Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

Provides Guidance to State Licensees on Substantial Service Benchmark

Download Options

Released: April 7, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
445 12th Street, S.W.
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY 202 / 418-2555

DA 14-467

Released: April 7, 2014




By this Public Notice, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) provides
guidance to licensees of state channels in the 700 MHz narrowband spectrum (769-775/799-805 MHz),
regarding their upcoming interim substantial service benchmark showing. These licensees must
demonstrate by

June 13, 2014

that they are providing or prepared to provide “substantial service” to one-
of their population or territory.1
Requirement to Provide Substantial Service
The Commission has designated ninety-six channel pairs (12.5 kHz bandwidth) in the 700 MHz
narrowband spectrum for use by states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories (State Licensees).2
Each State Licensee receives a geographic area license (State License) covering the geopolitical
boundaries of its jurisdiction.3
The Commission established a five-year interim benchmark and a ten-year final benchmark for
State Licensees to establish specified levels of substantial service within their statewide license areas.4
The due date for the five-year interim benchmark showing is

June 13, 2014

.5 By this date, State

1 47 C.F.R. § 90.529(b)(1).
2 47 C.F.R. § 90.531(b)(5).
3 See the Development of Operational, Technical and Spectrum Requirements for Meeting Federal, State and
Local Public Safety Agency Communication Requirements Through the Year 2010, Third memorandum Opinion
and Order and Report and Order
, 15 FCC Rcd 19844, 19864-70 ¶¶ 48-59 (2000) (Third MO&O and Third R&O).
4 Third MO&O and Third R&O, 15 FCC Rcd at 19871-72 ¶¶ 62-64. See 47 C.F.R. § 90.529(b)(1) and (2).
5 The June 13, 2014 interim deadline is five years after broadcast TV and DTV licensees vacated the 700 MHz
band on June 13, 2009. See Service Rules Governing Public Safety Narrowband Operations in the 769-775/799-
805 MHz Bands, WT Docket 96-86, Declaratory Ruling, 26 FCC Rcd 10895, 10896 ¶ 5 (2011) (Declaratory
); Order, 27 FCC Rcd 15010 (PSHSB 2012) (conforming section 90.529(b) of the FCC’s rules regarding
the “substantial service” deadlines for state-licensed 700 MHz public safety narrowband channels to comport with
the deadlines specified in the Commission’s Declaratory Ruling).

Licensees must certify that they are providing or are prepared to provide “substantial service” to one-
of their population or territory.6
“Substantial service” is defined as the construction and operation of facilities on state channels
which is “sound, favorable, and substantially above a level of mediocre service which just might
minimally warrant renewal.”7 A State Licensee is deemed “prepared” to provide substantial service if it
certifies that a radio system has been approved and funded by the deadline date.8
Recommended Details to Include with Interim Benchmark Filing
State Licensees must file Schedule K of Form 601 by

June 13, 2104

in order to certify that they
have satisfied their interim construction/operation benchmark. To facilitate staff review, the Bureau
recommends that State Licensees include an attachment to their Schedule K filing with the following
 The kind of public safety service the State Licensee is providing on the state channels.
 Which state channels are in use in the State Licensee’s system.
 Whether the State Licensee is making its showing based upon population or territory.
 The percentage of territory or population that is served by the State Licensee’s system
composite footprint.9
 Whether the State Licensee defines the system footprint based on the 40 dBuV/m
F(50,50) service contour or an alternate signal level value.10
 If any portion of a State Licensee’s showing is based upon unconstructed facilities,
information showing that the licensee has received funding approval for that portion of
the system.
Modification or Cancellation of State Licenses
State Licensees that do not meet the interim substantial service benchmark, e.g., because they
have failed to construct or receive funding for any facilities by the June 13, 2014 deadline, will be subject
to license cancellation or modification, and recovered State License spectrum will revert to General Use

6 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.529(b)(1). For the ten-year benchmark, State Licensees must certify that they are providing
or are prepared to provide substantial service to two-thirds of their population or territory. The due date for the
ten-year benchmark showing is June 13, 2019. See 47 C.F.R. § 90.529(b)(2).
7 47 C.F.R. § 90.529(c).
8 Id.
9 For purposes of reviewing interim benchmark showings by State Licensees, the Bureau will consider coverage
by any state channel in a State Licensee’s system sufficient to establish coverage for purposes of defining the
licensee’s composite footprint.
10 The Bureau generally considers the 40 dBuV/m F(50,50) signal level as defining the service contour for 700
MHz narrowband licensees. State Licensees, however, may define their system footprint using an alternative
signal level provided they demonstrate that the alternative value is appropriate.

subject to regional planning.11 Bureau staff will issue subsequent guidance to regional planning
committees to facilitate the licensing of any recovered State License spectrum.
For further information regarding this proceeding contact Brian Marenco, Policy and Licensing
Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, (voice) (202) 418-0838 or
-- FCC --

11 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 90.529(d), (e).

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


You are leaving the FCC website

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