FCC Denies 900 MHz Freeze Waiver Requests from 2 Utilities
Thursday, June 18, 2020 | Comments

The FCC denied two separate waiver requests for the 900 MHz applications freeze. The commission denied requests from the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and Florida Power and Light (FPL) Co.

LCRA requested to modify its licenses for 896 – 901/935 – 940 MHz band business/industrial land transportation stations WPLZ918 and WPMZ642 by adding three sites. LCRA requested a waiver of the 900 MHz freeze to add a new 900 MHz site in three cities in Texas — San Angelo, Amos Creek and Christoval — for a total of three new sites.

FPL filed applications to build a new 900 MHz network for the Gulf Power service territory that FPL’s parent company NextEra Energy acquired from Southern Co. Gulf Power is a utility that serves about 450,000 customers in the Florida Panhandle. Gulf Power does not operate a 900 MHz system, but relies on Southern Co. 800 MHz private LMR system to cover the Gulf Power service territory. NextEra did not acquire Southern Co.’s 800 MHz system, because Southern Co. operates the 800 MHz system to serve other customers, including commercial entities.

The commission denied both requests, saying neither met the circumstances or requirements to receive a waiver of the 900 MHz freeze.

In May, the FCC moved forward with sweeping changes in the 900 MHz band, making 6 megahertz of low-band spectrum available for the development of critical wireless broadband technologies and services through a process of realigning the band by moving incumbent narrowband users to different 900 MHz spectrum. The commission also announced a partial lifting of the 900 MHz application freeze to permit existing licensees to file applications to relocate their narrowband operations as part of a transition plan.

The LCRA order is here, and the FPL order is here.

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