Texas Tackles PLMN ID Questions from FCC (10/17/11)
Monday, October 17, 2011 | Comments

In response to its July request for a public land mobile network identifier (PLMN ID), the state of Texas received a letter this month from FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) Chief Jamie Barnett posing six groups of questions about the issue.

In July, the state of Texas was denied the assignment of a PLMN ID by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) International Mobile Subscriber Identities (IMSI) Oversight Council (IOC) because the state doesn’t hold the 700 MHz public-safety broadband spectrum license. Waiver recipients had encouraged the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) to apply for the PLMN ID, but FCC staff said the PSST should not apply for a PLMN ID because it isn’t a network operator.

“How Texas responds to the questions posed in the FCC letter could greatly influence the deployment strategy for the entire 700 MHz nationwide public-safety broadband network,” said Mike Simpson, chief of interoperable communications for the Texas Department of Public Safety. “We need to take the time to reach out to the nationwide public-safety broadband community to solicit input as we formulate our response.”

The FCC letter has a requested reply date of Oct. 21. Simpson said he plans to ask the FCC for an extension. “Texas does not want to construct its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network pieces in a vacuum,” Simpson said. “We have pledged to properly collaborate with the rest of the public-safety community, the FCC, the Department of Commerce, the PSST and its operator advisory committee (OAC), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), to build a single interoperable nationwide network for the good of all.”

Before the 21 700 MHz broadband waiver recipients are allowed to offer actual LTE service to public-safety agencies, they must receive FCC approval of an interoperability showing and be issued a PLMN ID.

Simpson said Texas will soon file with the FCC version 8 of the Texas interoperability showing, which details how Texas’ intended deployment is consistent with the FCC’s interoperability goals, and is compliant with stated FCC technical requirements. The FCC rejected the latest version of the showing, which Texas filed in September. Texas is the first of the 700 MHz broadband waiver recipients to submit an interoperability showing since the release of the December 2010 FCC order containing the initial set of FCC technical interoperability requirements.

Texas was granted a special temporary authority (STA) license from the FCC for the period of July 15, 2011, to Jan. 15, 2012, to enable Texas and Harris County to test initial eNodeB sites in the Houston area. The county, which awarded an LTE contract to Motorola Solutions earlier this year, plans to begin commercial public-safety broadband service in August 2012.

The letter from the FCC is available here.

Your comments are welcome, click here.


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