FCC Scolds Frequency Coordinators in 800 MHz Ruling (4/9/13)
Tuesday, April 09, 2013 | Comments

The FCC ruled on a licensing dispute in the 800 MHz band between the Florida cities of Aventura and Doral and between their respective frequency coordinators, PCIA and the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA). The commission took the frequency coordinators to task for not resolving conflicts with the applications for 800 MHz vacated spectrum before filing them.

Specifically, the FCC denied the petition for reconsideration filed by PCIA, affirmed the prior dismissal of conflicting applications filed by Aventura and Doral, and dismissed two subsequent applications filed by Aventura and Doral, respectively. “We further clarify that frequency coordinators must resolve conflicts involving mutually exclusive applications before filing the applications with the bureau, or the bureau will dismiss the competing applications,” the order said.

The FCC said that each applicant initiated coordination as required, but the coordinators did not address and resolve the conflicting applications prior to filing them with the commission. Instead, each coordinator asserted that the application it filed should receive priority over the other.

“We decline to rule on whether one application or the other should receive priority because we find that both coordinators failed to fulfill their coordination responsibilities in this instance,” the commission said.

The 800 MHz vacated spectrum public notice said that if conflicts were found between notifications, the earlier one would take precedence. “However, this provision was intended to assist coordinators in negotiating the resolution of conflicting 800 MHz applications, not to be a substitute for negotiation,” the order said. “It was also not intended to give an automatic advantage to the coordinator with the fastest computer capable of ‘batch filing’ multiple applications as soon as an application window opens.”

Mark Crosby, EWA president, said the FCC’s order is positive. “The commission changed the ground rules in this order,” Crosby said. “The 800 MHz vacated spectrum public notice said the fundamental basis for licensing was a computer time stamp. You can game that. In this order, the FCC took away the computer stamp. Now if applications come in on the same day, (coordinators) work it out. And I like that, because it’s fairer. It opens the door for professional and collaborative discussions.”

The FCC dismissed both Aventura’s and Doral’s applications for the spectrum.

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