Nextel proposes interference solution
Interference issues have plagued public safety and private radio systems for years. Nextel Communications, Reston, VA, has been the root of many interference problems, however, and now it is proposing a trade to solve these critical communications problems.
In a white paper filed with the FCC, Nextel has proposed a public-private partnership for the “expansion, realignment and further protection of public safety communications.” The proposal includes a substantial reallocation of the 800MHz band. The channel blocks used by cellular and other CMRS providers would be separated from those used by public safety communications systems.
It would also double public safety’s spectrum allocation at 800MHz, thereby providing opportunities to increase capacity, deploy advanced technologies and enhance interoperability among police, fire and rescue workers.
If adopted, public safety communications systems would have access to a 20MHz block of contiguous spectrum in the lower 800MHz band. This spectrum would be adjacent to the 700MHz frequency band already allocated by the FCC for future public safety usage.
Nextel would exchange 16MHz of its current licensed spectrum to make the realignment possible. Specifically, Nextel would exchange 4MHz in the 700MHz band, about 8MHz of current SMR spectrum in the lower non-contiguous channels of the 800MHz band, and about 4MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz band.
In return for this spectrum, Nextel would receive 16MHz of spectrum, comprised of 6MHz in the upper 800MHz band and 10MHz in the 2.1GHz band. Nextel’s current, contiguous spectrum holdings of 10MHz in the upper 800MHz band would be unaffected Under the proposal, Nextel would maintain its net spectrum allocation and does not anticipate any adverse impact on its ability to serve its existing or future customers.
Nextel is also willing to provide financial and other resources to the public safety community to facilitate implementation of the proposal. It would contribute $500 million to help cover public safety’s costs for retuning incumbent operators to the new public safety spectrum block and other expenses associated with the realignment, provided the FCC adopts the proposal substantially as submitted.
Reaction from industry associations has been mixed. See MRT‘s Web site at www.mrtmag.com for more about their responses.