FCC Extends Constructions Deadlines for Some T-Band Licenses to be Integrated into LA-RICS
Tuesday, August 10, 2021 | Comments

The FCC granted requests from Los Angeles County, California, to extend the construction completion deadlines for multiple licenses in 470 – 512 MHz band that will be integrated into the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS).

The county’s T-band system consists of three subsystems: the LA County Sheriff Department’s system, which consists of 55 contiguous wideband channels in the TV channel 16 band for the voice system and 10 non-contiguous channels in the TV channel 14 band for the data system; an interoperable voice radio system in the TV channel 15 band that is used by all public-safety agencies in the county; and a narrowband system in the TV channel 14/15 bands.

In December, the county said that construction for its upgraded system had been completed at 32 transmitter sites, while construction continued at 15 sites.

In its request for an extension, the county said that four key factors were delaying its progress. First among these was that there was uncertainty prior to this year about the mandate for the FCC to auction the T-band spectrum by this year. Congress repealed that mandate at the end of last year.

Second, the county said that interference to its operations on Channel 15 from a Mexican TV station has further delayed its system implementation.

“The county asserts that in addition to causing implementation delays, the interference may require a system redesign and potential reapportionment of already deployed equipment, at a significant cost, to cure the interference,” the FCC wrote in its order.

The county said it is proceeding with site acquisition and construction activities while it continues to negotiate interference mitigation and redesign the system.

Third, the county said it is also experiencing significant delays from nearby TV stations on channels 15 and 16. Because of this, the county said it has had to redesign its system to help minimize the interference, which has diverted resources away from construction.

Finally, the county said that the COVID-19 pandemic has served as an additional impediment to construction because of staff shortages, budgetary freezes and cut backs and delays in equipment delivery.

In approving the extensions, the FCC determined that the county had demonstrated reasonable diligence in constructing its system considering the challenges it had run into while doing so.

“In light of these factors, we find that strict enforcement of the prior construction deadlines would be both inequitable and contrary to the public interest in that it would result in a waste of tax and federal grant dollars, strand investment in facilities already under construction and most importantly, deprive the citizens and first responders in the greater Los Angeles area of a critically needed, interoperable pubic-safety communications system.”

The deadlines were extended to from December 31, 2020, to December 31, 2022.

Find the full order here.

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