PSHSB APPROVES REGION 47 (PUERTO RICO) 700 MHZ REGIONAL PLAN
Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500445 12th St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
December 26, 2012
PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU APPROVES
REGION 47 (PUERTO RICO) 700 MHZ REGIONAL PLAN
WT Docket No. 02-378Introduction. On January 3, 2012, Region 47 (Puerto Rico)1 700 MHz Regional Planning
Committee (RPC) (Region 47) submitted a proposed 700 MHz Public Safety Plan (Plan) for General Use2
spectrum in the 769-775/799-805 MHz band for review and approval.3 On April 24, 2012, Region 47
requested a waiver of Section 90.527(a)(5) of the Commission’s rules,4 requiring that regional plans must
include an explanation of how the plan had been coordinated with adjacent regions.5 Region 47 was
unsuccessful in obtaining a Letter of Concurrence and a Dispute Resolution Agreement from Region 48
(U.S. Virgin Islands) – an adjacent region.6 For the reasons discussed below, we grant the request for
waiver and approve the Region 47 700 MHz Plan subject to the condition that Region 47 continue to
pursue adjacent region coordination with Region 48 and conduct inter-region coordination of applications
Background. In 1998, the Commission established a structure to allow RPCs optimal flexibility
to meet state and local needs, encourage innovative use of the spectrum, and accommodate new and as yet
unanticipated developments in technology and equipment.7 Each of the fifty-five (55) RPCs is required to
1 The Region 47 (Puerto Rico) 700 MHz regional planning area includes all (78) municipalities in the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a self-governing island nation (encompassing 8,870 square kilometers), in
association with the United States.
2 The General Use spectrum is administered by RPCs and is licensed for public safety services on a site-by-site basis
in accordance with the relevant Commission-approved regional plan and frequency coordination.
3 See Letter from Ferdinand Cedeno, Chair, Region 47 (Puerto Rico) 700 MHz Regional Planning Committee to
Chairman to Federal Communications Commission, Office of the Secretary, WT Docket No. 02-378 (filed Jan. 3,
2012) (submitting regional plan).
4 47 C.F.R. § 90.527(a)(5).
5 See Letter from Ferdinand Cedeno, Chair, Region 47 (Puerto Rico) 700 MHz Regional Planning Committee to
Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, WT Docket No. 02-378 (filed Apr. 24, 2012)
7 See Development of Operational, Technical and Spectrum Requirements for Meeting Federal, State and Local
Public Safety Agency Communication Requirements Through the Year 2010, WT Docket No. 96-86, First Report
and Order and Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 14 FCC Rcd 152 (1998) (First Report and Order); Second
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 15 FCC Rcd 16844 (2000). See also 47 C.F.R. § 90.527.
submit its plan for the General Use spectrum.8 The Commission’s role in relation to the RPCs is limited
to (1) defining the regional boundaries; (2) requiring fair and open procedures, i.e., requiring notice,
opportunity for comment, and reasonable consideration; (3) specifying the elements that all regional plans
must include; and (4) reviewing and accepting proposed plans (or amendments to approved plans) or
rejecting them with an explanation.9
On July 31, 2007, the Commission adopted a Second Report and Order revising the rules
governing wireless licenses in the 700 MHz band.10 The Commission adopted a plan for the 700 MHz
band to establish a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband communications network for the
benefit of state and local public safety users. The Commission designated the lower half of the 700 MHz
public safety band for broadband communications (763-768/793-798 MHz) and consolidated existing
narrowband allocations in the upper half of the public safety 700 MHz band (769-775/799-805 MHz).
Plan Requirements. Each committee is required to submit its plan for the assignment of licenses
for General Use spectrum.11 Each regional plan must contain certain elements12 and must be coordinated
with adjacent regions.13 RPCs are expected to ensure that their committees are representative of all public
safety entities in their regions by providing adequate notice of all meetings, opportunity for comment, and
reasonable consideration of views expressed. Plans must include an explanation of how all eligible
entities within the region were given notice.14 Plans should list the steps undertaken to encourage and
accommodate all eligible entities to participate in the planning process, such as holding meetings in
various parts of the region. Where applicable, a regional plan should describe outreach efforts made to
Regional plans may differ in approaches to spectrum planning and management. Some plans
may make specific assignments to eligible public safety entities, while others establish an allotment pool
approach based on political boundaries such as counties.16 All 700 MHz plans submitted for review and
approval must sufficiently address each of the common elements in the Commission’s regional plan
8 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.527. Each RPC must incorporate certain common elements into its 700 MHz plan. A list of
700 MHz RPCs and region activities is available at https://www.fcc.gov/pshs/public-safety-spectrum/700-MHz/.
9 First Report and Order, 14 FCC Rcd at 195 ¶ 87.
10 Implementing a Nationwide, Broadband, Interoperable Public Safety Network in the 700 MHz Band;
Development of Operational, Technical and Spectrum Requirements for Meeting Federal, State and Local Public
Safety Communications Requirements Through the Year 2010, PS Docket No. 06-229, WT Docket No. 96-86,
Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd 15289 (2007) (Second Report and Order).
11 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 90.527, 90.531. The 700 MHz public safety band plan contains 24 MHz of spectrum for public
safety services at 763-775 MHz and 793-805 MHz, and the narrowband allocation is divided into several segments
by designated purpose: General Use, Interoperability, Secondary Trunking, State License, Low Power and Reserve
12 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.527(a); see also First Report and Order, 14 FCC Rcd at 193-94 ¶ 84.
13 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.527(a)(5); see also First Report and Order, 14 FCC Rcd at 190-96 ¶¶ 77-89.
14 See First Report and Order, 14 FCC Rcd at 193-94 ¶ 84. The Commission directed RPCs to promptly adopt
operating procedures that “ensure that all entities will be given reasonable notice of all committee meetings and
deliberations.” Id. at 195 ¶ 86.
15 Id. at 193-94 ¶ 84.
16 See Plan, Appendix G - Channel Assignments by Geographic Area at 74-88.
requirements.17 RPCs also are encouraged to consider utilizing the guidelines developed by the Public
Safety National Coordination Committee (NCC).18
Review of the Region 47 700 MHz Plan. The Region 47 (RPC) Plan pre-allocates the
consolidated narrowband General Use spectrum by geographic area.19 The RPC reconvened on July 21,
2011, after a period of inactivity dating back to July 2008.20 The RPC created two subcommittees,
Technical and Regulatory.21 RPC members adopted the Plan on September 12, 2011.22 The Plan includes
By-laws,23 a detailed membership list,24 and meeting notices.25 The Plan details the procedures for
requesting spectrum allotments,26 the application review process,27 outlines system implementation
criteria,28 spectrum utilization and system implementation.29 The Plan states that the Puerto Rico
Emergency Management Agency is the final authority on the interpretation of the distribution of the 700
MHz interoperability channels.30 In addition, the Plan provides guidelines for use of the low power
channels,31 and states that the Computer-Aided Pre-coordination Resource Database system (CAPRAD)
17 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.527.
18 The NCC was a federal advisory committee established by the Commission in 1999 to address and advise the
Commission on operational and technical parameters for use of the 700 MHz public safety band. In addition, the
NCC was tasked with providing voluntary assistance in the development of coordinated regional plans, and
developed a Regional Planning Guidebook. Following the sunset of the NCC’s charter on July 25, 2003, the
National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) agreed to continue to provide assistance to regional
planners. A copy of the 700 MHz Regional Planning Guidebook is available at the NPSTC website at
19 See Plan, Appendix G – Channel Assignments by Geographic Area at 74-88. See also Plan, Appendix C – List of
Municipalities within Region 47 with population and land size (square kilometers) at 50-52.
20 See Plan, Section 1.6 Opportunities for Participation in the Plan’s Development at 2-3.
21 See Plan, Section 1 – 700 MHz Regional Plan for RPC 47 at 2-3.
23 See Plan, Appendix A – Region By-Laws of Region 47 at 41-46.
24 See Plan, Appendix B – Region 47 Member List and Contact Information at 47-49.
25 See Plan, Appendix D – Meeting Notices and Related Documentation (including meeting minutes and sign-in
sheets) at 53-66.
26 See Plan, Section 3.0 – Regional Plan Administration and Frequency Coordination at 9-15 (the RPC will
announce an initial application filing window immediately following Bureau Plan approval).
27 See Plan, Section 3.2 – Application Requirements and Process at 10-13 (details content of applications for
spectrum and packages must be submitted electronically).
28 See Plan, Section 3.9 – Channel Assignments at 20 (reminder of construction requirements under 47 C.F.R. §
29 See Plan, Section 6.1 – System Design/Efficiency Requirements at 31-33 (includes interference protection criteria
and spectrum efficiency standards).
30 See Plan, Section 7.0 – Interoperability Channels at 34-35. See also Plan, Appendix E – Common Air Interface
and Interoperability Channel Technical Parameters at 67-68.
31 See Plan, Section 3.11 – Low Power Channels at 21-26 (eligibility, channel use, modulation, service-specific
assignments). Low Power Secondary Operations (channels 1–8 paired with 961-968, and 949-958, paired with
1909-1918 for low power, on-scene communications using mobiles and portables, with a transmitter power not to
exceed 2 watts ERP).
will be utilized.32 Finally, the RPC Chair has certified that all planning meetings were open to the public,
as required by 47 C.F.R. § 90.527(a)(8).33 On September 22, 2011, Region 47 sent a copy of its draft Plan
to Region 48 (U.S. Virgin Islands) for coordination.34 On April 24, 2012, Region 47 requested a waiver of
Section 90.527(a)(5) of the Commission’s rules.
On May 22, 2012, the Bureau released a Public Notice seeking comment on the Region 47 Plan
and waiver request.35 We received no comments.
Waiver Request. Region 47 requests a waiver of Section 90.527(a)(5) of the Commission’s rules,
which provides that regional plans must include an explanation of how the plan had been coordinated
with adjacent regions.36 Region 47 states that it was unable to obtain a Letter of Concurrence and Dispute
Resolution Agreement from Region 48 (U.S. Virgin Islands).37 Region 47 explains that it sent its final
draft plan to Region 48’s representative on September 22, 2011.38 Region 47 states that it has confirmed
that Region 48’s representative received the Region 47 plan and request for review through an email
acknowledgement.39 Although Region 47 states that it has worked to obtain both a letter of concurrence
and a dispute resolution agreement from Region 48, Region 47 observes that its efforts have been
unsuccessful to date.40
Region 47 states that the Puerto Rico Communications Interoperability Committee (PRCIC)
released a radio interoperability concept in 2007 in which they recommend, in part, “that the Government
of Puerto Rico and its municipalities begin immediate planning and implementation of a single Project 25
(P25) infrastructure to serve the communications needs of emergency responders.”41 This network,
Region 47 notes, should include, but not be limited to the following:
Leverage the PRCICs Microwave System investment
Leverage the Puerto Rico Bureau of Homeland Security's Master Site investment
Utilize all available spectrum including the newly available 700MHz
Build upon the Puerto Rico Regional Network
Incorporate the PREMA [Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency] 700 MHz
32See Plan, Section 3.6 – Use of the CAPRAD Pre-Assignment Table.
33 Plan, Section 9.0 – Certification, pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 90.527(a)(8) at 39 (dated December 30, 2011) (by the
RPC Chair, that all planning committee meetings, including subcommittee or executive meetings were open to the
34 Waiver Request at 1; see also Plan, Section 5 – Coordination with Adjacent Region – Region 48.
35 See Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Seeks Comments on Region 47 (Puerto Rico) 700 MHz
Regional Planning Committee Proposed Public Safety Plan, WT Docket No. 02-378, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd
5349 (PSHSB 2012). Comments were due June 11, 2012, and reply comments were due June 21, 2012.
36 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.527(a)(5).
37 Waiver Request at 1.
39 Id. On September 22nd Region 47 emailed Region 48’s representative and provided him a copy of the Region 47
plan as well as a sample letter of concurrence. Id. On September 23rd, Region 47 states that Region 48’s
representative replied via email stating “Okay, will look them over.” Id.
Region 47 states that there is “great momentum building in Puerto Rico for the 700 MHz
spectrum, and public safety will suffer without a plan in place.”43 Region 47 states that “[t]he delays
being faced in Puerto Rico while waiting for Region 48 to complete the necessary concurrence and
dispute resolution paperwork is becoming unduly burdensome, inequitable and contrary to the public
interest.”44 Region 47 notes that it performed its “due diligence in attempting coordination.”45 Region 47
includes a chronology of its attempts to obtain concurrence from Region 48 beginning on August 19,
2011 when Region 47 reached out to the USVI point of contact for “Regional activity” and ending on
November 7, 2011.46 Over that four month period Region 47 notes that it sought the assistance of FCC
staff in attempting to facilitate adjacent region coordination prior to submitting its draft Plan to the
Commission.47 As a result of Puerto Rico’s interoperability needs, and Region 47’s due diligence, Region
47, pursuant to Section 1.925(b)(3) of the Commission’s rules, requests a waiver of Section
90.527(a)(5)’s requirement to obtain a letter of concurrence and dispute resolution agreement from
The Commission will grant a waiver request if the waiver proponent shows that: “(i) [t]he
underlying purpose of the rule(s) would not be served or would be frustrated by application to the instant
case, and that a grant of the requested waiver would be in the public interest; or (ii) [i]n 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.”49
As an initial matter, we note that the Commission has waived the adjacent region coordination
requirements of Section 90.527(a)(5) pursuant to the second prong of the waiver standard. Specifically,
the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) waived Section 90.527(a)(5) and approved the Region
12 (Idaho) and Region 22 (Minnesota) 700 MHz plans subject to certain conditions.50 In both instances,
Region 12 and Region 22 worked diligently to develop 700 MHz plans to meet regional needs but they
42 Id. at 1-2.
43 Id. at 2
49 47 C.F.R. § 1.925(b). On waiver standards generally, see Northeast Cellular Telephone Co. v. FCC., 897 F.2d
1164, 1166 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (“[A] waiver is appropriate only if special circumstances warrant a deviation from the
general rule and such deviation will serve the public interest.”) citing WAIT Radio v. FCC., 418 F.2d 1153, 1157-59
(D.C. Cir. 1969).
50 See Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Approves Region 12 (Idaho) 700 MHz Regional Plan, WT Docket 02-
378, Public Notice, 21 FCC Rcd 2382 (WTB PSCID 2006) (Region 12 PN); See Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau Approves Region 22 (Minnesota) 700 MHz Regional Plan, WT Docket 02-378, Public Notice, 21 FCC Rcd
6906 (WTB PSCID 2006) (Region 22 PN). We note that the WTB denied Region 24’s (Missouri) request for
waiver of the adjacent region coordination requirements of Section 90.525(a)(5) noting that the adjacent regions
became active after the filing of the Region 22 Plan. See Letter dated Mar. 29, 2004 from D’Wana R. Terry, Chief
Public Safety and Critical Infrastructure Division, to Stephen T. Devine, Chairman, Region 24 700 MHz Planning
Committee re 700 MHz Regional Planning – Region 24 Regional Plan WT Docket 02-378.
were unable to obtain concurrence from all adjacent regions due to the “organizational challenges”51 and
“inactive status”52 of those adjacent regions. Thus the WTB found it would be “inequitable” and not in
the public interest to postpone the Commission’s approval of the 700 MHz Plans.53
However, the WTB reiterated that grant of the waiver did not relieve Region 22 of its “continuing
obligation to obtain Letters of Concurrence and Inter-Regional-Dispute Resolution Agreements” from the
adjacent regions.54 Similarly, with regard to Region 12, the WTB emphasized that its decision did not
relieve the adjacent region (i.e. Region 25 (Montana)) of its “continuing obligation to complete its review,
and if appropriate, provide a Letter of Concurrence and enter into a Dispute Resolution Agreement with
Region 12.”55 In both instances, however the WTB stated that the waiver grant “does not remove the
requirement for [Region 12 and Region 22] to conduct inter-region coordination of applications where
The WTB stated that the “decision is based on the particular, documented factors presented here,
including, but not limited to, [Region 12 and Region 22’s] progress in 700 MHz public safety band
implementation,” and the “organizational challenges” and “inactive status” of the adjacent regions.57 In
addition, the WTB found that Region 22 “exercised due diligence” through its efforts to consider and
factor in the future 700 MHz public safety band spectrum needs of adjacent regions through the use of
CAPRAD.58 With regard to Region 22’s use of CAPRAD, we note that the National Association of
Regional Planning Committees commented that the use of CAPRAD “will provide sufficient channel
availability to the unformed regions and ensure that users in the unformed regions will have availability to
700 MHz spectrum.”59 Finally, in both instances, the WTB stated that “we do not foresee granting
waivers of the adjacent region coordination requirement under circumstances less compelling than those
Here, we find the circumstances surrounding the instant request sufficiently compelling to warrant
a waiver. First, we find that Region 47 has worked diligently to develop a comprehensive 700 MHz Plan.
Second, we observe that Puerto Rico has developed an interoperability concept that encompasses a single
P25 infrastructure to serve the needs of emergency responders. Puerto Rico envisions incorporating the
700 MHz spectrum as part of this system. Third, we recognize that Region 47 and FCC staff have
exercised due diligence in their numerous attempts to facilitate adjacent region coordination for over a
year without success. For example, before the staff sought comment on the draft Region 47 Plan and
51 Region 12 PN, 21 FCC Rcd at 2386.
52 Region 22 PN, 21 FCC Rcd at 6910.
53 Region 12 PN, 21 FCC Rcd at 2386; Region 22 PN, 21 FCC Rcd at 6909-10.
54 Region 22 PN, 21 FCC Rcd at 6910.
55 Region 12 PN, 21 FCC Rcd at 2386.
56 Id.; Region 22 PN, 21 FCC Rcd at 6910.
57 Region 12 PN, 21 FCC Rcd at 2386; Region 22 PN, 21 FCC Rcd at 6910.
58 Region 22 PN, 21 FCC Rcd at 6910.
59 See Comments of the National Association of Regional Planning Committees, WT Docket 02-378, at 2 (filed Feb.
22, 2006) (supporting Region 22 request for waiver of Section 90.525(a)(5) of the Commission’s rules).
60 Region 12 PN, 21 FCC Rcd at 2386; Region 22 PN, 21 FCC Rcd at 6910.
Waiver Request in May 2012, the staff contacted Region 48’s representative at the USVI Bureau
Information Technology (BIT). Staff again attempted to contact Region 48’s representative on December
20, 2012. Based on the foregoing, we conclude it would be inequitable and contrary to the public interest
to continue to postpone the Commission’s approval of the Region 47 700 MHz Plan. Accordingly, we
grant the requested waiver relief.
However, we reiterate that grant of this waiver does not relieve Region 47 of its continuing
obligation to obtain Letters of Concurrence and Inter-Regional Dispute Resolution Agreements from
Region 48. Similarly, Region 48 must complete its review, and if appropriate, provide a Letter of
Concurrence and enter into a Dispute Resolution Agreement with Region 47. Once completed, a copy of
such documentation must be filed in WT Docket 02-378 where it will become part the Region 47 700
MHz Plan. Further, this waiver grant does not remove the requirement for Region 47 to conduct inter-
region coordination of applications where necessary.
Our decision is based on the particular, documented factors presented here, including, but not
limited to, Puerto Rico’s interoperability concept, Region 47’s due diligence, Region 48’s
unresponsiveness, and Region 47’s use of the CAPRAD to pre-allocate frequency assignments to ensure
that Region 48 will have enough spectrum to meet its’ needs. Accordingly, based on the record before us
and Commission precedent, we find that there are adequate public interest grounds for grant of the
Based on our review of the Region 47 plan, we conclude that it complies with FCC rules and
policies. Accordingly, pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,
47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and Section 1.102(b) of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 1.102(b), the Region 47
(Puerto Rico) 700 MHz Public Safety Plan is APPROVED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Communications Act of 1934,
as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 154(i), and Section 1.925(b)(3)(ii) of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §
1.925(b)(3)(ii), the request for waiver associated with the captioned 700 MHz Public Safety Plan filed by
Region 47 (Puerto Rico) on April 24, 2012, IS GRANTED SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING
(1) Obtain Letters of Concurrence and Inter-Regional Dispute Resolution Agreements from
Region 48. Once completed, a copy of such documentation must be filed in WT Docket 02-
378 where it will become part the Region 47 700 MHz Plan.
(2) Conduct inter-region coordination of applications where necessary.
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.
Action by the Chief, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security
– FCC –
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.