‘Move Nextel,’ ready-mix concrete supplier says
The only option that would assure the elimination of interference from cell sites operated by Nextel Communications, McLean, VA, received by various public safety, private radio and airtime service operators in the 800 MHz band is to move Nextel’s operations to new spectrum, states ready-mix concrete supplier AVR (Apple Valley Ready-mix), Apple Valley, MN. AVR serves the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
AVR made its suggestion in a reply comment filed in the FCC’s WT Docket No. 02-55 proceeding to improve public safety communications in the 800 MHz band.
“AVR relies heavily on its 800 MHz radio system to dispatch vehicles, coordinate potentially hazardous industrial operations and provide a reliable means of communications during emergency situations,” AVR’s reply comment reads.
Referring to the first round of comments on file at the commission, AVR said that a “constant theme in the majority of the comments was that 800 MHz rebanding would be disruptive, costly, and have no up-front assurance of solving the problem. AVR notes that the three major equipment suppliers, Motorola, Kenwood and M/A-Com all question whether rebanding will solve the problem.”
AVR said that relocating public safety radio operations to the 700 MHz band would solve that industry segment’s problem, but that it would be highly disruptive and would come with funding problems. Instead, AVR suggests that Nextel’s operations be moved out of the 800 MHz band.
“SouthernLINC indicated that it operates IDEN equipment in several states with no apparent problems. It is Nextel’s technical choices in deploying IDEN technology that is causing the problem, and Nextel should be held solely responsible for finding a cure,” AVR’s reply comment reads.
AVR said that moving Nextel’s operations would affect only one licensee, Nextel itself, “the cause of the problem.” The company said that is the only option that would eliminate the interference with no negative effect on other incumbent licensees. AVR said that moving Nextel’s operations would provide new 800 MHz spectrum for public safety or other private uses and requires no “super coordinator.”
“If the commission is truly serious about eliminating interference to public safety systems, opening new spectrum for public safety use and minimizing the impact on incumbent licensees, then moving Nextel out of the band is the only viable option,” AVR told the FCC.
AVR went on to cite a historical point with relevance.
“Nextel exists today only because of waivers granted to Fleet Call [Nextel’s previous name]. Those waivers were based on Nextel’s assurances that interference would not be a problem, and if interference did occur, it would take the responsibility to fix it. Unless the commission chooses to ignore Nextel’s promise, then the instant solution must be based on Nextel solving the interference problem itself. If Nextel is now unable to eliminate the interference that it assured the commission would not occur, then transitioning out of the band is the only remaining option that would force Nextel to live up to its earlier representations to the commission,” AVR wrote.
AVR also urged the FCC to dismiss the rebanding of the 800 MHz band as being technically unsound and too difficult to administer during the transition stage.
Mark Swanson, AVR’s IT manager, told Mobile Radio Technology that Nextel wants to take AVR’s frequencies and make the company switch, using its own money.
“I don’t know how they can do that. The FCC in the past has always said, if you come on the air with a new license that causes a problem, whoever changed last, that’s the one that’s got to fix it. If Nextel causes a problem, they should fix it themselves. They kind of bully people around with all their clout,” Swanson said.
Swanson said that Nextel stated that it they would take care of interference problems when the company began developing its digital 800 MHz system. “Now they’re saying it’s easier for everyone else to move and separate 800 MHz among public safety and Nextel.”
Swanson estimated the value of his three-site, combination trunked and conventional radio system at $750,000 or more. The system supports about 450 AVR units and another 150 subscribers placed on the system when AVR converted it to SMR status.
“Some of it is hard to put a dollar value on, such as down time, and the year or two of conversion time with a system as large as ours. And I’m concerned as to where I would go to get the same quality of service. On top of that, as far a I know, Nextel is not offering any compensation,” Swanson said.
“We have 60 Nextel phones, and it’s a good product, but Nextel doesn’t have the right to control the airwaves. That control is delegated by the government,” Swanson said.