With good intentions to gather critical information about the current prospects for T-Band application processing, Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) scheduled a meeting with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) representatives for later this week. The FCC then cancelled the meeting with the explanation that they currently have other priorities on which to focus.
Everyone knows the FCC is between a rock and a hard place having to implement the Congressionally mandated repurposing of the band that will result in the removal of Business/Industrial Land Transportation and public safety incumbents. Everyone knows that the T-Band mess is not of the Commission’s making and whining about it serves no useful purpose. And frustrating the FCC staff with asks that they cannot fulfill is a waste of everyone’s time and, worse, may annoy them. EWA gets that but perhaps the “front office” misinterpreted our intentions for the meeting.
We had three questions for the FCC. First, had they given any thought to EWA’s request that they process T-Band renewal applications conditioned on the outcome of the final rules governing T-Band’s repurposing in lieu of holding the renewal applications in abeyance? We suspect the answer is that they have absolutely no intention to issue T-Band renewals with a special condition, but how would we know if we don’t ask? Second, has the Commission stopped processing T-Band applications altogether, even those applications that do not expand either geography or capacity? Third, if these applications are not going to be processed, will they be dismissed or remain in a state of suspended animation until T-Band does become a priority? There are several EWA-certified applications that were filed several months ago that remain in pending status. We need to advise our members about their situation and also let potential applicants decide whether they want to submit applications that may sit at the FCC indefinitely.
Since the FCC’s “front office” apparently does not see the value of keeping T-Band incumbents informed of changing T-Band licensing policies, EWA is pleased to serve as a surrogate and provide relevant news when it becomes available. Given the meeting cancellation, expect the worst. Our educated guess is that the FCC has begun to hold all T-Band applications, not just renewals. And forget about conditional license renewals.