The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announce it is waiving the Jan. 1, 2013 deadline to migrate to12.5 kilohertz or narrower technology for public-safety and business/industrial land mobile radio networks operating on T-Band (470–512 MHz) spectrum. The waiver comes in response to the recently enacted Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Act). The Act requires the FCC to reallocate the T- band and auction the spectrum within nine years and requires public-safety entities to vacate the T-band within 11 years. (full details of the T-Band giveback requirements and supporting information is described in further detail in L.R. Kimball’s recent white paper T-band giveback Whitepaper
Public-safety entities with narrowband systems in the T-Band petitioned the FCC for waivers following the enactment of the Act, stating that it would be impossible for agencies narrowbanding this year to use the new equipment for its full life cycle within the 11 year period. The FCC concluded that it would be unfair to continue to require licensees in the T-band to invest in narrowband systems that may have to be relocated in the near future.
The FCC also waived a related rule that prohibited vendors from manufacturing or importing 25 kHz-only equipment that operates in the T-Band. The FCC reaffirmed its commitment to the narrowbanding transition in the 150 – 174 MHz and 421 – 470 MHz bands because of the continued demand for private land mobile radio.
Additionally, the FCC announced a limited suspension of certain applications for Part 22 and 90 services operating in the T-band spectrum. The T-band suspension applies only to applications for new or expanded use of T-band frequencies and does not apply to radio services that pertain only to operations on spectrum other than the T-band. The freeze will help maintain a stable spectral landscape while the FCC determines how to implement the Act.
The suspension applies to applications for the following radio services in the 470 – 512 MHz band:
- Part 22 public mobile services: paging and radiotelephone (radio service code CD) and offshore radiotelephone (radio service code CO)
- Part 90 industrial/business pool: conventional (radio service code IG); commercial, conventional (radio service code IK); trunked (radio service code YG); and commercial, trunked (radio service code YK)
- Part 90 public-safety pool: conventional (radio service code PW) and trunked (radio service code YW).
The FCC will no longer accept applications for new licenses that;
seek to modify existing licenses by changing technical parameters that expand the station’s spectral or geographic footprint, such as, but not limited to, increases in
- seek to modify existing licenses by adding or changing frequencies or locations;
o power level,
o antenna height or
o area of operation;
Pending applications for these services will not be processed until the FCC decides how the Act will be implemented.
This suspension does not apply to applications that
- would not destabilize the licensing landscape, including applications to renew existing licenses without modification;
- seek to modify existing licenses by deleting frequencies or locations;
- seek to modify existing licenses by changing technical parameters that do not expand the station’s spectral or geographic coverage, such as decreases in
- power level or
- antenna height;
seek to modify existing licenses by changing the number of associated mobile units or temporary fixed stations;
seek to modify existing licenses by adding or moving control points;
assign, transfer or lease existing licenses; notices of construction or consummation; requests for extensions of time to construct or consummate previously granted applications;
request special temporary authority for short-term operations.
The FCC Order that waives the narrowband deadline can be found at: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2012/db0426/DA-12-642A1.pdf The FCC Public Notice that suspends certain applications can be found at: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2012/db0426/DA-12-643A1.pdf