WIA, EWA Battle Over 800 MHz Land Mobile Applications

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In a statement issued yesterday by the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA), the association expressed frustration at how various frequency advisory committees (FAC’s) have been unable to reach a consensus on processing 800 MHz applications for the Expansion/Guard Band for land mobile use. The EWA singled out the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) as an unsupportive entity among the FAC’s.  The EWA fears the inaction will produce hundreds of mutually exclusive applications that will have to be sorted out one-by-one without a clear standard for determining priority.

“The opportunity to arrive at a consensus among the Business/Industrial and Public Safety frequency advisory committees (FACs) on how best to process 800 MHz Expansion/Guard Band (EB/GB) applications that avoid mutual exclusivity remains elusive after one year of effort,” the statement read. The EWA said that last week, during a meeting with a majority of the certified FACs in attendance, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) staff informed the FACs that Commission leadership had rejected the “round-robin” application approach.  EWA said it was because it was believed that it would prejudice FACs with a greater number of applications to process and possibly cause customers to move their applications to another FAC.

EWA President Mark Crosby said, “EWA’s leadership is now obligated to step back and revisit its overall advocacy position with respect to the EB/GB landscape. After attempting for a year to develop a workable coordination process, we see little likelihood that further effort would produce a solution acceptable to all FACs given WIA’s position that no solution is needed.”

“WIA has worked transparently and collaboratively with other frequency advisory committees (FAC) and the FCC throughout this process to find consensus on the processing of 800 MHz Expansion/Guard Band applications,” said WIA Spokesperson Amy-Gabrielle Bartolac. “At no point did WIA nor its leadership advocate any recommendation independently to the FCC regarding the Memorandum of Agreement we have with other FACs. The FCC made its decision on its own. Implications to the contrary are presumptuous, mischaracterize the facts, and are plainly incorrect,” Bartolac said. “As a market leader in frequency coordination, WIA will continue to work closely with other FACs and the FCC on establishing a fair process. WIA would support the round robin approach if the FCC adopts it and will support the FCC’s determination on how to proceed. WIA will strive to achieve a successful process and look forward to this important work,” she said.

The EWA statement singled out the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA), as the one FAC that had not confirmed its support for the amended EB/GB MOA.  WIA’s belief that the current process will work fine, according to the EWA, is “the product of magical thinking.”

EWA concluded in its statement, that an FCC representative in attendance warned that the FACs’ failure to reach agreement may result in the FCC adopting processes that the FACs may not like.

“Since a year of effort has been in vain, EWA is willing to let the FCC take its best shot,” they stated.

By Jim Fryer, Managing Editor, Inside Towers

April 11, 2019

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