Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

State of Idaho

Download Options

Released: March 26, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-550

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
State of Idaho, Bureau of Homeland Security
)
FCC File No. 0004963475
)
Request for Waiver of Section 90.531(b)(1)(iii) of )
the Commission’s Rules
)

ORDER

Adopted: March 26, 2013

Released: March 26, 2013

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

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
Before us is a request for waiver filed by the State of Idaho, Bureau of Homeland Security
(Idaho).1 Idaho requests a waiver to permit the licensing of a mobile 700 MHz trunked system to operate
on six 12.5 kHz channel pairs.2 It seeks a waiver of Section 90.531(b)(1)(iii)3 of the Commission’s rules
to exceed the maximum number of interoperability channels that may be trunked.4 We grant Idaho’s
waiver request, subject to conditions, because the underlying purpose of Section 90.531(b)(1)(iii) would
not be served by application to this case, and because it is in the public interest to do so.


1 The Region 12 700 MHz Regional Planning Committee (Region 12) administers the 700 MHz interoperability
spectrum within Idaho. See Letter from Robert E. Hugi, Technical Coordinator, State of Idaho, Bureau of
Homeland Security, Public Safety Communications, to the Public Safety and Private Wireless Division, Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau (dated April 23, 2012) (Waiver Request) at 1. We further note that 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 Idaho, id. at n.8; hence, the administration of the interoperability channels
defaulted to Region 12. We note that Region 12 concurs with Idaho’s request. See Letter from Todd Herrera, Chair,
Region 12, 700 MHz Regional Planning Committee, to Mr. Robert Hugi, State of Idaho, Bureau of Homeland
Security (filed Nov. 21, 2011) (attached to FCC File No. 0004963475).
2 See FCC File No. 0004963475 (filed Nov. 21, 2011; amended April 24, 2012). The proposed facility incorporates
a “FB2T station class to operate mobile repeater systems on all six 12.5 kHz channel pairs for trunking on a
secondary basis.” Waiver Request at 1.
3 47 C.F.R. § 90.531(b)(1)(iii).
4 See Waiver Request at 1.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-550

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 a 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 the NCC
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, Idaho submits that (1) the proposed mobile trunked system will operate “on a
secondary basis, in addition to primary conventional mode”;11 (2) the system “will be under the control of
[. . .] the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security’s Public Safety Communications (PSC) Branch,” which


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.
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-550

will deploy qualified COML12 technical personnel to “operate and modify the system for conventional
operation” as needed;13 and (3) the trunked channels will be preprogrammed into mobile and portable
radios, allowing for quick access during an emergency.14 Idaho further notes that the mobile trunked
system “will be deployed only on incident scenes, emergencies, catastrophic events,” and during “routine
training” and “planned large scale events.”15 Idaho adds that the system is intended to provide coverage
during incidents where “the fixed system is overburden[ed]” or where coverage is absent.16 Noting that
“[m]any parts of Idaho are rural” and that its fixed sites rely on “low power solar applications,”17 Idaho
contends that the proposed mobile trunked system will support its ability to “promote efficient and
effective interoperable communications on behalf of all public agencies statewide.”18 Finally, Idaho
states that “it will not use, or authorize use of the equipment within 100 km of the United States and
Canadian Border for the three frequencies primary to Canada.”19

III.

DISCUSSION

5.
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
6.
As an initial matter, we note that we previously have waived the requirements of Section
90.531(b)(1)(iii) pursuant to the first prong of the waiver standard. Specifically, we have waived Section
90.531(b)(1)(iii) and approved deployable trunked systems proposed by the States of Florida, Colorado
and New Jersey and the City of Mesa, Arizona, subject to certain conditions.21 In those instances, we
found 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.22 We also found that “the public interest will be served by grant of the waiver because the


12 Communications Unit Leader (COML).
13 See Email from Robert Hugi, State of Idaho, Bureau of Homeland Security to John Evanoff, Attorney-Advisor,
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (dated July 25, 2012).
14 Id.
15 Id.
16 Id.
17 Id.
18 Waiver Request at 1.
19 These three frequencies are 769.14375 MHz, 773.10625 MHz, and 773.60625 MHz. See Waiver Request at 1.
Idaho also requests a special condition be added to these frequencies primary to Canada to restrict operation within
100 km of the US/Canada border. Id. at 2.
20 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(b)(3)(i)-(ii).
21 State of Florida, Order, 26 FCC Rcd 7730 (PSHSB 2011) (Florida Order); City of Mesa, Police Department,
Order, 26 FCC Rcd 8466 (PSHSB 2011); State of Colorado, Order, 27 FCC Rcd 6051 (PSHSB 2012); State of New
Jersey, Order, 28 FCC Rcd 1358 (PSHSB 2013).
22 See, e.g., Florida Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 7731-32 ¶ 4.
3

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-550

deployable system operated in the trunked mode, will provide greater spectrum efficiency – and hence
enhanced communications capability – at incident scenes.”23
7.
However, as noted in our previous waiver grants, the Bureau has sought comment on a
proposal by the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council’s (NPSTC) to designate the
narrowband reserve channels “to promote deployment of mobile trunked infrastructure that can be
transported into [an] incident area.”24 Accordingly, we conditioned the prior waiver grants on the
disposition of the NPSTC petition. Thus, should the NPSTC petition be granted, existing waivers
allowing mobile trunked infrastructure using interoperability channels will automatically expire without
further Commission action and:
·
deployable repeaters authorized by waiver must be reprogrammed to operate on the re-designated
narrowband reserve channels.
·
the waiver recipients must bear the cost of reprogramming their repeaters and shall not be eligible
for reimbursement of any costs associated with modifying their repeaters in order to migrate to
the narrowband reserve channels.
·
the waiver recipients must comply with the technical and licensing rules applicable to the re-
designated reserve channels.25
8.
Finally, in the prior waivers, we required that “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.”26
9.
Based on the particular factors presented here, we find Idaho’s request sufficiently
similar to our precedent to warrant a waiver. Specifically, we conclude that grant of the requested waiver
will not frustrate the intent of Section 90.531(b)(1)(iii) of the Commission’s rules and will be in the
public interest. Consequently, subject to the conditions specified above, we grant Idaho a waiver of
Section 90.531(b)(1)(iii) that limits the number of narrowband interoperability channels that may be
trunked.27

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.


23 Id. 7732 ¶ 6.
24 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).
25 See, e.g., Florida Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 7732 ¶ 8.
26 Id. at 7732 ¶ 9.
27 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, Idaho must advise all potential authorized users of the system of
the frequencies and other parameters of the deployable system.
4

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-550

§ 1.925, the waiver request filed by the State of Idaho, Bureau of Homeland Security IS GRANTED to
the extent discussed herein and SUBJECT TO THE CONDITIONS in Paragraphs 7 and 8 supra.
11.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that Application, FCC File No. 0004963475, SHALL BE
PROCESSED. Any resultant license SHALL SPECIFY that frequencies 769.14375 MHz, 773.10625
MHz, and 773.60625 MHz shall not be used within 100 km of the United States/Canada border.
12.
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
5

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.