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Seeks Comment on CMARC Waiver Request of 700 MHz Narrowband Deadline

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Released: May 23, 2013


Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.


Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 13-1207

Released: May 23, 2013





COMMENTS DUE: June 17, 2013

By this Public Notice, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) seeks comment
on a petition for waiver1 filed by Central Maryland Area Radio Communications (CMARC). CMARC’s
requested waiver would allow it to operate a regional interoperable communications system in the 700
MHz narrowband spectrum utilizing the current 12.5 kHz channel efficiency requirement until January 1,
2024. 2
In 2007, CMARC states that it “initiated planning to establish a trunked simulcast Project 25-
compliant radio communications system for regional interoperability using channels in the 700 MHz
spectrum.”3 “To conserve limited resources and address reductions in grant funding,” CMARC states that
“the interoperability system was designed to leverage existing dual 700/800 MHz band equipment utilized
by CMARC agencies for day-to-day emergency communications.”4 According to CMARC, “[t]his
includes approximately 20,000 subscriber units, nearly all of which are only capable of operating with
Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA), and cannot operate at 6.25 kHz efficiency.”5 CMARC
observes that “[t]he two largest CMARC agencies, the City of Baltimore and Baltimore County, recently

1 Petition for Waiver of Rules, Central Maryland Area Radio Communications, PS Docket 06-229 (filed April 3,
2013) (CMARC Petition). Section 90.535(d)(2) of the Commission’s Rules requires licensees in the 700 MHz band
to convert to 6.25 kHz voice channel efficiency by January 1, 2017. 47 C.F.R. § 90.535(d)(2). We note that the
Commission has sought comment on modifying or eliminating the rules requiring 700 MHz public safety
narrowband licensees to migrate from a 12.5 kHz voice efficiency standard to a 6.25 kHz voice efficiency standard.
See Proposed Amendments to the Service Rules Governing Public Safety Narrowband Operations in the 769-
775/799-805 MHz Bands, PS Docket No. 13-87, WT Docket No. 96-86, RM-11433, WT Docket No. 96-86, PS
Docket No. 06-229 RM-11577, Seventh Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 13-40 ¶ 86 (rel.
Apr. 1, 2013). Accordingly, we request that comments filed in response to this Public Notice reference PS Docket
2 CMARC Petition at 1.
3 Id. at 2.
4 Id.
5 Id. at 2-3.

upgraded to Project 25-compliant infrastructure using 800 MHz channels, though subscribers on those
systems are also limited to FDMA, 12.5 kHz efficiency.”6 Therefore, CMARC argues that “compliance
with the [December 31, 2016] deadline to convert to 6.25 kHz efficiency would require replacing the vast
majority of radios currently in use by CMARC jurisdictions.”7
CMARC contends that its member “agencies have no reasonable alternative other than to seek a
waiver of the 2017 deadline.”8 CMARC argues that “[m]ost of their existing 700 MHz-capable
equipment still has at least 8-13 years of useful life, and replacing that equipment would likely require
expenditures in excess of $100 million,” funds that CMARC asserts “simply do not exist.”9 CMARC
states that moving the “interoperability system to 800 MHz is a theoretical option, but would require
abandonment of 700 MHz infrastructure, significant expenditures, and substantial uncertainty as to
whether an adequate number of additional 800 MHz band frequencies can be identified.”10
Notwithstanding CMARC’s stated disadvantages of relocating its 700 MHz system to the 800
MHz band it states that it could do so, i.e. it “has access to potential funding to move its interoperability
system from 700 MHz to 800 MHz.”11 CMARC claims, however, that “those funds must be expended by
2014.”12 Thus, CMARC submits that it must have timely disposition of its waiver request (by summer
2013) so that it will know whether it can continue its current 12.5 kHz operations on the 700 MHz
interoperability network past December 31, 2016, or “whether it must expend scarce funds for an
uncertain 800 MHz replacement.”13
By this Public Notice, we seek comment on CMARC’s petition and announce the pleading cycle
during which comments may be filed.
This proceeding will be treated as “permit but disclose” for purposes of the Commission’s ex
parte rules. See generally 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1200-1.1216. As a result of the permit-but-disclose status of
this proceeding, ex parte presentations will be governed by the procedures set forth in Section 1.1206 of
the Commission’s rules applicable to non-restricted proceedings.14 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
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

6 Id. at 3.
7 Id.
8 Id.
9 Id.
10 Id.
11 Id. at 4.
12 Id.
13 Id.
14 47 C.F.R. § 1.1206.

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 rule 1.1206(b). 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.
Parties may file comments on the Petition on or before

June 17, 2013

Please place the docket number,

PS Docket 13-87

, on all filings. Comments may be filed using the
Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS).15
Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
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.
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.
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.
U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.
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 or call the
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).
Copies of the Petition and any subsequently filed documents in this matter are also available for
inspection in the Commission’s Reference Information Center:
445 12th Street, S.W., CY-Level
Washington, D.C. 20554
(202) 418-0270

15 See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).

For further information, contact: John A. Evanoff, Esq., Policy and Licensing Division, Public
Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, at (202) 418-0848 or
Action by the Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.
– FCC –

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