M2M Spectrum Networks Seeks 900 MHz B/ILT Eligibles Change
Monday, July 06, 2015 | Comments

M2M Spectrum Networks filed a petition with the FCC to initiate a rulemaking proceeding to allow 896 – 901 and 935 – 940 MHz Business/Industrial Land Transportation (B/ILT) licenses to provide service to third-party B/ILT eligibles from the start, subject to the requirement of serving only such eligibles rather than the general public.

M2M is a startup company that is building a nationwide, dedicated machine-to-machine (M2M) network in the United States using licensed spectrum. The company uses Part 90 spectrum in multiple bands, including VHF, UHF and 900 MHz.

M2M pointed to a commission decision in 2004 that increased operational flexibility in the 900 MHz B/ILT, allowing licensees to provide SMR service upon modification, transfer or assignment of the license. The company said the FCC failed to take the next step and allow third party, for-profit use by licensees from the start.

M2M parent company Spectrum Networks Group requested a waiver of the rule, which was denied. The company said it has acknowledged the rule and requested a waiver while as many as 19 licensees are not using their B/ILT licenses for private internal communications.

“These 19 licensees, which may be only the tip of the iceberg, have apparently obtained their licenses either by not being forthright in their application, or by admitting their intent to provide service to others but hoping nobody notices,” said M2M’s filing. “In stark contrast, SNG has been penalized for not following either of these paths.”

Spectrum Networks Group applied for 900 MHz B/ILT band channels across the country to form the backbone of M2M’s network, but the applications were dismissed because “the contemplated provision of for-profit service to third parties constitutes SMR service, and SNG cannot avoid the effect of Section 90.617(c) by narrowing the scope of customers it intends to serve.”

The order further rejected SNG’s request for a waiver, saying “because SNG seeks to blur the demarcation between B/ILT and SMR spectrum, and obtain spectrum that is set aside for traditional B/ILT operations, grant of the waiver request would undermine the purpose of Section 90.617.”

SNG and M2M said they disagree with the order and recently filed an application for review asking the commission to overturn the order.

The filing also took aim at proposed rules submitted by Pacific DataVision (PDV) and the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) to realign the 900 MHz band to allow for broadband use.

“The approach requested here is also superior to that reflected in the petition for rulemaking filed by the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) and Pacific DataVision (PDV) because that latter proposal would not limit use of the ‘converted’ channels to businesses, would require a massive reconfiguration process, and would redound primarily to the benefit of just one licensee,” said M2M’s filing.

“M2M Spectrum Networks petitioned the FCC to initiate a rulemaking that would change the eligibility requirements within the 896 – 901/935 – 940 MHz (900 MHz) Business/Industrial Land Transportation (B/ILT) Pool specifically to permit SMR systems as a permitted initial eligibility,” said an EWA response to the M2M filing. “Presently, only private internal systems are eligible to be initially licensed in the B/ILT pool. And, never bashful about boasting of its good intentions, incredibly, M2M labeled its petition to convert the entire B/ILT pool for use potentially by commercial entities ‘superior’ to the joint petition filed by PDV and EWA. We wonder if the organizations representing critical infrastructure industry entities share that opinion.”

The full M2M filing is available here.

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