LAS VEGAS—Representatives of key stakeholders in a portion of the 900 MHz band had an “encouraging” meeting with FCC officials last week to discuss the possibility of transforming some LMR frequencies into a 3x3 block of contiguous spectrum that would support LTE broadband services, according to Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) President and CEO Mark Crosby.

“The meeting was encouraging, and it met my expectations,” Crosby said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “It’s an exciting opportunity, and we just have to make sure that we have to craft this so that it stays an exciting opportunity.”

Less than a month ago, EWA filed a joint letter with the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) that outlined their proposal to create a “900 MHz Private Land Mobile Broadband” initiative and requested a six-month freeze on licenses to new players in the affected band.

Under the proposal, the six-month time period would allow “interested organization and licensees” to develop a spectrum plan proposal that would transform the 5x5 MHz of 900 MHz Industrial/Business (I/B) spectrum into a 2x2 MHz band for existing LMR systems and a 3x3 MHz swath to support private LTE networks.

“We just have to make sure that we protect the space, so that not only can we create the 3x3 broadband, we also have to make sure that we still protect the 2x2 for the traditional voice and data systems,” Crosby said. “We’ve got to protect the whole thing.”

Participants in the FCC meeting included representatives from EWA, API, UTC, Sprint—the nationwide wireless carrier that owns most of the affected spectrum in the 900 MHz band—and Morgan O’Brien, who last fall proposed the notion of transforming narrowband spectrum into frequencies that would support broadband LTE, according to Crosby.