FCC adopts 800MHz NPRM
The FCC has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to explore possible solutions to the 800MHz public safety interference problems caused by neighboring commercial providers.
In the NPRM, the FCC stated that the increasing levels of harmful interference to public safety communications in the 800MHz band must be remedied. The commission is soliciting comment on how best to do just that, while minimizing disruption to existing licensing structure. The FCC also seeks comment on a Petition for Rulemaking filed by the Personal Communications Industry Association seeking amendment of Section 90.621 of the commission’s Rules. Also in the NPRM, the FCC would like comment on deals with the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The commission would like comments on the terms and conditions of licenses in the 900MHz land mobile band if it is used to relocate displaced licensees.
A statement from FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy said she welcomes the decision to adopt the NPRM. The statement said, “Nextel deserves significant credit for coming forward with a proposal. Subsequent to Nextel’s initiative, other parties have offered alternative proposals and I hope and fully expect additional ideas will be generated in response to this notice. I look forward to a vigorous and informed debate.”
Abernathy also stated she is reluctant to force parties to move at their own expense and that minimizing the disruption to other bands is important.
A statement released by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said he is also glad the commission is asking for feedback. The statement reads, “In order to do our job well we need to know how much spectrum public safety needs to protect our citizens.”
Commissioner Kevin Martin’s public statement said he is looking forward to working with Nextel, NAM and the public safety community to better understand and resolve the interference issues.
All the commissioners seem to agree that something must be done to stop the 800MHz interference problem, it’s just a matter of what. Whether the NPRM brings about a solution or not, it’s sure to spark some interesting discussions.