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New 800 MHz Band Plan for U.S. - Mexico Sharing Zone

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Released: August 17, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1343

Before the

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Improving Public Safety Communications in the
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WT Docket 02-55
800 MHz Band
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New 800 MHz Band Plan for U.S. – Mexico
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Sharing Zone
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FOURTH FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE MAKING

Adopted: August 17, 2012

Released: August 17, 2012

Comment Date: (30 days after publication in the Federal Register).
Reply Comment Date: (45 days after publication in the Federal Register).

By the Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Heading
Paragraph #
I.
INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................................. 1
II. BACKGROUND .................................................................................................................................... 2
III. DISCUSSION......................................................................................................................................... 6
A. Post-Rebanding Domestic Channel Plan ......................................................................................... 6
1. Standard Channel Centers for Licensees in Sharing Zone ...................................................... 10
2. Channel Plan for Sharing Zone ............................................................................................... 15
3. Channel Plan for NPSPAC Region 5 (Southern California) ................................................... 19
4. Channel Plan for Remaining Border-Area NPSPAC Regions ................................................ 24
B. Implementation Issues.................................................................................................................... 25
1. Planning, Negotiation and Mediation...................................................................................... 26
2. Rebanding Implementation Timetable .................................................................................... 32
3. Stages and Steps for Completing Rebanding .......................................................................... 33
C. Additional Issues............................................................................................................................ 37
D. Cost Benefit Analysis..................................................................................................................... 41
IV. PROCEDURAL MATTERS................................................................................................................ 42
A. Comment Filing Procedures........................................................................................................... 42
B. Ex Parte Rules – Permit-But-Disclose Proceeding ........................................................................ 46
C. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis........................................................................................... 47
D. Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis ....................................................................... 48
V. ORDERING CLAUSES....................................................................................................................... 49

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I.

INTRODUCTION

1. On June 8, 2012, the United States and Mexico signed an agreement modifying the
international allocation of 800 MHz spectrum in the U.S.-Mexico border region (Amended Protocol),1
which enables the U.S. to proceed with 800 MHz band reconfiguration in the border region. In this
Notice, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB or Bureau), on delegated authority,
seeks comment on proposals for establishing and implementing the reconfigured 800 MHz channel plan
along the U.S.-Mexico border.

II.

BACKGROUND

2. Prior to signing the Amended Protocol, the U.S. and Mexico operated along their common
border in the 800 MHz band pursuant to a bilateral protocol signed in 1994 (1994 Protocol),2 which
assigns access to spectrum between the two countries in a “Sharing Zone” consisting of the region
extending 110 kilometers from the border into both countries.3 The 1994 Protocol divides access to 800
MHz spectrum in the Sharing Zone evenly, with each country having primary access to 50 percent of the
channels in the band.4 Within the Sharing Zone, licensees may operate freely on channels designated as
primary to their own country, subject to certain power and antenna height limits.5 Licensees may also
operate in the Sharing Zone on channels primary to the other country so long as they do not exceed
specified signal strength limits at and beyond the border.6 Because of the limits on signal strength,
licensees are generally only able to operate low-powered systems on the other country’s primary spectrum
within the Sharing Zone. Beyond the Sharing Zone, however, licensees in each country operate in the
800 MHz band without restriction.7
3. In July 2004, the Commission adopted the 800 MHz Report and Order, which reconfigured
the 800 MHz band in the U.S. to eliminate interference to public safety and other land mobile
communication systems operating in the band.8 The Commission, however, deferred adopting band
reconfiguration plans for the border areas, noting that “implementing the band plan in areas of the United
States bordering Mexico and Canada will require modifications to international agreements for use of the
800 MHz band in the border areas.”9 The Commission stated that “[t]he details of the border band plans
will be determined in our ongoing discussions with the Mexican and Canadian governments.”10 The


1 See Protocol Between the Department of State of the United States of America and the Secretariat of
Communications and Transportation of the United Mexican States Concerning the Allotment, Assignment and Use
of the 806-824/851-869 MHz and 896-901/935-940 MHz Bands for Terrestrial Non-Broadcasting
Radiocommunication Services Along the Common Border (June 8, 2012) (Amended Protocol).
2 See Protocol Concerning the Use of the 806-824/851-869 and 896-901/935-940 MHz Band for Land Mobile
Services Along the Common Border (June 16, 1994) (1994 Protocol).
3 1994 Protocol at Article I, paragraph 1. The Sharing Zone is displayed in Appendix B, infra.
4 1994 Protocol, Appendix A and B.
5 Id at Article III, paragraph 3.
6 Id. at Article III, paragraph 4.
7 Id. at Article III, paragraph 6.
8 See Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, Report and Order, WT Docket No. 02-55, 19
FCC Rcd 14969 (2004) (800 MHz Report and Order).
9 Id. at 14985-14986 ¶ 25.
10 Id. at 15063 ¶ 176.
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Commission also recognized that these international negotiations could cause rebanding in the border
regions to take longer than rebanding in non-border regions.11
4. Following adoption of the 800 MHz Report and Order, U.S. and Mexico representatives
initiated negotiations to amend the 1994 Protocol to accommodate 800 MHz band reconfiguration by U.S.
licensees in the border region. The negotiations focused on modifying the 1994 Protocol in a manner that
would enable NPSPAC licensees in the Sharing Zone to relocate to the 806-809/851-854 MHz band –
which the 1994 Protocol allocates on a primary basis to Mexico.12 In June 2012, these negotiations
culminated in the signing of the Amended Protocol, which reapportions spectrum in the Sharing Zone
between the U.S. and Mexico as follows:
·
The U.S. and Mexico each continue to have primary access to an equal number of channels in
the 800 MHz band.13
·
U.S. licensees have primary access to the lowest 6.25 x 6.25 megahertz paired block of
spectrum (806-812.25/851-857.25 MHz).14
·
Mexican licensees have primary access to the 6.25 x 6.25 megahertz paired block of spectrum
immediately above the U.S. primary block (812.25-818.5/857.25-863.5 MHz).15
·
U.S. and Mexican licensees may operate on channels in the other country’s primary spectrum
provided they do not exceed the specified maximum signal strength at any point at or beyond
the border.16
·
U.S. and Mexican licensees share co-primary access to the uppermost 5.5 x 5.5 megahertz
paired spectrum block (818.5-824/863.5-869 MHz).17
·
Antenna height limits in the Sharing Zone are based on antenna height above average terrain
on standard radials in the direction of the common border while maximum power limits apply
only in the direction of the common border.18
5. The spectrum reapportionment under the Amended Protocol will require some incumbent
operators in the Mexican portion of the Sharing Zone to relocate out of spectrum that is being converted
from Mexico primary to U.S. primary status. These Mexican operators will relocate either to replacement


11 Id. at ¶ 176 n.471, 15125 ¶ 332.
12 See infra Appendix C-1 and C-2.
13 Amended Protocol at Article I, paragraph 1.
14 Id. at Appendix II, Tables III and IV.
15 Id.
16 Id. at Article III, paragraph 4.
17 U.S. and Mexican licensees operating in the co-primary portion of the band will be permitted to operate up to a
signal strength level at the border of -107 dBW/m2 but may exceed this level if all counterpart operators agree to a
higher level. Id. at Article III, paragraph 6.
18 Id. at Article III, paragraph 3, Table I. Licensees will retune to replacement channels at their existing power and
antenna height. Licensees making modifications after rebanding, however, will need to comply with the power and
antenna height limits listed in the Amended 800 MHz Protocol which, in most cases, are more flexible than limits in
the previous agreement.
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channels in the new Mexico primary band segment or to non-800 MHz channels.19 In some instances,
these relocations will need to be coordinated with relocations on the U.S. side to ensure an orderly
transition. The Amended Protocol provides for a joint U.S. – Mexico task force to coordinate transition
of incumbent licensees on both sides of the border to new channels consistent with the band plan
specified in the Amended Protocol.20 The Amended Protocol also provides that licensees operating in the
co-primary spectrum block will be responsible for covering the reasonable relocation costs of Mexican
incumbents.21

III.

DISCUSSION

A.

Post-Rebanding Domestic Channel Plan

6. With the adoption of the Amended Protocol, the Bureau may now implement band
reconfiguration in the NPSPAC regions bordering Mexico, i.e., Southern California (NPSPAC Region 5),
Arizona (NPSPAC Region 3), New Mexico (NPSPAC Region 29), Texas – El Paso (NPSPAC Region
50) and Texas – San Antonio (NPSPAC Region 53).22 Consequently, we propose a channel plan specific
to U.S. licensees that operate in all of these NPSPAC regions within the Sharing Zone, i.e., within 110
kilometers of the border. We also propose a channel plan for licensees operating in the portions of these
NPSPAC regions that are outside the Sharing Zone.
7. As with channel plans previously adopted for non-border regions and the Canada border
region, our goal is to separate—to the greatest extent possible—public safety and other non-cellular
licensees from licensees in the band that employ cellular technology. Furthermore, we seek to maintain
the ability of public safety licensees operating in the Sharing Zone to interoperate with counterpart
licensees both inside and outside of the Sharing Zone.
8. Similar to reconfiguration in all other NPSPAC regions, the 800 MHz Transition
Administrator (TA) will assign licensees post-band reconfiguration replacement channels based on the
channel plan we adopt in this proceeding.23 Sprint will then be responsible for paying the minimum
reasonable costs of retuning incumbents to comparable facilities on their replacement channels.24
9. We caution that in some cases there is likely to be little room for adjustment to the channel
plan we propose below due to the limitations on spectrum use in the Sharing Zone combined with the
requirement to accommodate all incumbent licensees within a region with comparable post-rebanding
replacement channels.25 Nonetheless, we seek comment on any alternatives to our proposals below. We


19 Mexico is considering relocating some Mexican incumbents out of the 800 MHz band.
20 Amended Protocol at Article V.
21 Id. It is anticipated that these costs will be borne by Sprint and by NII Holdings, Inc., the parent company of
Nextel Mexico, pursuant to a side agreement between them. See Letter from James B. Goldstein, Director –
Spectrum, Sprint Nextel, to Ambassador Philip L. Verveer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, United States
Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, US Department of State (June 8, 2010).
22 The Commission delegated authority to the Bureau in 2007 to propose and adopt border area band plans once the
United States reached the required agreements with Canada and Mexico. Improving Public Safety Communications
in the 800 MHz Band, Second Memorandum Opinion and Order, WT Docket No. 02-55, 22 FCC Rcd 10467,
10494-95 (2007) (800 MHz Second Memorandum Opinion and Order).
23 800 MHz Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 15074 ¶ 198.
24 Id. See also Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, Memorandum Opinion and Order,
22 FCC Rcd 9818 (2007).
25 47 C.F.R. § 90.699(d).
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also seek comment from individual licensees on any particular factors that they believe should be
considered when assigning replacement channels, e.g., the need for channels with a wide emission mask
to accommodate data systems.26

1.

Standard Channel Centers for Licensees in Sharing Zone

10. Before discussing the details of our proposed channel plan, we propose a universal change to
the center frequency definition for channels assigned to licensees in the Sharing Zone. Under current
rules, as illustrated below, certain licensees in the Sharing Zone operate on channels with channel centers
that offset 12.5 kilohertz lower in frequency than channel centers used by licensees throughout the rest of
the U.S.27
Figure 1 – Offset Channels In Sharing Zone
25 kHz
Standard
Channel
Standard Channel X
Standard Channel Y
Centers
12.5 kHz
12.5 kHz
Sharing Zone
Sharing Zone
Sharing Zone
“Offset” Channel
Channel X
Channel Y
Centers
25 kHz
11. The Commission in 1981 first considered adopting offset channel centers in the Sharing Zone
in Southern California to limit co-channel interference between licensees in San Diego County (who
operate within the Sharing Zone) and adjacent licensees operating outside the Sharing Zone in Los


26 In this regard, we remind licensees that, for the limited purpose of band reconfiguration, inter-category sharing is
permitted in order to give the TA maximum flexibility in assigning replacement channels to licensees. See 47
C.F.R. § 90.677. Thus, the TA will consider the pool category of a replacement channel but is not bound by the
eligibility requirements of that pool category.
27 47 C.F.R. § 90.619(a).
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Angeles and Orange Counties.28 In June of 1982, however, the United States signed a frequency sharing
agreement with Mexico, which altered the Commission’s original 1981 “Southern California” proposal
and required licensees throughout the entire Sharing Zone to operate using offset channel centers.29 As a
result, today all licensees in the Sharing Zone operate on offset channels regardless of where they are
located along the border.
12. We now revisit that approach and propose that the Commission adopt standard channel
centers for the Sharing Zone. The changes to the 800 MHz band plan in the Amended Protocol provide
us with new flexibility to eliminate offset channel centers and allow U.S. licensees to operate on standard
channel centers in the Sharing Zone. Furthermore, we believe we can resolve the spectrum congestion
issues in Southern California more effectively under the Amended Protocol by making maximum use,
particularly in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, of channels newly established as primary to Mexico
(812.25-818.5/857.25-863.5 MHz), which are sparsely used in San Diego County but which may be used
without restriction outside the Sharing Zone.30
13. Based on our experience with offset channels along the border, and in light of the changes
made in the Amended Protocol, we tentatively conclude that the inefficiencies created by these offset
channels outweigh their benefits. For instance, as a result of the offset, licensees operating outside the
Sharing Zone and seeking to interoperate with licensees inside the Sharing Zone must program an
additional set of offset channels into their radios. Similarly, licensees operating inside the Sharing Zone
must program an additional set of non-offset channels into their radios in order to interoperate with
counterpart licensees outside the Sharing Zone. We note that these inefficiencies affect licensees
operating throughout the Sharing Zone despite the fact that the offset channel centers were established
solely to resolve potential spectrum congestion in Southern California.31
14. Consequently, we believe that band reconfiguration offers us an opportunity to improve
interoperability along the U.S.-Mexico border while eliminating the inefficiencies created by offset
channels. Therefore, we propose to eliminate the channel center offsets in the Sharing Zone and use
standard channel centers for all post-band reconfiguration channel assignments in the Sharing Zone. We
also note that some licensees outside the Sharing Zone in the five NPSPAC regions bordering Mexico
operate on offset channels. We propose to eliminate offset channels for these licensees as well and use
standard channel centers for their post-band reconfiguration channel assignments. We seek comment on
our tentative conclusions about the inefficiencies created by offset channels and our proposal to eliminate
them and assign standard channels to all licensees along the Mexico border.
2.

Channel Plan for Sharing Zone

15. For the Sharing Zone, we propose to adopt the channel plan depicted in Appendix C-4. This
channel plan proposal is based on the terms of the Amended Protocol, which makes the 806-809/851-854


28 See Amendment of Part 90 of the Commission’s Rules to Release Spectrum in the 806-866 MHz Bands and
Adopt Rules and Regulations Which Govern Their Use, Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, Docket 79-191,
46 F.R. 37927, 37931 ¶ 19 (1981).
29 The 1982 agreement was a precursor agreement to the 1994 Protocol. See Agreement Between the United States
of America Government and the Government of the United Mexican States Concerning Land Mobile Service Along
the Common Border (June 18, 1982). See also Amendment of Part 90 of the Commission’s Rules to Release
Spectrum in the 806-866 MHz Bands and Adopt Rules and Regulations Which Govern Their Use, Second Report
and Order
, 90 FCC 2d 1281, 1318-19 ¶¶ 185-186 (1982).
30 See Amended Protocol at Article III, ¶ 8.
31 See supra n. 28.
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MHz band segment primary to licensees in the U.S.32 Consequently, we propose establishing post-
reconfiguration NPSPAC channels in this band segment in the Sharing Zone consistent with the post-
reconfiguration NPSPAC band throughout the rest of the U.S. Thus, in the Sharing Zone, the NPSPAC
band will consist of 225 channels (with 12.5 kHz spacing) and five mutual aid channels (with 25 kHz
spacing). Incumbent NPSPAC licensees in the Sharing Zone will generally relocate 15 megahertz lower
in frequency from their current location in the band.
16. We propose assigning the 85 channels immediately above the NPSPAC band to the Public
Safety Pool. In this manner, the number of pool channels available to public safety eligible entities will
remain the same after band reconfiguration as before band reconfiguration. We propose assigning the
remaining 45 channels in the U.S. primary band segment at 809-812.25/854-857.25 MHz to the General
Category.33
17. We propose assigning the 250 channels in the Mexican primary band segment (812.25-818.5
/857.25-863.5 MHz ) to the General Category. In order to ensure compliance with the Amended Protocol,
these channels will only be available for assignment without restriction outside the Sharing Zone, except
that they may be assigned inside the Sharing Zone subject to the signal strength limits allowed by the
Amended Protocol at and beyond the border.34
18. Finally, we propose establishing an ESMR dividing line at 818.5/863.5 MHz and assigning
channels in the 818.5-824/863.5-869 MHz band segment to the SMR Pool for use by licensees operating
high-density cellular systems in the band. We seek comment on all elements of our channel plan proposal
above or on any alternative channel plans that are consistent with the Amended Protocol and the
Commission’s overall goals for rebanding.
3.

Channel Plan for NPSPAC Region 5 (Southern California)

19. NPSPAC Region 5 encompasses Southern California and is the most congested public safety
region along the U.S.-Mexico border.35 The southern portion of the region — approximately one-third of
the region’s total geographic area — is included in the Sharing Zone.36 The remaining two-thirds of the
region, which includes most of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, is outside the Sharing Zone. Because
of the large number of incumbent 800 MHz licensees operating in this region, we propose establishing the
channel plan depicted in Appendix C-5 for Region 5 licensees located outside the Sharing Zone. This
proposed channel plan is identical to the channel plan for non-border 800 MHz regions, except that in the
815-817/860-862 MHz band segment we do not propose to establish an Expansion Band or Guard Band
in NPSPAC Region 5.37 We tentatively conclude that eliminating the Expansion and Guard Bands is


32 See supra ¶ 4.
33 For purposes of band reconfiguration, licensees in the Sharing Zone may be provided replacement frequencies on
any of these 130 channels without regard to Pool eligibility in order to accommodate combiner spacing and co-
channel separation requirements.
34 See Amended Protocol at Article III, ¶ 4. See also infra ¶ 40.
35 NPSPAC Region 5 includes the following counties in California: Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside,
San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura.
36 In NPSPAC Region 5, the Sharing Zone encompasses San Diego and Imperial Counties, the southern portions of
Orange and Riverside Counties and portions of Santa Catalina Island and all of San Clemente Island, both of which
are part of Los Angeles County. The remaining counties and portions of counties in NPSPAC Region 5 are outside
of the Sharing Zone.
37 In non-border regions, the Commission established the Expansion Band at 815-816/860-861 MHz and the Guard
Band at 816-817/861-862 MHz as buffers to provide additional interference protection from high-density ESMR
(continued….)
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necessary to accommodate the large number of non-ESMR incumbents in Region 5. This proposed
channel plan is also intended to maximize use outside the Sharing Zone of channels that are primary to
Mexico inside the Sharing Zone, so as to avoid creating co-channel conflicts within the region while
accommodating all incumbent licensees on post-rebanding replacement channels.
20. Under our proposal, Region 5 NPSPAC licensees outside the Sharing Zone will generally
relocate 15 megahertz lower in frequency from their current assignments in the 821-824/866-869 MHz
band to the new NPSPAC band at 806-809/851-854 MHz. Furthermore, B/ILT licensees, SMR licensees
(operating non-high density systems) and public safety licensees currently operating on pool channels will
relocate to replacement channels above the new NPSPAC band in the 809-817/854-862 MHz band
segment. However, the 130 channels immediately above the NPSPAC band (809-812.25/854.0-857.25
MHz) will likely be unavailable in the portion of Region 5 outside the Sharing Zone due to co-channel
spacing requirements necessary to accommodate intensive use by incumbent licensees inside the Sharing
Zone.38
21. Nonetheless, because Region 5 licensees operating outside the Sharing Zone will have
unrestricted access to Mexican primary channels, these licensees may retune to the 812.25-817/857.25-
862 MHz band. Consequently, by proposing to eliminate the Expansion and Guard Bands, we make
additional channel capacity available to compensate for 130 channels noted above that will be
unavailable.39
22. Based on examination of our licensing database we tentatively conclude that unless we
eliminate the Expansion Band and Guard Band in Region 5, we will be unable to accommodate all Region
5 non-ESMR incumbent licensees below 817/862 MHz. By eliminating the Expansion Band and Guard
Band for this region, we can avoid creating unacceptable co-channel short-spacing between adjacent
licensees operating inside and outside the Sharing Zone. We emphasize that under our proposal, Region 5
licensees that are assigned replacement channels in the 815-817/860-862 MHz band (the segment of the
band reserved for the Expansion or Guard Bands in non-border regions) will receive full protection
against unacceptable interference from licensees operating cellular systems above 817/862 MHz.40 In
addition, licensees assigned channels in the 816-817/861-862 MHz band (the Guard Band in non-border
regions) will not be required to operate with increased median received power levels in order to qualify
for protection from unacceptable interference.41
23. We seek comment on our proposed channel plan for the non-Sharing Zone portions Region 5.
In addition, we seek comment on what restrictions, if any, may be needed on licensees operating in the
ESMR band above 817/862 MHz to ensure that these systems do not cause unacceptable interference to
licensees operating below 817/862 MHz.
(Continued from previous page)


systems for public safety and other non-ESMR systems. See 800 MHz Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 15051-52 at
¶ 151.
38 The minimum separation between co-channel systems is typically 113 kilometers unless licensees satisfy the
requirements of a short-spacing table, in which case, co-channel systems may be spaced as close as 88 kilometers.
Furthermore, some mountain top sites in Southern California require a greater co-channel separation than 113
kilometers. See 47 C.F.R. § 90.621(b).
39 We note that under the band plan we propose, certain licensees operating north of the Sharing Zone in NPSPAC
Region 5, which would otherwise not need to reband under the standard non-border Band Plan, will be required to
retune to channels higher in the band in order to clear channels for licensees located in the Sharing Zone.
40 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.672.
41 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.617(k).
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4.

Channel Plan for Remaining Border-Area NPSPAC Regions

24. In the four NPSPAC regions that border Mexico other than Region 5, we propose to adopt the
channel plan depicted in Appendix C-6 for licensees operating outside the Sharing Zone. This proposed
channel plan is identical to the reconfigured channel plan for the non-border regions, and would include
the Expansion Band and Guard Band.42 We believe that this channel plan can accommodate all relocating
licensees in these four regions because, unlike Region 5, these regions are not as heavily congested. We
seek comment on this proposal.

B.

Implementation Issues

25. We now turn to the sequencing and timing of rebanding activity along the U.S.-Mexico
border. Once we have adopted a final channel plan for the border region, the TA will assign replacement
channels to licensees that must retune their systems, and the transition period will begin for licensees to
develop their reconfiguration plans, negotiate Frequency Reconfiguration Agreements (FRAs) with
Sprint, and complete the rebanding process. We further anticipate that rebanding in the border region will
proceed in stages and will require close coordination with Mexican operators that must relocate under the
Amended Protocol. As discussed in greater detail below, we propose a 30-month transition period for the
rebanding process in the border region, which would begin 60 days after the effective date of an order
establishing the border area channel plan. We seek comment on this timetable and its constituent
elements discussed below.
1.

Planning, Negotiation and Mediation

26. We propose an expedited timeline for planning, negotiation, and mediation periods for
licensees in the Mexico border region. As the Bureau noted when it established the identical timeline for
rebanding in the Canadian border region, we believe the experience gained in non-border area rebanding
has enabled the Commission and the TA to develop more efficient procedures for licensees to obtain
planning funding, conduct planning, prepare cost estimates, and negotiate an FRA.
27. Consequently, we propose that within 60 days of the effective date of an order establishing
the channel plan for the U.S.-Mexico border, each border area licensee that intends to negotiate a
Planning Funding Agreement (PFA) with Sprint must submit a Request for Planning Funding (RFPF) to
Sprint, after which the parties will have 30 days from the date of submittal of the RFPF to negotiate a
PFA. Further, some licensees may already have negotiated PFAs but may need to amend them to
complete the planning process after the channel plan for the U.S.-Mexico border become effective. In
this instance, we propose that these licensees must submit a Change Notice within 60 days of the effective
date of an order establishing channel plan for the U.S.-Mexico border, after which the parties will have 30
days from the date of submittal of the Change Notice to negotiate a PFA Amendment.
28. PFA and PFA Amendment negotiations will be monitored by a TA mediator, but without the
start of formal mediation. If, however, parties are unable to negotiate a PFA or PFA Amendment within
the 30 days noted above, the parties must participate in mediation for 20 working days.43 We propose
that, at the end of the 20-day mediation period, the TA mediator will refer any remaining disputed issues
to the Bureau for de novo review within 10 days after the close of the mediation period.
29. Upon TA approval of a PFA or PFA Amendment (or an equivalent starting date designated
by the TA for licensees without a PFA), we propose that the licensee must complete planning and submit


42 As with NPSPAC Region 5, certain licensees in these regions operating north of the Sharing Zone, which would
otherwise not need to reband, will be required to retune to channels higher in the band in order to clear channels for
licensees located in the Sharing Zone. See supra n. 39.
43 The TA would specify the beginning of the 20-day mediation period.
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a cost estimate to Sprint within 90 to 110 days, depending on the number of mobile/portable radio units in
the licensee’s system. For licensees with up to 5,000 units, we propose a period of 90 days to complete
planning and submit a cost estimate. For licensees with 5,001-10,000 units, we propose a period of 100
days to complete planning and submit a cost estimate. Finally, for licensees with more than 10,000 units,
we propose a period of 110 days to complete planning and submit a cost estimate. If the TA has not
assigned a licensee its replacement channels by the date the TA approves its PFA or PFA Amendment (or
the planning starting date designated by the TA for licensees without a PFA), the 90 to 110 day planning
period will run from the date the licensee receives its replacement channel assignment. A licensee may
petition the Bureau for additional time for planning, but any such petition must (a) explain why more time
is necessary, (b) demonstrate that the licensee has exercised diligence in the time already allotted (e.g.,
commencing planning promptly after TA approval of its PFA, promptly reviewing statements of work
prepared by its vendors, and completing planning tasks on schedule), and (c) set a firm schedule for
planning completion. We seek comment on our proposed time periods for Mexican border licensees to
complete planning.
30. Following the completion of planning and submission of a cost estimate to Sprint by the
licensee, we propose that parties have 30 days to negotiate an FRA. Under our proposal, negotiations
would be monitored by a TA mediator, but formal mediation would not begin. If, however, parties are
unable to negotiate an FRA within 30 days, they must participate in mandatory mediation for 20 working
days.44 We propose that at the end of the 20-day mediation period, the TA mediator will refer any
remaining disputed issues to the Bureau for de novo review within 10 days after the close of the mediation
period. We seek comment on these proposed planning, negotiation, and mediation time periods for the
Mexican border region.
31. As we have done in non-border regions and the Canadian border region, we also propose to
allow licensees in the Mexican border region to negotiate with Sprint for a system upgrade whereby the
licensee upgrades its system, Sprint pays the licensee the amount that it otherwise would have paid for
rebanding to comparable facilities, and the licensee pays the additional cost of the upgraded system from
its own funds. We propose that any licensee seeking such an upgrade notify the TA and Sprint, in
writing, no later than the due date for submission of its cost estimate. The notice, which is subject to TA
approval, must describe the nature of the upgrade, the cost, the source of funds, and the implementation
schedule. We seek comment on our proposed policy regarding system upgrades. We note that upgrade
proposals are given close scrutiny by the TA to ensure that the upgrade will not delay the rebanding
schedule and that the upgrade funds are demonstrably available. Licensees contemplating an upgrade
should consult the TA’s upgrade guidelines.45
2.

Rebanding Implementation Timetable

32. Under our proposal above, the planning, negotiation, and mediation process for licensees
along the U.S.-Mexico border would take approximately seven to eight months. This would leave
Mexican border licensees approximately 22 to 23 months—within the 30-month transition timetable we
propose—to implement the retuning of their systems to replacement channels assigned by the TA. This
time period mirrors the implementation timetable we established for licensees along the Canadian border.
We seek comment on this proposal. Commenting parties proposing a longer period of time for
implementation should specify the particular circumstances along the U.S.-Mexico border that warrant a
longer period of time.


44 The TA would specify the beginning of this 20-day mediation period as well.
45 The TA’s upgrade policy is available in the TA’s Reconfiguration Handbook. See Reconfiguration Handbook
release 4.0 (Jan. 19, 2011), at 81-84, available at http://www.800TA.org/content/resources/Handbook_v4.0.pdf; see
also
http://www.800ta.org/content/resources/System_Upgrade_Fact_Sheet.pdf.
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3.

Stages and Steps for Completing Rebanding

33. We propose a two-stage approach to rebanding along the U.S.-Mexico Border similar to the
process we have implemented in non-border regions and along the Canadian Border. Under our two-
stage approach, B/ILT, non-cellular SMR, and public safety licenses on pool channels would retune first
during Stage 1 and NPSPAC licensees would retune later during Stage 2. Below we describe in detail our
proposal for the steps that would need to take place during each stage of the process.46 In proposing this
staged approach, we seek to minimize disruption to all licensees. Nonetheless, some U.S. licensees along
the U.S.-Mexico border may be need to retune certain frequencies twice in order to complete the
rebanding process because of the need to coordinate frequency re-tunes with incumbents in Mexico and to
clear the 130 pool channels immediately above the new NPSPAC band within the Sharing Zone.47
Further, some licensees may be unable to retune to all of their replacement channels at the same time.
Consequently, these licensees will need to retune to their replacement channels in stages.48 We seek
comment on our proposals detailed below.
a.

Sharing Zone

34. In the Sharing Zone, transition to our proposed post-rebanding channel plan will require close
coordination with licensees across the border in Mexico and among licensees on the U.S. side of the
border. When U.S. licensees in non-border regions implement rebanding, they typically retune to
replacement channels vacated by Sprint. In the Sharing Zone, however, some licensees will be able to
retune to replacement channels only after one or more Mexican licensees have vacated channels on the
other side of the border. Also, licensees converting from offset to standard channels may have to wait for
clearing by more than one licensee on the U.S. side of the border.49 In many cases, the vacating licensee
will be Sprint or Sprint’s roaming partner in Mexico—Nextel Mexico. Below we detail the steps we
envision will need to occur in Stages 1 and 2 within the Sharing Zone in order to transition to our
proposed channel plan.50 The band segments we refer to in our description are depicted below in
Figure 2.


46 The process is divided into geographical regions in the description below, however, the processes will have to be
coordinated across the noted regions. For instance, certain licensees in the Los Angeles and Orange County area
will have to clear frequencies in the 854.0 to 857.25 MHz range before licensees in the San Diego area can move
onto replacement frequencies in the Sharing Zone in that range. Certain steps will also be concurrent across
NPSPAC regions. For instance Step 1A in the Sharing Zone should be done at the same time as Steps 1A, 1B and
1C in areas north of the Sharing Zone across all NPSPAC regions.
47 Sprint will be obligated to pay the reasonable cost of any multiple relocations that are necessary under this
proposal.
48 This would be similar to Public Safety licensees in other regions who had to first clear channels 1-120 and then
clear NPSPAC frequencies in a subsequent move.
49 To make available one replacement standard channel in the Sharing Zone, two offset channels must be cleared.
For instance, for 856.1125 MHz to become available, it may be necessary to first clear offset channels 856.1000
MHz and 856.1250 MHz.
50 See infra Appendix C-4.
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Figure 2 - Band Plan for Sharing Zone

Pre-Rebanding Band Plan
806 MHz
809 MHz
811 MHz 812.25 MHz
818.5 MHz
821 MHz
824 MHz
Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies
816 MHz
Mexico Primary
U.S. Primary
U.S. / Mexico
U.S. / Mex.
5 MHz x 5 MHz
5 MHz x 5 MHz
Interleaved Channels
Alternating Blocks
5 MHz x 5 MHz
3 MHz x 3 MHz
861 MHz
Base Station Transmit Frequencies
A
B
C
D
E
F
851 MHz
854 MHz
856 MHz 857.25 MHz
863.5 MHz
866 MHz
869 MHz
Post-Rebanding Band Plan
Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies
806 MHz
812.25 MHz
818.5 MHz
824 MHz
U.S. Primary
Mexico Primary
U.S. – Mexico
6.25 MHz x 6.25 MHz
6.25 MHz x 6.25 MHz
Co-Primary
5.5 MHz x 5.5 MHz
851 MHz
857.25 MHz
863.5 MHz
869 MHz
Base Station Transmit Frequencies

Stage 1 – Non-NPSPAC Licensees in Sharing Zone

·
Step 1A: Mexican licensees (other than Nextel Mexico) in band segments A and B,
above, retune to replacement channels in band segment D vacated by Sprint and Nextel
Mexico.51 Sprint and Nextel Mexico may temporarily backfill the channels vacated in
band segments A and B until they are needed for Step 1B.52
·
Step 1B: B/ILT, non-cellular SMR, and public safety licensees in band segment C retune
from offset channels to replacement channels with standard channel centers in band


51 As noted above, some Mexican licensees may relocate out of the 800 MHz band rather than to replacement
channels in the 800 MHz band. See supra n.19.
52 By backfill, we mean Sprint or Nextel Mexico will temporarily operate on a channel vacated by a licensee
retuning to a replacement channel. Backfilling is necessary in order for Sprint and Nextel Mexico to maintain
capacity during the transition.
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segments B and C vacated by Sprint, Nextel Mexico, and other Mexican licensees
relocated as part of Step 1A.53
·
Step 1C: B/ILT, non-cellular SMR, and public safety licensees in band segments D and
E retune to replacement channels in band segments B and C vacated by Sprint, Nextel
Mexico, and licensees retuning under Step 1B.54 Licensees retune from offset channels
to replacement channels with standard channel centers. Sprint and Nextel Mexico may
backfill the channels vacated in band segments D and E.
·
Step 2A: Additional Mexican licensees (other than Nextel Mexico) in band segments A
and B retune to replacement channels in band segment D vacated by U.S. licensees in
Step 1C.
·
Step 2B: Additional B/ILT, non-cellular SMR, and public safety licensees in band
segment C retune from “offset” channels to replacement channels with standard channel
centers in band segments B and C vacated by Sprint, Nextel Mexico, and other Mexican
licensees relocated as part of Step 2A.
·
Step 2C: Additional B/ILT, non-cellular SMR, and public safety licensees in band
segments D and E retune to replacement channels in band segments B and C vacated by
Sprint, Nextel Mexico, and licensees retuning under Step 2B. Licensees retune from
offset channels to replacement channels with standard channel centers.55 Sprint and
Nextel Mexico may backfill the channels vacated in band segments D and E.

Stage 2 –- NPSPAC Licensees in Sharing Zone

·
Step 1: NPSPAC licensees in band segment F retune 15 megahertz lower in frequency
to replacement channels in band segment A vacated by Sprint and Nextel Mexico.
Sprint and Nextel Mexico backfill the channels vacated in band segment F. Some
repacking of NPSPAC licensees in band segment A may be necessary, including
relocating certain licensees to pool frequencies in segments B and C, if necessary, or to
Mexico primary channels if the licensee is currently operating on Mexico primary
channels.
·
Step 2: Any remaining Sprint and Nextel Mexico stations in band segments A, B, C or
D retune to replacement channels in band segments E and F.


53 It will also be necessary to clear any blocking U.S. licensees north of the Sharing Zone currently occupying one of
the 130 pool channels in segments B and C prior to undertaking Steps 1B and 1C.
54 Many Sharing Zone licensees will have frequencies involved in both Steps 1B and 1C, as well as 2A and 2B.
Some licensees with frequencies in band segment C, which must retune as part of Step 1B, may have to move to an
intermediate offset channel in another band segment temporarily in order to clear segment C, and then retune to their
final non-offset channel as part of Step 1C.
55 We anticipate that this will have to be a closely coordinated implementation process that may require licensee-by-
licensee, and possibly frequency-by-frequency, implementation management. To the extent Steps 2A through 2C do
not fully clear Sharing Zone band segments C and D, additional cycles may be necessary.
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b.

NPSPAC Region 5 (Outside the Sharing Zone)

35. Below we detail the proposed steps during Stages 1 and 2 for transition of Region 5 licensees
operating outside the Sharing Zone.56 The band segments we refer to in our description are depicted
below in Figure 3.

Figure 3 – Band Plan for NPSPAC Region 5 North of Sharing Zone

Pre-Rebanding Band Plan
806 MHz
809 MHz
812.25 MHz
816 MHz 817 MHz
821 MHz
824 MHz
Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies
NPSPAC
General
Interleaved
ESMR
(Public
Category
Spectrum
(Upper 200)
Safety)
Base Station Transmit Frequencies
A
B
C
D
E
F
851 MHz
854 MHz
857.25 MHz
861 MHz 862 MHz
866 MHz
869 MHz
Post-Rebanding Band Plan
Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies
806 MHz
809 MHz
817 MHz
824 MHz
NPSPAC
Public Safety
(Public
B/ILT
ESMR
Safety)
Non-Cellular SMR
851 MHz
854 MHz
862 MHz
869 MHz
Base Station Transmit Frequencies



56 See infra Appendix C-5.
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Stage 1 – Non-NPSPAC Licensees in Region 5 Outside the Sharing Zone57

·
Step 1A: B/ILT, non-cellular SMR, and Public Safety licensees in band segment B
retune to replacement channels in band segments C and D vacated by Sprint. Band
segment D will only be used for Public Safety if there are no available replacement
frequencies in band segment C. The number of licensees that relocate in this step will
be determined by the need for segment B channels in the Sharing Zone. Sprint may
temporarily backfills the channels vacated in band segment B.
·
Step 1B: B/ILT and non-cellular SMR licensees in band segment A retune to
replacement channels in band segments C and D vacated by Sprint. Sprint may
temporarily backfills the channels vacated in band segment A.
·
Step 1C: Public safety licensees in band segment A retune to replacement channels in
band segment C. Sprint may temporarily backfill the channels vacated in band segment
A.58

Stage 2 –- NPSPAC Licensees in Region 5 Outside the Sharing Zone

·
Step 1: NPSPAC licensees in band segment F retune 15 megahertz lower in frequency to
replacement channels in band segment A vacated by Sprint. Sprint backfills channels
vacated in band segment F.
·
Step 2: Any remaining Sprint stations in band segments A, B, C or D retune to
replacement channels in band segment F.
c.

Remaining Mexican Border NPSPAC Regions (Outside the Sharing
Zone)

36. In the remaining NPSPAC regions that border Mexico, we propose implementing the
standard post-rebanding channel plan for stations located outside the Sharing Zone.59 In these regions, the
rebanding implementation steps will be generally consistent with those described above for Region 5
outside the Sharing Zone. In these regions, however, Mexico stations will not be a factor, and licensees
will retune to replacement channels vacated by Sprint or that are otherwise unoccupied. Below we detail
the proposed steps during Stages 1 and 2 for transition of these licensees. The band segments we refer to
in our description are depicted below in Figure 4.


57 Licensees in Region 5 outside the Sharing Zone will perform Steps 1A, 1B, and 1C concurrently to the extent
feasible, depending on the availability of replacement channels and completion of FRA negotiations. We may also
request licensees to voluntarily concur with temporary co-channel short spacing pursuant to Section 90.621(b)(5) of
our rules in order to expedite implementation.
58 Licensees in the northernmost parts of Region 5, such as those in Kern or San Louis Obispo Counties, may also be
reconfigured into band segment B.
59 See infra Appendix C-6.
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Figure 4 – Band Plan for NPSPAC Regions 3, 29, 50 and 53 North of Sharing Zone

Pre-Rebanding Band Plan
806 MHz
809 MHz
812.25 MHz
815 MHz 816 MHz
821 MHz
824 MHz
Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies
NPSPAC
General
Interleaved
ESMR
(Public
Category
Spectrum
(Upper 200)
Safety)
Base Station Transmit Frequencies
A
B
C
D
E
F
851 MHz
854 MHz
857.25 MHz
860 MHz 861 MHz
866 MHz
869 MHz
Post-Rebanding Band Plan
Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies
806 MHz
809 MHz
815 MHz 816 MHz 817 MHz
824 MHz
NPSPAC
Public Safety
(Public
B/ILT
Band
Guard
Band
ESMR
Safety)
Non-Cellular SMR
Expansion
851 MHz
854 MHz
860 MHz 861 MHz 862 MHz
869 MHz
Base Station Transmit Frequencies

Stage 1 – Non-NPSPAC Licensees in Regions 3, 29, 50 and 53 Outside the Sharing Zone60

·
Step 1A: Some B/ILT and non-cellular SMR licensees in band segment B will retune to
replacement frequencies in band segments C and D vacated by Sprint. Some Public
Safety licensees in band segment B may retune to replacement channels in band
segments C vacated by Sprint. The number of licensees that relocate in this step will be
determined by the need for band segment B channels in the Sharing Zone.
·
Step 1B: B/ILT and non-cellular SMR licensees in band segment A retune to
replacement channels in band segments C and D vacated by Sprint. Sprint may
temporarily backfills the channels vacated in band segment A.61
·
Step 1C: Public safety licensees in band segment A retune to replacement channels in
band segment C vacated by Sprint. Sprint may temporarily backfill the channels
vacated in band segment A.62


60 Licensees in Regions 3, 29, 50 and 53 outside the Sharing Zone will perform Steps 1A, 1B and 1C concurrently to
the extent feasible, depending on the availability of channels replacement channels and completion of FRA
negotiations.
61 Id.
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Stage 2 – NPSPAC Licensees in Regions 3, 29, 50 and 53 Outside the Sharing Zone

·
Step 1: NPSPAC licensees in band segment F retune 15 megahertz lower in frequency to
replacement channels in band segment A vacated by Sprint. Sprint backfills channels
vacated in band segment F.
·
Step 2: Any remaining Sprint stations in band segments A, B, C or D retune to
replacement channels in band segment F.

C.

Additional Issues

37. Special Coordination Procedure Channels. Sprint currently operates on certain Mexico
primary channels in the Sharing Zone pursuant to a Special Coordination Procedure (SCP).63 Sprint’s
operation on these channels facilitates cross-border roaming with Nextel Mexico. Under the Amended
Protocol, however, all Mexico primary channels are below 818.5/863.5 MHz, and thus are below the band
segment in which ESMR will be allowed in the U.S. under the post-reconfiguration band plan.64
Consequently, we seek comment on whether to require Sprint to vacate Mexican primary channels in the
Sharing Zone or to allow Sprint to continue operating on these channels to support cross-border roaming
under a revised SCP after band reconfiguration, and, if so, under what circumstances. If we allow Sprint
to continue using these channels even though they are below the ESMR line, are there conditions or
limitations that we should apply? We note that under similar circumstances along the Canadian border,
we permitted Sprint to operate on Canada primary channels below the ESMR line provided that Sprint
maintained at least one megahertz of separation from the highest Canada primary channel used by a U.S.
public safety licensee. Would a similar restriction be appropriate for Mexico primary spectrum?
38. Vehicular Repeaters. Many licensees in the 800 MHz band use vehicular repeater stations
(VRS) to extend radio coverage. VRS units, which are mounted inside public safety vehicles, extend or
improve radio coverage from hand-held units to distant base station repeaters and are most frequently
used to provide in-building coverage. For example, when a public safety official exits a vehicle to enter a
building, he or she tunes a hand-held unit to transmit on the input frequency of the VRS unit, which then
relays the signal to a distant repeater on a separate mobile frequency. VRS operations, however, require a
relatively large spectral separation between their input and output frequencies. We seek comment on
whether the channel plan we propose for the Mexico border region will provide licensees operating VRS
units with the spectral separation necessary to continue VRS operations, and any alternative approaches to
achieve the required separation that are consistent with the Amended Protocol and the Commission’s 800
MHz rebanding objectives. For example, could VRS units be retuned to transmit on channels primary to
Mexico in the Sharing Zone in order to create the proper spectral separation between the input and output
frequencies of these units?
39. Power Loss in Combiners. Due to the limited availability of channels in some areas under the
Amended Protocol and our proposed Mexico border channel plan, it may be difficult to spectrally
separate the replacement channels assigned to some licensees. This reduced spectral separation could
(Continued from previous page)


62 Licensees in the northern parts of these NPSPAC regions more than 113 km away from the Sharing Zone may
also be reconfigured into band segment B.
63 See Special Coordination Procedure for the Use of Certain Frequencies in the Bands 806-824 MHz and 851-869
MHz for Land Mobile Services (Nov. 2000). See also Letter from Donald Abelson, Chief, International Bureau,
Federal Communications Commission, to Sr. Fernando Carrillo, Coordinator General, Comission Federal de
Communicaciones (Aug. 20, 2004).
64 See infra Appendix C-4.
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cause licensees that use combiners in their current systems to experience power loss in the combiners.65
We propose allowing such licensees to recover from Sprint the reasonable costs associated with
mitigating the impact of reduced spectral separation on combiner power. Mitigation steps could include
new combiners, related antennae system changes, tower work, and other associated costs, converting
operations from standard pool channels to NPSPAC channels, or vice versa. We seek comment on this
proposal.
40. Licensees on Mexico Primary Channels. We note that some U.S. licensees currently operate
in the Sharing Zone on channels primary to Mexico. We propose instructing the TA to assign these
licensees with replacement channels in the U.S. primary portion of the band under the Amended Protocol
if such channels are available, and otherwise to assign to these licensees Mexico primary channels.66 We
seek comment on our proposal.

D.

Cost Benefit Analysis

41. We believe that the benefits of our proposal for establishing and implementing a reconfigured
800 MHz channel plan along the U.S.-Mexico border outweigh any potential costs. This proposal is part
of the FCC’s rebanding effort to eliminate interference to public safety and other land mobile
communication systems operating in the band by addressing its root cause and separating generally
incompatible technologies.67 The homeland security obligations of the Nation’s public safety agencies
make it imperative that their communications systems are robust and highly reliable.68 The changes
proposed herein will further that goal by separating—to the greatest extent possible—public safety and
other non-cellular licensees from licensees in the band that employ cellular technology. Furthermore,
Sprint, the major commercial provider in the band, will benefit from the changes proposed herein by
obtaining contiguous spectrum at the end of the program on which it will be able to transition to advanced
wireless technologies.69 Moreover, the costs are further justified in this case because Sprint will be
responsible for paying the reasonable costs of retuning incumbent licensees to comparable facilities on
their replacement channels. Furthermore, Sprint has received equitable compensation for the costs it will
incur in the form of spectrum rights to the 1.9 GHz band.70 We therefore conclude that the changes
proposed herein outweigh any potential costs.

IV.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

A.

Comment Filing Procedures

42. Pursuant to Sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.415, 1.419,
interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first
page of this document. All filings related to this Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Fourth
FNPRM) should refer to

WT Docket No. 02-55

. Comments may be filed using: (1) the Commission’s
Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), (2) the Federal Government’s eRulemaking Portal, or (3) by


65 A combiner, as the name implies, feeds multiple transmitters into a single antenna. See 800 MHz Report and
Order,
Appendix D, 19 FCC Rcd 15203 at ¶ 6.
66 Licensees operating on channels primary to Mexico will be eligible for protection from unacceptable interference
as defined in Section 90.672 in the same manner as all other licensees in the band.
67 See 800 MHz Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 14971-73 ¶¶ 1-3.
68 Id. at 14971 ¶ 1.
69 See Improving Spectrum Efficiency Through Flexible Channel Spacing and Bandwidth Utilization for Economic
Area-based 800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio Licensees, Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 6489 (2012).
70 See 800 MHz Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 15080-15125 ¶¶ 210-332.
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filing paper copies. See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 Fed. Reg. 24,121
(1998).
·
Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
ECFS: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs or the Federal eRulemaking Portal:
http://www.regulations.gov. Filers should follow the instructions provided on the website for
submitting comments.
·
Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each
filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this
proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking
number.
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by
first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the
Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
o All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission’s
Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-
A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand
deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and
boxes must be disposed of before entering the building.
o Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority
Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
o U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445
12th Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.
43. Interested parties may view documents filed in this proceeding on the Commission’s
Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) using the following steps: (1) Access ECFS at
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs. (2) In the introductory screen, click on “Search for Filed Comments.” (3) In
the “Proceeding” box, enter the numerals in the docket number. (4) Click on the box marked “Retrieve
Document List.” A link to each document is provided in the document list. The public may inspect and
copy filings and comments during regular business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, 445
12th Street, SW, Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The public may also purchase filings and
comments from the Commission’s duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc., Portals II, 445
12th Street, SW, Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, telephone 1-800-378-3160, or via e-mail to
fcc@bcpiweb.com. The public may also download this Fourth Report and Order and Fifth Further Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fcc.gov/.
44. People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with
disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call
the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).
45. Commenters who file information that they believe should be withheld from public
inspection may request confidential treatment pursuant to Section 0.459 of the Commission’s rules.
Commenters should file both their original comments for which they request confidentiality and redacted
comments, along with their request for confidential treatment. Commenters should not file proprietary
information electronically. See Examination of Current Policy Concerning the Treatment of Confidential
Information Submitted to the Commission, Report and Order, 13 FCC Rcd 24816 (1998), Order on
Reconsideration
, 14 FCC Rcd 20128 (1999). Even if the Commission grants confidential treatment,
information that does not fall within a specific exemption pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act
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(FOIA) must be publicly disclosed pursuant to an appropriate request. See 47 C.F.R. § 0.461; 5 U.S.C.
§ 552. We note that the Commission may grant requests for confidential treatment either conditionally or
unconditionally. As such, we note that the Commission has the discretion to release information on
public interest grounds that does fall within the scope of a FOIA exemption.

B.

Ex Parte Rules – Permit-But-Disclose Proceeding

46. This proceeding shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with the
Commission’s ex parte rules.71 Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any written
presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the
presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral
ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) list all
persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was made,
and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation
consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the presenter’s
written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to
such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant
page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them
in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are
deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed consistent with 47 C.F.R. § 1.1206(b). In
proceedings governed by 47 C.F.R. § 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method
of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte
presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system
available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable
.pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules.

C.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

47. Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA),72 the Bureau has prepared an Initial
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on small entities by
the proposals considered in this Fourth FNPRM. The text of the IRFA is set forth in Appendix A.
Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be filed in accordance with the
same filing deadlines for comments on the Fourth FNPRM, and they should have a separate and distinct
heading designating them as responses to the IRFA. The Bureau will send a copy of the Fourth FNPRM,
including the IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.73

D.

Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

48. This document proposes no additional information collection(s) subject to the Paperwork
Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13 beyond those already approved for this proceeding.74
Therefore, it contains no new or modified “information collection burden for small business concerns
with fewer than 25 employees,” pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public
Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. § 3506(c)(4).


71 47 C.F.R. § 1.1200 et seq.
72 See 5 U.S.C. § 603. The RFA has been amended by the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996, Pub.
L. No. 104-121, 110 Stat. 847 (1996) (CWAAA). Title II of the CWAAA is the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA).
73 5 U.S.C. § 603(a).
74 See OMB Control No. 3060-1080 for Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band (exp.
September 30, 2014).
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V.

ORDERING CLAUSES

49. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 4(i) and 332 of the Communications Act
of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 332, that this Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
IS ADOPTED.
50. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs
Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Fourth Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking
, including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of
the Small Business Administration.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David S. Turetsky
Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau
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APPENDIX A

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

51. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),75 the Federal
Communications Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) has prepared this
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on small entities
by the policies and rules proposed in this Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (Fourth FNPRM).
Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the
IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for comments on the first page of the Fourth FNPRM. The
Commission will send a copy of this Fourth FNPRM, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for
Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA).76 In addition, the Fourth FNPRM and IRFA (or
summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.77

A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

52. In the Fourth FNPRM, we propose a channel plan for reconfiguring the 800 MHz band along
the U.S.- Mexico border. The channel plan we propose in the Fourth FNPRM will be incorporated into
the Commission’s rules and are needed to implement and complete the Commission’s band
reconfiguration program along the U.S.-Mexico border. The Commission ordered reconfiguration of the
800 MHz band to address an ongoing nationwide problem of interference created by a fundamentally
incompatible mix of technologies in the band.78 The Commission determined to resolve the interference
by reconfiguring the band to spectrally separate incompatible technologies.79 The Commission delegated
authority to the Bureau in May 2007 to propose and adopt a channel plan for implementing band
reconfiguration along the U.S.-Mexico border.80 The band plan we propose in the Fourth FNPRM will
separate incompatible technologies along the U.S.-Mexico border and thus resolve the ongoing
interference problem in that region.

B. Legal Basis

53. The proposed action is authorized under Sections 4(i), 301, 302, 303(e), 303(f), 303(r), 304
and 307 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. Sections 154(i), 301, 302, 303(e),
303(f), 303(r), 304 and 307.

C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Proposed Rules Will

Apply

54. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of and, where feasible, an estimate of the
number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules, if adopted.81 The RFA generally


75 See 5 U.S.C. § 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. § 601 – 612, has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
76 See 5 U.S.C. § 603(a).
77 Id.
78 See Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, Report and Order, WT Docket No. 02-55,
19 FCC Rcd 14969 (2004) (800 MHz Report and Order).
79 Id. at 14872-73 ¶¶ 2-3.
80 Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, Second Memorandum Opinion and Order, WT
Docket No. 02-55, 22 FCC Rcd 10467, 10494-95 (2007) (800 MHz Second Memorandum Opinion and Order).
81 5 U.S.C. § 603(b)(3).
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DA 12-1343

defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small
organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.”82 In addition, the term “small business” has the
same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act.83 A small business
concern is one which: (1) is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of
operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA.84 Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. §
601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies “unless an agency, after consultation with the
Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity for public comment,
establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the agency and
publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register.” Below, we further describe and estimate the number
of small entities that may be affected by the rules changes proposed in this Fourth FNPRM.
55. Private Land Mobile Radio Licensees (PLMR). PLMR systems serve an essential role in a
range of industrial, business, land transportation, and public safety activities. These radios are used by
entities of all sizes operating in all U.S. business and public sector categories, and are often used in
support of the licensee’s primary (non-telecommunications) operations. For the purpose of determining
whether a licensee of a PLMR system is a small entity as defined by the SBA, we use the broad census
category, Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). This definition provides that a small
entity is any such entity employing no more than 1,500 persons.85 The Commission does not require
PLMR licensees to disclose information about number of employees, so the Commission does not have
information that could be used to determine how many PLMR licensees constitute small entities under
this definition. We note that PLMR licensees generally use the licensed facilities in support of other
business and governmental activities, and therefore, it would also be helpful to assess PLMR licensees
under the standards applied to the particular industry subsector to which the licensee belongs.86
56. As of May 2012, there were approximately 220 PLMR licensees operating in the PLMR band
between 806-824/851-869 MHz along the U.S. - Mexico border.87 We note that many government and
commercial actors are eligible to hold a PLMR license, and that any revised rules in this context could
therefore potentially impact small entities covering a great variety of industries.

D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements

57. The Fourth FNPRM does not propose a rule that will entail additional reporting, recordkeeping,
and/or third-party consultation or other compliance efforts beyond those already approved for this
proceeding.88


82 5 U.S.C. § 601(6).
83 5 U.S.C. § 601(3).
84 15 U.S.C. § 632.
85 See 13 C.F.R. §121.201, NAICS code 517210.
86 See generally 13 C.F.R. §121.201.
87 This estimate was provided by the 800 MHz Transition Administrator (TA). The TA is an independent party
charged with overseeing reconfiguration of the 800 MHz band. See Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Concurs
with Search Committee Selection of a Transition Administrator, Public Notice, WT Docket No. 02-55, 19 FCC Rcd
21923 (2004). See also http://www.800ta.org/.
88 See OMB Control No. 3060-1080 for Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band (exp.
September 30, 2014).
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E. Steps Taken to Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant

Alternatives Considered

58. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in
reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1) the
establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the
resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or
reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design,
standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.89
59. The Fourth FNPRM will create no significant economic impact on small entities because
Sprint Nextel Corporation will pay all reasonable costs associated with retuning incumbent licensees to
the post-reconfiguration channel plan proposed by the Bureau. Further, once the channel plan proposed
in the Fourth FNPRM is implemented, licensees will no longer be subject to on-going interference in the
band and will therefore save costs that would otherwise be associated with resolving interference.
Finally, the Bureau specifically seeks comment on alternatives to the proposed channel plan and will
consider such alternatives as may be recommended in comments to the Fourth FNPRM.

F. Federal Rules that May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict with the Proposed Rules

60. None.


89 See 5 U.S.C. § 603(c).
24

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1343

APPENDIX B

U.S. – Mexico Sharing Zone

25

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DA 12-1343

APPENDIX C-1

Pre-Rebanding Channel Plan

Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
806
809.75
816
821
824
NPSPAC
General
Interleaved
ESMR
(Public
Category
Spectrum
(Upper 200)
Safety)
851
854.75
861
866
869
Base Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)

Post-Rebanding Channel Plan

Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
806
809
815
816
817
824
NPSPAC
Public Safety
(Public
B/ILT
ESMR
Safety)
Non-Cellular SMR
Band*
Guard
Band**
Expansion
851
854
860
861
862
869
Base Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
* No public Safety licensee will be required to remain in or relocate to the Expansion Band; although it may do so if
it so chooses.
** No public safety or CII licensee may be involuntary relocated to the Guard Band.
26

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1343

APPENDIX C-2

Post-Rebanding Channel Plan

(non-border)
Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
806
809
815
816
817
824
NPSPAC
Public Safety
(Public
B/ILT
ESMR
Safety)
Band
Guard
Band
Non-Cellular SMR
Expansion
851
854
860
861
862
869
Base Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)

Previous Distribution of Primary Spectrum in Sharing Zone

(Based on 800 MHz Protocol)
Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
806
811
816
821
824
Mexico Primary
U.S. Primary
U.S. / Mexico
U.S. / Mex.
5 MHz x 5 MHz
5 MHz x 5 MHz
Interleaved Channels
Alternating Blocks
5 MHz x 5 MHz
3 MHz x 3 MHz
851
856
861
866
869
Base Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
Mexico Primary
U.S. Primary
27

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1343

APPENDIX C-3

Updated Distribution of Primary Spectrum in Sharing Zone

(Based on Updated 800 MHz Protocol)
Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
806
812.25
818.50
824
U.S. Primary
Mexico Primary
U.S. – Mexico
6.25 MHz x 6.25 MHz
6.25 MHz x 6.25 MHz
Co-Primary
5.5 MHz x 5.5 MHz
851
857.25
863.50
869
Base Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
28

Federal Communications Commission

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APPENDIX C-4

Pre-Rebanding Channel Plan in Sharing Zone

Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
806
811
816
821
824
Mexico Primary
U.S. Primary
U.S. / Mexico
U.S. / Mex.
Interleaved Channels
5 MHz x 5 MHz
5 MHz x 5 MHz
Alternating Blocks
5 MHz x 5 MHz
3 MHz x 3 MHz
851
856
861
866
869
Base Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
U.S. Primary
U.S. Primary
NPSPAC – 107 Channels
Public Safety – 85 Channels
(12.5 kHz Channel Spacing)
B/ILT – 120 Channels
SMR – 83 Channels
Mutual Aid – 5 Channels
General Category – 12 Channels
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)

Proposed Post-Rebanding Channel Plan in Sharing Zone

Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
806
809
812.25
818.50
824
U.S. Primary
Mexico Primary
U.S. – Mexico
6.25 MHz x 6.25 MHz
6.25 MHz x 6.25 MHz
Co-Primary
5.5 MHz x 5.5 MHz
851
854
857.25
863.50
869
Base Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
U.S. Primary
NPSPAC – 225 Channels U.S. Primary
Mexico Primary
Co-Primary
(12.5 kHz Channel Spacing)
Public Safety – 85 Channels
General Category – 250 Channels
ESMR – 220 Channels

General Category – 45 Channels
Mutual Aid – 5 Channels
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
29

Federal Communications Commission

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APPENDIX C-5

Pre-Rebanding Channel Plan

(Non – Border)
Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
806
809.75
816
821
824
NPSPAC
General
Interleaved
ESMR
(Public
Category
Spectrum
(Upper 200)
Safety)
851
854.75
861
866
869
Base Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
Public Safety – 70 Channels
NPSPAC – 225 Channels
General Category – 150 Channels
B/ILT – 100 Channels

SMR – 200 Channels
(12.5 kHz Channel Spacing)
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
SMR – 80 Channels
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
Mutual Aid – 5 Channels
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)

Proposed Post-Rebanding Channel Plan – NPSPAC Region 5

(North of Sharing Zone)
Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
806
809
817
824
NPSPAC
Public Safety
(Public
B/ILT
ESMR
Safety)
Non-Cellular SMR
851
854
862
869
Base Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
U.S. Primary
Public Safety – 70 Channels
NPSPAC – 225 Channels
B/ILT – 100 Channels
(12.5 kHz Channel Spacing)
ESMR – 280 Channels

SMR – 80 Channels
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
Mutual Aid – 5 Channels
General Category – 70 Channels
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
30

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1343

APPENDIX C-6

Pre-Rebanding Channel Plan

(Non – Border)
Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
806
809.75
816
821
824
NPSPAC
General
Interleaved
ESMR
(Public
Category
Spectrum
(Upper 200)
Safety)
851
854.75
861
866
869
Base Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
Public Safety – 70 Channels
NPSPAC – 225 Channels
General Category – 150 Channels
B/ILT – 100 Channels

SMR – 200 Channels
(12.5 kHz Channel Spacing)
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
SMR – 80 Channels
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
Mutual Aid – 5 Channels
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)

Proposed Post-Rebanding Channel Plan – NPSPAC Region 3, 29, 50 and 53

(North of Sharing Zone)
Mobile and Control Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
806
809
815
816
817
824
NPSPAC
Public Safety
(Public
B/ILT
Band*
Guard
ESMR
Safety)
Band**
Non-Cellular SMR
Expansion
851
854
860
861
862
869
Base Station Transmit Frequencies (in MHz)
U.S. Primary
Public Safety – 70 Channels
NPSPAC – 225 Channels
B/ILT – 100 Channels
General Category – 40 Channels
(12.5 kHz Channel Spacing)
ESMR – 280 Channels
SMR – 80 Channels
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
Mutual Aid – 5 Channels
General Category – 30 Channels
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
(25 kHz Channel Spacing)
* No public Safety licensee will be required to remain in or relocate to the Expansion Band; although it may do so if
it so chooses.
** No public safety or CII licensee may be involuntary relocated to the Guard Band.
31

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