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Released: June 5, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-882

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
State of Colorado, Governor’s Office of
)
FCC File No. 0005029158
Information Technology
)
)
Request for Waiver of Section 90.531(b)(1)(iii) of )
the Commission’s Rules
)

ORDER

Adopted: June 5, 2012

Released: June 5, 2012

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

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
The State of Colorado, Governor’s Office of Information Technology (Colorado)1 requests
a waiver to permit licensing of a transportable 700 MHz trunked system to operate on twelve 6.25 kHz
interoperable channels.2 Specifically, Colorado seeks a waiver of Section 90.531(b)(1)(iii)3 of the
Commission’s rules that provides that: (a) no more than eight interoperability pairs (four 12.5 kHz
channels) may be trunked at any one location and (b) for every ten General Use channels trunked at a
station, entities may obtain a license to operate in the trunked mode on two of the Interoperability
channels.4 For the reasons set out below, we grant Colorado’s waiver request, subject to conditions.


1 We note that the Region 7 700 MHz Regional Planning Committee (Region 7) administers the 700 MHz
interoperability spectrum within Colorado. In 2001, the Commission decided that the states should be responsible
for administration of the interoperability channels. See Development of Operational, Technical and Spectrum
Requirements for Meeting Federal, State and Local Public Safety Agency Communications Requirements Through
the Year 2010, WT Dockets No. 96-86, Fourth Report and Order and Fifth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 16
FCC Rcd 2020, 2025-26 ¶¶ 11-13 (2001). Each state was required to notify the Commission by December 31, 2001,
of its decision to administer the interoperability spectrum. See 700 MHz Public Safety Band – Announcement of
Updates of Interoperability Spectrum Administration Decisions, WT Docket No. 96-86, Public Notice, 17 FCC Rcd
16535 (WTB 2002). If a state did not notify the Commission of a decision by December 31, 2001, then effective
January 1, 2002, the 700 MHz Regional Planning Committee(s) (RPC) would assume the responsibility for
administering the interoperability spectrum. Id. The Commission received no response from Colorado, id. at n.8;
hence, the administration of the interoperability channels has defaulted to Region 7.
2 See FCC File No. 0005029158 (Jan. 13, 2012 amended Apr. 24, 2012) at Letter from Richard Schmidt, Electronic
Engineer, State of Colorado, Governor’s Office of Information Technology (dated April 19, 2012) (Waiver
Request). We note that Region 7 approves Colorado’s request to use the following frequency pairs:
770.14375/800.14375 MHz, 770.64375/800.64375 MHz, 773.10625/803.10625 MHz, 773.60625/803.60625 MHz,
774.10625/804.10625 MHz, and 774.60625/804.60625 MHz. See FCC File No. 0005029158 at Letter from
Reynolds Emery, Chair, Region 7 700 MHz Regional Planning Committee (dated Oct. 9, 2011).
3 47 C.F.R. § 90.531(b)(1)(iii).
4 Waiver Request at 1.


Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-882

II.

BACKGROUND

2.
In the Fourth Report and Order5 in WT Docket 96-86, the Commission allowed secondary
trunking of interoperability channels but imposed limits on the number of interoperability channels that
could be used as part of fixed infrastructure:
Based on the record in this proceeding, we believe that jurisdictions are more likely to
implement interoperability capability in their trunked infrastructure if they could use
some of the Interoperability channels pairs as part of their general use trunked systems
during the majority of the time when the channels are not needed for interoperability
purposes. Further, we agree with the NCC[6] that to obtain the benefits here we need
only to allow trunking on a few of the Interoperability channels. The majority of
Interoperability channels should remain available for the most likely interoperability
communications scenario, conventional communications on a unit-to-unit basis.
Therefore, we will allow trunking on a limited number of Interoperability channels. To
ensure that these Interoperability channels are always available when necessary for
conventional interoperability operations, we will allow trunking only on a secondary
basis as recommended by the NCC. Further, as recommended by the NCC, we will put a
limit on the number of Interoperability channels that can be used in a trunked system.7
3.
The Commission imposed a limit on the number of interoperability channels that may be
used in a trunked system, inter alia, out of the NCC’s concern that a licensee could acquire such a large
number of interoperability channels in a trunked system that the channels would “become so integral to
the jurisdiction’s [General Use] trunked system that it could become ‘politically impossible’ to release
them for interoperability communication.”8 To prevent the jurisdiction from holding the interoperability
channels “hostage,” the NCC recommended limits on the number of interoperability channels that could
be trunked at any one location.9 The Commission adopted a modified version of that recommendation in
Section 90.531(b)(1)(iii) of the Commission’s rules which limits licensees to two trunked interoperability
channels per ten General Use channels.10
4.
Here, Colorado states that “[t]his transportable trunk system will be deployed on an
emergency as-needed basis in response to a major incident or catastrophic event.”11 Colorado also states


5 Development of Operational, Technical and Spectrum Requirements for Meeting Federal, State and Local Public
Safety Communication Requirements Through the Year 2010, WT Docket 96-86, Fourth Report and Order and
Fifth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
16 FCC Rcd 2020 (2001) (Fourth Report and Order); Memorandum Opinion
and Order
, 17 FCC Rcd 17202 (2002).
6 The National Coordinating Committee (NCC) was a Federal Advisory Committee chartered to provide the
Commission with recommendations on the optimum use of the 700 MHz public safety spectrum that became
available as a consequence of the digital television transition.
7 Fourth Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd at 2036 ¶ 42.
8 Id. at 2034 ¶ 37.
9 Id.
10 47 C.F.R. § 90.531(b)(1)(iii).
11 Waiver Request at 1.
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Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-882

“[t]his system will not be deployed for regular day to day non-emergency usage.”12 Colorado adds that
the system “will only be used for the purpose of providing interoperable radio coverage for the protection
of life and property when public safety personnel that are responding to such an emergency situation.”13
Colorado emphasizes that “[t]he deployable trunk site will be under the control of the licensee who can, if
necessary, readily disable the trunked channels and revert to conventional operation.”14
5.
Colorado also submits that “[t]he trailer mounted trunked radio system is a State of
Colorado asset that was approved through the Public Safety Interoperability Communication (PSIC) grant
program funded by the Department of Commerce.”15 Colorado adds that “[t]he radio system is an asset
that is available to all state agencies, counties and local jurisdictions to include law enforcement, fire,
emergency management and disaster response organizations in time of need.”16 Additionally, “[t]he
system will provide efficient trunked usage of the 700 MHz interoperability channels being requested and
operated as secondary to conventional operations.”17 Colorado states that “[v]arious public safety entities
throughout the state can have this interoperable trunk system preprogrammed into their existing radios,
which would allow them to immediately communicate when called to assist in an emergency event
outside of their normal coverage area.”18 Finally, Colorado states that “[t]he operation of these requested
channels will be used in full compliance of the same special conditions listed in the FCC Order issued on
May 27, 2011 (DA 11-964) in the matter of the State of Florida waiver request.”19

III.

DISCUSSION

6.
To obtain a waiver, 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; 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.20
7.
We conclude, for the reasons stated above, that grant of the requested waiver will not
frustrate the intent of Section 90.531(b)(1)(iii) of the Commission’s rules. Specifically, we find that (1)
the interoperability channels will be used in a “stand alone” deployable system unassociated with General
Use fixed infrastructure and (2) the deployable system will be under the control of the first responders at
an incident scene who readily can revert the repeater to conventional operation.21 We also find that the
public interest will be served by grant of the waiver because the deployable system operated in the


12 Id.
13 Id.
14 Id.
15 Id. at 2.
16 Id.
17 Id.
18 Id.
19 Id. citing State of Florida, Order, 26 FCC Rcd 7730 (PSHSB 2011) (Florida Order). See also City of Mesa,
Police Department, Order, 26 FCC Rcd 8466 (PSHSB 2011).
20 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(b)(3)(i)-(ii).
21 Florida Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 7731-32 ¶ 4.
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Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-882

trunked mode, will provide greater spectrum efficiency – and hence enhanced communications capability
– at incident scenes. Consequently, subject to the conditions specified below, we grant Colorado a waiver
of Section 90.531(b)(1)(iii) that limits the number of narrowband interoperability channels that may be
trunked.22
8.
As noted in the Florida Order, the Bureau sought comment on the National Public Safety
Telecommunications Council’s (NPSTC) proposal to designate the narrowband reserve channels “to
promote deployment of mobile trunked infrastructure that can be transported into [an] incident area.”23
Although most commenters supported the NPSTC proposal, the Commission has not issued a notice of
proposed rule making in response to the NPSTC proposal. Accordingly, we condition the instant waiver
grant on the disposition of the NPSTC petition. Specifically, should the Commission authorize mobile
trunked infrastructure using narrowband reserve channels:
·
this waiver shall expire and the deployable repeaters authorized by this waiver must be
reprogrammed to operate on narrowband reserve channels.
·
Colorado must bear the cost of reprogramming its repeaters and shall not be eligible for
reimbursement of any costs associated with modifying its repeaters in order to migrate to the
narrowband reserve channels and comply with the technical and licensing rules applicable to
those channels.
9.
Finally, operations pursuant to this waiver are secondary, i.e., the repeaters (a) must not
cause interference to, and must accept interference from, any fixed base station, and its associated
mobiles, operating on the narrowband interoperability channels, and (b) must not cause interference to,
and must accept interference from, any mobile or portable unit operating in the “direct,” i.e., unit-to-unit
mode.

IV.

ORDERING CLAUSES

10.
ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications
Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and Section 1.925 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R.
§ 1.925, the waiver request filed by the State of Colorado, Governor’s Office of Information Technology
IS GRANTED to the extent discussed herein and SUBJECT TO THE CONDITIONS in Paragraphs 7, 8
and 9 supra. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the Application, FCC File No. 0005029158, SHALL BE
PROCESSED.
11.
This action is taken under delegated authority pursuant to Sections 0.191(f) and 0.392 of
the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.191(f) and 0.392.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Michael J. Wilhelm
Deputy Chief - Policy and Licensing Division
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau


22 In order to facilitate interoperability, we require that the deployable system authorized by this waiver be “open,”
i.e., it shall not require a system key. In addition, Colorado must advise all potential authorized users of the system
of the frequencies and other parameters of the deployable system.
23 See Petition for Rulemaking of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council at 7, RM-11433 (filed
Feb. 8, 2008). Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Seeks Comment on Petition for Rulemaking of the
National Public Safety Telecommunications Council Concerning the 700 MHz Public Safety Narrowband Channels,
RM-11433, Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd 395 (PSHSB 2008).
4

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