EWA Wants FCC to Acknowledge 800 MHz as “Green Space”

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The Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) has filed a Petition for Rulemaking requesting the FCC designate the 800 MHz Guard Band spectrum as “green space” for incumbent Business/Industrial and Land Transportation (B/ILT) licensees who may be required to vacate T-Band spectrum; and for certain 900 MHz incumbents whose narrowband systems may need to be moved to replacement frequencies as part of a transition to create a 900 MHz broadband opportunity.

As stated in the Petition, “[s]tatutory and regulatory mandates. . . may require incumbents in these bands to be relocated to comparable facilities.” Through this Petition, EWA seeks to provide meaningful and realistic spectrum solutions that will allow licensees to be relocated to comparable spectrum.

The Petition specifically notes that:

  • T-Band spectrum has been used extensively by private land mobile radio entities since the early 1970s, and in many of the cities affected by the Act, no comparable spectrum exists to which these operations could be relocated.
  • It is unlikely that providing T-Band B/ILT incumbents priority access to 800 MHz interstitial channels will provide meaningful relief since 800 MHz interstitial channels are least likely to be available for use in the major urban areas where T-Band systems are located.
  • A more robust ecosystem of equipment and applications exist in the 800 MHz band that could prove attractive to certain 900 MHz incumbents as they consider how best to position their operations for future growth and system technology requirements.  

On the filing of the Petition for Rulemaking, EWA President Mark Crosby made the following statement: “B/ILT T-Band incumbents deserve recognition of their plight. For whatever reason, the Middle-Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act did not even recognize their presence in the band, which places their wireless investments and operations at future peril. B/ILT licensees do not deserve to be an afterthought. Compressing B/ILT licensees within the T-Band after public safety departs maroons them and fails to appreciate the economic contributions provided by B/ILT systems. Establishing the 800 MHz Guard Band as green space, while likely not a total answer, offers these licensees the possibility of a future home and shows that the industry and regulators are paying much-needed attention to their situation,” he said.  

“Regarding the pending 900 MHz NPRM proposing the introduction of broadband capabilities for use by B/ILT entities, the spectrum transition in certain geographic areas may be facilitated by having access to the 800 MHz Guard Band as green space. While it is expected that most 900 MHz incumbents will elect to replace their channels with other channels in that band, some licensees might prefer to integrate 800 MHz channels into their 900 MHz system since technology advances make dual-band 800/900 MHz system capabilities available, or to relocate entirely to 800 MHz spectrum. Lots of flexibility is beneficial,” Crosby said.

April 19, 2019

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