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PSHSB Suspends May 31 Clearinghouse Deadline

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Released: May 9, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-738

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
Requests for Waiver of Various
)
PS Docket No. 06-229
Petitioners to Allow the Establishment
)
of 700 MHz Interoperable Public Safety
)
Wireless Broadband Networks
)
)
Implementing Public Safety Broadband
)
PS Docket No. 12-94
Provisions of the Middle Class Tax
)
Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012
)

ORDER

Adopted: May 9, 2012

Released: May 9, 2012

By the Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau:
1.
The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) has before it an informal
request (Request) from the twenty-two 700 MHz public safety broadband waiver recipients (Waiver
Recipients) to issue a stay of the Bureau’s requirement that the Waiver Recipients retain by May 31,
2012, a common clearinghouse to manage their relationships with commercial roaming partners and to
settle payment issues associated with their use of a common PLMN ID.1 We find it appropriate to
suspend this deadline as part of the Commission’s broader effort to implement the public safety
broadband provisions of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which was enacted
following the Bureau’s imposition of this requirement.

I.

BACKGROUND

2.
The Waiver Recipients are public safety entities that have received waivers of the
Commission’s rules to allow early deployment of local or regional public safety broadband networks in
the existing public safety broadband spectrum, which is currently licensed to the Public Safety Spectrum
Trust (PSST). In granting the initial waivers in May 2010, the Commission imposed a series of
conditions on them. However, the Commission found it unnecessary at that time “to impose particular
deadlines or milestones in light of the novel nature of these deployments and the ongoing standards and
equipment development” for their air interface, and delegated to the Bureau the authority to establish the
initial set of technical requirements, in light of recommendations by the Emergency Response
Interoperability Center (ERIC).2


1 See Request for Stay, PS Docket 06-229 (filed Apr. 25, 2012). The Waiver Recipients filed their request as an informal
request for Commission action under Section 1.41 of the Commission’s rules. 47 C.F.R. § 1.41.
2 See Requests for Waiver of Various Petitioners to Allow the Establishment of 700 MHz Interoperable Public Safety Wireless
Broadband Networks, PS Docket No. 06-229, 25 FCC Rcd 5145 ¶¶ 55, 64 (2010) (Waiver Order). The Bureau granted a
similar waiver to the State of Texas in May 2011. See Requests for Waiver of Various Petitioners to Allow the Establishment
of 700 MHz Interoperable Public Safety Wireless Broadband Networks, PS Docket 06-229, Order, 26 FCC RCD 6783
(PSHSB 2011) (Texas Waiver Order).

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-738

3.
On January 9, 2012, we issued the PLMN ID Order directing the Waiver Recipients to
use a common public land mobile network identifier (PLMN ID) for their network deployments.3 In that
order, we further directed the Waiver Recipients to “employ a competent numbering administrator” to
finalize and administer the scheme for use of the common PLMN ID.4 In a March 16 order, we approved
the Waiver Recipients’ selection of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to serve in
this role.5
4.

The PLMN ID Order also required the Waiver Recipients to retain the services of a
common clearinghouse entity “to manage the relationships with commercial roaming partners and to
settle the payment issues associated with [Waiver Recipients’] use of a common PLMN ID.”6 The order
set a deadline of May 31, 2012, for Waiver Recipients’ selection of this entity “to ensure that [the
clearinghouse] is in place on day one of network operation.”7
5.
The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Spectrum Act), enacted on
February 22, 2012, works fundamental changes to the regulatory regime upon which the Commission
based these waivers.8 The Spectrum Act now directs the Commission to license the existing public safety
broadband spectrum currently licensed to the PSST (as well as the spectrally adjacent “D Block”
spectrum) to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), 9 an independent authority established
within NTIA to oversee the development of a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband
network.10 The Spectrum Act further directs the Commission to “take all actions necessary to facilitate
the transition” to FirstNet of the spectrum currently licensed to the PSST.11 Once its Board members are
appointed and it is licensed by the Commission, FirstNet will have responsibility to ensure the “building,
deployment and operation” of the nationwide network and to develop its “technical and operational
requirements.”12 Of particular relevance here, the Spectrum Act assigns to FirstNet the responsibility to
enter agreements “as it determines appropriate” to enable roaming from the public safety broadband
network onto commercial networks.13 On April 6, 2012, the Bureau issued a public notice seeking
comment on the transition of Waiver Recipients’ deployments under this statutory framework.14
6.
In their Request, the Waiver Recipients argue that their obligation to retain a
clearinghouse should be stayed in light of the Spectrum Act’s enactment. They contend that “[i]t may
frustrate the intention of Congress, in establishing FirstNet, if the Petitioners attempt to enter into


3 See Requests for Waiver of Various Petitioners to Allow the Establishment of 700 MHz Interoperable Public Safety Wireless
Broadband Networks, PS Docket 06-229, Order, DA 12-25 (PSHSB rel. Jan. 9, 2012) (PLMN ID Order).
4 Id. at 7 ¶ 17.
5 See Requests for Waiver of Various Petitioners to Allow the Establishment of 700 MHz Interoperable Public Safety Wireless
Broadband Networks, PS Docket 06-229, Order, DA 12-423 (PSHSB rel. Mar. 16, 2012).
6 Id. at 9 ¶ 22.
7 Id. at 10 ¶ 23.
8 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, 126 Stat. 156 (2012).
9 Id. § 6201(a).
10 Id. § 6202(a).
11 Id. § 6201(c).
12 Id. §§ 6206(b)(1), 6206(c)(1)(B).
13 Id. § 6206(c)(5).
14 See Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Seeks Comment on Transition Process for 700 MHz Public Safety
Broadband Waiver Recipients, PS Docket No. 12-94, Public Notice, DA 12-555 (PSHSB Apr. 6, 2012). The comment date for
the public notice was April 20, 2012.
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-738

roaming agreements or obtain the services of a clearinghouse entity” to facilitate roaming as required
under the PLMN ID Order.15 The Waiver Recipients also note that the enactment of the Spectrum Act
has left them in an uncertain status under their current leases with the PSST, and that an expedited
deadline for establishing the clearinghouse is not necessary because “no [commercial] carriers presently
have roaming onto their LTE networks.”16

II.

DISCUSSION

7.
In its April 6 public notice, the Bureau initiated an inquiry on the transition of the
Waiver Recipients’ deployments in light of the Spectrum Act. With a transition plan for these
deployments pursuant to the newly enacted Spectrum Act not yet resolved, we do not find it prudent to
require the Waiver Recipients to expend resources retaining and putting into operation a common
clearinghouse for their deployments. Accordingly, consistent with the Commission’s authority under the
Spectrum Act to facilitate the transition of this spectrum to FirstNet, we hereby suspend the deadline of
May 31, 2012, by which we ordered the Waiver Recipients to select a clearinghouse entity and submit
their selection for the Bureau’s approval.
8.
In its Waiver Order, the Commission recognized that “roaming is a fundamental
requirement that must be addressed as a condition of early deployments, even with respect to initial
operations.”17 Accordingly, the Bureau is suspending its previous deadline only in order to permit the
Commission to address the matter in connection with questions raised about the transition of the waiver
deployments in the proceeding initiated in PS Docket 12-94, and in light of the enactment of the
Spectrum Act.

III.

ORDERING CLAUSES

9.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Sections 1, 4(i), 301, 303, 332, and 337
of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 154(i), 301, 303, 332, and 337, and
Section 6201(c) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, 126
Stat. 156 (2012), THIS ORDER in PS Docket No. 06-229 is ADOPTED.
10.
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, and the Waiver Order, 25 FCC Rcd 5145, 5161,
5164 ¶¶ 48, 55 (2010).
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David L. Furth
Acting Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau


15 Request at 3.
16 See id. at 4.
17 Waiver Order,25 FCC Rcd at 5160 ¶ 45.
3

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