FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai is encouraging the FCC to become more transparent.  His statement released Tuesday, April 21  is as follows:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                          CONTACT:

April 21, 2015                                                                                     Matthew Berry (202) 418-2005

                                                                                                            Email: Matthew.Berry@fcc.gov

 

STATEMENT OF FCC COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI
WELCOMING EFFORTS TO MAKE THE FCC MORE TRANSPARENT

I commend the continued work of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee to ensure good process and bring greater transparency to the Federal Communications Commission.  The American people are too often left in the dark when it comes to agency decision-making.  In the meantime, favored special interests are able to gain access to “non-public” information.  This is wrong.  The American people have a right to know what their government is doing, and I look forward to working with Congress and my colleagues to make sure that happens.

BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!

At the LMCC Meeting April 14 in Washington DC an FCC Staff member made the announcement that their interpretation of the LMCC Trunking coordination standards consistent with 90.187 allows coordinators to ignore a wideband-only system (with a non-compliant emission designator such as 20K0F3E)  when coordinating exclusive FB8 trunked systems.   This interpretation was met with surprise by several certified coordinators who previously felt that even though non compliant, these legacy wideband systems still required considerations when new applicants requested exclusive use channels.

There are two major issues that are involved.

FIRST: If a licensee currently has not modified their license to indicate narrowband emissions, on those channels requiring narrowband operation, they must do so IMMEDIATELY. With few exceptions most Part 90 frequencies between 150 and 470 MHz were required to comply with narrowband emission standards by the January 1, 2013 deadline.  The regulations have been publicized and widely circulated for over fifteen years now. Licensees remaining on those channels with wideband-only emission designators are not only operating illegally,  but are no longer given any consideration when a new applicant wants their frequency for an FB8, exclusive use classification.    In short, a new applicant may apply for that channel for their exclusive use.

SECOND: Some see this as a windfall of new spectrum that will create many more opportunities for FB8 Trunked systems.  Generally speaking, that is not the case.  FIT ran some tests and  found less than one percent remaining wideband-only licensees in seven different sample areas.  Taking those licensees out of the equation, in a majority of the samples, either nearby co-channel or adjacent channel narrowband stations would prevent a new applicant from moving in with a FB8 license. There is NOT a reservoir of new untapped spectrum.

To be sure, there will be some limited opportunities.  Expect too, that there will be predatory applicants seeking any chance no matter how slim.  If you or your clients have ANY remaining wideband-only licenses take immediate steps to bring them into compliance with narrowband emission licensing requirements.

In what can only be described as an alarming anouncement, the FCC recently revealed plans to shut down a majority of their Enforcement Bureau Field offices. The plan would cut the number of offices to about half and staff by two-thitrds.  The reductions are in responce to the agency having to do more work with less money. The feeling throughout the Broadcasting, Landmobile, Amateur Radio groups and and related spectrum users is that the closures would leave the FCC inadequately prepared to handle spectrum disputes.  A large portion of the Field Agents work is resolving interference issues to Coast Guard, FAA and other State and Local Government Public Safety radio osystems.

Fewer field offices and field agents could mean “disrupted emergency and AMBER alerts, unreliable police and fire communications and riskier air travel” among other “scary” possibilities.  The FCC has a different view. Under the proposal, “the commission would maintain its current commitment to respond to all public safety spectrum issues within one day, anywhere in the country, with the vast majority of the nation reachable within 4 to 6 hours,” according to an FCC spokesman. “If the proposal is adopted, the commission will meet its responsibilities while existing within today’s flat-line budget.”

 If you are curious about the Open Internet, the FCC Has a complete web page with all the latest information.

Here is the link.

http://www.fcc.gov/openinternet

FCC Commissioners are taking their personal opinions on “Net Neutrality” to the public in the form of testimony before U.S. House of representatives Committee on the Judiciary hearing on “Wrecking the internet to save it?” Following are links to the printed versions of their testimony. They make for very interesting reading. (Links for both the Word and PDF formats are below.)

Chairman Tom Wheeler defends the recent Commissioners decision at:
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-332695A1.docx
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-332695A1.pdf

Commissioner Ajit Pai takes the opposing view and testifies his his opinion and fears.
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-332696A1.docx
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-332696A1.pdf

PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU AND WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU ANNOUNCE COMMENT AND REPLY COMMENT DATES FOR THE NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING SEEKING COMMENT ON CREATION OF INTERSTITIAL 12.5 kHz CHANNELS IN THE

800 MHZ BAND BETWEEN 809-817/854-862 MHZ

WP Docket No. 15-32

 Comments Due:  May 11, 2015

Reply Comments Due:  May 26, 2015

On February 9, 2015, the Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in WP Docket No. 15-32 seeking comment on proposals to amend the Commission’s rules in order to promote spectrum efficiency and flexibility in the 800 MHz Mid-Band (809-817/854-862 MHz).  The 800 MHz Interstitial NPRM set deadlines for filing comments and reply comments at 45 and 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

On March 25, 2015, the Office of the Federal Register published a summary of the 800 MHz Interstitial NPRM and associated comment and reply comment dates.  Accordingly, comments must be filed on or before May 11, 2015; and reply comments must be filed on or before May 26, 2015.   The 800 MHz Interstitial NPRM sets forth the comment filing instructions.

For further information regarding these proceedings, contact John A. Evanoff, Attorney-Advisor, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, at (202) 418-0848 or via email: John.Evanoff@fcc.gov or Rodney P. Conway, Engineer, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, at (202) 418-2904 or via email: Rodney.Conway@fcc.gov.

 –FCC–

Creation of Interstitial 12.5 kHz Channels in the 800 MHz Band Between 809-817/854-862 MHz, WP Docket No. 15-32, Notice of Proposed Rule Making, FCC 15-17 (2015) amended by Erratum March 10, 2015 (800 MHz Interstitial NPRM).

 

See 80 Fed. Reg. 15723 (Mar. 25, 2015). 

 

Licensees will now be notified by the FCC of a link
to use to obtain their official license electronically.

Going forward ALL applications MUST
have a valid Company Email address (Application
form 601, Box #26). The FCC is transitioning
away from issuing paper licenses. When the
license is granted the FCC will send to the email
address an advisory of the call sign and grant date.
There will be instructions to follow the link in
order to obtain the OFFICIAL license document.
The link is unique to the newly granted license
and will expire in 30 days.

FIT strongly advises applicants to provide a
CORPORATE/Office email address for Box #26 instead
of one an address to a particular individual if possible.
People have a habit of moving on, if the FCC Email is
undeliverable then vital licensing activities or renewals
may be overlooked. Subsequent OFFICIAL license
documents will only be available to the licensee by
logging on to the ULS system and providing both their
FRN number and Password.

This is a very significant “Modernization” of FCC
licensing. All licensees need to understand the the
importance of maintaining their FRN Registration
information and keeping their in a safe place.

Licensees have a year to construct their facilities and must notify the Commission when the system has been built. Rules exist to allow for slow growth or extensions of the deadlines, but proper procedures must be followed.  The city of Springfield, MO. learned this the hard way when they failed to follow the proper steps…the FCC says their license is cancelled.  HERE is a link to the FCC’s decision on this matter.

The FCC’s new Website at  http://my.fcc.gov/  is drawing complaints from users about it being harder to navigate and find information than ever before.   Although the old web site was sometimes difficult to navigate, the new system is much more difficult according to many, especially Attorneys and other frequent users  (FIT agrees).   Amid all the chaos, the person responsible for the “upgrade”, Managing Director Steve VanRoekel maintains that all the tools to make it better and more user friendly are not yet available, OH…and he is going to leave for a new job to join USAID.  The Hill has a story on this saga…HERE.

Timely filed license renewals are important and the FCC is less and less inclined to give a licensee a break, as is evidenced by their handling of Hawaiian Electric Company’s Waiver Request for a late filed renewal. The licensee inadvertently overlooked the filing deadline, asked the FCC to grant their late filed request and was firmly rebuked.   You can read the details in this determination letter from the FCC.  The link is found HERE.

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