Sprint Nextel altered its proposal for clearing interleaved channels as part of 800 MHz rebanding but told the FCC this week that a recent public-safety proposal could disrupt the carrier’s iDEN network services a year from now.

In a letter filed with the FCC this week, Sprint Nextel said it would clear its interleaved channels in a given geographic region within 60 days of a public-safety agency being prepared to operate on the spectrum, if 75% of the NPSPAC licensees in the region have rebanded. In its initial request last month, Sprint Nextel proposed a 90% NPSPAC clearance for such conditions, company spokesman Scott Sloat said during an interview with MRT.

Sprint Nextel altered its proposal in reaction to filing from the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). These key public-safety agencies expressed general support for Sprint Nextel’s notion of clearing interleaved channels based on rebanding progress in a geographic area but wanted all interleaved channels available to public safety on 60 days notice after July 1, 2009.

While the FCC has targeted most public-safety rebanding waivers for completion by June 1, 2009, Sprint Nextel noted that several NPSPAC licensees are still in the planning process and likely would not complete rebanding by that date. In fact, the carrier’s filing indicates that, it is “unlikely to gain full access [to its post-rebanding channels] for years” in some regions.

“Consequently, APCO/IACP/IAFC’s ‘broad brush’ proposal could disrupt Sprint Nextel’s service to its iDEN users, including millions of its public safety customers, without any demonstrated benefit to rebanding progress for public safety systems,” Sprint Nextel said in its letter to the FCC.

Under an FCC ruling last year that was upheld by a federal appeals court, Sprint Nextel was scheduled to clear its interleaved channels on June 26. However, Sprint Nextel made its staged proposal on June 17 in an effort to get relief from the situation, noting that clearing the interleaved channels on June 26 could “cripple” its iDEN network services. Days later, the FCC granted a 30-day extension on the matter, so the agency is expected to announce a decision on the matter in the next two weeks.