GWTCA Asks FCC to Release 800 MHz Spectrum in Regions that Completed Rebanding
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 | Comments

The Government Wireless Technology & Communications Association (GWTCA) urged the FCC to release new 800 MHz National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) frequencies in all other remaining areas other than the Mexican border where rebanding has been completed.

In a filing with the FCC, GWTCA said about 16 regions remain unreleased. GWTCA is a nonprofit trade association created to advocate on behalf of wireless technology users in public service industries, such as public transit.

As part of the FCC’s action in WT Docket No. 02-55, the commission, upon completion of 800 MHz rebanding in a region, releases 800 MHz frequencies vacated by Sprint Nextel that were not used for rebanding. In doing so, the commission has the ability to release new NPSPAC frequencies separately from expansion band and guard band frequencies.

The last FCC release of 800 MHz NPSPAC frequencies was in December 2016. That release of spectrum, and previous releases, brought needed spectrum relief for government agencies throughout those areas. In addition, those spectrum releases began the “clock” for the eventual release of those same frequencies that remain vacant for eventual use in three years for critical infrastructure applicants and in five years for other business entities.

While there may be specific reasons that each of these regions have not been declared completed that are not readily apparent, the commission should review whether such issues truly necessitate the continued withholding of spectrum, or whether the “completion” criteria previously announced by the FCC is sufficient to allow the release of spectrum without adverse consequences.

GWTCA’s request is based on the experience of its members and nonmembers in finding access to additional spectrum in the impacted areas. In addition, the impact is also felt by existing licensees that find the need to modify their transmitter sites, which often results in the expansion of a contour in one direction.

The modification, in turn, requires a time-consuming waiver for a region where there is truly no impact, as every rebanding 800 MHz licensee has already been licensed for new channels, and infrastructure work has been completed.

There is also a secondary impact on non-public safety eligible entities, which are forced to wait longer for access to spectrum to meet their needs.

“GWTCA looks forward to working with the commission on making long-promised 800 MHz spectrum available for all entities,” the filing said.

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