The licensing learning curve: Solved in baby steps
As many wireless service providers and enterprise users of land mobile radio spectrum are aware, it sometimes is a daunting task to meet the licensing needs of your customers and your own business while staying current with FCC licensing regulations.
As the new licensing administrator for Lockard & White (L&W)—a Texas-based company providing telecommunications, engineering, planning, design, and project management services to the electric utility, oil and gas, and transportation industries, and an EWA member—Jessica Cessna understands that daunting task all too well.
Only a few months into her position, after transitioning from an office management position, the world of spectrum and license management was still understandably alien to Jessica. So, to get up to speed quickly, Jessica took advantage of EWA’s Regulatory Teleconference Forum, held every other Tuesday and open to all EWA members. The biweekly forum is hosted by EWA’s President/CEO Mark Crosby and Regulatory Counsel Liz Sachs, and is a comprehensive, easy-to-understand review of regulatory updates and advocacy efforts by EWA taking place at the FCC and other government agencies.
Like Jessica and her fellow EWA members, EWA member companies have learned that what happens in Washington D.C., significantly can impact their business strategies and outlook. They’ve also learned that what’s happening in Washington D.C. in terms of the wireless industry isn’t always easy to understand. As EWA’s President/CEO Mark Crosby notes, “EWA and our industry partners are fighting for change to protect the spectrum our members have, make the licensing rules and requirements as fair as possible, and provide future opportunities.”
Consequently, EWA members are encouraged to participate in the forum and voice any questions or concerns they have regarding the covered topics or any other relevant issues facing their organizations. Knowing about the rules isn’t always enough, and the forums are helpful in interpreting the rules and, more importantly, defining their impact.
According to Jessica, who started at L&W on a Monday and listened in on a EWA regulatory call by the next day, the forums are time well spent.
“Ilistened and it was initially all foreign to me,” she said. “But as I continued to participate, I better understood, for example, the FCC licensing process. I heard terminology and circumstances relating to the FCC, and to the licensing experiences of others, so these calls have made the whole process come together a little easier.”
Jessica also noted that, although topics covered during these forums did not always directly relate to what she was working on at the time, just listening in has been a tremendous aid and has made her more aware of how the various issues relate to the overall licensing process.
“Baby steps”—this is how Jessica describes her progress in learning this complex environment, and as many who have been in the business for years know, land mobile radio spectrum issues are never black and white. Rules change, clarifications are sometimes required, new best practices must be designed and incorporated, and new spectrum opportunities arise. All the while, EWA continues to remain at the forefront of it all.
As Jessica admits, though there is a learning curve and you will never know it all, “it is ALWAYS helpful to know where you can go for assistance.”
Louise Hippolyte is manager of member communications for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance.