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Released: September 16, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 13-121

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
Amendment of Sections 90.20(d)(34) and 90.265
)
PS Docket No. 13-229
of the Commission's Rules to Facilitate the Use of
)
Vehicular Repeater Units
)
RM-11635

ORDER AND NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING

Adopted: September 16, 2013

Released: September 16, 2013

Comment Date:

[60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register]

Reply Comment Date:

[90 days after date of publication in the Federal Register]
By the Commission:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Heading
Paragraph #
I. INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................................. 1
II. BACKGROUND.................................................................................................................................... 3
III. COMMENTS ......................................................................................................................................... 9
IV. ORDER ................................................................................................................................................ 16
V. NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING ........................................................................................ 21
VI. PROCEDURAL MATTERS................................................................................................................ 34
A. Ex Parte Presentations ................................................................................................................... 34
B. Comment Filing Procedures .......................................................................................................... 35
C. Accessible Formats ........................................................................................................................ 36
D. Regulatory Flexibility Analysis ..................................................................................................... 37
E. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis ............................................................................................... 38
F. Congressional Review Act............................................................................................................. 39
VII. ORDERING CLAUSES ............................................................................................................40
APPENDIX A - Proposed Rules
APPENDIX B - Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
APPENDIX C - List of Commenters to the Public Notice

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which we adopt in response to an
Amended Petition for Rulemaking filed by Pyramid Communications, Inc. (Pyramid),1 we solicit

1 See Modification of Sections 90.20(d)(34) and 90.265 of the Commission's Rules to Facilitate the Use of
Vehicular Repeater Units, Petition for Rule Making of Pyramid Communications, Inc. (filed Aug. 16, 2011)
(Amended Petition); Petition to Supplement of Pyramid Communications (filed Aug. 16, 2011) (Petition to
Supplement).

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FCC 13-121

comment on whether to amend Part 90 of the Commission's rules2 to allow the licensing and operation of
vehicular repeater systems (VRS) and other mobile repeaters by public safety licensees on certain
frequencies in the VHF band.3 Mobile repeaters are beneficial for public safety because they can provide
first responders with enhanced in-building radio coverage at emergency sites, thereby enabling first
responders to remain in radio contact when they are inside a building. For example, a mobile repeater
enables firefighters to communicate on hand-held radios with their command center when they enter a
building, encounter an in-building fire, and need to call for backup assistance on the spot. Without a
repeater to relay the communications, the firefighters inside the building might be cut off from
communicating with the command center.
2.
Given the importance of mobile repeaters to public safety, the purpose of this proceeding
is to explore whether there is a need to make additional spectrum available to support mobile repeater
capability. For the reasons discussed below, we grant the Amended Petition in part and initiate a
rulemaking that proposes to allow VRS operations on six remote control and telemetry channels at 173
MHz, subject to coordination procedures. However, we deny the portion of the Amended Petition that
seeks to initiate a rulemaking to permit VRS operations on nine Federal and forest firefighting channels in
the 170-172 MHz band.

II.

BACKGROUND

3.
Portions of the VHF band are used by Private Land Mobile Radio Service licensees,
including public safety licensees,4 predominantly for voice operations. The Commission's rules designate
488 frequencies, totaling approximately 3.6 megahertz of spectrum in the VHF band, for public safety
use.5 Licensees may operate mobile repeater stations, including vehicular repeaters, on certain VHF
mobile frequencies under Section 90.247 of the Commission's rules.6
4.
On June 27, 2011, Pyramid, a manufacturer of wireless data and voice equipment, filed a
Petition for Rulemaking requesting that the Commission amend its rules to expand the number of VHF
band frequencies available for VRS use by public safety licensees.7 On August 16, 2011, Pyramid filed
the Amended Petition to provide clarification and correct typographical errors.8 We treat the Amended
Petition as superseding the Initial Petition, but we also consider four additional VHF frequencies that
were identified in the Initial Petition but not included in the Amended Petition.
5.
In the Amended Petition, Pyramid contends that VRS units are essential to extend
coverage of radio systems to the inside of buildings so that first responders going into a building can

2 47 C.F.R. Part 90.
3 The very high frequency (VHF) band is the range of radio frequency electromagnetic waves from 30 MHz to 300
MHz. For the purposes of this rulemaking, the VHF band refers to the VHF high band range of 150 MHz to 173.4
MHz, which includes several Private Land Mobile allocations. See 47 C.F.R. 2.106.
4 See 47 C.F.R. 90.20.
5 Id.
6 47 C.F.R. 90.247. A mobile repeater station is "a mobile station authorized to retransmit automatically on a
mobile service frequency, communications to or from hand-carried transmitters." 47 C.F.R. 90.7. Vehicular
repeaters fall within this definition, as do other mobile repeaters that are not vehicle-mounted.
7 Modification of Sections 90.20(d)(24) [sic] and 90.65 [sic] of the Commission's Rules to Facilitate the Use of
Vehicular Repeater Units, Petition for Rule Making of Pyramid Communications, Inc. (filed June 27, 2011) (Initial
Petition).
8 Amended Petition; Petition to Supplement at 1.
2

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FCC 13-121

maintain communications.9 According to Pyramid, current filter technology requires VRS units to
operate on frequencies that are separated by 2-5 megahertz from the system's main licensed frequencies.10
Pyramid asserts that there are insufficient existing VHF frequencies to support VRS that are sufficiently
distant from the 150-159 MHz public safety frequencies and that are not already saturated with other
existing base/mobile operations.11 Pyramid therefore proposes that the Commission designate additional
VHF spectrum for VRS use.
6.
Pyramid identifies two specific VHF allocations that it contends would be suitable for
communication between portable radios and VRS units. First, Pyramid identifies nine frequencies in the
170-172 MHz band that are allocated for Federal use on a primary basis but are also available for
assignment to non-Federal licensees engaged in forest firefighting and forest conservation activities.12
Pyramid proposes to lift this limitation so that these channels could be used by VRS units for purposes
other than fighting forest fires, e.g., for fighting in-building fires.13 Pyramid also states that to address
potential concerns that VRS use by police might cause interference to firefighters, Pyramid "would not
oppose" limiting VRS use of these frequencies to firefighters.14
7.
Second, Pyramid identifies six frequencies in the 173 MHz band currently designated for
fixed remote control and telemetry operations.15 These six frequencies are shared between the Public
Safety and Industrial/Business (I/B) Pools, have a 6 kilohertz bandwidth limitation, and do not permit
voice operation due to the telemetry designation.16 Pyramid states that the Land Mobile Communications
Council (LMCC) "has developed frequency coordination standards by which radio systems can be
coordinated on adjacent frequencies where bandwidths overlap."17 Pyramid contends that utilization of
these standards will ensure that VRS use of the six frequencies identified in the Amended Petition will not
cause adjacent channel interference.18 On this basis, Pyramid proposes that the Commission lift the
restriction on voice operation and allow low power VRS operation on the six 173 MHz frequencies.19

9 Amended Petition at 1-2.
10 Id.
11 Id. at 4.
12 These frequencies are assignable on a secondary basis to any U.S. government station. See 47 C.F.R.
90.265(c)(1). The frequencies will be assigned only to licensees directly responsible for the prevention, detection,
and suppression of forest fires. 47 C.F.R. 90.265(c)(2)-(3). For individual applications, the Commission's rules
require a Letter of Concurrence from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). See 47 C.F.R.
90.265(c)(6).
13 Amended Petition at 4.
14 Id. at 5.
15 Id. at 6.
16 See id. at 6-7. The frequencies are 173.2375, 173.2625, 173.2875, 173.3125, 173.3375, and 173.3625 MHz
(telemetry channels). Telemetry is "the transmission of non-voice signals for the purpose of automatically
indicating or recording measurements at a distance from the measuring equipment." (Emphasis added.) See 47
C.F.R. 90.7, 90.20(d)(34).
17 Amended Petition at 6-7. The six telemetry channels are interleaved with seven frequencies that have no usage
limitations in the I/B Pool. See 47 C.F.R. 90.35(b). For further discussion, see infra para. 27.
18 Amended Petition at 7.
19 Id.
3

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FCC 13-121

8.
On October 14, 2011, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau)
released a public notice seeking comment on the Amended Petition.20 The Bureau sought comment on
Pyramid's proposals regarding the 170-172 MHz forest firefighting frequencies and the 173 MHz
telemetry frequencies.21 The Bureau asked whether the Commission should remove the limitation in
Section 90.20(d)(33), which imposes a bandwidth limit of 6 kilohertz on the six telemetry channels, since
voice communications typically occupy a bandwidth of 11.25 kilohertz.22 The Bureau also noted that the
Initial Petition, but not the Amended Petition, had proposed to allow VRS use of four additional
frequencies immediately adjacent to the six telemetry channels.23 Accordingly, the Bureau asked whether
the Commission should consider all ten 173 MHz frequencies for VRS operation.24 Finally, the Bureau
sought comment on "the potential costs and benefits of Pyramid's proposal, including: (1) how and in
what ways the remote control and telemetry channels are used today; (2) the compatibility of the proposed
VRS voice operations with incumbent remote control and telemetry operations; and (3) adjacent channel
interference as a result of modifying or removing bandwidth limitations on frequencies in the 173 MHz
band."25 The comment period closed on November 18, 2011.26

III.

COMMENTS

9.
The Commission received 31 responsive comments and reply comments, with supporting
commenters outnumbering opposing commenters. Full supporters include various public safety agencies,
equipment dealers, and individuals. Two certified frequency coordinators offer more reserved support for
VRS use of the 173 MHz channels. Four certified frequency coordinators and a county water
management agency oppose the petition.
10.
Comments supporting Pyramid proposals. Nineteen commenters support all of
Pyramid's proposals.27 Some of these commenters argue that in-building portable radio coverage can be
challenging or non-existent due to the use of modern construction materials that attenuate radio signals,
and that vehicular repeaters are an important link between portable and base communications.28 Several

20 Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Seeks Comment on Pyramid Communications Inc.'s Petition for
Rulemaking to Facilitate the Use of Vehicular Repeater Units by Public Safety Licensees in the VHF Band, RM-
11635, Public Notice, 26 FCC Rcd 14355 (PSHSB 2011) (Public Notice).
21 Id. at 14356.
22 Id. at 14357.
23 Id. The frequencies are 173.20375, 173.210, 173.390, and 173.39625 MHz.
24 Id.
25 Public Notice at 14358.
26 See Appendix C for a list of commenters.
27 See Comments of Justin Bellen, Tower Communications Co., and Reply Comments of Alpha-Zulu Solutions
LLC, Beltronics, Inc., Cassie Adams, David Patton, Jay Tompson, Mary Langford, Co-Meg Sales, McLaughlin
Long Marketing, Rob Hendrickson, Wisconsin State Patrol, Advanced PLM Sales and Marketing, Mark Schaaf,
Scott Pasley, Brian Mortenson, Jamestown Communications, Inc., Robert Harvey, Pyramid Communications.
Ozborn Communications, LLC submitted a supportive filing after the reply comment deadline. By contrast, the
other comments that we discuss infra support only certain aspects of Pyramid's proposals or oppose Pyramid's
proposals.
28 Tower Communications Co. Comments at 1; Beltronics Inc. Comments at 1.
4

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parties support this proceeding for the safety of first responders.29 Mark Schaff (Schaff) argues that the
VHF plan makes it difficult to achieve 3-5 megahertz separation between the mobile transmit frequencies
and the vehicle repeater frequency.30 Therefore, Schaff states that making frequencies at 170 MHz
available for VRS would make it easier to set up in-band repeaters.31 Wisconsin State Patrol (Wisconsin)
urges the Commission to consider all ten frequencies at 173 MHz (including the four identified in the
Initial Petition), as well as the 170-172 MHz frequencies, for VRS operation. 32
11.
Other commenters support specific elements of Pyramid's proposal but take no position
on others. The Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of State Police (Commonwealth) supports VRS
use of the six 173 MHz telemetry frequencies and also supports allowing VRS use of 170-172 MHz
frequencies, but for forestry purposes only.33 The Association of Public-Safety Communications
Officials-International, Inc. (APCO), a certified frequency coordinator, states that it "is not prepared to
take a position on all of Pyramid's specific recommendations at this time" but that it "strongly support[s]
the initiation of a rulemaking proceeding to explore ways to improve VRS capability."34 The Enterprise
Wireless Alliance (EWA), another certified coordinator, takes no position on VRS use of 170-172 MHz
frequencies, but supports consideration of designating some 173 MHz frequencies for VRS voice
operations "subject, of course, to appropriate frequency coordination procedures."35 EWA cautions that
VRS use of these frequencies must be carefully coordinated to ensure continued availability of the
telemetry channels for use by EWA and Utilities Telecommunications Council (UTC) members, "who
have made productive use of these frequencies to support a variety of essential business enterprise and
critical infrastructure non-voice applications."36 EWA opposes rule changes "that might compromise
these operations," but posits that "[g]iven the highly localized nature of VRS usage, [the telemetry]
frequencies should be able to be reused in adjacent communities without interference."37 APCO,
Pyramid, and Wisconsin also state that frequency coordination can minimize potential VRS interference
to remote control and telemetry operations.38
12.
Comments opposing VRS on 170-172 MHz. Two other certified frequency coordinators,
the Forestry Conservation Communications Association (FCCA) and the International Municipal Signal
Association/International Association of Fire Chiefs (IMSA/IAFC), oppose VRS use of the 170-172 MHz
frequencies. While these parties do not oppose the concept of VRS, they assert that because the 170-172
MHz band frequencies are assigned on a primary basis to the federal government, the Commission lacks
authority to allow VRS use absent concurrence from federal users and/or the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).39 IMSA/IAFC also express concern that

29 Cassie Adams Comments at 1; David Patton Comments at 1; Mary Langford Comments at 1; Alpha-Zulu
Solutions LLC Comments at 1; Justin Bellen Comments at 1; Robert Harvey Reply Comments at 1.
30 Mark Schaff Reply Comments at 1.
31 Id.
32 Wisconsin State Patrol (Wisconsin) Reply Comments at 1.
33 Commonwealth of Virginia Department of State Police (Commonwealth) Reply Comments at 2.
34 Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, Inc. (APCO) Comments at 2.
35 Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) Reply Comments at 3-4.
36 EWA Reply Comments at 3.
37 Id. at 4.
38 Wisconsin Reply Comments at 1, APCO Comments at 2, Pyramid Reply Comments at 1.
39 FCCA Comments at 2, IMSA/IAFC Comments at 4.
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VRS use could interfere with use of these channels for forest firefighting operations.40 FCCA notes that
the locations of forest fires cannot be predicted, so "[o]nce a fire starts, it is critical to be able to move
into an area quickly and establish communications."41 IMSA/IAFC state that "[t]here is often no clear
distinction between forested and non-forested areas, and buildings, shopping malls and arenas are
increasingly located at the perimeters of forested areas."42 Both commenters also cite as precedent a 2003
determination by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau that forest firefighting channels are not
routinely available for low power police surveillance operations.43
13.
Comments opposing VRS on 173 MHz telemetry channels. The Yuba County Water
Agency, California (Yuba) and certified frequency coordinators UTC and the American Petroleum
Institute (API) express concerns that VRS could interfere with incumbent telemetry operations in the 173
MHz band. UTC states that allowing voice operations on these frequencies "would threaten interference
to [telemetry] operations, thereby jeopardizing the underlying services that they support and the general
public that relies on those services."44 UTC also contends that existing frequency coordination
procedures will not mitigate the risk of interference because they are designed to address interference
between adjacent voice systems rather than interference between voice-based VRS and data-based
telemetry/remote control operations.45 Yuba contends that "[t]here is a high likelihood that police and fire
use of [VRS] would interfere with the Agency telemetry system."46 API argues that "Pyramid does not
describe how its proposal will not result in the very interference to others that it seeks to avoid (both from
and to Public Safety VRS operations) for itself."47
14.
UTC and API also argue that Pyramid has failed to document the need for additional
spectrum to support VRS. UTC asserts that there is "very little if any technical justification in the petition
for the relief that Pyramid seeks, and there is almost no discussion of possible alternatives and/or
interference mitigation strategies."48 API argues that Pyramid has not demonstrated why VRS could not
be accommodated on existing frequencies through improved filter technology or regional, state and local
planning.49 API suggests that it is premature to conclude that the VHF band is saturated with existing
base/mobile operations because narrowbanding could make additional VHF spectrum available after the
January 1, 2013 deadline.50 API also contends that critical infrastructure industry entities have greater
need than VRS for additional spectrum.51

40 IMSA/IAFC Comments at 5.
41 FCCA Comments at 2.
42 IMSA/IAFC Comments at 5.
43 FCCA Comments at 4, IMSA/IAFC Comments at 6 (citing Letter from D'wana R. Terry, Chief, Public Safety and
Private Wireless Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, to Mr. Joe Friend, National Office Manager,
FCCA, dated Dec. 4, 2003, 18 FCC Rcd 24668 (WTB PSPWD 2003) (Terry Letter)).
44 Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) Comments at 1.
45 See UTC Reply Comments at 1.
46 Yuba County Water Agency, California (Yuba) Comments at 2.
47 American Petroleum Institute (API) Reply Comments at 4.
48 UTC Comments at 3.
49 API Reply Comments at 3.
50 API Reply Comments at 3.
51 Id. at 4.
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15.
In reply, the Commonwealth argues that VRS use of telemetry frequencies "to help fill a
critical gap in public safety coverage for first responders" should take priority over "the risk of minor
delays in utility monitoring."52 The Commonwealth also contends that the risk of VRS causing
interference to utility telemetry is low because VRS use will be highly sporadic.53 Indeed, given that VRS
units are intended for temporary use at indeterminate locations, the Commonwealth argues that VRS use
should not be subject to frequency coordination.54

IV.

ORDER

16.
As evidenced by Section 90.247 of the rules, the Commission has long recognized the
public interest benefit of vehicular repeaters (mobile repeater stations), which provide in-building
coverage and extended communications range for hand-held units used by police, fire, and rescue
personnel in the field. As we noted above, mobile repeaters can improve the safety of first responders by
enabling them to stay in radio contact with their command centers in difficult coverage environments
where they might otherwise be cut off from communicating. We point out that licensees may operate
mobile repeater stations on most frequencies in the VHF band without any rule change under Section
90.247. The predominant use of mobile repeater stations is for land mobile voice operation, which is
allowed on most VHF frequencies.
17.
However, a rulemaking is necessary to consider allowing mobile repeater stations on the
particular VHF frequencies that Pyramid identified because these frequencies have specific rules and
limitations that render the frequencies incompatible with mobile repeater stations absent a rule change.
For example, the six telemetry and remote control channels are non-voice by definition, and thus, our
rules do not allow voice operation and therefore do not allow mobile repeater station operations on
telemetry and remote control channels. Hence, Pyramid urges the Commission to "remov[e] the thirty
year old restriction on voice operation."55 The Federal forest firefighting channels have limitations on
allocation and how the channels are used that are also incompatible with Pyramid's proposed mobile
repeater stations use, absent rule changes.
18.
In its Amended Petition, Pyramid states that public safety users in the VHF band have a
particular need for an in-band VRS solution because there is virtually no allocation of public safety
spectrum that can be used for VRS that provides the required spectral separation from the 150-159 MHz
operating frequencies and that is not already saturated with existing base/mobile operations.56 The record
persuades us that we should initiate a rulemaking proceeding to determine whether additional spectrum is
needed to support VHF in-band mobile repeater stations. Accordingly, by adopting the accompanying
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking we grant the portion of Pyramid's Amended Petition that seeks to initiate
such a proceeding.57
19.
However, we deny the portion of Pyramid's Amended Petition that seeks to initiate a
proceeding regarding the nine Federal and forest firefighting channels at 170-172 MHz. On April 3,

52 Commonwealth Reply Comments at 3.
53 Id.
54 Id.
55 Amended Petition at 7.
56 See id. at 4.
57 As an ancillary matter, we need not define "vehicular repeater units" in Section 90.7 of our rules as Pyramid
requests because these units fall into the category of mobile repeater stations. The Commission's rules define and
detail the use of mobile repeater stations in Sections 90.7 and 90.247, respectively. Accordingly, the new rules we
propose as a result of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking refer to these units as mobile repeater stations.
7

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2013, NTIA filed a letter recommending that the Commission deny the Pyramid Petition in part with
respect to these channels.58 NTIA noted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest
Service make extensive use of these channels.59 NTIA states that because the Forest Service supports
critical public safety operations, NTIA needs to ensure an interference-free environment.60 NTIA opposes
even secondary status for VRS users because VRS public safety services should not be placed at risk by
creating conflicts with primary Federal safety operations, and neither group will want to face interference
or other coordination conflicts during an operation.61 Based on NTIA's recommendation, we decline to
include the nine Federal channels in our rulemaking proceeding.
20.
We also decline to include in our rulemaking proceeding the four additional 173 MHz
frequencies identified by Pyramid in the Initial Petition.62 Because Pyramid did not list these frequencies
in the Amended Petition, it is not clear whether Pyramid intended to propose their inclusion, but even if it
did so intend, we believe they are not suitable for VRS use. Two of the four frequencies (173.210 and
173.390 MHz) have a bandwidth limit of only 3 kilohertz, which is insufficient bandwidth for satisfactory
voice operation based on today's available technology.63 We also agree with APCO that the four
frequencies should not be considered for VRS use because the 6.25 kilohertz separation between the
lower two and upper two frequencies "results in insufficient separation between the two frequencies for
voice use, and makes coordination difficult."64

V.

NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING

21.
In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we seek comment on rule amendments to provide
for the expanded use of mobile repeaters for public safety. Although we do not seek to expand the
authority for mobile repeaters under Section 90.247, we propose to amend Sections 90.20 (limitations 32,
33, and 34) and 90.175 of our rules65 to enable mobile repeaters to operate on the telemetry channels
discussed above. We also seek comment on whether frequency coordination methods could protect
telemetry users from interference. Next, we seek comment on issues raised in the comments to the public
notice, including wide area mobile repeater operations, bandwidth, and power. We also seek comment on
the costs and burdens of rule changes, and on whether current mobile repeater filter technologies can
support reduced frequency separation requirements. Finally, we explore the mobile repeater environment
in other public safety bands besides VHF, and seek comment on Industrial/Business licensees' usage of
mobile repeaters.
22.
Telemetry channels. We seek comment on whether to permit public safety mobile
repeater station operations on the six remote control and telemetry channels at 173 MHz subject to
coordination. The record suggests that there may be a need to make additional VHF channels available

58 See Letter from Karl B. Nebbia, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management, National
Telecommunications and Information Administration, to Julius Knapp, Chief, Office of Engineering and
Technology, Federal Communications Commission, RM-11635 (dated April 3, 2013) (NTIA Letter).
59 Id. at 2.
60 Id.
61 Id.
62 The other four frequencies are 173.20375, 173.210, 173.390, and 173.39625 MHz. See Initial Petition at 7 note
10.
63 See 47 C.F.R. 90.20(d)(54).
64 APCO Comments at 2.
65 47 C.F.R. 90.20(d)(32)-(34), 90.175.
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for VRS use beyond those that are already available. We seek comment on whether this is the case. Are
frequencies in the 150-159 MHz band not suitable for VRS use, as Pyramid contends, because of limited
spectral separation and heavy use by existing base mobile operations? Are there are other alternatives
that should be considered, as API and UTC suggest?66 For example, has implementation of the
Commission's narrowbanding mandate freed up VHF spectrum that could be used for VRS? Should VRS
spectral needs be given priority over other potential uses, such as critical infrastructure use?
23.
To the extent that additional VHF spectrum may be needed for VRS use, we seek
comment on the appropriateness of making the six 173 MHz remote control and telemetry channels
available for this purpose. Do commenters agree with EWA that neighboring VRS users should be able
to share use of the same frequency given the localized and limited time nature of such operations, and that
such sharing should minimize the potential for harmful interference to incumbent telemetry users?67 We
note that some telemetry data operations are used for safety-related purposes, such as monitoring and
controlling water quality and volume for public health and flood control. Would frequency coordination
be sufficient to mitigate the risk of interference between VRS and telemetry uses? Should we consider
modifying the current VHF band coordination methodology, including the use of exclusion zones, to
reduce instances of interference? Since mobile repeater stations are not fixed operations, we seek
comment on whether a modified VHF coordination practice could accommodate mobile repeater stations.
We also seek comment on alternative frequency coordination procedures that could accommodate such
usage.
24.
Protection of telemetry users. We seek comment about the typical configuration and
usage of telemetry stations. Are telemetry systems generally point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, or a
mix? What are typical duty cycles and data rates? What types of error correction and retransmit
protocols do telemetry operators use? In the context of telemetry station configuration and usage, what is
the best way to protect them from mobile repeater stations through coordination? For example, is it
feasible to prohibit mobile repeater use inside the service area of a co-channel incumbent station (i.e., an
exclusion zone)?68 We invite suggestions for other coordination procedures, depending on the
characteristics of the incumbent telemetry station. Would an exclusion zone coordination methodology
address UTC's concern about the lack of a frequency coordination standard for voice and data operations?
Would a typical public safety mobile repeater station licensee be able to instruct its first responders to
avoid using a co-channel frequency for mobile repeater stations in these exclusion zones with reasonable
accuracy?
25.
We seek comment on whether frequency coordinators could add special conditions to the
mobile repeater applications, e.g., by listing active, co-channel incumbent call signs and associated
exclusion zones that demarcate where mobile repeater operations would be specifically prohibited from
the authorization requested by the application. We seek comment on possible exceptions to such an
approach, such as when the mobile repeater station user has obtained written concurrence from the
incumbent licensee, or the VRS user and incumbent user are the same licensee.69 What should be the

66 See UTC Comments at 3, API Reply Comments at 3-4.
67 See EWA Reply Comments at 4.
68 There are several ways that licensees can define service areas. For example: a service contour that depends on the
transmitter height and power; a radius around a set of coordinates; a rectangular area defined by a set of latitudes
and longitudes; or jurisdictional boundaries. Commenting parties should address the appropriate definition of
"service area" for purposes of this proceeding.
69 For example, a governmental jurisdiction that conducts telemetry operations on one of these frequencies for its
water utility service may have a fire department that is in need of a frequency for mobile repeater station operations.
Both uses would be administered by the same licensee, that is, the governmental jurisdiction.
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protocol if a mobile repeater station user becomes licensed on a vacant frequency, but a telemetry user is
later licensed on that frequency in the mobile repeater station user's operating area? Should a mobile
repeater be allowed to cease protecting the exclusion zone if the incumbent telemetry license were to
expire, cancel, or terminate and absent the filing of a petition for reconsideration of the change in license
status?70
26.
Wide area mobile repeater operations. If a wide area or statewide applicant cannot
achieve complete mobile repeater coverage on one telemetry frequency due to a conflict with exclusion
zones, could the applicant achieve greater coverage by applying for multiple telemetry frequencies,
thereby avoiding interference in the prohibited exclusion zones? Would these measures address the
Commonwealth's argument that frequency coordination is unnecessary in general and unworkable for
statewide VRS use?
27.
Frequency bandwidth. Wisconsin supports the use of VRS on telemetry channels, stating
that "[a]djacent channel interference issues will be diminished with the imminent conversion of all
operations to 11K or less operation."71 The six telemetry channels are interleaved with seven channels in
the I/B Pool.72 The spacing between channels is 12.5 kilohertz. Prior to the narrowbanding deadline of
January 1, 2013, the interstitial I/B channels had a 20 kilohertz bandwidth limit,73 while the six telemetry
channels have a 6 kilohertz bandwidth limit74 to minimize mutual bandwidth overlap. However, now that
the narrowbanding deadline has passed, the interstitial I/B channels have a bandwidth limit of 11.25
kilohertz, which would allow mobile repeater stations on the telemetry channels to use greater than 6
kilohertz bandwidth and up to 11.25 kilohertz bandwidth without mutual bandwidth overlap.
Consequently, we propose to allow mobile repeater operations to use up to 11.25 kilohertz bandwidth on
the six telemetry channels. We acknowledge that PLMR stations that meet the efficiency standard of one
voice channel per 12.5 kilohertz bandwidth may still use up to 20 kilohertz authorized bandwidth,75 but
that most radios operate at 11.25 kilohertz bandwidth or less.
28.
We seek comment on what proportion of I/B users of the interstitial channels could be
affected by bandwidth overlap because they operate at greater than 11.25 kilohertz bandwidth and choose
to satisfy the narrowbanding requirement by meeting the efficiency standard. Can mobile repeater
stations operate within the other technical limits of Section 90.20(d)(33) of the Commission's rules, or
should the Commission not apply these limits to mobile repeater stations on the six telemetry channels?76

70 See 47 C.F.R. 1.106(f). The mobile repeater station licensee could periodically check the status of incumbent
telemetry stations that it must protect by searching the relevant call signs in ULS at
http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchLicense.jsp. On the main page of a license, the change in status
date would appear under the "Dates" section in the "Cancellation" box.
71 Wisconsin Reply Comments at 1. Wisconsin refers to the narrowbanding requirement, where all PLMR stations
in the 150-174 and 406-512 MHz bands must operate on channels with a bandwidth of 12.5 kHz or less beginning
January 1, 2013, unless the operations meet the efficiency standard of 90.203(j)(3). The efficiency standard does
not reduce bandwidth but achieves the narrowband equivalent of at least one channel per 12.5 kHz of channel
bandwidth for voice and transmission rates of at least 4800 bits per second per 6.25 kHz for data systems operating
with bandwidths greater than or equal to 12.5 kHz. See 47 C.F.R. 90.203(j)(3), 90.209(b)(5).
72 The interstitial I/B Pool channels are 173.225, 173.250, 173.275, 173.300, 173.325, 173.350, and 173.375 MHz.
73 47 C.F.R. 90.209(b)(5).
74 47 C.F.R. 90.20(d)(33).
75 See 47 C.F.R. 90.203(j)(3).
76 Id. Specifically, "[f]or FM transmitters, the sum of the highest modulating frequency in Hertz and the amount of
the frequency deviation or swing in Hertz may not exceed 2800 Hz and the maximum deviation may not exceed 2.5
(continued....)
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We clarify that the provisions of Section 90.247 would apply to VRS or mobile repeater operations on
these telemetry channels or any other spectrum that supports such use. We do not perceive a conflict
between the rules proposed herein and Section 90.247 of the Commission's rules. We also seek comment
on whether all operations on the six telemetry channels should remain secondary to adjacent channel land
mobile operations now that the narrowband deadline has passed.77
29.
Power. The Commonwealth seeks a power limit increase on the telemetry channels for
VRS if the channels are made available for VRS use.78 The current ERP limit for mobile stations is 2
watts;79 the Commonwealth seeks 5 watts for both VRS and portable radios. The Commonwealth
contends public safety "needs dedicated frequencies of equal transmitter power to that of a VHF portable,
to create a balanced network."80 We seek comment on the Commonwealth's proposal, but only for
mobile repeater operation on the six telemetry channels. We do not propose to increase the 2-watt power
limit for the existing telemetry and remote control use.
30.
Costs and burdens. We also seek comment on the costs and burdens associated with
allowing mobile repeater stations on the six telemetry channels. Would incumbent licensees experience
any increased costs if we allow mobile repeater stations on the six telemetry channels? Approximately
how many more staff-hours would frequency coordinators spend on a mobile repeater station
coordination, relative to a non- mobile repeater station coordination in the VHF band, if we impose the
coordination requirement that we discussed above? If there is a significant difference, can frequency
coordinators estimate the effect on coordination fees? Does the supposed benefit that mobile repeater
stations provide justify an increased coordination cost? We seek comment on any other costs that we
have not considered.
31.
Filters and other technical solutions. We seek comment generally on whether
improvements to mobile repeater equipment and filter design could reduce the frequency separation
requirements for mobile repeaters. FCCA, UTC, and API argue that Pyramid's frequency spread
argument does not establish that the frequencies proposed by Pyramid for VRS use are the only
frequencies it could use, or that filter improvements could not reduce the separation requirement.81 UTC
argues that "[t]here is very little if any technical justification in the petition for the relief that Pyramid
seeks, and there is almost no discussion of possible alternatives and/or interference mitigation
strategies."82 FCCA states, "perhaps other filter technologies, such as very small surface acoustic wave
(`SAW') filters, could be adapted for vehicular repeater use."83 EWA "urges the VRS vendor community
to investigate technological advances that might expand spectrum options in the future."84 Accordingly,
we seek comment on filter design in general to allow for smaller frequency separation. We also seek
comment on the feasibility of adapting SAW filters, or other filter technology, for mobile repeater use.
(Continued from previous page)
kHz. For AM transmitters, the highest modulation frequency may not exceed 2000 Hz. The carrier frequency must
be maintained within .0005 percent of the center of the frequency band." Id.
77 See 47 C.F.R. 90.20(d)(32).
78 Commonwealth Comments at 4; Commonwealth Reply Comments at 4.
79 47 C.F.R. 90.20(d)(32).
80 Commonwealth Comments at 4.
81 See FCCA Comments at 2-3, UTC Comments at 3, API Reply Comments at 3.
82 UTC Comments at 3.
83 FCCA Comments at 3.
84 EWA Reply Comments at 3.
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We particularly invite other manufacturers of vehicular and mobile repeaters to comment and provide
information on frequency separation requirements for in-band repeaters and filters that can minimize the
frequency separation. We also ask commenting parties to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of
cross-band repeaters as an alternative to in-band repeaters.
32.
Other public safety bands. Next, we seek comment on whether there are other spectrum
bands or frequencies that could be used for public safety mobile repeater operations. Are there other
alternatives in the VHF band?85 What is the status of mobile repeaters in the 450-470 MHz, 700 MHz,
and 800 MHz public safety bands? To what extent do public safety licensees in these bands experience
challenges in locating suitable and available frequencies that can be used for mobile repeater stations?
Bearing in mind that mobile repeater stations generally are allowed on any private land mobile radio
service frequency that the Commission's rules do not designate for an incompatible purpose, what steps
could the Commission take to facilitate mobile repeater use in 450-470 MHz, 700 MHz, and 800 MHz
bands? Are there adequate frequencies in these bands where land mobile voice operations, and by
extension mobile repeater stations, are already permitted, or should the Commission consider changing
rules to allow land mobile voice operations and mobile repeater stations on certain frequencies that the
rules currently render incompatible with such use? If so, which frequencies should the Commission
consider?
33.
Industrial/Business licensees. While much of the discussion herein is focused on public
safety users, we also seek comment on the I/B community's interest in using mobile repeater stations in
the VHF band. What is the current state of I/B mobile repeater usage? Do I/B licensees need more VHF
spectrum for mobile repeater stations that can be shared with existing applications, such as telemetry?
Should the Commission include I/B eligibles in this rulemaking and consider amendments to Section
90.35 that are analogous to the rule changes we propose supra to Section 90.20, so that I/B users in
addition to public safety users would be allowed to use the six telemetry channels for VRS?

VI.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

A.

Ex Parte Presentations

34.
This matter shall be treated as a "permit-but-disclose" proceeding in accordance with the
Commission's ex parte rules.86 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 rule 1.1206(b). In

85 See APCO Comments at 2 (recommending that the Commission broaden the scope of the proceeding beyond the
frequencies identified by Pyramid). In seeking comment on additional spectrum bands and frequencies, we do not
open a proceeding that considers the use of the nine 170-172 MHz Federal and forest firefighting channels or the
four other telemetry frequencies as discussed in the Order above. Those frequencies are not part of this rulemaking
proceeding.
86 47 C.F.R. 1.200 et seq.
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proceedings governed by rule 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.

B.

Comment Filing Procedures

35.
Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 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 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking should refer to RM-
11635 and PS Docket No. 13-229.


Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.

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 fcc504@fcc.gov or call the
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432.

C.

Accessible Formats

36.
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).

D.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

37.
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, see 5 U.S.C. 603, the
Commission has prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant
economic impact on small entities of the policies and rules addressed in this document. The IRFA is set
forth in Appendix B. Written public comments are requested on the IRFA. These comments must be
13

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filed in accordance with the same filing deadlines as comments filed in response to this Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking as set forth in paragraph 35, and have a separate and distinct heading designating
them as responses to the IRFA.

E.

Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

38.
This document contains proposed modified information collection requirements. The
Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to comment on the information collection requirements
contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. In
addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44
U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we seek specific comment on how we might further reduce the information collection
burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

F.

Congressional Review Act

39.
The Commission will send a copy of this Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in a
report to be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional
Review Act (CRA), see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

VII.

ORDERING CLAUSES

40.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that pursuant to sections 4(i) and 303 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i) and 303, and section 1.407 of the
Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.407, this Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking IS ADOPTED.
41.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to sections 4(i) and 303 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i) and 303, and sections 1. 401(e) and 1.407
of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.401(e) and 1.407, the petition for rulemaking filed by Pyramid
Communications, Inc., on June 27, 2011, as amended on August 16, 2011, IS GRANTED to the extent
described herein and IS OTHERWISE DENIED.
42.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission's Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Order and Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking, including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for
Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.
43.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to applicable procedures set forth in Sections
1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file
comments on this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on or before 60 days after publication in the Federal
Register, and interested parties may file reply comments on or before 90 days after publication in the
Federal Register.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary
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APPENDIX A

Proposed Rules

Part 90 of Chapter 1 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:
1. The authority citation for Part 90 continues to read as follows:

Authority: Sections 4(i), 11, 303(g), 303(r), and 332(c)(7) of the Communications Act of

1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 161, 303(g), 303(r), and 332(c)(7), and Title VI of the Middle
Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. 112-96, 126 Stat. 156.

2.
Section 90.20 is amended by revising paragraphs (d)(32), (33), and (34) to read as
follows:
90.20 Public Safety Pool.
* * * * *
(d)
* * *
(32)
The maximum effective radiated power (ERP) may not exceed 20 watts for fixed stations,
2 watts for mobile stations, and 5 watts for mobile repeater stations and hand-carried transmitters
that communicate directly with mobile repeater stations in the Public Safety Pool. The height of
the antenna system may not exceed 15.24 meters (50 ft.) above ground. All such operation is on
a secondary basis to adjacent channel land mobile operations.
(33)
For FM transmitters, the sum of the highest modulating frequency in Hertz and the
amount of the frequency deviation or swing in Hertz may not exceed 2800 Hz and the maximum
deviation may not exceed 2.5 kHz. For AM transmitters, the highest modulation frequency may
not exceed 2000 Hz. The carrier frequency must be maintained within .0005 percent of the center
of the frequency band, and the authorized bandwidth may not exceed 6 kHz, except for mobile
repeater stations and hand-carried transmitters that communicate directly with mobile repeater
stations in the Public Safety Pool, in which case the authorized bandwidth may not exceed 11.25
kHz.
(34)
This frequency is available on a shared basis with the Industrial/Business Pool for remote
control and telemetry operations. In cases where 90.20(d)(32) applies to this frequency,
licensees who are eligible in the Public Safety Pool may also use this frequency for mobile
repeater stations and hand-carried transmitters that communicate directly with mobile repeater
stations subject to the frequency coordination requirements of 90.175(b)(4). Mobile repeater
stations shall not operate within the service areas of active co-channel incumbent remote control
and telemetry stations as determined by the applicable frequency coordinator and listed in a
special condition on the mobile repeater station operator's license. If any listed incumbent
license on the special condition becomes expired, canceled, or terminated, then this requirement
shall not apply to the associated service area beginning 30 days after the change in license status
in the Commission's Universal Licensing System, absent the filing of a petition for
reconsideration of the change in license status.
* * * * *
3.
Section 90.175 is amended by adding paragraph (b)(4) to read as follows:
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90.175 Frequency coordinator requirements.
* * * * *
(b)
* * *
(4)
For any application for public safety mobile repeater station operations on frequencies
denoted by both 90.20(d)(32) and 90.20(d)(34), the frequency coordinator responsible for the
application must determine and disclose to the applicant the call signs and the service areas of all
active co-channel incumbent remote control and telemetry stations inside the applicant's
proposed area of operation by adding a special condition to the application, except when the
applicant has obtained written concurrence from an affected incumbent licensee, or when the
applicant and the incumbent licensee are the same entity.
* * * * *
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APPENDIX B

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

1.
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),1 the
Commission has prepared this Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities by the policies and rules proposed in this
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The Commission requests written public comments on this
IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for
comments on the NPRM provided in Section VI of the item. The Commission will send a copy of the
NPRM, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration
(SBA).2 In addition, the Commission will ensure that the NPRM and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will
be published in the Federal Register.3

A.

Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

2.
The purpose of today's NPRM is to explore the licensing and operation of vehicular
repeater systems (VRS), which fall into the category of mobile repeater stations, by public safety
licensees in the VHF band.4 Equipment designer and manufacturer Pyramid Communications, Inc.
(Pyramid) requested the Commission commence a rulemaking proceeding to allow VRS on certain
frequencies in the VHF band. Mobile repeater stations are vehicle-mounted repeaters that repeat
transmissions from low-powered, hand-held portable radios in the immediate vicinity to distant fixed
repeaters or base stations. Mobile repeater stations also receive signals from the distant fixed repeaters or
base stations and retransmit them on the designated mobile repeater station frequency to handheld
portable radios in the immediate vicinity for better in-building coverage. Mobile repeater stations not
only improve communications for public safety personnel carrying portable radios, but also provide links
to the main system and thus improve safety.
3.
Pyramid's VRS provide an in-band solution, which saves field personnel from having to
carry two portable radios,5 but Pyramid states that current filter technology requires a frequency
separation of 2 to 5 megahertz from the main system operating frequencies. Public safety licensees in the
VHF band operate primarily in the range 150 to 160 MHz. However, these frequencies are congested in
many areas, so often no frequency can be found that is at least 2 megahertz separated from a licensee's
operating frequencies. Pyramid proposed to make two groups of VHF frequencies available for
communication between portable radios and VRS units: (i) nine channels at 170-172 MHz from Section
90.265(c), which are currently allocated to the Federal Government and designated on a secondary basis
for forest firefighting and conservation;6 and (ii) six channels at 173 MHz: 173.2375, 173.2625, 173.2875,

1 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).
2 See 5 U.S.C. 603(a).
3 Id.
4 In the context of this rulemaking, we presume the VHF band to be 150-174 MHz.
5 A cross-band mobile repeater solution would have adequate frequency separation, but it would burden field
personnel with two portable radios one for the main operating system frequencies that operates in one frequency
band, and another for VRS that operates in a different frequency band.
6 The 170-172 MHz channels are available for assignment to licensees engaged in forest firefighting and
conservation activities. Each applicant must obtain written concurrence from USDA. See 47 C.F.R. 90.265(c).
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau staff also previously clarified that these frequencies are only available for
(continued....)
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173.3125, 173.3375, and 173.3625 MHz, which are shared between the Public Safety and
Industrial/Business (I/B) Pools and designated for remote control and telemetry operations.

B.

Legal Basis

4.
Authority for the actions proposed in this NPRM may be found in sections 4(i) and 303 of
the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i) and 303.

C.

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

Apply

5.
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 rules adopted herein.7 The RFA generally
defines the term "small entity" as having the same meaning as the terms "small business," "small
organization," and "small governmental jurisdiction."8 In addition, the term "small business" has the
same meaning as the term "small business concern" under the Small Business Act.9 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 Small Business Administration
("SBA").10 Below, we further describe and estimate the number of small entities that may be affected by
the rule changes we propose in this NPRM.
6.
Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental Jurisdictions. 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.11 Our action may, over time, affect small
entities that are not easily categorized at present. We therefore describe here, at the outset, three
comprehensive, statutory small entity size standards.12 First, nationwide, there are a total of
approximately 27.9 million small businesses, according to the SBA.13 In addition, a "small organization"
is generally "any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant
in its field."14 Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1,621,315 small organizations.15
Finally, the term "small governmental jurisdiction" is defined generally as "governments of cities, towns,
(Continued from previous page)
forest firefighting and conservation activities and are not available for police surveillance operations. See Letter
from D'wana R. Terry, Chief, Public Safety and Private Wireless Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau to
Mr. Joe Friend, National Office Manager, FCCA, dated Dec. 4, 2003, 18 FCC Rcd 24668 (WTB PSPWD 2003).
7 5 U.S.C. 603(b)(3).
8 5 U.S.C. 601(6).
9 5 U.S.C. 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of "small business concern" in the Small Business Act,
15 U.S.C. 632). 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." 5 U.S.C. 601(3).
10 15 U.S.C. 632.
11 5 U.S.C. 603(b)(3).
12 See 5 U.S.C. 601(3)(6).
13 See http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/FAQ_Sept_2012.pdf (last visited August 28, 2013; figures are from
2010).
14 5 U.S.C. 601(4).
15 INDEPENDENT SECTOR, THE NEW NONPROFIT ALMANAC & DESK REFERENCE (2010).
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townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of less than fifty thousand."16
As of 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau identifies approximately 89,527 governmental jurisdictions in the
United States, including the Federal Government and 50 state governments.17 This number includes
39,044 county governments, municipalities, and townships, of which 37,546 (approximately 96.2 percent)
have populations of fewer than 50,000, and of which 1,498 have populations of 50,000 or more. Thus,
we estimate the number of small governmental jurisdictions overall to be 86,043 or fewer. These entities
are included here because many of these small government jurisdictions are also licensees.
7.
Public Safety Radio Licensees. As a general matter, Public Safety Radio Pool licensees
include police, fire, local government, forestry conservation, highway maintenance, and emergency
medical services.18 Because of the vast array of public safety licensees, the Commission has not
developed a small business size standard specifically applicable to public safety licensees. The SBA rules
contain a definition for Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite) which encompasses
business entities engaged in radiotelephone communications employing no more than 1,500 persons.19
With respect to local governments, in particular, since many governmental entities comprise the licensees
for these services, we include under public safety services the number of government entities affected.
According to Commission records, there are a total of approximately 78,991 licenses within these services
in the VHF band, 150-174 MHz.20
8.
Private Land Mobile Radio Licensees. Private land mobile radio (PLMR) systems serve
an essential role in a vast range of industrial, business, land transportation, and public safety activities.
These radios are used by companies of all sizes operating in all U.S. business categories. Because of the
vast array of PLMR users, the Commission has not developed a small business size standard specifically
applicable to PLMR users. The SBA rules, however, contain a definition for Wireless
Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite) which encompasses business entities engaged in
radiotelephone communications employing no more than 1,500 persons.21 According to the
Commission's records, there are a total of 3,374 licenses in the frequencies range 173.225 MHz to

16 5 U.S.C. 601(5).
17 U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES: 2012, Table 428. See
http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/12statab/stlocgov.pdf (last visited August 28, 2013).
18 See subparts A and B of Part 90 of the Commission's Rules, 47 C.F.R. 90.1-90.22. Police licensees serve
state, county, and municipal enforcement through telephony (voice), telegraphy (code), and teletype and facsimile
(printed material). Fire licensees are comprised of private volunteer or professional fire companies, as well as units
under governmental control. Public Safety Radio Pool licensees also include state, county, or municipal entities that
use radio for official purposes. State departments of conservation and private forest organizations comprise forestry
service licensees that set up communications networks among fire lookout towers and ground crews. State and local
governments are highway maintenance licensees that provide emergency and routine communications to aid other
public safety services to keep main roads safe for vehicular traffic. Emergency medical licensees use these channels
for emergency medical service communications related to the delivery of emergency medical treatment. Additional
licensees include medical services, rescue organizations, veterinarians, persons with disabilities, disaster relief
organizations, school buses, beach patrols, establishments in isolated areas, communications standby facilities, and
emergency repair of public communications facilities.
19 See 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
20 This figure was derived from Commission licensing records as of August 16, 2013. Licensing numbers change on
a daily basis. We do not expect this number to be significantly smaller today. This does not indicate the number of
licensees, as licensees may hold multiple licenses. There is no information currently available about the number of
public safety licensees that have fewer than 1,500 employees.
21 See 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
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173.375 MHz, which is the range affected by this NPRM.22 Despite the lack of specific information,
however, the Commission believes that a substantial number of PLMR licensees may be small entities.
9.
Frequency Coordinators. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small
business size standard specifically applicable to spectrum frequency coordinators. There are nine
frequency coordinators certified by the Commission to coordinate frequencies allocated for public safety
use.23 The Commission has not developed a small business size standard specifically applicable to
frequency coordinators. The SBA rules, however, contain a definition for Wireless Telecommunications
Carriers (except Satellite) which encompasses business entities engaged in radiotelephone
communications employing no more than 1,500 persons.24 Under this category and size standard, we
estimate that a majority of frequency coordinators can be considered small.
10.
Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment
Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this category as follows: "This industry comprises
establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing radio and television broadcast and wireless
communications equipment. Examples of products made by these establishments are: transmitting and
receiving antennas, cable television equipment, GPS equipment, pagers, cellular phones, mobile
communications equipment, and radio and television studio and broadcasting equipment."25 The SBA has
developed a small business size standard for Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless
Communications Equipment Manufacturing, which is: all such firms having 750 or fewer employees.
According to Census Bureau data for 2011, there were a total of 809 establishments in this category that
operated for part or all of the entire year. According to Census bureau data for 2011, there were a total of
939 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 784 had less than 500 employees
and 12 had 1000 or more employees.26 Thus, under that size standard, the majority of firms can be
considered small.

D.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance

Requirements

11.
The RFA requires that an agency's IRFA include a description of the projected reporting,
recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements.27 The rules proposed by the NPRM may impose such
requirements on small entity PLMR licensees because they would allow public safety mobile repeater
station licensees to operate on the six 173 MHz telemetry channels where incumbent PLMR licensees
currently operate. Allowing mobile repeater station operations on those six channels could impose
compliance requirements or other costs on PLMR licensees because additional operations on 173 MHz
might require PLMR licensees to engage in new frequency coordination activities or otherwise affect their
use of those channels. While equipment manufacturers would not be directly regulated under our
proposed rules, we note that the NPRM's proposal to allow both mobile repeater station and incumbent

22 This figure was derived from Commission licensing records as of August 16, 2013. Licensing numbers change on
a daily basis. We do not expect this number to be significantly smaller today. This does not indicate the number of
licensees, as licensees may hold multiple licenses. There is no information currently available about the number of
licensees that have fewer than 1,500 employees.
23 See http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/public-safety-spectrum/coord.html (last visited August 28, 2013).
24 See 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
25 The NAICS Code for this service 334220. See 13 C.F.R. 121.201. See also http://www.census.gov/cgi-
bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch?code=334220&search=2007%20NAICS%20Search.
26 See http://censtats.census.gov/cgi-bin/cbpnaic/cbpdetl.pl.
27 5 U.S.C. 603(b)(4).
20

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FCC 13-121

PLMR operations on the six 173 MHz channels could alter the competitive marketplace in a manner that
affects equipment manufacturers.
12.
We do not anticipate that the proposed rules would impose compliance costs on public
safety mobile repeater station licensees within the meaning of the RFA. The rules under consideration
would not impose additional regulatory requirements on mobile repeater station operators, but instead
provide them with the option of using spectrum at 173 MHz for their mobile repeater station operations.
The proposed rules would not require mobile repeater station operators to modify their operations.
Similarly, we do not anticipate that the proposed rules would impose significant costs on frequency
coordinators. Frequency coordinators generally recover their costs from the applicants or licensees that
use their services. To the extent that the proposed rules impose any compliance requirements on
frequency coordinators, we are unaware of any rule or other limitation that would prevent the
coordinators from recovering their costs from the applicants or licensees.
13.
We seek comment on our analysis and the tentative conclusions in this section.

E.

Steps Taken to Minimize the Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and

Significant Alternatives Considered

14.
The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered
in developing its 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
and reporting requirements under the rule for such 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 such small
entities."28
15.
The proposal to allow mobile repeater stations on the six telemetry channels may impose
a significant economic impact on small entities as described above. We have considered alternatives to
this proposal, including a request that we launch a proceeding that would allow mobile repeater station
use on the nine Federal and forest firefighting channels at 170-172 MHz. However, as discussed above,
we determined that the relative complexity of the interference protection issues counseled against a
rulemaking proceeding that addresses operations at 170-172 MHz. Moreover, while the proposal to allow
mobile repeater station operations on the 173 MHz telemetry channels may impose a significant economic
impact on incumbent PLMR licensees who use, or are interested in using, those channels. The
alternative--namely, not allowing mobile repeater station operation on the six telemetry channels--could
have a significant, negative effect on the ability of first responders to maintain the safety of life and
property. We tentatively decline to pursue this alternative as inconsistent with our obligation to serve the
public interest.

F.

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

16.
None.

28 5 U.S.C. 603(c).
21

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 13-121

APPENDIX C

List of Commenters to the Public Notice

Comments
Alpha-Zulu Solutions LLC (Alpha-Zulu)
Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, Inc. (APCO)
Beltronics Inc. (Beltronics)
Cassie Adams (Adams)
Co-Meg Sales (Co-Meg)
Commonwealth of Virginia Department of State Police (Commonwealth)
David Patton (Patton)
Forestry Conservation Communications Association (FCCA)
International Municipal Signal Association/International Association of Fire Chiefs (IMSA/IAFC)
Jay Thompson (Thompson)
Justin Bellen (Bellen)
Mary Langford (Langford)
McLaughlin Long Marketing (McLaughlin)
Rob Hendrickson (Hendrickson)
Tower Communications Co. (Tower)
Utilities Telecom Council (UTC)
Yuba County Water Agency, California (Yuba)
Reply Comments
Advanced PLM Sales and Marketing (Advanced PLM)
American Petroleum Institute (API)
Brian Mortenson (Mortenson)
Commonwealth
Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA)
Jamestown Communications, Inc. (Jamestown)
Mark Schaff, Mid Nebraska Comm (Schaff)
Pyramid Communications, Inc. (Pyramid)
Robert Harvey (Harvey)
Scott Pasley (Pasley)
UTC
Wisconsin State Patrol (Wisconsin)
Late-filed Comment
Ozborn Communications LLC
22

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