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Application and Licensing Procedures for Sprint Vacated Channels

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Released: November 27, 2012

PUBLIC NOTICE

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

News Media Information: (202) 418-0500

445 12th STREET, S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 12-1839

Released: November 27, 2012

PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU ANNOUNCES

APPLICATION AND LICENSING PROCEDURES FOR CHANNELS IN NON-

BORDER REGIONS RELINQUISHED BY SPRINT NEXTEL CORPORATION

IN THE 809.5-815/854.5-860 MHZ BAND

Application Filing Commences January 17, 2013

Pre-Filing Coordination Notification Commences December 11, 2012

WT Docket No. 02-55

By this Public Notice, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) announces that
on

January 17, 2013

, it will begin accepting applications for licensing of channels in the 809.5-
815/854.5-860 MHz (Channels 251- 470) portion of the 800 MHz band that have been relinquished by
Sprint Nextel Corporation (Sprint) in the National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee
(NPSPAC) regions listed in Table 1 of Appendix A. Specific information regarding available channels,
application filing procedures, and frequency coordination requirements is set forth below.
Applicants who receive licenses for channels vacated by Sprint in accordance with this Public
Notice must provide 60 days notice to Sprint1 before they activate a channel for testing or the
commencement of operations.

Background

In July 2004, the Federal Communications Commission ordered the reconfiguration of the 800
MHz band to eliminate interference to public safety and other land mobile communication systems
operating in the band.2 As part of this plan, the Commission provided that spectrum vacated by Sprint in
the Interleaved Band (809-815/854-860 MHz) would temporarily be reserved for licensing exclusively to
public safety and critical infrastructure industry (CII) entities.3 Specifically, the Commission ordered
that, upon initiation of licensing, eligibility for the vacated interleaved band channels will be limited to
public safety entities for the first three years after the opening of a filing window and to public safety and


1 Notice should be provided to Sprint by email at 800mhzinterleavedspectrum@sprint.com.
2 See Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, Report and Order, Fifth Report and Order,
Fourth Memorandum Opinion and Order, and Order,
19 FCC Rcd 14969 (2004) (800 MHz Report and Order).
3 Id., 19 FCC Rcd at 15052 ¶ 152.
1

CII entities for the following two years. After five years, any remaining vacated channels will revert to
their original frequency pools and be available for licensing to any eligible applicant.4
The Commission made Interleaved Band channels available for licensing by eligible public safety
agencies in each NPSPAC region based upon the percentage of channels cleared in the former NPSPAC
block.5 The Commission also established a “backstop” deadline by which Sprint would need to make all
of its non-border channels in the Interleaved Band available for licensing.6 After being extended once,
the “backstop” date passed on March 31, 2012.7
Consequently, by this Public Notice, we announce that the remaining channels occupied by Sprint
in the Interleaved Band, which were not previously released in the NPSPAC regions listed in Table 1 of
Appendix A, are now available for licensing.8 Table 1 of Appendix A includes any region outside the
border areas in which Interleaved Band channels occupied by Sprint have yet to be released for licensing
because the region has yet to clear the former NPSPAC block.9
After new licenses are granted, Sprint will vacate any channel on 60 days notice from the new
licensee that it is ready to use the channel.

Information Regarding Available Channels

To facilitate licensing of available channels, Sprint has cancelled or modified its site-based and
Economic Area (EA)-based licenses that include channels in the 809.5-815/854.5-860 MHz band
(Channels 251- 470) in certain regions. As of this date, the amount of spectrum previously released by
Sprint varies by NPSPAC region. By this Public Notice, we are announcing that the remaining spectrum,
not previously released, will be available for application beginning on

January 17, 2013

in the Regions
listed in Table 1 of Appendix A.10


4 Id. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 90.615, 90.617(g).
5 Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, Order, 23 FCC Rcd 15966, 15972-73 ¶ 17
(PSHSB 2008).
6 Id. at 15973 ¶ 17.
7 See Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, Order, 26 FCC Rcd 5004, 5006 ¶ 5 (PSHSB
2011).
8 We note that Sprint will continue occupying any channels in these regions designated as replacement channels for
licensees who are still implementing band reconfiguration. Sprint will vacate these facilities after all licensees
complete their frequency retunes. Furthermore, PSHSB will announce the date by which Expansion Band and
Guard Band channels become available for licensing in these regions in a future Public Notice once band
reconfiguration is completed in these regions.
9 In a companion Public Notice, we announce the completion of band reconfiguration in several NPSPAC Regions
and make available for licensing in those regions all remaining channels occupied by Sprint in the Interleaved Band
as well as the Expansion Band and Guard Band. See Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau and Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau Announce the Completion of 800 MHz Band Reconfiguration in Certain NPSPAC
Regions, Public Notice, DA 12-1838 (PSHSB 2012).
10 This date does not apply to public safety entity applications for vacated channels made available previously.
Those channels may be applied for at any time. Please note, however, that portions of certain regions listed in Table
1 of Appendix A are subject to an application freeze along the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders. No channels
are available for licensing in areas subject to the application freeze until the freeze is lifted. See Public Safety and
Homeland Security Bureau Extends 800 MHz Application Freeze for Wave 4 Border Area NPSPAC and Non-
NPSPAC Licensees Along the U.S.-Canada Border, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd 4037 (PHSHSB 2012). See also
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Extends Voluntary 800 MHz Rebanding Negotiation Period for Wave
4 Border Area NPSPAC and Non-NPSPAC Licensees Along the U.S.-Mexico Border Pending Establishment of
2

To identify specific channels that are available for licensing, interested parties should consult the
Vacated Channel Search Engine (VCSE) accessible at
http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchLicense.jsp.11 The VCSE contains detailed geographic
and frequency data regarding these vacated channels. The vacated channel public access file, which can
be downloaded by users with data-processing capability (e.g., frequency coordinators), may be accessed
at http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=transaction&page=weekly. Although Expansion Band and
Guard Band channels are listed in the VCSE, they are not available for licensing at this time in the
NPSPAC Regions listed in Table 1 of Appendix A.12
For channels available for licensing pursuant to this Public Notice, the VCSE will specify

January 17, 2013

as the availability date in the “Channel Availability” field.

Application Procedures

Beginning on

January 17, 2013

, Commission-certified frequency coordinators may file
applications on behalf of eligible applicants (see “Exclusive Eligibility Periods” below) in the Universal
Licensing System (ULS) for vacated channels specified in this Public Notice. Any application filed for
these channels before the initial filing date will be dismissed.
To be accepted for filing, applications must be coordinated by a certified frequency coordinator
(see “Frequency Coordination” below) that follows pre-filing coordination procedures to eliminate
conflicts between applications prior to their being filed with the Commission (see “Pre-filing
Coordination Procedures” below). If coordinators do file mutually exclusive applications, all will be
dismissed without prejudice. Applications must meet the frequency limitations specified in Sections
90.623 and 90.627 of the Commission’s rules.13 Due to the limited availability of channels during the
period of exclusive eligibility, applicants will be permitted to apply for no more than five channels per
fixed location. Furthermore, requests for extended implementation pursuant to Section 90.629 of the
Commission’s rules will be subject to a high level of scrutiny and will not be routinely granted. 14

Frequency Coordination

Applications for vacated channels made available pursuant to this Public Notice must include a
certification of frequency coordination by an appropriate Commission-certified frequency coordinator in
accordance with Section 90.175 of the Commission’s rules.15
The certification must state that the coordinator has searched the VCSE and the Commission's
licensing database and has verified that the frequencies and locations being applied for are available for
licensing under the rules and the procedures detailed in this Public Notice. The certification must include





Negotiation Timetable, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd 7312 (PHSHB 2012). Any records in the freeze areas which
were previously made available have had their availability date removed and a new date—re-starting the eligibility
periods—will be inserted once the freeze is lifted.
11 See Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Establish New 800
MHz Vacated Channel Search Engine for Identifying Vacated Channels in the 800 MHz Interleaved Band That Will
be Available for Licensing to Public Safety and Critical Infrastructure Industry Entities, Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd
16481 (2008).
12 See supra n. 8.
13 47 C.F.R. §§ 90.623, 90.627.
14 47 C.F.R. §90.629.
15 47 C.F.R. § 90.175.
3

the applicant’s name, a list of locations/frequencies that were the subject of the search, and the search
date. Additionally, all applications filed for these vacated channels, notified for coordination prior to

January 17, 2013

, must comply with the pre-filing coordination procedures detailed below.
When coordinating applications for vacated site-based channels, the frequency coordinator must
confirm that the 22 dBµ V/m F(50,10) contour of the proposed facility does not extend beyond the 22
dBµ V/m F(50,10) contour of the vacated facility.16 The contour of the vacated facility must be
calculated using the maximum Effective Radiated Power specified in Section 90.635(b) of the rules, 17
and the actual antenna height above average terrain (HAAT).
When coordinating applications for vacated EA-based channels, the frequency coordinator must
confirm that the 40 dBµ V/m F(50,50) contour of the proposed facility does not extend into an adjacent
EA where the channel is unavailable for licensing.18
Frequency coordinators are not required to submit the contour analysis described above with the
application, but must retain records of their studies and VCSE/database searches for six months after the
application is granted.
Finally, applicants should be aware that the channels to be vacated by Sprint in the Interleaved
Band are in a variety of pools (General Category, Business/Industrial/Land Transportation, and SMR),
each of which has a specific set of eligible coordinators. In the event that a frequency coordinator is not
eligible to coordinate a channel category specified in an application, it must obtain the concurrence of an
eligible coordinator.

Pre-Filing Coordination Procedures

Pursuant to this Public Notice, frequency coordinators may accept applications for vacated
channels specified in this Public Notice that are submitted to them for coordination.19 In order to avoid
the possibility of the Commission receiving mutually exclusive applications, each frequency coordinator
must provide notification of each application submitted to it for coordination to all other participating
coordinators prior to filing the application with the Commission. The purpose of this notification is to
enable frequency coordinators to address and resolve conflicting applications prior to filing an application
with the Commission.20 If mutually exclusive applications are filed, all will be dismissed without
prejudice.
The notification process will commence on

December 11, 2012

, at 8:00 AM Eastern Standard
Time. At that time, but no earlier, each frequency coordinator may submit electronic notification to the
other participating coordinators of applications it has prepared for coordination.21 The exact date and
time of each notification will be time-stamped in a shared database using an automated process agreed to


16 47 C.F.R. § 90.693(b).
17 The maximum ERP varies with the antenna height above average terrain (HAAT). For instance, a maximum ERP
of 1000 watts is permitted for all HAAT values below 305 meters. See 47 C.F.R. § 90.635(b).
18 47 C.F.R. § 90.689(b).
19 Coordinators may also accept applications submitted to them for coordination prior to the date of this Public
Notice
, provided that they comply with the pre-filing coordination notification procedures set forth in this Public
Notice
.
20 See Letter dated May 22, 2009 from William Brownlow, Chairman, Public Safety Communications Council to
David L. Furth, Acting Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, Attachment (Memorandum of
Agreement).
21 Each notification must be filed individually, batch filing is not permitted.
4

by all participating coordinators.22 Applications that are submitted for notification must include the
following exhibits:
·
A showing that the appropriate contour of the proposed facility is within the contour of
the vacated facility or, in the case of vacated EA spectrum, does not extend into an
adjacent EA where the channel is not available for licensing;
·
A statement verifying channel availability;
·
A study detailing the directional height of the antenna above average terrain (DHAAT)
for any proposed facility employing the short-spacing separation table in Section
90.621(b)(4) of the rules.23
All participating frequency coordinators will check each notified application for conflicts with
other notified applications. Conflicting applications that are submitted for notification on the same date
will be considered “mutually exclusive.” In such cases, the application with the earliest notification date
and time stamp will take precedence when frequency choices are made pursuant to the coordinators’
agreed-to procedures for eliminating mutually exclusive channel conflicts. However, later-notified
mutually exclusive applications may maintain their priority for channels that have no conflicts. In
instances where an application submitted for pre-filing coordination conflicts with an application notified
on an earlier date, the later-notified applicant must either delete the pertinent conflicting channel or utilize
an engineering solution to eliminate the conflict prior to the coordinator’s filing of the application with
the Commission. Mutually exclusive applications filed with the Commission will be dismissed without
prejudice.

Exclusive Eligibility Periods

From

January 17, 2013

to

January 17, 2016

, vacated channels identified by this Public Notice will
be available exclusively for licensing to public safety eligible entities. From

January 17, 2016

to

January
17, 2018

, vacated channels identified by this Public Notice will be available exclusively for licensing to
public safety eligible entities and critical infrastructure industry eligible entities.

Continued Operation By Sprint Subject to 60 Days Notice

Applicants who receive licenses for channels vacated by Sprint in accordance with this

Public Notice

must provide 60 days notice to Sprint before they activate a channel for testing or the
commencement of operations.
Sprint may continue existing operations on channels covered by this
Public Notice after new licenses are granted until 60 days after the new licensee notifies Sprint of its
intention to activate the channel(s) for testing or commencement of operations. This advance notice must
be provided to Sprint by email at 800mhzinterleavedspectrum@sprint.com. Upon receipt of such notice,
Sprint must cease operation on the channel(s) specified in the notice within 60 days to the extent
necessary to comply with the co-channel spacing requirements of Section 90.621(b) of the rules. New
licenses granted pursuant to this Public Notice will be conditioned on providing such 60-day notice to
Sprint.


22 See Memorandum of Agreement.
23 47 C.F.R. § 90.621(b)(4).
5

Additional Information

For further information, contact Tracy Simmons, Policy Division, Public Safety and Homeland
Security Bureau, at (717) 338-2657 or Tracy.Simmons@fcc.gov, or Brian Marenco, Policy Division,
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, at (202) 418-0838 or Brian.Marenco@fcc.gov.
Action by Deputy Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.
– FCC –
6

Attachment A

Table 1 – Remaining Vacated Sprint Interleaved Band Channels Will be Made Available for Licensing in
the Following NPSPAC Regions
NPSPAC
Description of Region24
Region
1
Alabama
6
Northern California25
8
Metropolitan, NYC Area (NY, NJ, & CT)26
9
Florida
14
Indiana (except Southern Lake Michigan counties)27
16
Kansas
18
Louisiana
20
District of Columbia, Maryland, & Northern VA28
27
Nevada29
28
Eastern Pennsylvania (east of Harrisburg, southern NJ & DE)30
31
North Carolina
34
Oklahoma31
37
South Carolina
39
Tennessee
40
Texas (Central & Northeast)32
42
Virginia33


24 Regions that are only a portion of a state or states are defined by counties. For a list of the counties in each of
these regions see The Development of Operational, Technical and Spectrum Requirements For Meeting Federal,
State and Local Public Safety Agency Communication Requirements Through the Year 2010, First Report and
Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making,
14 FCC Rcd 152 (1998), available at
http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Wireless/Orders/1998/fcc98191.txt.
25 Counties not included: Fresno, Inyo, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, Tulare.
26 Counties not included: Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, CT; Bergen, Morris, Passaic, Sussex,
Warren, NJ; Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester, NY.
27 Counties not included: Adams, Allen, Bartholomew, Blackford, Brown, Clark, Dearborn, Decatur, De Kalb,
Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Grant, Hamilton, Hancock, Henry, Howard, Huntington, Jackson, Jay,
Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Kosciusko, Lagrange, Madison, Marion, Miami, Noble, Ohio, Randolph, Ripley,
Rush, Scott, Shelby, Steuben, Switzerland, Tipton, Union, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Wells, Whitley.
28 Counties not included: District of Columbia; Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Carroll, Cecil,
Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, Washington, MD;
Alexandria City, Arlington, Fairfax, Fairfax City, Falls Church City, Fauquier, Loudoun, Manassas City, Manassas
Park City, Prince William, VA..
29 County not included: Clark, Lincoln, Nye.
30 Counties not included: New Castle, DE; Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Chester, Columbia, Dauphin, Lackawanna,
Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland,
Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne, Wyoming, York, PA.
31 Counties not included: Cimarron, Comanche, Cotton, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Jefferson, Kiowa, Texas, Tillman.
32 Counties not included: Denton, Erath, Hood, Johnson, Palo Pinto, Parker, Somervell, Tarrant, Wise.
7

NPSPAC
Description of Region24
Region
47
Puerto Rico
48
U.S. Virgin Islands
49
Texas - Central (Austin Area)34
51
Texas - East (Houston Area)35
54
Southern Lake Michigan (Great Lakes inc. WI, IL, & IN)36





33 Counties not included: Buchanan, Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Warren,
Winchester City.
34 Counties not included: Bastrop, Bell, Blanco, Bosque, Brazos, Burleson, Burnet, Coryell, Falls, Fayette,
Hamilton, Hays, Hill, Lampasas, Lee, Llano, McLennan, Milam, Mills, San Saba, Travis, Washington, Williamson.
35 Counties not included: Austin, Brazoria, Colorado, Fort Bend, Grimes, Harris, Matagorda, Montgomery, Waller,
Wharton.
36 Counties not included: Elkhart, La Porte, Marshall, St. Joseph, Starke, IN; Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Cass,
Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, St. Joseph, Van Buren, MI; Ozaukee, WI. The VCSE identifier for this
region is 541 for counties in Wave 1 and 544 for counties in Wave 4.
8

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