The Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) this week asked the FCC to initiate a proceeding that would allow licensees to use spectrum in the 800 MHz expansion band and interleaved guard band more efficiently.

In a filing with the FCC, EWA requested the establishment of interstitial, full-power, 12.5 KHz bandwidth channels in the 854-861/809-816 MHz spectrum located between existing 25 KHz channels, as well as rules that would "ensure continued interference protection for incumbent 25 KHz bandwidth licensees."

EWA President and CEO Mark Crosby said the filing was spurred by the development of narrowband technologies to serve other bands that could be adapted to these 800 MHz frequencies.

The EWA proposal would "permit PLMR users, both incumbents and new entrants, to take advantage of heretofore unavailable technology capabilities in a flexible regulatory environment, one in which users make their own choices about how best to satisfy their communications requirements," the filing states.

While newly created 12.5 KHz interstitial channels would be available to new licensees, incumbent licensees likely would have an advantage meeting the interference-protection guidelines the FCC would establish, Crosby said.

"[Incumbents] would probably, because of engineering, have the best opportunity to get [the interstitial 12.5 KHz channel]," Crosby said during an interview with Urgent Communications.

In fact, depending on engineering specifics, a licensee adopting 12.5 KHz technology theoretically could triple its existing capacity if it could secure all of the spectrum in its existing 25 KHz channel and the 12.5 KHz interstitial channel, Crosby said.

The EWA proposal is different from narrowbanding initiatives in the UHF and VHF bands in that it does not require existing users to adopt more spectrally efficient technologies but is designed to let licensees adopting such technologies the ability to maximize the benefits.

Current licensees in the affected band include oil and gas companies, utilities, public-safety and delivery companies, and other commercial users, Crosby said.

"A lot of them are at 900 MHz, too," he said. "So, if dual-band radios crop up that allow you to mix and match the two bands, it would be great."