commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau previously determined that Sprint’s rebanding expenses exceeded the value of the 1.9 GHz spectrum, so no anti-windfall payment is required. As a result of these developments, the Commission today adopted an order that streamlines certain rules and procedures to expedite completion of the rebanding process. The FCC also sought comment on eliminating certain responsibilities of the transition administrator to help conclude the program.

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