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Comment Sought on NSTAR Request for Waiver of T-Band for DA 12-1598

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Released: October 5, 2012


Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.


Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 12-1598
Released: October 5, 2012




WT Docket No. 12-295

Comment Date: October 22, 2012

Reply Comment Date: October 29, 2012

By this Public Notice, comment is sought on the request of NSTAR Electric Company’s
(NSTAR) for waiver of the current suspension on acceptance and processing of certain applications
related to the 470-512 MHz spectrum band (T-Band).1 NSTAR seeks authorization to add television
channel 16 (482-488 MHz) frequencies at six base locations in the Boston area.
NSTAR is involved in the generation and distribution of electricity and natural gas to customers
in eastern, central, and southeastern Massachusetts. It utilizes several VHF and UHF land mobile
facilities to support its business operations and ensure the safe, efficient, and consistent distribution of
electricity and natural gas to its customers. In 2010, NSTAR completed the planning to upgrade its
legacy system – in which radios from different NSTAR operating regions were not interoperable and
lacked important safety features – to a narrowband UHF system. Applications for narrowband UHF
frequencies in central and southeastern Massachusetts were filed and granted in 2010. Due to delays in
obtaining required concurrences from affected licensees and completing the frequency coordination
process, however, NSTAR’s application for narrowband television channel 16 frequencies in eastern
Massachusetts was not filed until April 23, 2012.
On April 26, 2012, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the Public Safety and
Homeland Security Bureau (Bureaus) issued a public notice announcing a limited suspension of the
acceptance and processing of certain applications for Part 22 and Part 90 services operating in the 470-
512 MHz spectrum band (T-Band)2 that could alter the spectrum landscape. The 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 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of
2012.3 Specifically, the Bureaus will not accept or process applications for applications that seek to

1 See NSTAR Electric Company, Request for Rule Waiver, FCC File No. 0005174965 (filed September
13, 2012).
2 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 (WTB/PSHSB 2012) (Suspension Notice).
3 See Pub. L. No. 112-96, 126 Stat. 156 (2012).

modify existing licenses by, inter alia, adding frequencies,4 which affects NSTAR’s application. The
Suspension Notice provides that applicants may have recourse to the waiver provisions in Section 1.925
to request an exception to the filing and processing suspension.5
On September 13, 2012, NSTAR filed a request for waiver of the Suspension Notice. NSTAR
argues that, under these circumstances, application of the processing suspension would be unduly
burdensome, contrary to the public interest, and would leave NSTAR with no reasonable alternative.
NSTAR asserts that the requested waiver would result in a minimal increase in the company’s spectral
footprint in the T-Band on currently authorized channels in the Boston area6 but that any potential impact
to the stability of the spectral environment is far outweighed by the public interest benefits of granting the
waiver. Specifically, NSTAR claims that its planned narrowband UHF system will serve the public
interest by (1) improving the reliability of its electric and gas distribution systems, (2) providing the
company with a common radio platform, (3) enabling “truck to truck” communications capabilities, and
(4) enabling additional key features such as emergency alerts and GPS tracking that were not available on
its legacy VHF system.
NSTAR also notes that it has already installed the equipment necessary to complete its planned
system upgrades and is already using the upgraded system in two of its three territories. NSTAR states
that, if its waiver request is granted, NSTAR will be able to complete these upgrades and meet the
Commission’s VHF-UHF narrowbanding requirement in a timely fashion. However, if the waiver is not
granted, NSTAR will be forced to seek a waiver of the Commission’s narrowbanding deadline for its
legacy system, and will lose many of the key benefits of the new system.

Procedural Matters

Comments on the request are due no later than October 22, 2012. Reply comments are due no
later than October 29, 2012. All filings should reference the docket number of this proceeding,


This proceeding has been designated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with
the Commission's ex parte rules.7 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
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.

4 See Suspension Notice, 27 FCC Rcd at 4219.
5 Id. at 4219 n.4.
6 NSTAR currently is licensed for nineteen stations in the Boston area that operate on television channel
16 frequencies.
7 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1200(a), 1.1206.

Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (“ECFS”) or
by filing paper copies. See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 Fed. Reg.
24121 (1998). Comments filed through the ECFS can be sent as an electronic file via the Internet to
http:// Generally, only one copy of an electronic submission must be filed. If
multiple docket or rulemaking numbers appear in the caption of this proceeding, however, commenters
must transmit one electronic copy of the comments to each docket or rulemaking number referenced in
the caption. In completing the transmittal screen, commenters should include their full name, U.S. Postal
Service mailing address, and the applicable docket or rulemaking number. Parties may also submit an
electronic comment by Internet e-mail. To get filing instructions for e-mail comments, commenters
should send an e-mail to, and should include the following words in the body of the
message, “get form.” A sample form and directions will be sent in reply.
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, commenters 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 (although we continue to experience delays in receiving 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 paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary must be delivered to FCC
Headquarters at 445 12th St., S.W., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. All hand deliveries must
be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Envelopes must be disposed of before entering the
building. The filing hours at this location are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
-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 mail, Express Mail, and Priority Mail should be addressed to 445
12th Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20554.
Parties are requested to send one copy of their comments and reply comments to Best Copy and
Printing, Inc., Portals II, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, (800) 378-
3160, e-mail
The request, and comments and reply comments filed in response to this Public Notice are
available for viewing via ECFS by entering the docket number,

WT 12-295

. The documents also will be
available for public inspection and copying during business hours in the FCC Reference Information
Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street S.W., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. They may also be
purchased from Best Copy and Printing, Inc., telephone (800) 378-3160, facsimile (202) 488-5563, TTY
(202) 488-5562, e-mail
Alternate formats of this Public Notice (computer diskette, large print, audio recording, and
Braille) are available to persons with disabilities by contacting the Consumer & Governmental Affairs
Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY), or send an e-mail to
For further information, contact Paul Powell of the Mobility Division, Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau at (202) 418-1613, or via e-mail at
Action by the Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.
- FCC -

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