The FCC yesterday released a letter denying Sprint Nextel’s request for an eight-month delay in the three-year schedule to complete reconfiguration of the 800 MHz band.

Sprint Nextel made the request in early December in an FCC filing that noted numerous issues negatively impacting the rebanding effort, including changes such as a November FCC order that gave 800 MHz EA licensees the right to change their frequency elections.

Sprint Nextel asked the FCC to restart the rebanding schedule 60 days after the FCC order was published in the Federal Register, or Feb. 27—eight months after the June 27, 2005, start date in the Transition Administrator’s rebanding schedule.

In a letter to Sprint Nextel, the FCC denied the request.

“While we are sensitive to the challenges involved in the 800 MHz rebanding process, we are also mindful that a paramount goal of the commission in this proceeding is to eliminate harmful interference to public-safety systems as quickly as possible,” the letter states. “We therefore believe the public interest would not be served by a blanket adjustment of the current 36-month rebanding schedule and will not grant your request.”

Although denying Sprint Nextel’s request for the eight-month delay, the FCC letter indicated that changes for specific licensees and alterations to scheduling milestones could be appropriate in the future.

“Sprint Nextel is disappointed that the Commission didn’t accept our broader suggestion,” Sprint Nextel spokesman Tim O’Regan said in a prepared statement. “However, we are pleased that the Commission has recognized the need to make considerations for individual licensees, and we recommit ourselves to completing 800 MHz reconfiguration according to the Commission’s requirements.”

Public-safety organizations had expressed opposition to the proposed delay in FCC filings. Although the denial was made public only yesterday, some 800 MHz public-safety licensees said Sprint Nextel officials told them in early January that the company’s proposal would not be granted.