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Commencement of 800 MHz Band Reconfiguration Along Mexico Border

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Released: August 16, 2013

PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 13-1770

Released: August 16, 2013

PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU ANNOUNCES THAT THE

30-MONTH TRANSITION PERIOD FOR 800 MHZ BAND RECONFIGURATION IN REGIONS

ALONG THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER WILL COMMENCE ON AUGUST 23, 2013

Bureau Approves U.S. Mexico Border Reconfiguration Timetable Submitted by the

800 MHz Transition Administrator and Establishes Application Freeze Dates

WT Docket No. 02-55

By this Public Notice, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) announces that
the 30-month transition period for reconfiguration of 800 MHz licensees along the U.S.-Mexico border
will begin on August 23, 2013, and will end on February 23, 2016.
Fifth R&O in WT Docket 02-55
On April 1, 2013, the Bureau released the Fifth Report and Order (Fifth R&O) in WT Docket
02-55, which adopts a reconfigured channel plan for the 800 MHz band in the National Public Safety
Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) Regions along the U.S.-Mexico border.1 The Fifth R&O also
established a 30-month transition period for licensees to complete rebanding in these regions.2 The Fifth
R&O
provided that the 30-month period would begin 60 days after the effective date of the order.3 The
order became effective on June 24, 2013, establishing August 23, 2013 as the start date for the transition
period.4
Reconfiguration Timetable Approved
On August 6, 2013, the 800 MHz Transition Administrator (TA) filed a timetable for band
reconfiguration as directed by the Bureau in the Fifth R&O.5 The Reconfiguration Timetable establishes a
single stage for licensees to plan, submit a cost estimate to Sprint, and negotiate a Frequency

1 See Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, New 800 MHz Band Plan for U.S. Mexico
Sharing Zone, WT Docket 02-55, Fifth Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd 4085 (PSHSB 2013) (Fifth R&O). The
NPSPAC Regions bordering Mexico are listed in Appendix I.
2 Id. at 4102 53. The Fifth R&O also provided that the Bureau will evaluate the progress of band reconfiguration
as of the 18th month of the transition period to determine whether additional time is needed based upon
circumstances beyond licensees' control. Id. at 4102 54.
3 Fifth R&O, 28 FCC Rcd 4102 53.
4 See 78 FR 23855 (April 23, 2013).
5 Id. at 4102 55.

Reconfiguration Agreement (FRA).6 The TA submits that a single stage approach is optimal because
"public safety licensees that hold both NPSPAC and non-NPSPAC licenses will benefit from conducting
their planning and the reconfiguration of those frequencies as a single coordinated project."7 By this
Public Notice, the Bureau approves the Reconfiguration Timetable as filed. Key dates specified in the
Reconfiguration Timetable are listed in Appendix II.
Affected Licensees
The dates listed in the Reconfiguration Timetable apply to all 800 MHz licensees in Wave 4
regions along the U.S. Mexico border that have not previously received replacement channel proposals
from the TA because they are subject to the U.S. Mexico border band plan. All affected licensees must
comply with these deadlines. The TA currently is providing replacement channel proposals to these
licensees.
Licensee and Vendor Responsibilities
We remind licensees of their obligation to retain only reconfiguration vendors that are qualified
and competent to perform reconfiguration tasks on the schedule set out in the Reconfiguration Timetable.
Vendor failure will not excuse untimely completion of rebanding. Licensees and vendors must promptly
respond to TA communications and requests for information throughout the reconfiguration process.
Furthermore, any statement made to the TA by a licensee's agents, counsel, or representative on behalf of
a licensee is held to the same requirements of truth and candor as statements made to the Commission.8
System Upgrades
A licensee seeking a system upgrade (whereby the licensee upgrades its system, Sprint pays the
licensee the lesser of the amount that it otherwise would have paid for rebanding to comparable facilities
or the cost of the upgrade, and the licensee pays the additional cost of the upgraded system from its own
funds) should notify the TA and Sprint, in writing, no later than the due date for submission of the
licensee's cost estimate.9 The notice must describe the nature of the proposed upgrade, the cost, the
source of committed funds, and the proposed implementation schedule. Upgrades that would materially
delay completion of rebanding in the Mexico border area will be disapproved.
Change Notices
We remind Licensees of the Commission's guidance on Change Notices.10 Change Notices are
appropriate only when a licensee is faced with unforeseeable changes in cost, scope, or schedule that
occur during implementation or in the case of an emergency. Costs incurred by a licensee in excess of
those authorized in an FRA are at the licensee's risk until a Change Notice is submitted and approved. A
licensee may not use the Change Notice process to recover costs that were reasonably foreseeable during

6 See 800 MHz Transition Administrator, LLC, "Reconfiguration Timetable for the Reconfiguration of the 800 MHz
Band in the Sharing Zone and Affected NPSPAC Regions Along the U.S.-Mexico Border," WT Docket No. 02-55
(filed Aug. 6, 2013) at 11.
7 Id.
8 See Clarklift of San Jose, Inc. and Moore Material Handling Group, Order on Reconsideration, 15 FCC Rcd. 4616
(WTB 2000) (corporations are bound by the statements and declarations made by its agents within the scope of their
employment and with the actual or apparent authority of the corporation).
9 See Fifth R&O, 28 FCC Rcd 4105 63.
10 See FCC Announces Supplemental Procedures and Provides Guidance for Completion of 800 MHz Rebanding,
WT Docket 02-55, Public Notice, 22 FCC Rcd 17227, 17229.
2

FRA negotiations but were not raised in negotiations or that were considered and rejected. Finally, costs
sought in a Change Notice must meet the Commission's minimum necessary cost standard.11
Licensee Status Reporting and Monitoring Replacement Frequencies
Licensees and vendors must cooperate with the TA and respond to TA requests for information
with regard to licensee reconfiguration efforts and implementation schedules. Licensees must attend an
Implementation Planning Session (IPS), if offered, in their region. Note also that licensees in the Sharing
Zone may need to monitor their replacement frequencies prior to infrastructure retuning to ensure there is
no harmful interference from users that have not properly cleared on the replacement frequencies. Sprint,
working in conjunction with the TA and the FCC, will notify licensees when their replacement
frequencies in the Sharing Zone in the U.S. have been reported as clear and ready for their use.
Monitoring ahead of this notification is not advised as licensees may detect signals from licensees, both in
Mexico and the U.S., that are still in the process of reconfiguring and erroneously report them as
interference. Licensees should include monitoring expenses in their cost estimates if necessary.
Closing Process
Licensees must retain cost support documentation and records for 24 months after the closing of a
Planning Funding Agreement (PFA) or 18 months after the closing of an FRA, or for such longer period
as may be required by the licensee's established record retention policy or applicable laws. More detailed
information regarding required cost support documentation and record retention requirements may be
found in the Actual Cost Reconciliation Fact Sheet on the TA's website at
http://www.800ta.org/content/resources/ACR_Fact_Sheet.pdf. Also, Licensees must return to Sprint or
its designee equipment that was replaced during reconfiguration. If a licensee does not return the
replaced equipment, it may be responsible for, among other things, paying the value of the replacement
equipment provided to the licensee.
Application Freeze
In the 800 MHz Report and Order, the Commission froze the acceptance of new 800 MHz
applications during the planning and negotiation periods for each region subject to rebanding.12 In the
Canada border area, the Bureau extended the freeze through the implementation period in order to avoid
potential licensing conflicts which could delay band reconfiguration.13 We adopt a similar approach for
the Mexico border area. Consequently, until February 24, 2016, we will not accept 800 MHz
applications in the NPSPAC regions listed in Appendix I. This freeze also applies to those stations
located within seventy miles of the borders of the NPSPAC Regions listed in the Appendix I.
The freeze applies only to applications for new facilities or modification applications that involve
a change of frequency or expand a station's existing coverage area. Applications that do not affect
frequency or coverage (e.g., administrative updates, assignments/transfers, and renewal-only applications)
are not subject to the freeze.

11 The term "minimum necessary" cost refers to the minimum cost necessary to accomplish rebanding in a
reasonable, prudent and timely manner. See Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, WT
Docket 02-55, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 22 FCC Rcd 9818, 9820 6 (2007).
12 Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, WT Docket 02-55, Report and Order, 19 FCC
Rcd 14969, 15078 204 (2004).
13 See Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Reinstates 800 MHz Application Freeze for Wave 4 Border
Area NPSPAC and Non-NPSPAC Licensees Along the U.S.-Canada Border, Public Notice, 25 FCC Rcd 11049
(PSHSB 2010).
3

Licensees on pre-rebanding channels proposing to expand coverage or add a new channel during
the freeze may seek Special Temporary Authorization (STA) based upon an appropriate showing of
public interest need as described in the Bureau's December 2006 STA Guidance PN.14 Furthermore,
licensees on post-rebanding channels proposing to expand coverage or add a new channel during the
freeze may apply for permanent authorization provided they include a request for waiver of the freeze
with their application.
In either case, licensees must include a concurrence letter from the TA with their STA or waiver
request and application. Licensees may request a concurrence letter from the TA by emailing an
electronic copy of their draft application to the TA at: AppReview@800TA.org.
Further Information
For further information, contact: Brian Marenco, Policy Division, Public Safety and Homeland
Security Bureau, at (202) 418-0838 or Brian.Marenco@fcc.gov.
Action by the Deputy Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.
FCC

14 See Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Provides Guidance for Public Safety Licensees With Regard to
License Application and Special Temporary Authorization Procedures and Payment of Frequency Relocation Costs
for Public Safety Facilities Added During 800 MHz Band Reconfiguration, Public Notice, 21 FCC Rcd 14658
(PSHSB 2006).
4

Appendix I

NPSPAC Regions Bordering Mexico

NPSPAC Region
Description of Region15
3
Arizona
5
Southern California
29
New Mexico
50
West and Central Texas (Midland Area)
53
Southern Texas (San Antonio Area)

15 Regions that are only a portion of a state or states are defined by counties. A list of the counties in each of these
regions can be accessed at http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Wireless/Orders/1998/fcc98191.txt.
5

Appendix II

Reconfiguration Timetable Key Dates

Milestone
Date
Commencement of 30-month transition period for reconfiguration
August 23, 2013
Requests for Planning Funding (RFPFs) due
August 23, 2013
Change Notices due for licensees that already have a Planning Funding
August 23, 2013
Agreement (PFA) and need to amend it to complete planning
Start of planning period for licensees without a PFA
August 23, 2013
Expansion Band Elections due
November 20, 2013
Guard Band Elections due
November 20, 2013
Based upon number of
Cost Estimates due for licensees without a PFA
subscriber units
Licensees with 5,000 subscriber units or less
November 20, 2013
Licensees with 5,001 to 10,000 subscriber units
December 2, 2013
Licensees with more than 10,000 subscriber units
December 10, 2013
90 to 110 days from
Cost Estimates due for licensees with a PFA or PFA Amendment
TA approval of PFA
or PFA Amendment
Licensees with 5,000 subscriber units or less
90 days
Licensees with 5,001 to 10,000 subscriber units
100 days
Licensees with more than 10,000 subscriber units
110 days
Completion of implementation by licensees
February 23, 2016
End of 30-month transition period
February 23, 2016
6

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