San Jose asks FCC to review 700 MHz spectrum lease
San Jose’s mayor asked the FCC to investigate the lease agreement for 700 MHz spectrum that is expected to be used to support a 203-site, public-safety LTE network that is scheduled to be deployed in the San Francisco Bay Area this year.
In a letter to Jamie Barnett — chief of the FCC’s public safety and homeland security bureau — Mayor Chuck Reed said Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern did not have the authority to sign a spectrum lease agreement with the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST). San Jose was one of three Bay Area cities — San Francisco and Oakland were the others — that received a waiver from the FCC authorizing the use of the 700 MHz broadband spectrum licensed to the PSST.
Under FCC rules, only entities granted waivers are supposed to be eligible to sign a spectrum lease with the PSST. In his letter, Reed said the waiver rights were not transferred to Ahern.
“I know for a fact that San Jose did not authorize Sheriff Ahern to enter into the lease for the spectrum, and I fully believe that there is no evidence that Sheriff Ahern obtained authorization from San Francisco or Oakland,” Reed stated in the letter.
In previous correspondence with other government agencies, Reed has expressed similar opinions and noted that Ahern signed the lease with the PSST on behalf of the “San Francisco Bay Area Urban Area” — not the Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), according to UASI staff members — which Reed said does not exist.
Ahern has acknowledged that the “San Francisco Bay Area Urban Area” is not a governing body but a geographic area. PSST Chairman Harlin McEwen said he believed the lease agreement was with the Bay Area UASI.
Reed’s letter marks the first complaint the FCC has received about the situation, FCC spokesman Rob Kenny said.
“We received the letter, and we’re reviewing it,” FCC spokesman Rob Kenny said during an interview. “It is important that each project have strong leadership in place, acting in the best interest of all entities involved and in good faith.”