LA-RICS Request for Waiver and Extended Implementation
Washington, D.C. 20554
DA 12-1892November 21, 2012
Ron Wong, Manager
County of Los Angeles
Internal Services Department
1110 North Eastern Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90063
County of Los Angeles, Request for Waiver and Extended Implementation Authorization
(Call Signs WPLU218, et al.) filed October 26, 2012
Dear Mr. Wong:
This letter addresses the above-referenced request for a further waiver of Section 90.629 of the
Commission’s rules, and extension of the current extended implementation filed on behalf of the County
of Los Angeles (County).1 The County requests the waiver to extend until December 31, 2016 the
construction deadline associated with twenty narrowband UHF “T-Band” licenses that are to be integrated
into the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS).2 For the reasons
discussed below, we grant the County’s waiver request and extend the County’s construction deadline
until December 31, 2016.
In 1998, the County received twenty-one narrowband UHF licenses to construct the LA-RICS
county-wide public safety communications system.3 At the time of the initial grant, the County requested
extended implementation or “slow growth” authority under Section 90.629.4 This section permits
licensees up to five years to complete construction of a licensed system, versus the general one-year
allowance, if licensees can show that the technical or coordination complexities of their system
necessitate additional time.5 Under this initial grant, the licenses were set to expire in 2003 if the County
had not adequately completed construction and implementation.6 Through subsequent waivers of the
rule, however, the County received five extensions, citing an expanding scope of the project and funding
1 See File Nos. 0005465936 et al., attached “Extended Implementation Authorization for WPLU218 et al.” (filed
Oct. 26, 2012) (October 2012 Extension Request). For a complete list of file numbers associated with the October
2012 Extension Request and the related call signs, see infra Table 1.
2 See October 2012 Extension Request at 2.
3 See infra Table 1. See Letter from Michael J. Wilhelm, Deputy Chief, Policy and Licensing Division, Public
Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, to Mr. Ron Wong, Manager, Engineering/Technical, LA-RICS Project
(dated June 24, 2011) at Table 1.
4 See File No. 0000549192, attached “Status Report on the Los Angeles County 12.5 kHz UHF Countywide Radio
System” (filed Aug. 8, 2001) (2001 Extension Request).
5 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.629.
6 See 2001 Extension Request at 1.
Mr. Ron Wong
and planning issues.7 Under the most recent waiver, the Bureau granted the County a limited extension
until October 31, 2012 “to complete its analysis of its options for continuation of LA-RICS in light of
Section 6103 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.”8 The Bureau noted that if
the County elects to pursue an extension, “we require the County to file a report with the Bureau by
October 31, 2012, detailing (1) the status of the County’s efforts to select a vendor and finalize all
contracts to begin construction [footnote omitted], (2) how quickly the County could begin construction
of the LA-RICS system and (3) how long construction would take.”9
The County states that it completed its analysis and that it “has not been able to identify a viable
alternative to the T-Band for LA-RICS.”10 The County states that it “is proceeding to select a vendor and
move forward on the project.”11 The County states that “the LA-RICS Joint Powers Authority (JPA)
Board of Directors had previously initiated and made considerable progress towards selecting a single
vendor for its UHF Land Mobile Radio (LMR) and 700 MHz Long Term Evolution (LTE) Broadband
Projects.”12 The County states that “the JPA terminated the combined procurement and approved a new,
separate procurement for the LMR Project.”13 The County observes that the “new [Request for
Proposals] for the LMR Project was released on October 25, 2012” and “[r]esponses are due from
prospective vendors by January 3, 2013.”14 “Following review of the responses and selection of a vendor,
the JPA anticipates that a vendor contract will be finalized and a Notice to proceed will be issued in May
2013.”15 The County states that the LMR Project “will commence and roll out according to the schedule
outlined for five (5) Phases:
Phase 1 – LMR System Design – Complete by May 2014.
Phase 2 – LMR Site Construction/Modification – Complete May 2015.
Phase 3 – LMR Telecommunications System Components – Complete by July 2015.
7 See 2001 Extension Request; see also File Nos. 0002462790 et al., attached “Status Report on the Los Angeles
County Wide UHF Refarming Project” (filed Jan. 27, 2006) (2006 Extension Request); File Nos. 0004740426 et al.,
attached “Waiver Request and Status Report, Los Angeles County Wide UHF Refarming Project, Revised May 24th,
2011” (filed May 24, 2011) (May 2011 Extension Request); File Nos. 0004863991 et al., attached “Request for
Waiver and Further Implementation Authorization” (filed Aug. 30, 2011) (August 2011 Extension Request); File
Nos. 0005061531 et al., attached “Extended Implementation Authorization for WPLU218 et al.” (filed June 30,
2012) (June 2012 Extension Request).
8 See Letter from David, S. Turetsky, Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, to Mr. Ron Wong,
Manager, Engineering/Technical, LA-RICS Project, Letter, 27 FCC Rcd 12120 (PSHSB 2012) (October 2012
Waiver). On February 22, 2012 the President of the United States signed into law the Middle Class Tax Relief and
Job Creation Act of 2012 (Spectrum Act). See Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Spectrum
Act). Pub. L. No. 112-96, 126 Stat. 156.
9 Id. at 12123.
10 See October 2012 Extension Request at 1.
12 Id. at 2 citing County of Los Angeles LA-RICS FCC Granted Waiver Status Report attached to FCC File No.
0005061531 (Feb. 3, 2012).
13 Id. at 2.
Mr. Ron Wong
Phase 4 – LMR Telecommunications System Implementation – Complete by December 2016.
Phase 5 – LMR System Warranty – Complete by December 2017
The County states that “[f]inal acceptance and completion of construction is projected for December
2016.”17 Therefore, the County seeks to extend until December 31, 2016 the construction deadline
associated with its 20 narrowband T-Band licenses.
To obtain a waiver of the Commission’s rules, 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 requested waiver would be in the public interest;18 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.19 An
applicant seeking a waiver faces a high hurdle and must plead with particularity the facts and
circumstances that warrant a waiver.20 As discussed below, under the unique circumstances of this case,
we conclude that granting the County an extension would be consistent with the County’s goals and the
Commission’s waiver criteria, and would not adversely affect other licensees.
As noted in our previous decision, the circumstances under which the Bureau granted the
previous waivers have changed. Section 6103 of the Spectrum Act requires that the Commission, not
later than February 2021: (1) reallocate public safety spectrum in the 470 – 512 MHz (T-Band);21 and (2)
begin a system of competitive bidding to grant new initial licenses for such spectrum,22 and relocate
public safety users not later than two years after said competitive bidding is completed.23 The
Commission’s staff has taken preliminary steps to perform the actions required by the Spectrum Act.24
Against this background, however, the County claims that it has not identified a viable alternative to the
T-Band and therefore seeks to proceed with construction of its system.
18 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(b)(3)(i).
19 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(b)(3)(ii).
20 WAIT Radio v. FCC, 413 F.2d 1153, 1157 (D.C. Cir. 1969) (WAIT Radio), aff’d, 459 F.2d 1203 (1973), cert.
denied, 409 U.S. 1027 (1972) (citing Rio Grande Family Radio Fellowship, Inc. v. FCC, 406 F.2d 664 (D.C. Cir.
1968)); Birach Broad. Corp., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 18 FCC Rcd 1414, 1415 (2003).
21 Id. § 6103(a)(1) citing 47 C.F.R. § 90.303.
22 Id. § 6103(a)(2) citing 47 U.S.C. § 309(j).
23 Id. § 6103(c).
24 First, the Commission’s staff issued an order waiving the deadline for licensees in the T-Band to migrate to 12.5
kHz bandwidth (otherwise known as “narrowbanding”). See Implementation of Sections 309(j) and 337 of the
Communications Act of 1934 as Amended; Promotion of Spectrum Efficient Technologies on Certain Part 90
Frequencies, Order, 27 FCC Rcd 4213 (WTB, PSHSB and OET 2012)(Narrowbanding Waiver Order). Second, the
Commission staff has taken steps to suspend future licensing in the T-Band, including placing a “freeze” on all T-
Band applications which change or add a frequency or extend a system’s contour “footprint.” See Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Suspend the Acceptance and
Processing of Certain Part 22 and 90 Applications for 470-512 MHz (T-Band) Spectrum, Public Notice, 27 FCC
Rcd 4218 (PSHSB and WTB 2012) (Application Suspension PN).
Mr. Ron Wong
We continue to believe that no other entity could utilize the narrowband channels in question as
such use “would interfere with the County’s existing operations on overlapping wideband (20 kHz
bandwidth) channels.”25 Under the T-Band narrowbanding waiver, “the County’s operational wideband
licenses that are authorized on main frequencies interleaved with the narrowband frequencies may remain
in wideband mode beyond January 1, 2013.”26 “The bandwidth overlap of the County’s wideband
channels with the interleaved narrowband channels would prevent new applicants in the vicinity from
using the narrowband channels if they were otherwise available.”27 We also continue to agree that “the T-
Band application suspension would prevent new entities from applying for the narrowband channels at
issue here if they were otherwise available.”28 Under these circumstances, “where the County’s
interleaved wideband channels and the Commission’s recent actions in light of the Spectrum Act render
the narrowband channels unusable by any other party, we find that a grant of a waiver would not frustrate
the underlying purpose of Section 90.629.”29 Finally, we continue to agree that grant of the waiver
request would be in the public interest as it would allow the County an opportunity to meet the
interoperable communications requirements of the County’s first responders.30 Accordingly, we grant the
County an extension until December 31, 2016, to permit the County to complete construction of its LMR
We note that in deciding to continue with the LMR project, the County assumes the risk that the
system to be constructed in the T-Band will have a limited lifetime, and that, absent waiver from the
Commission, the County may not add frequencies or extend the contours of its existing licensed T-Band
authorizations. Moreover, we note that the Spectrum Act does not identify funding for incumbent
relocation, nor does it identify replacement spectrum for relocating T-Band licensees. Thus the County
assumes the cost for relocating its system or ceasing operation. Finally, we note that further requests for
extension by the County will be subject to a high level of scrutiny and must include a detailed showing
that the County has made substantial progress towards completion of the system. We emphasize,
however, that the Commission may not waive the statutory requirements of the Spectrum Act.
25 See October 2012 Waiver at 12122.
26 Id. We note that “[p]ending further Commission action, the Commission staff concluded that it would be
‘inequitable and contrary to the public interest to require PLMR licensees to meet the January 1, 2013
narrowbanding deadline with respect to frequencies in the 470-512 MHz band.’ Id. citing Narrowbanding Waiver
Order, 26 FCC Rcd at 4215 ¶ 6.
28 Id. We noted that “[t]he purpose of the suspension is to stabilize the spectral environment while the Commission
considers issues surrounding future use of the T-Band and implementation of the Spectrum Act. The suspension,
however, ‘does not apply to … requests for extensions of time to construct or consummate previously granted
applications.’ Id. citing Application Suspension PN, 27 FCC Rcd at 4219.
29 The purpose of Section 90.629 of the Commission’s rules is “to ensure beneficial uses of licensed spectrum, and
prevent licensees from ‘warehousing’ spectrum and making it unavailable to other potential licensees.” October
2012 Waiver, 27 FCC Rcd 12122 note 23.
30 Id. at 12123.
31 We note that the licenses listed in Table 1 infra are set to expire well before December 31, 2016, so we remind the
County to file timely requests for license renewal consistent with 47 C.F.R. § 1.949. Failure to file timely renewal
applications will result in automatic termination of the County’s licenses. 47 C.F.R. § 1.955.
Mr. Ron Wong
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED pursuant to Sections 4(i) and 303(r) of the Communications Act
of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 303(r), and Sections 1.925, 1.946(e), and 90.629 of the
Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.925, 1.946(e), 90.629, that the request for waiver filed by the County
of Los Angeles on October 26, 2012, in connection with applications File Nos. 0005465936, 0005466028,
0005466029, 0005466030, 0005466031, 0005466032, 0005466033, 0005466034, 0005466035,
0005466036, 0005466037, 0005466038, 0005466039, 0005466040, 0005466041, 0005466042,
0005466043, 0005466044, 0005465813, and 0005466045 IS GRANTED, and the applications SHALL
BE PROCESSED consistent with the Commission’s Rules and this letter.
This action is taken under delegated authority pursuant to Sections 0.191 and 0.392 of the
Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.191, 0.392.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David S. Turetsky
Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau
Mr. Ron Wong
Request File Request File
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