Harris County, Texas, can continue its public-safety LTE operations, thanks to the FCC granting special temporary authority (STA) to the state of Texas for use of 20 MHz of 700 MHz broadband spectrum late last week.

“The ongoing damage and communications outages caused by Hurricane Isaac are painful reminders that hurricane season is once again upon us,” FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said in a statement. “That is why I am especially pleased that the public safety and homeland security bureau has released [Friday’s] order granting special temporary authority (STA) to the state of Texas.

“This authority will allow the continued deployment of an interoperable public-safety broadband network in Harris County, which will enhance the ability of first responders to address hurricanes and other public-safety emergencies.”

Last month, the FCC approved the interoperability showings of Harris County and the city of Charlotte, allowing both entities to proceed with plans to operate 700 MHz LTE networks dedicated to the first-response community.


That approval initially expired on Sept. 2—when spectrum licenses held by the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) expired—but could be extended with six-month STA approval from the FCC.

While the city of Charlotte has indicated it will not proceed with its public-safety LTE plans under these circumstances, Harris County decided to proceed with its LTE operations.

The order released last week allows Harris County to use all the public-safety broadband spectrum in the 700 MHz band—the 10 MHz D Block, as well as the 10 MHz of spectrum licensed to the PSST. Last month, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) told FCC officials that any LTE projects should use the full 20 MHz of spectrum allocated to public safety.