FCC Seeks Comment on M2M’s 900 MHz Proposal
Monday, August 24, 2015 | Comments

The FCC is seeking comment on a petition for rulemaking filed by M2M Spectrum Networks proposing that the FCC’s rules be amended to permit SMR systems on 900 MHz business/industrial/land transportation (B/ILT) channels provided that the end users are B/ILT-eligible.

Comments are due Sept. 21, and reply comments are due Oct. 6.

In June, M2M filed a petition for rulemaking requesting that the FCC open a rulemaking proceeding to allow use of 896 – 901/935 – 940 MHz B/ILT channels to provide for-profit service to B/ILT eligibles.

The 900 MHz band consists of 399 narrowband 12.5-kilohertz channels grouped into 10-channel blocks that alternate between SMR blocks that are geographically licensed by major trading area and B/ILT blocks in which channels are assigned on a site-by-site basis.

Section 90.617(c) of the commission’s rules provides that SMR systems will not be authorized on 900 MHz B/ILT channels. 900 MHz B/ILT licensees may, however, modify their licenses to authorize use of the channels for commercial operation, or transfer or assign their licenses to others authorized to offer service on a commercial basis.

Commenters that support permitting for-profit service to third-party B/ILT eligibles on 900 MHz B/ILT channels should discuss whether the proposed rule amendment is the best approach, or whether other or additional rule changes, such as redesignating the 900 MHz B/ILT channels as general category channels, should be made.

More generally, commenters should address whether use of 900 MHz channels to provide for-profit service to B/ILT eligibles is desirable, the effect that such a rule change would have on the availability of 900 MHz B/ILT spectrum for traditional B/ILT users, and the extent to which such for-profit operations already may exist despite the prohibition in Section 90.617(c).

Finally, commenters are asked to address whether the M2M proposal is compatible with the petition for rulemaking filed in 2014 by the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) and Pacific DataVision (PDV) that proposes that the 900 MHz band be divided into a 3-by-3 megahertz broadband segment (898 – 901/937 – 940 MHz) and a 2-by-2 megahertz narrowband segment (896 – 898/935 – 937 MHz).

The full public notice is here.

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