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Improving Public Safety Communication in the 800 MHz Band

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Released: May 15, 2014
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
‘ May 15, 2014

DA 14-659

Small Entity Compliance Guide

Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band

New 800 MHz Band Plan for U.S. – Mexico Border Regions

WT Docket No. 02-55

This Guide is prepared in accordance with the requirements of Section 212 of the
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. It is intended to
help small entities—small businesses, small organizations (non-profits), and
small governmental jurisdictions—comply with the new rules adopted in the
above-referenced FCC rulemaking docket(s). This Guide is not intended to
replace the rules and, therefore, final authority rests solely with the rules.
Although we have attempted to cover all parts of the rules that might be
especially important to small entities, the coverage may not be exhaustive. This
Guide may, perhaps, not apply in a particular situation based upon the
circumstances, and the FCC retains the discretion to adopt approaches on a case-
by-case basis that may differ from this Guide, where appropriate. Any decisions
regarding a particular small entity will be based on the statute and regulations.

In any civil or administrative action against a small entity for a violation of
rules, the content of the Small Entity Compliance Guide may be considered as
evidence of the reasonableness or appropriateness of proposed fines, penalties or
damages. Interested parties are free to file comments regarding this Guide and
the appropriateness of its application to a particular situation; the FCC will
consider whether the recommendations or interpretations in the Guide are
appropriate in that situation. The FCC may decide to revise this Guide without
public notice to reflect changes in the FCC’s approach to implementing a rule,
or to clarify or update the text of the Guide. Direct your comments and
recommendations, or calls for further assistance, to the FCC’s Consumer

1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322)

TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)

Fax: 1-866-418-0232


In 2002, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) initiated a rulemaking
proceeding (WT Docket No. 02-55) to address an ongoing problem of interference to public
safety and other land mobile communication systems operating in the 800 MHz band. The
problem stemmed from the close spectral proximity throughout the band of systems using
inherently incompatible types of technology – commercial mobile radio services (CMRS) that
had developed a cellular-based network architecture, on the one hand, and public safety and
certain other private services that employed high-site, high power transmitters (in a non-cellular
array), on the other. The Commission generally resolved this problem by reconfiguring the 800
MHz band to separate, to the extent possible, public safety and other non-cellular licensees from
licensees that employ cellular technology. With respect to the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada
border areas, however, the Commission deferred adopting band reconfiguration plans until the
applicable international agreements for use of the 800 MHz Band in these areas could be
modified. To this end, the Commission delegated authority to the Public Safety and Homeland
Security Bureau (Bureau) to propose and adopt border area band plans once the United States
reached the required agreements with Mexico and Canada.
The United States and Mexico revised the relevant agreement – a 1994 Protocol – by signing an
amended Protocol on June 8, 2012. On April 1, 2013, after obtaining public comment, the
Bureau released a Fifth Report and Order in WT Docket No. 02-55, which established a
reconfigured 800 MHz band plan for the National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee
Regions bordering Mexico, thereby ensuring an orderly and efficient transition to the new 800
MHz band plan along the Mexico border.

Compliance Requirements

The Fifth Report and Order establishes a 30-month period for licensees along the Mexico border to
complete the transition to the reconfigured 800 MHz band plan. The Fifth Report and Order
provides that the 30-month period would begin 60 days after the effective date of the order. The
order became effective on June 24, 2013, establishing August 23, 2013 as the start date for the
transition period.
The Fifth Report and Order creates no significant economic impact on most small entities because
Sprint Nextel Corporation must pay all reasonable costs associated with retuning incumbent
licensees to the post-reconfiguration channel plan adopted by the Bureau. However, relocating
licensees must engage in the following processes: (a) plan for reconfiguration, (b) prepare and
submit a rebanding cost estimate to Sprint, (c) negotiate a Frequency Reconfiguration Agreement
(FRA) with Sprint, and (d) physically retune their 800 MHz systems. In the event that Sprint and
the licensee cannot agree on the cost of reconfiguring the licensee’s system, Sprint and the licensee
must engage in mediation for a period of 20 days. If mediation proves unsuccessful, either party
may seek de novo review of the mediation record by the Bureau. A licensee must bear its own
expenses associated with the de novo review and any appeals therefrom. Furthermore, licensees
must retain cost support documentation and records for 24 months after the closing of a Planning

Funding Agreement (PFA) or 18 months after the closing of an FRA, or for such longer period as
may be required by the licensee's established record retention policy or applicable laws.1

Internet Link.

A copy of the Fifth Report and Order is available at

1 While licensees made subject to the new band plan for the border areas with Mexico will now have to comply with
the above-described requirements for relocating to different frequencies and obtaining reimbursement from Sprint,
the reporting, recordkeeping, and/or third-party consultation or other compliance requirements that the Fifth Report
and Order
applied to them had been approved earlier in this proceeding for purposes of agency compliance with the
applicable federal paperwork reduction and regulatory flexibility statutes. See OMB Control No. 3060-1080 for
Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band (expires September 30, 2014).

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