900 MHz Broadband/Narrowband
As reported in an earlier edition of Insider, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on 900 MHz, which proposes to reconfigure the band to facilitate the use of wireless broadband by a variety of businesses while reserving spectrum for continued narrowband operations.
Comments will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register and Reply Comments 30 days after that. The date of Federal Register publication is not yet known.
To ensure that EWA’s 900 MHz license members are fully aware of the FCC’s proposals in this proceeding, EWA will be hosting a webinar on May 1, 2019 at 2 p.m., Eastern. During the webinar, EWA will provide an overview of the NPRM and respond to attendee questions. Register now to attend.Category: EWA On Your Side
EWA Responds to USDA NOI
EWA filed comments on April 1 in response to a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) issued by the Farm Service Agency, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The NOI seeks input on current and anticipated non-Federal spectrum needs of entities engaged in agriculture, forestry, mining, and rural manufacturing.
EWA noted that these systems typically operate in the VHF and UHF bands because of favorable propagation and penetration characteristics and, in recent years, many businesses have upgraded from analog to digital equipment. Doing so increases the number of communications paths available on the same amount of spectrum, thereby enhancing spectrum efficiency. It also facilitates a shift from voice-centric to voice and data operations. EWA also stated that as these industries become increasingly mechanized with technological solutions filling many, although certainly not all, functions that previously were performed by humans, the ability to run high-speed, low-latency data applications becomes paramount. The outdoor machinery used in farming, mining and other operations is in the vanguard of driverless vehicles with tractors, cranes, and other industrial machines operated and monitored remotely. Their locations are determined by GPS and their operations are managed via wireless data applications.
Finally, EWA noted that agriculture is an excellent example of an industry with an increasingly urgent need for broadband capabilities, particularly in parts of the country that remain underserved by commercial wireless networks. As farm properties consolidate and climactic issues become ever more challenging, remote device monitoring and control take on critical importance. Farmers are not only monitoring the location and growth of their crops, they are tracking and controlling: the volume and speed of the water that irrigates them, all conditions of the soil in which they are growing, the prevalence of and response to insects that could harm them, the weed control process that facilitates improved crop output, plus the timely harvesting and efficient packing of their products that maximize crop yields. Conducting these varied tasks, plus real-time video monitoring of overall farm activities, in an integrated fashion requires broadband functionality.
Category: EWA On Your Side
PLMR Spectrum Update
In response to inquiries from members and customers, EWA recently sent an update on the status of 800 MHz Interstitial and Central Station Alarm channels that were made available through a Report & Order adopted in 2018. Highlights of the update include:
- 800 MHz Interstitial channels – The rule changes add 318 new interstitial channels in the 800 MHz Mid-Band, which will not be available until the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) concludes its economic review of the decision and the Universal Licensing System (ULS) is updated so that it may accept applications specifying interstitial channels.
- Central Station Alarm channels – The Monitoring Association (TMA) is in the process of amending its proposed consensus protocols for coordinating central station frequencies. The availability of these channels is also contingent upon OMB’s economic review of the FCC’s decision.
LMCC Submits Updated Matrix for 800 MHz
The LMCC has submitted an ex parte letter to the FCC that included an updated Interference Contour Matrix (Matrix) based on F(50,10) curves adopted by the FCC in the Report and Order and Order (R&O). The Matrix provides derating factors based on proposed/incumbent emission designations to be applied when Frequency Advisory Committees (FACs) process applications for full-channel 25 kHz or adjacent channel 12.5 kHz “Interstitial” 800-MHz frequencies.
The FCC had rejected the matrix first proposed by the LMCC, requiring an update that conformed with the derating factors adopted in the R&O. The derating factors in the Matrix will be used to promote spectrum efficiency and ensure appropriate levels of interference protection for both full-channel and interstitial-channel systems.Category: EWA On Your Side
Spectrum Management and Licensing Training at EDMSSA
Shared vs. exclusive channels, emission designators, conditional licenses – What are all these requirements and why are they important to my customers?
At the EDMSSA Spring Meeting this year, you will have an opportunity to learn all this and more! EWA is offering two mini-courses that will provide key FCC rule sections and factors that can be of value when determining the spectrum needs of your customers. Understanding the FCC rules and different spectrum bands can assist with sales and associated strategic discussions.
Attend one or both courses as your schedule permits.
When: April 18, 2019
What: Two mini-courses offered by the Enterprise Wireless Alliance
- Spectrum Management and Governing Regulations: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
- Spectrum Opportunities: 2:15 – 3:15 p.m.
Where: Statler Room, Hilton McLean Tysons Corner in McLean, VirginiaEWA On Your Side
Are FB8s Mandatory for Trunked Systems?
Virtually every equipment manufacturer offers trunked radio systems and the various technologies may vary significantly. If a licensee is operating a trunked radio system in the UHF and VHF band, FCC licensing protocols require that the FCC authorization (or license) must list a license class code of YG for Business/Industrial or PW for a public safety system which signifies that the licensee is operating a trunked radio system. There are, however, no FCC rules requiring licensees to secure an exclusive-use (FB8) frequency pair(s) for use within a trunked radio system.
The pertinent rule section is 90.403(e) which states:
“[L]icensees of radio stations in the private land mobile radio services shall be directly responsible for the proper operation and use of each transmitter for which they are licensed. In this connection, licensees shall exercise such direction and control as is necessary to assure that all authorized facilities are employed (1) only for permissible purposes; (2) only in a permissible manner; and (3) only by persons with authority to use and operate such equipment. Licensees shall take reasonable precautions to avoid causing harmful interference. This includes monitoring the transmitting frequency for communications in progress and such other measures as may be necessary to minimize the potential for causing interference.”
Exclusive-use channels are coveted by licensees for use within trunked radio systems because, if the exclusive channel is assigned as the control channel within a trunked radio system, the licensee need not monitor the channel for co-channel communications. However, trunked system technologies have been consistently improving to comply with FCC Rule Section 90.403(e). It is EWA’s understanding that many of the newer trunked system technologies accommodates the monitoring requirement through the use of multiple shared channels. Shared channels will have channel designations of either FB2 for use within private systems, or FB6 for use within private carrier systems.Category: EWA On Your Side
Smartcomm Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
On March 25, 2019, Smartcomm License Services, LLC filed a Voluntary Petition for chapter 7 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Arizona (Phoenix).Category: In the news
Federated Wireless Eyes 4.9 GHz
In a recent meeting with the FCC to discuss spectrum management “progress made in the 3.5 GHz Citizen Broadband Radio Service," Federated Wireless, a Spectrum Administrator, also discussed the benefits that dynamic sharing could bring to the 4.9 GHz band, including potential protection of incumbents and reduced equipment costs. A proceeding contemplating greater use of the 50 MHz of spectrum available within the 4.9 GHz band has brought to the table controversial eligibility and spectrum access opinions among public safety, critical infrastructure, business enterprise and now, commercial interests represented by Federal Wireless, an FCC Spectrum Administrator.Category: In the news
Radiolocation Service Freeze
On February 22, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing a temporary freeze on applications for new or expanded Part 90 Radiolocation Service operations in the 3100-3550 MHz band. The freeze is in response to the Congressional directive that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the FCC consider alternative uses of this band. Of course, the alternative uses are spelled “broadband.”Category: In the news
Recent Enforcement Actions, April 3, 2019
L and G Car Service of Patterson, New Jersey, recently received a “Notice of Violation” for operating on 154.8025 MHz, a frequency that is not authorized for use by any particular class of licensees. Of course, somebody knew better, perhaps the same radio shop that programmed channels within Barnstable High School’s radio system for which they were not eligible, as 154.8025 MHz is positioned dead between two adjacent channel public safety frequencies. The public safety licensees of course received interference and brought the matter to the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. (See EB-FIELDNER-19-00028519)Category: Enforcement Corner