As has been anticipated for months, the FCC yesterday officially named the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) as the public-safety broadband licensee for 10 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum that is expected to be used for a nationwide, interoperable broadband network that will be built by a commercial operator.

Although the announcement was made yesterday afternoon, the notion of the PSST serving as the national licensee has been considered a foregone conclusion for some time, as the PSST was the only applicant for the position.

“It feels really good,” PSST Chairman Harlin McEwen said during an interview with MRT. “We knew it was going to happen because they told us we were the only applicant, but the point was that you can’t assume anything until it happens.”

However, the PSST has been acting as if it was the licensee for some time. Most notably, the PSST last week released a bidders information document to give bidders for the commercial D Block—the swath of airwaves that will be coupled with public safety’s spectrum to host the shared network—an indication of public safety’s needs and expectations.

While the PSST has operated as if it would be the licensee, being named officially as the licensee could help the organization finalize its financing for the next year. PSST agent/advisor Cyren Call Communications is in the process of securing a loan to pay for the PSST’s operations until a network-sharing agreement is signed with the D Block winner, McEwen said. Until such a deal is reached, the PSST has no revenue stream, so the organization needs to borrow money to pay for its operations in the interim.

McEwen said the fact that the PSST is now officially the licensee may be helpful to a financial institution backing a loan.

“I’m not a businessman, but I suspect that certainly is a factor—the fact that you have the license, as opposed to knowing you’re going to get it, is different,” he said.

The FCC has established a six-month period for the PSST and the D Block winner to negotiate a deal after the 700 MHz auction, so the PSST needs to securing financing that will allow it to operate for at least a year, McEwen said.