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Dane County Equipment Waiver

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Released: February 11, 2013
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
February 11, 2013
DA 13-181
John DeJung
Director of Public Safety
Dane County Department of Public Safety
210 Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard
Madison, WI 53703
Re: Narrowbanding Waiver Request
Dear Director DeJung:
Dane County Wisconsin (Dane) requests a waiver of the prohibition in Section 90.203(j)(10) of
Commission’s rules1 on the manufacture and import of wideband (25 kHz) capable equipment.2 It seeks
this waiver in order to ensure a safe and orderly transition to a new VHF system for which Dane and other
licensees previously were granted a waiver of the Commission’s narrowbanding deadline.3 Dane seeks a
waiver of this prohibition on behalf of its manufacturer, Harris Corporation (Harris), to allow Harris to
sell it dual-band (25 kHz and 12.5 kHz) radios.4 By this letter order and for the reasons set forth below,
we grant the requested relief and grant Harris Corporation a waiver of Section 90.203(j)(10) to allow it to
enable the wideband functionality in radios belonging to Dane and those licensees who are subject to the
Dane Waiver Grant.
Background. On November 5, 2012, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau and the
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (collectively the Bureaus) granted Dane a waiver, until December
31, 2013, of the Commission’s VHF/UHF narrowbanding deadline, which requires private land mobile
radio (PLMR) licensees in the 150-174 MHz and 450-512 MHz bands to operate using channel
bandwidth of no more than 12.5 kHz, or equivalent efficiency, by January 1, 2013.5 The Bureaus granted
Dane the waiver to allow Dane to transition on to a new VHF system and also granted a waiver to other
specified licensees that will be joining the new system.


1 See 47 C.F.R. §90.203(j)(10) (manufacture and import).
2 See Request for Waiver, filed January 4, 2013 (Waiver Request).
3 See Letter, dated November 5, 2012 from Zenji Nakazawa, Deputy Chief, Policy and Licensing Division, Public
Safety and Homeland Security Bureau and Scot Stone, Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau to John DeJung, Director of Public Safety, Dane County of Public Safety (Dane
Waiver Grant).
4 Waiver Request at 3.
5 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.209(b)(5); see also Implementation of Sections 309(j) and 337 of the Communications Act of
1934 as Amended; Promotion of Spectrum Efficient Technologies on Certain Part 90 Frequencies, Third
Memorandum Opinion and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order
, WT Docket No.
99-87, RM-9332, 19 FCC Rcd 25045 (2004). On April 26, 2012, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Public
Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and Office of Engineering and Technology waived the January 1, 2013
narrowbanding deadline for 470-512 MHz band frequencies. See Implementation of Sections 309(j) and 337 of the
Communications Act of 1934 as Amended; Promotion of Spectrum Efficient Technologies on Certain Part 90
Frequencies, Order, WT Docket No. 99-87, RM-9332, 27 FCC Rcd 4213 (WTB/PSHSB/OET 2012).

John DeJung
DA 13-181
February 11, 2013
Page 2

Section 90.203(j)(10) prohibits the continued manufacture and import of wideband capable
equipment. Manufacture and import of previously certified multi-mode equipment is permitted, however,
if the modes of operation are enabled primarily through software rather than firmware or hardware, and
users are not provided with the programming software necessary to activate the wideband 25 kHz mode.6
In order to ensure a safe and orderly transition to the new system, Dane now seeks a waiver of the
prohibition in Section 90.203(j)(10) on the manufacture and import of wideband capable equipment, in
order to permit Dane to purchase new equipment that is capable of both 12.5 kHz (narrowband) and 25
kHz (wideband) operation so that it can deploy this new equipment prior to the system cutover.
Specifically, Dane indicates that it and the other system users utilize previously certified equipment that
the manufacturer Harris has disabled from accessing the wideband mode. It requests that Harris be
permitted to enable them to access their equipment’s inherent wideband functionality so that they can
utilize the equipment in wideband mode during the transition to the new system. It represents that the
equipment would be returned to narrowband-only operation within fourteen days of completion of the
new system.
Discussion. To obtain a waiver of the Commission’s rules a petitioner must demonstrate either
that (i) the underlying purpose of the rule(s) would not be served or would be frustrated by application to
the present case, and that a grant of the waiver would be in the public interest;7 or (ii) in view of unique or
unusual factual circumstances of the instant case, application of the rule(s) would be inequitable, unduly
burdensome, or contrary to the public interest or the applicant has no reasonable alternative.8
Based on the record before us, we conclude that Dane has presented sufficient facts to meet the
high standard for grant of the requested waiver. As we stated in the Dane Waiver Order, the County and
other licensees have shown diligence in planning and have invested substantial resources in preparation
for the migration to their new system. We believe the new system will significantly upgrade the County’s
communications capabilities, which will improve the safety and reliability of its operations. Absent a
grant of the waiver, however, the County would be unable to reap the full benefit of its system upgrade
until it converted to narrowband operations at or near the end of its waiver period. Dane claims that it
“faces the choice of purchasing legacy wideband devices or seeking authorization from the Commission
to enable the wideband functionality of the devices it will use for its narrowband system.”9 We agree, and
find that purchasing additional devices to be used solely during the County’s transition to narrowband
would be an impractical use of resources that would be better spent authorizing wideband functionality in
the “approximately 700 individual [narrowband] radios”10 that the County has already purchased.
Therefore, we grant Dane County a waiver of the prohibition on the manufacture and import of
radio frequency devices operating with a maximum channel bandwidth greater than 12.5 kHz11 until
fourteen calendar days after the expiration of the waiver period ending December 31, 2013, or until


6 See Licensees, Frequency Coordinators, and Equipment Manufacturers Reminded of Narrowband Migration
Deadlines in the 150-174 and 421-512 MHz Bands, Public Notice, 24 FCC Rcd 14511, 14513 (WTB/PSHSB/OET
2009).
7 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(b)(3)(i).
8 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(b)(3)(ii).
9 Waiver Request at 3.
10 Id.
11 See 47 C.F.R. §§90.203(j)(10).

John DeJung
DA 13-181
February 11, 2013
Page 3

fourteen calendar days after the narrowband system becomes operational, whichever occurs first, for
Dane and associated licensees.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications Act of 1934, as
amended, 47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and Section 1.925(b)(3)(i) of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R.
§ 1.925(b)(3)(i), that the Request for Waiver of Commission rules, filed on January 4, 2013 by Dane
County IS GRANTED to the extent described herein.
This action is taken under delegated authority pursuant to Sections 0.131, 0.191, 0.331, and 0.392
of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.131, 0.191, 0.331, 0.392.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Zenji Nakazawa
Deputy Chief, Policy and Licensing Division
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau
Scot Stone
Deputy Chief, Mobility Division
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

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