EWA has for the third time (letter to the FCC)responded to the continued efforts of Weld County, Colorado, who is being egged on by APCO, to secure FCC approval to use 800 MHz Industrial/Business (I/B) channels in lieu of using available Sprint-vacated channels that are actually reserved for public safety use for the next five years. If they are successful, it would be tantamount to a relocation of I/B spectrum for public safety use in Weld County. What makes this case so critical for I/B licensees, is the fact that there is exclusive public safety spectrum available for use by the County. How and why APCO and the County can continue to claim an access right to both I/B and exclusive public safety spectrum in the same breath belies any sense of fairness. This time around, APCO again postulated that when it originally coordinated the County’s application back in December 2012, that Sprint-vacated channels were not available, and that it didn’t matter anyway as UTC concurred with the use of the I/B channels. As if it were that easy to justify taking I/B channels.
EWA advised the FCC that the County’s application has in fact, been amended on multiple occasions since December 2012 by APCO, incorporating “major” amendments, of which several of the changes meet the FCC’s definition of a “major” modification. As such, the Sprint-vacated spectrum could have been, and should have replaced the APCO coveted I/B 800 MHz channels at the time the subsequent applications were filed with the FCC.
EWA also noted that APCO is “imbuing UTC’s letter with more weight than it deserves.” The UTC letter in question consisted of a single sentence stating that UTC concurs with the County’s use of the I/B channels. UTC presumably did not engage in any meaningful analysis beyond confirming that there were no licensed or earlier-filed pending I/B applications for the same channels that would not receive the required protection from the County’s proposed sites. EWA then asked the more essential question, “Are there public safety frequencies available for the County’s use?” If the answer is yes, then concurrence from UTC or any other I/B Frequency Advisory Committee with regard to I/B channel availability is meaningless.”