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Onslow County Narrowband Waiver

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Released: November 19, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1864

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
Onslow County Emergency Communications
)
WT Docket 99-87
)
Request for Waiver of Section 90.209(b) of the
)
Commission’s Rules
)

ORDER

Adopted: November 19, 2012

Released: November 19, 2012

By the Deputy Chief, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
Onslow County Emergency Communications (Onslow County or the County) submitted
a request for waiver1, until May 31, 2014, of the Commission’s VHF/UHF narrowbanding deadline,
which requires private land mobile radio licensees in the 150-174 MHz and 450- 512 MHz bands to
operate using channel bandwidth of no more than 12.5 kHz, or equivalent efficiency, by January 1, 2013.2
By this Order, we grant the Waiver Request.

II.

BACKGROUND

2.
Onslow County in conjunction with the City of Jacksonville, North Carolina, (the City) is
currently procuring and deploying a new 800-MHz P-25 trunked radio system. The new county-wide
system will be operated and managed by Onslow County Emergency Communications and the City of
Jacksonville Emergency Communications.3
3.
Currently the City and a small portion of the County, operate on a joint 800 MHz system.
Onslow County EMS is completely on the 800 MHz system, and two police departments and fire
departments have some of their personnel using the system. The rest of the County's public safety
agencies are operating on a High Band VHF system.4


1 See Request for FCC Narrowbanding Deadline Waiver, filed April 23, 2012, by Onslow County Emergency
Communications (Waiver Request).
2 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.209(b)(5); see also Implementation of Sections 309(j) and 337 of the Communications Act of
1934 as Amended; Promotion of Spectrum Efficient Technologies on Certain Part 90 Frequencies, Third
Memorandum Opinion and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order
, WT Docket No.
99-87, RM-9332, 19 FCC Rcd 25045 (2004). On April 26, 2012, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Public
Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and Office of Engineering and Technology waived the January 1, 2013
narrowbanding deadline for 470-512 MHz band frequencies. See Implementation of Sections 309(j) and 337 of the
Communications Act of 1934 as Amended; Promotion of Spectrum Efficient Technologies on Certain Part 90
Frequencies, Order, WT Docket No. 99-87, 27 FCC Rcd 4213 (WTB/PSHSB/OET 2012).
3 Waiver Request at 1.
4 Id.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1864

4.
In 2007, the County began working to expand the 800 MHz system to support all the
County’s public safety agencies. In 2009, after reviewing an initial proposal, City and County officials
determined that the cost and magnitude of the project required it to be put out for competitive bidding.5
In November 2011, the County released a Request for Proposals for a turn-key 800 MHz trunked radio
system.6 On November 8, 2012, the County and the City awarded a contract for the project.7
5.
The project consists of a five tower site system with redundant control systems and two
communication centers. The system will support 42 public safety agencies and approximately 1700
public safety users.8 The County anticipates that the project will proceed as follows:
·
Complete site acquisition completed and site permitting/development work by April
2013.
·
System construction completed by August 2013
·
Proof of Performance Testing completed by October 2013
·
System Install and cut-over completion by October 31, 2013 with the removal of existing
system completed by May 31, 2014.9
Upon the completion of the project the County will release some of its current VHF spectrum retaining
only that spectrum that it will use for paging purposes.10
6.
On May 10, 2012, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) issued a
Public Notice seeking comment on the Waiver Request.11 No party filed comments in support or
opposition.

III.

DISCUSSION

7.
Onslow seeks relief pursuant to Section 1.925 of the Commission’s rules, which provides
that 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;12 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.13


5 Id. at 2.
6 Id.
7 See email, dated November 14, 2012 from Norman Bryson, Director, Onslow Department of Emergency Services
to Roberto Mussenden, FCC.
8 Waiver Request at 2-3.
9 Id. at 4.
10 Id.
11 See Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Seeks Comment on Requests for Waiver of the January 1, 2013
VHF-UHF Narrowbanding Deadline, Public Notice, DA 12-735 (PSHSB 2012).
12 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(b)(3)(i).
13 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(b)(3)(ii).
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1864

8.
Applying this standard to narrowbanding, we stated in the Narrowbanding Waiver
Guidance Notice, jointly issued by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, the Public Safety and
Homeland Security Bureau, and the Office of Engineering and Technology, that narrowbanding waiver
requests “will be subject to a high level of scrutiny” under the waiver standard.14 We have also provided
recommended guidance on the factors that licensees should address in their requests and have
recommended that in addressing these factors, licensees should seek to demonstrate that “(i) they have
worked diligently and in good faith to narrowband their systems expeditiously; (ii) their specific
circumstances warrant a temporary extension of the deadline; and (iii) the amount of time for which a
waiver is requested is no more than is reasonably necessary to complete the narrowbanding process.”15
9.
Based on the record before us, we conclude that the County has presented sufficient facts
to meet the standard for grant of the requested waiver. The record shows that the County has been
diligently working to transition to a new system since 2007.16 It is clear from the information provided
that the County is pursuing an aggressive schedule designed to allow it to transition its voice operations
from the VHF band by October 2013. We find that strict enforcement of the narrowbanding deadline,
given the circumstances, would delay the County’s transition to the 800 MHz band which would delay the
implementation of the county-wide interoperable system, and delay the relinquishment of unsused VHF
spectrum, none of which is in the public interest.17 While we grant the County additional time beyond
October 2013 to decommission its existing system, we anticipate the County will do so as expeditiously
as possible.

IV.

CONCLUSION

10.
Based on the foregoing, we conclude that grant of the waiver is in the public interest.
Accordingly, we grant a waiver of the Commission’s January 1, 2013 VHF/UHF narrowbanding deadline
for the agencies and call signs listed in Appendix A, until May 31, 2014.

V.

ORDERING CLAUSES

11.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications Act of
1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and Section 1.925(b)(3)(i) of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R.
§ 1.925(b)(3)(i), that the Request for Waiver filed by Onslow County Emergency Commumnications IS
GRANTED.


14 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 421-512 MHz Bands and Guidance for Submission of Requests for Waiver and Other Matters,
Public Notice, 26 FCC Rcd 9647 (2011) (Narrowbanding Waiver Guidance Notice).
15 Id. at 9649.
16 See Waiver Request at 2.
17 Id. at 4.
3

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1864

12.
We take this action under delegated authority pursuant to Sections 0.191 and 0.392 of the
Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.191, 0.392.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Zenji Nakazawa
Deputy Chief, Policy and Licensing Division
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau
4

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1864

Appendix A: List of Affected Call Signs

Licensee

FRN

Call Signs

Frequency (MHz)

Onslow,County of
0001917434
KG4703, WSL811
155.880
Onslow,County of
0001917434
WQDC741, WQDC967, WDQC974,
155.280, 155.340
WQDD267, WQDD272, WQDD280
Nine Mile Rescue
0001917434
WRG591
155.280, 155.340
Squad
Onslow,County of
0006269963
KCP538
154.815, 155.115,
155.250, 155.565,
155.880, 155.970,
158.970
Onslow,County of
0006269963
KDK733, KVF701, KVJ624,
155.880
KWF815, KZR421, WNFH670,
WPVU263, WPVU264, WPVU309,
WPVU311, WPVU312, WPVU313,
WPVU314, WPVU315, WPVU317,
WPVU345, WPVU346, WPVU347,
WPVU913, WPVU914, WPVU915,
WPVU916, WPVU918, WPVU919,
WRG908
Onslow,County of
0006269963
KIN418
154.710, 154.830,
154.875, 155.190,
155.250, 155.490,
155.565, 155.970,
158.970
Onslow,County of
0006269963
WNEB543
154.280, 154.385
Onslow,County of
0006269963
WNEC790
153.905, 159.015
Onslow,County of
0006269963
WPCI686
151.235, 155.160,
155.280, 155.340,
155.400
Onslow,County of
0006269963
WPKS323
151.370, 159.300
Onslow,County of
0006269963
WPKZ801
153.980, 158.820
Onslow,County of
0006269963
WPTS210
154.280
Onslow,County of
0006269963
WQDC980
155.250
Onslow,County of
0006269963
WSL836
155.280, 155.340
Onslow,County of
0006269963
WXK595
155.085
The Town of North
0001913573
WNUY382
154.830, 155.730
Topsail Beach
Jacksonville, City of, 0001913573
KNGV211
155.955
Jacksonville, City of, 0001913573
WNFJ226
155.835
Jacksonville, City of, 0001913573
WNZQ802
155.805
Jacksonville, City of, 0001913573
WPNT851
154.47875
5

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