Motorola asks FCC for spectrum review in public safety interference proceeding
In a June 4 telephone conference with FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau officials, representatives of Motorola asked the bureau to conduct a spectrum review for the 800MHz band.
Motorola takes a position that a spectrum review should be part of the FCC effort to resolve interference to public safety radio communications systems from commercial mobile radio and wireless telephone systems that use cellular architecture in and near the 800MHz band. Yet, some in the industry see Motorola’s request as strictly a tactic to delay the FCC proceeding.
The conference is described to the FCC’s secretary by one of the participants in a letter sent Wednesday to meet a requirement for public documentation of an ex parte presentation to the federal agency in a pending rulemaking proceeding.
In his letter, Steve B. Sharkey, Motorola’s director of spectrum and standards strategy, pointed out that many 800MHz licenses were granted through the years under a provision that allowed one type of user to receive a license for frequencies originally designated for another type. The result has been an un-quantified, mixed allotment of public safety, business and industrial, SMR and CMRS users and carriers in some portions of the band.
Absent a review of licenses by the FCC, the sharing makes it impossible to determine the actual allotment of spectrum to the various users, Sharkey’s letter reads.
“Motorola presented the opinion that a review of how spectrum is currently licensed among the various user groups would facilitate the development of an equitable plan for addressing the interference to public safety. Thus Motorola urged the bureau to undertake a review of how spectrum is currently licensed in the 800MHz band, or to sponsor such a review as part of the commission’s efforts to address interference to public safety,” Sharkey wrote.
An industry source who commented on Motorola’s request said that a spectrum review would delay an FCC decision about resolving the interference, and that perhaps Motorola’s real intention was to cause such a delay. The source said that many system operators at 800MHz have halted projects for new systems and modifications to current systems. It has been said that Nextel Communications has quietly suspended SMR system acquisition efforts, realizing that it may lose its bid to expand its 800MHz segment and instead be relocated to the upper portion of the band.
In its move to resolve radio interference in the 800MHz band, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking instead of a more reflective Notice of Inquiry, a strategy seen by some as indicating that the agency wants to make a decision sooner, not later. Because a spectrum review would delay a decision, the Motorola request may not see much support from the industry and might run counter to the FCC’s own intention.
Besides Sharkey, the participants in the conference included the bureau’s Kathleen O’Brien Ham, deputy chief; James Schlichting, deputy chief; D’wana Terry, chief of the Public Safety and Private Wireless Division; and Michael Wilhelm, attorney adviser.