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MRA Waiver to Permit PLMR Operation on Part 90/95 Band Edges

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Released: January 28, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-89

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
MOBILE RELAY ASSOCIATES
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WT Docket No. 13-212
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Requests for Waivers to Permit Part 90 Use of
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Channels on the Band Edges Between Part 90 and
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Part 95 Spectrum
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ORDER

Adopted: January 27, 2014

Released: January 28, 2014

By the Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau:
1.
Introduction. We have before us applications and requests1 filed by Mobile Relay
Associates (MRA) for waiver of Sections 2.106 and 90.35 of the Commission’s Rules to permit MRA to
operate on frequency pairs 462/467.5375 MHz and 462/467.7375 MHz at locations in California,2
Colorado,3 Nevada,4 and Florida.5 For the reasons set forth below, we grant the waiver requests and will
process the applications.
2.
Background. Frequencies 462.5375 MHz, 462.7375 MHz, 467.5375 MHz, and 467.7375
MHz are allocated for land mobile operations,6 but currently are not designated for use by the
Industrial/Business Pool or any other Commission service.7 Rather, they are on the band edges between
Industrial/Business Pool spectrum and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) spectrum.
3.
MRA seeks assignment of these frequencies with a 4 kilohertz emission designator,
which it contends will present no risk of harmful interference because its requested channels will not
overlap any designated frequencies on either side, in light of the implementation of narrowbanding
(maximum 12.5 kHz channel bandwidth or equivalent efficiency)8 by private land mobile radio (PLMR)
licensees in the 150-174 MHz and 421-470 MHz bands.9 Further, MRA contends that there is widespread


1 MRA filed a near-identical waiver request with each application. See, e.g., Request for Rule Waiver (filed July 30,
2013) (Waiver Request).
2 See FCC File No. 0005877470 (filed July 30, 2013 and amended Aug. 1, 2013 and Aug. 21, 2013).
3 See FCC File No. 0005895551 (filed Aug. 14, 2013 and amended Aug. 19, 2013).
4 See FCC File No. 0005895553 (filed Aug. 14, 2013 and amended Aug. 19, 2013).
5 See FCC File No. 0005898064 (filed Aug. 16, 2013).
6 See 47 C.F.R. § 2.106 (United States Table of Frequency Allocations). Consequently, we agree with Kenwood
USA Corporation that no waiver of Section 2.106 is required. See Kenwood USA Corporation comments at 2 n.3.
7 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.35 (Industrial/Business Pool Frequency Table).
8 See Implementation of Sections 309(j) and 337 of the Communications Act of 1934 as Amended, Second Report and
Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
WT Docket No. 99-87, RM-9332, 18 FCC Rcd 3034
(2003); Implementation of Sections 309(j) and 337 of the Communications Act of 1934 as Amended, Third
Memorandum Opinion and Order, Third Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order,
WT Docket No. 99-
87, RM-9332, 19 FCC Rcd 25045 (2004) (Narrowbanding Third MO&O); see also 47 C.F.R. §§ 90.203(j),
90.209(b).
9 See Waiver Request at 3.

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DA 14-89

and increasing PLMR congestion in the areas in which it seeks relief.10
4.
The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s Mobility Division (Division) sought
comment on MRA’s requests.11 Most parties support MRA’s waiver requests,12 but two commenters
express concern about interference to GMRS operations.13
5.
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;14 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.15 Based on the record before us, we conclude that MRA has presented sufficient facts to meet
the standard for grant of the requested waivers.
6.
We conclude that the underlying purpose of the rules would not be served by application
to frequency pair 462/467.5375 MHz, and that grant of the waiver is in the public interest. The
frequencies requested by MRA formerly represented the channel edge of the wideband PLMR frequency
closest to the band edge between Industrial/Business Pool spectrum and GMRS spectrum. After the
narrowbanding transition, these adjacent frequencies (462.5250 MHz and 467.5250 MHz) are no longer
assignable for wideband operations, so there is no channel bandwidth overlap with MRA’s requested
frequency pair.16 We conclude that the public interest would be served by permitting the assignment of
these frequencies to alleviate PLMR congestion at the requested locations. It would further the purpose
of the narrowbanding rules to permit the efficient use of scarce PLMR spectrum.
7.
With respect to frequency pair 462/467.7375 MHz, MRA initially failed to recognize that
Industrial/Business frequency 462.750 MHz is exempt from narrowbanding and still may be assigned
with a channel bandwidth of 25 kilohertz,17 which would overlap MRA’s requested frequency pair. The
Commission exempted this and other paging-only frequencies from narrowbanding because paging
frequencies are not congested and the Commission was concerned that requiring a systemic overhaul of
paging transmitters would harm the paging industry’s ability to provide service.18 After the Division
pointed out that frequency 462.750 MHz is narrowband-exempt, MRA and its frequency coordinator
demonstrated that no incumbent licensee on the frequency operates in any of the areas at issue with an
occupied bandwidth greater than 20 kilohertz and thus there is no overlap of occupied bandwidth with


10 See id.
11 See Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Seeks Comment on Requests of Mobile Relay Associates for Waivers
to Permit Part 90 Use of Channels on the Band Edges Between Part 90 and Part 95 Spectrum, Public Notice, WT
Docket No. 13-212, 28 FCC Rcd 12802 (WTB MD 2013).
12 See, e.g., Enterprise Wireless Alliance comments at 1; Rebel Communications, LLC comments at 1.
13 See P. Randall Knowles comments at 1; Personal Radio Steering Group, Inc. comments at 2.
14 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(b)(3)(i).
15 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(b)(3)(ii).
16 Nor do MRA’s requested 4-kilohertz frequencies overlap the adjacent 6-kilohertz Industrial/Business Pool
frequencies (462.53125 MHz and 467.53125 MHz).
17 See Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and Office of
Engineering and Technology Provide Reminder of January 1, 2013 Deadline for Transition to Narrowband
Operations in the 150-174 MHz and 421-470 MHz Bands, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd 14896, 14898
(WTB/PSHSB/OET 2012) (citing 47 C.F.R. § 90.35(c)(29)).
18 See Narrowbanding Third MO&O, 19 FCC Rcd at 25059-60 ¶ 33.
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MRA’s proposed 4-kilohertz emission.19 Consequently, we conclude that a waiver also is appropriate
with respect to frequency pair 462/467.7375 MHz.
8.
The Division’s predecessor granted a similar waiver request in 2003.20 The City of
Burbank requested a narrowband frequency pair that was allocated for land mobile operations, but not
designated for use by the Public Safety Pool or any other Commission service; rather, the frequencies
were offset between Part 90 PLMR spectrum and Part 22 paging control spectrum. The Division’s
predecessor noted that a purpose of the frequency designations was to assign paging control channels
under Part 22 with sufficient guard band spacing to adjacent Part 90 PLMR operations, and concluded
that this purpose would not be served by application of the rules because there were no paging licensees
on the adjacent Part 22 channel to incur interference.21 The Division’s predecessor also concluded that
grant of the waiver request would serve the public interest by facilitating access to spectrum in a
congested area.22
9.
We are not persuaded by commenters’ concerns regarding interference to adjacent-
channel GMRS operations. P. Randall Knowles contends that MRA’s proposed operations will overlap
and interfere with existing licensed GMRS operations on frequencies 462.5375 MHz, 462.7375 MHz,
467.5375 MHz, and 467.7375 MHz.23 Similarly, the Personal Radio Steering Group, Inc. contends that
the “guardband” spectrum for which MRA seeks a waiver is appropriate and necessary to protect existing
and future licensed GMRS operations.24 We disagree. Because MRA proposes to operate with a 4
kilohertz emission, there is no spectral overlap with adjacent-channel GMRS operations. When the
current frequency designations were adopted, PLMR stations operated in wideband mode and the
frequencies between PLMR and GMRS spectrum were could not be used without overlap. With the
development of equipment with an occupied bandwidth of 4 kilohertz, PLMR stations can operate
without causing harmful interference or impacting the use of adjacent GMRS spectrum. Finally, Knowles
suggests that any newly available spectrum adjacent to GMRS frequencies should be designated for
GMRS use,25 but this argument overlooks the fact that the GMRS technical rules do not provide for
equipment with a narrow enough emission to operate on the frequencies in question without overlapping
other channels.26
10.
Consequently, we grant MRA’s request for waivers to operate on frequency pairs
462/467.5375 MHz and 462/467.7375 MHz in California, Colorado, Nevada, and Florida.
11.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED pursuant to Sections 4(i), 303(g), and 303(r) of the


19 See MRA comments at 2-3; Forest Industries Telecommunications comments at 2-3.
20 See City of Burbank, California, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 18 FCC Rcd 23770 (WTB PSPWD 2003)
(Burbank). The Commission reorganized the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau effective November 13, 2003,
and the relevant duties of the Public Safety and Private Wireless Division (PSPWD) were assumed by the Public
Safety and Critical Infrastructure Division (PSCID). See Reorganization of the Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau, Order, 18 FCC Rcd 25414, 25414 ¶ 2 (2003). Pursuant to a Commission reorganization effective
September 25, 2006, certain duties of PSCID were assumed by the Mobility Division. See Establishment of the
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, Order, 21 FCC Rcd 10867 (2006).
21 See Burbank, 18 FCC Rcd at 23772 ¶ 6; see also County of Westchester, New York, Order, 25 FCC Rcd 10843,
10848 ¶ 11 (PSHSB PD 2010) (similar).
22 See Burbank, 18 FCC Rcd at 23772 ¶ 7.
23 See P. Randall Knowles (Knowles) comments at 1.
24 See Personal Radio Steering Group, Inc. comments at 2.
25 See Knowles comments at 2-3.
26 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 95.631(a), 95.633(a).
3

Federal Communications Commission

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Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 303(g), and 303(r), and Section 1.925 of
the Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. § 1.925, that the Requests for Waiver filed by Mobile Relay
Associates on July 30, 2013, in conjunction with application FCC File No. 0005877470; on August 14,
2013, in conjunction with applications FCC File Nos. 0005895551 and 0005895553; and on August 16,
2013, in conjunction with application FCC File No. 0005898064 ARE GRANTED, and the applications
SHALL BE PROCESSED in accordance with this Order and the Commission’s Rules.
12.
This action is taken under delegated authority pursuant to Sections 0.131 and 0.331 of the
Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.131, 0.331.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Scot Stone
Deputy Chief, Mobility Division
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
4

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