Access Spectrum and Pegasus Communications this week offered to cover additional incremental costs that would be associated with the companies’ joint proposal to reconfigure the 24 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum that has been allocated for public safety.

The Access Spectrum-Pegasus proposal calls for the consolidation of the narrowband channels and would establish blocks of 5.5 MHz of contiguous spectrum adjacent to commercial spectrum that could be utilized for broadband offerings. However, public-safety officials have expressed concern that it would be expensive to alter deployments made under the existing band plan for the spectrum.

A Motorola filing earlier this month defused most of these fears, as the vendor giant said there would be no incremental costs to change the software in the 550,000 deployed radios that can work in the 700 MHz band, because a software download will be needed anyway when 700 MHz system come online.
As for the costs associated with the few 700 MHz systems already online and the update of the CAPRAD database, Access Spectrum and Pegasus “are prepared to cover these additional costs” if the principles in their joint proposal are adopted, the companies said in a FCC filing.

“We chose careful wording indicating our commitment to cover those costs while recognizing that we’re not in a position to make an open-ended commitment,” Access Spectrum CEO Michael Gottdenker said. “To the extent that those costs were not all clearly defined, it’s impossible to make a commitment to cover them, but we did say that we would cover them—it’s just a question of nailing down exactly what they are.”

Such a commitment would be welcomed by the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC), which made an FCC filing supporting the guard-band licensees’ proposal if certain contingencies are met, the most notable being that public-safety entities incur no additional costs if a change is made.

“[Access Spectrum and Pegasus] understand the concerns that we have,” NPSTC Chairman Vincent Stile said. “If they’re saying they can take care of them, then that’s a viable option.”