APCO urges licensees to respond to FCC mailing
The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International’s affiliate Automated Frequency Coordination has urged agencies holding FCC licenses to take action to preserve their licenses by responding to an FCC audit immediately. According to an APCO press release, more than 33,000 licensees are at risk of losing their license authorizations.
About a year ago, the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau initiated an “audit of construction and operational status of private loan mobile radio stations” to identify and recover any licenses and respective frequency use from licensees that are no longer using their systems. As part of the audit, the WTC sent letters to Part 90 licensees with authorized facilities operating on frequencies below 512 MHz, inquiring about the operational status of the PLMR stations for which they are licensed. Licensees were to respond within 60 days of the letter’s mailing date or risk the loss of their license authorization.
According to APCO, the contact information on the licensee is often incorrect or has changed. Addresses, offices and listed contact personnel change often, particularly in public safety agencies, leading to misplacement of the letters or delivery failure.
The FCC’s stance on the incorrect data is clear, APCO’s release stated. It is the licensee’s responsibility to maintain correct and current data, if any should change.
In its original attempt to contact licensees last year, the WTB sent out hundreds of thousands of letters. It received a significant number of cancellations or notices that licenses were no longer needed. To avoid automatic cancellations, early this year, the WTB initiated a second phase of letters to agencies that did not respond to the first letter.
With the reply deadline for the second letter only days away, the FCC has had responses from only 43 percent of the public safety agencies. So of the 57,000 letters sent out in the second mailing for public safety licensees alone, no responses have been received from 33,176 letters.
The FCC has made no definite commitment to any final action for non-responding licensees, but it is warning that, by not responding, agencies risk automatic cancellation of their license authorizations. An agency that continues to operate after an FCC notice of cancellation could be subject to sanctions, including fines of several thousand dollars per day of violation, or to the loss of the use of its radio system.