New York Utility Gets 900 MHz Waiver for P25 Phase 2 System
Friday, May 22, 2020 | Comments

The FCC granted Long Island Lighting Company, doing business as Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), a waiver request of the 900 MHz application freeze.

LIPA is a New York State governmental entity and is the sole provider of electric utility transmission and distribution service to 1.1 million customers in Nassau County, Suffolk County and the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens County.

In September 2018, the FCC suspended the acceptance of applications for new or expanded 900 MHz operations to maintain a stable spectral landscape while the commission determined how to proceed with respect to that spectrum. LIPA is in the process of upgrading its narrowband system to a Project 25 (P25) Phase 2 digital, trunked, simulcast system, which will provide enhanced capacity and facilitate interoperability during mutual aid operations and power restoration work in coordination with the Public Service Electric & Gas Co. in New Jersey.

Earlier this month, the FCC released new rules for the 900 MHz band, making 6 megahertz of low-band spectrum available for the development of critical broadband technologies and services through a process of realigning the band and moving incumbent narrowband users to different 900 MHz spectrum.

LIPA began discussing the frequency plan for its proposed P25 system with Anterix, a proponent of 900 MHz realignment to transition to broadband, as early as 2017, and entered into an agreement with Anterix to exchange five 900 MHz channels so that LIPA’s system could be deployed from the outset on channels outside the then-proposed broadband segment, thus ensuring that LIPA’s frequency plan would not disrupt the commission’s proposed realignment of the 900 MHz band.

In the May rules, the Commission partially lifted the 900 MHz freeze for relocation of incumbents as part of a transition plan but clarified that the freeze remains in place and continues to prohibit contour extensions. The channels that LIPA seeks to acquire for the upgrade to its system are outside the broadband segment created by the commission in the 900 MHz report and order.

The commission said LIPA meets the waiver standard and granted the request. The full order is here.

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