On August 30, 2021, EWA filed an ex parte letter responding to the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council‘s (NPSTC) recent effort urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to consider its 2013 National Plan Recommendations for the 4.9 GHz band. Among other requests, NPSTC suggested that two 5 MHz channels be made available to critical infrastructure industry (CII) entities immediately, and three years later, CII would be allowed to have access to the entire band. In response, EWA countered that the entire band should be opened for CII use immediately, since the rationale for the three-year waiting period recommended by NPSTC in 2013 is no longer valid. It was intended to allow public safety users a “head start” to build out whatever facilities they needed before CII would be allowed access to the entire band. However, public safety has had exclusive access to the entire 4.9 GHz band for an additional seven, not just three years before the FCC adopted a freeze on the band in 2020. No additional head start should be required.
Finally, consistent with the reasoning supporting CII access in the NPSTC National Plan, EWA once again requested that the CII definition in Rule Section 90.7 should be expanded to include certain entities that are identified in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) national plan. This would include, among others, the critical manufacturing, information technology, agricultural, energy and transportation system industries.