Broadband/Narrowband at 900 MHz

On April 22, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a draft Report and Order, Order of Proposed Modification, and Orders announcing actions it intends to take to realign the 900 MHz band by introducing broadband technologies while preserving existing narrowband operations. It is likely that the FCC will adopt these rules at its May 13 meeting. Below is a summary of these actions:
Report and Order
  • Realign the 900 MHz band to make available six megahertz of spectrum for broadband operations, while reserving the band’s remaining four megahertz for continued narrowband operations. 
  • Establish a transition mechanism, based primarily on negotiations between prospective broadband licensees and narrowband incumbents, that enables these prospective broadband licensees to relocate, acquire, or protect existing incumbents in the new broadband segment. 
  • Permit a 900 MHz broadband licensee (after license grant) to relocate mandatorily a small number of incumbents—except those with complex systems—from the new broadband segment to the narrowband segment by providing comparable facilities. 
  • Require a broadband applicant to make an anti-windfall payment whenever it relinquishes less than six megahertz of spectrum in exchange for a six-megahertz broadband license. 
  • Address license application requirements, transition procedures, and operating and technical rules applicable to the new 900 MHz broadband license. 
Order of Proposed Modification - Propose to modify the Association of American Railroads’ narrowband-channel nationwide ribbon license surrounding railroad rights-of-way to facilitate the 900 MHz band transition and to enable significant advancements to railroad safety. 
  • Deny EWA’s petition for rulemaking, which requested that the Commission designate part of the 800 MHz guard band for relocation of 900 MHz narrowband channels. 
  • Lift the freeze on 900 MHz applications so that existing licensees can relocate their narrowband operations within the narrowband segment. (WT 17-200)
EWA anticipates that the Public Notice announcing the new rules will include important dates for band reconfiguration, including the negotiation period mentioned above. 
Category: EWA On Your Side