[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 212 (Friday, November 1, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 65594-65600]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-25587]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 90

[PS Docket No. 13-229; RM-11635; FCC 13-121]


Vehicular Repeaters

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: In this Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the 
Commission proposes an amendment to the Commission's rules to allow the 
licensing and operation of vehicular repeater systems and other mobile 
repeaters by public safety licensees on certain frequencies in the VHF 
band.

DATES: Submit comments on or before December 31, 2013. Submit reply 
comments January 30, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by PS Docket No. 13-229; 
RM-11635, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and 
Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 
20554. 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.
     Hand or Messenger Delivery: 445 12th St. SW., Room TW-
A325, Washington, DC 20554.
     People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request 
reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language 
interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: FCC504@fcc.gov or phone: 202-418-
0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.

For detailed instructions for submitting comments, additional 
information on the rulemaking process, and where to find materials 
available for inspection, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of 
this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Eng, Policy and Licensing 
Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, Federal 
Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554, 
at (202) 418-0019, TTY (202) 418-7233, or via email at 
Thomas.Eng@fcc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Notice 
of

[[Page 65595]]

Proposed Rulemaking in PS Docket No. 13-229; RM-11635; adopted and 
released September 16, 2013. The complete text of this document is 
available for inspection and copying during normal business hours in 
the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., 
Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. This document may also be purchased 
from the Commission's duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, 
Inc., in person at 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 
20554, via telephone at (202) 488-5300, via facsimile at (202) 488-
5563, or via email at FCC@BCPIWEB.com. Alternative formats (computer 
diskette, large print, audio cassette, and Braille) are available to 
persons with disabilities or by sending an email to FCC504@fcc.gov or 
calling the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530, 
TTY (202) 418-0432. This document is also available on the Commission's 
Web site at http://www.fcc.gov.

Comments

    Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 
47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply 
comments. Comments may be filed using: (1) The Commission's Electronic 
Comment Filing System (ECFS), (2) the Federal Government's eRulemaking 
Portal, or (3) by filing paper copies. See Electronic Filing of 
Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (May 1, 1998).
     Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/ or the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must 
file an original and four copies of each filing. If more than one 
docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, 
filers 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. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's 
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
     All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings 
for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 
445 12th St. SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours 
are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together 
with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes must be disposed of 
before entering the building.
     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, Express, and Priority 
mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington DC 20554.

Introduction

    In this Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which we adopt in 
response to an Amended Petition for Rulemaking filed by Pyramid 
Communications, Inc. (Pyramid), we solicit comment on whether to amend 
Part 90 of the Commission's rules to allow the licensing and operation 
of vehicular repeater systems (VRS) and other mobile repeaters by 
public safety licensees on certain frequencies in the VHF band. Mobile 
repeaters are beneficial for public safety because they can provide 
first responders with enhanced in-building radio coverage at emergency 
sites, thereby enabling first responders to remain in radio contact 
when they are inside a building. For example, a mobile repeater enables 
firefighters to communicate on hand-held radios with their command 
center when they enter a building, encounter an in-building fire, and 
need to call for backup assistance on the spot. Without a repeater to 
relay the communications, the firefighters inside the building might be 
cut off from communicating with the command center.
    Given the importance of mobile repeaters to public safety, the 
purpose of this proceeding is to explore whether there is a need to 
make additional spectrum available to support mobile repeater 
capability. For the reasons discussed below, we grant the Amended 
Petition in part and initiate a rulemaking that proposes to allow VRS 
operations on six remote control and telemetry channels at 173 MHz, 
subject to coordination procedures. However, we deny the portion of the 
Amended Petition that seeks to initiate a rulemaking to permit VRS 
operations on nine Federal and forest firefighting channels in the 170-
172 MHz band.

Background

    Portions of the VHF band are used by Private Land Mobile Radio 
Service licensees, including public safety licensees, predominantly for 
voice operations. The Commission's rules designate 488 frequencies, 
totaling approximately 3.6 megahertz of spectrum in the VHF band, for 
public safety use. Licensees may operate mobile repeater stations, 
including vehicular repeaters, on certain VHF mobile frequencies under 
Sec.  90.247 of the Commission's rules.
    On June 27, 2011, Pyramid, a manufacturer of wireless data and 
voice equipment, filed a Petition for Rulemaking requesting that the 
Commission amend its rules to expand the number of VHF band frequencies 
available for VRS use by public safety licensees. On August 16, 2011, 
Pyramid filed the Amended Petition to provide clarification and correct 
typographical errors. We treat the Amended Petition as superseding the 
Initial Petition, but we also consider four additional VHF frequencies 
that were identified in the Initial Petition but not included in the 
Amended Petition.
    In the Amended Petition, Pyramid contends that VRS units are 
essential to extend coverage of radio systems to the inside of 
buildings so that first responders going into a building can maintain 
communications. According to Pyramid, current filter technology 
requires VRS units to operate on frequencies that are separated by 2-5 
megahertz from the system's main licensed frequencies. Pyramid asserts 
that there are insufficient existing VHF frequencies to support VRS 
that are sufficiently distant from the 150-159 MHz public safety 
frequencies and that are not already saturated with other existing 
base/mobile operations. Pyramid therefore proposes that the Commission 
designate additional VHF spectrum for VRS use.
    Pyramid identifies two specific VHF allocations that it contends 
would be suitable for communication between portable radios and VRS 
units. First, Pyramid identifies nine frequencies in the 170-172 MHz 
band that are allocated for Federal use on a primary basis but are also 
available for assignment to non-Federal licensees engaged in forest 
firefighting and forest conservation activities. Pyramid proposes to 
lift this limitation so that these channels could be used by VRS units 
for purposes other than fighting forest fires, e.g., for fighting in-
building fires. Pyramid also states that to address potential concerns 
that VRS use by police might cause interference to firefighters, 
Pyramid ``would not oppose'' limiting VRS use of these frequencies to 
firefighters.
    Second, Pyramid identifies six frequencies in the 173 MHz band 
currently designated for fixed remote control and telemetry operations. 
These six frequencies are shared between the Public Safety and 
Industrial/Business (I/B) Pools, have a 6 kilohertz

[[Page 65596]]

bandwidth limitation, and do not permit voice operation due to the 
telemetry designation. Pyramid states that the Land Mobile 
Communications Council (LMCC) ``has developed frequency coordination 
standards by which radio systems can be coordinated on adjacent 
frequencies where bandwidths overlap.'' Pyramid contends that 
utilization of these standards will ensure that VRS use of the six 
frequencies identified in the Amended Petition will not cause adjacent 
channel interference. On this basis, Pyramid proposes that the 
Commission lift the restriction on voice operation and allow low power 
VRS operation on the six 173 MHz frequencies.
    On October 14, 2011, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau 
(Bureau) released a public notice seeking comment on the Amended 
Petition. The Bureau sought comment on Pyramid's proposals regarding 
the 170-172 MHz forest firefighting frequencies and the 173 MHz 
telemetry frequencies. The Bureau asked whether the Commission should 
remove the limitation in Sec.  90.20(d)(33), which imposes a bandwidth 
limit of 6 kilohertz on the six telemetry channels, since voice 
communications typically occupy a bandwidth of 11.25 kilohertz. The 
Bureau also noted that the Initial Petition, but not the Amended 
Petition, had proposed to allow VRS use of four additional frequencies 
immediately adjacent to the six telemetry channels. Accordingly, the 
Bureau asked whether the Commission should consider all ten 173 MHz 
frequencies for VRS operation. Finally, the Bureau sought comment on 
``the potential costs and benefits of Pyramid's proposal, including: 
(1) How and in what ways the remote control and telemetry channels are 
used today; (2) the compatibility of the proposed VRS voice operations 
with incumbent remote control and telemetry operations; and (3) 
adjacent channel interference as a result of modifying or removing 
bandwidth limitations on frequencies in the 173 MHz band.'' The comment 
period closed on November 18, 2011.

Comments

    The Commission received 31 responsive comments and reply comments, 
with supporting commenters outnumbering opposing commenters. Full 
supporters include various public safety agencies, equipment dealers, 
and individuals. Two certified frequency coordinators offer more 
reserved support for VRS use of the 173 MHz channels. Four certified 
frequency coordinators and a county water management agency oppose the 
petition.

Comments Supporting Pyramid Proposals

    Nineteen commenters support all of Pyramid's proposals. Some of 
these commenters argue that in-building portable radio coverage can be 
challenging or non-existent due to the use of modern construction 
materials that attenuate radio signals, and that vehicular repeaters 
are an important link between portable and base communications. Several 
parties support this proceeding for the safety of first responders. 
Mark Schaff (Schaff) argues that the VHF plan makes it difficult to 
achieve 3-5 megahertz separation between the mobile transmit 
frequencies and the vehicle repeater frequency. Therefore, Schaff 
states that making frequencies at 170 MHz available for VRS would make 
it easier to set up in-band repeaters. Wisconsin State Patrol 
(Wisconsin) urges the Commission to consider all ten frequencies at 173 
MHz (including the four identified in the Initial Petition), as well as 
the 170-172 MHz frequencies, for VRS operation.
    Other commenters support specific elements of Pyramid's proposal 
but take no position on others. The Commonwealth of Virginia, 
Department of State Police (Commonwealth) supports VRS use of the six 
173 MHz telemetry frequencies and also supports allowing VRS use of 
170-172 MHz frequencies, but for forestry purposes only. The 
Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, 
Inc. (APCO), a certified frequency coordinator, states that it ``is not 
prepared to take a position on all of Pyramid's specific 
recommendations at this time'' but that it ``strongly support[s] the 
initiation of a rulemaking proceeding to explore ways to improve VRS 
capability.'' The Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA), another certified 
coordinator, takes no position on VRS use of 170-172 MHz frequencies, 
but supports consideration of designating some 173 MHz frequencies for 
VRS voice operations ``subject, of course, to appropriate frequency 
coordination procedures.'' EWA cautions that VRS use of these 
frequencies must be carefully coordinated to ensure continued 
availability of the telemetry channels for use by EWA and Utilities 
Telecommunications Council (UTC) members, ``who have made productive 
use of these frequencies to support a variety of essential business 
enterprise and critical infrastructure non-voice applications.'' EWA 
opposes rule changes ``that might compromise these operations,'' but 
posits that ``[g]iven the highly localized nature of VRS usage, [the 
telemetry] frequencies should be able to be reused in adjacent 
communities without interference.'' APCO, Pyramid, and Wisconsin also 
state that frequency coordination can minimize potential VRS 
interference to remote control and telemetry operations.

Comments Opposing VRS on 170-172 MHz

    Two other certified frequency coordinators, the Forestry 
Conservation Communications Association (FCCA) and the International 
Municipal Signal Association/International Association of Fire Chiefs 
(IMSA/IAFC), oppose VRS use of the 170-172 MHz frequencies. While these 
parties do not oppose the concept of VRS, they assert that because the 
170-172 MHz band frequencies are assigned on a primary basis to the 
federal government, the Commission lacks authority to allow VRS use 
absent concurrence from federal users and/or the National 
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). IMSA/IAFC 
also express concern that VRS use could interfere with use of these 
channels for forest firefighting operations. FCCA notes that the 
locations of forest fires cannot be predicted, so ``[o]nce a fire 
starts, it is critical to be able to move into an area quickly and 
establish communications.'' IMSA/IAFC state that ``[t]here is often no 
clear distinction between forested and non-forested areas, and 
buildings, shopping malls and arenas are increasingly located at the 
perimeters of forested areas.'' Both commenters also cite as precedent 
a 2003 determination by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau that 
forest firefighting channels are not routinely available for low power 
police surveillance operations.

Comments Opposing VRS on 173 MHz Telemetry Channels

    The Yuba County Water Agency, California (Yuba) and certified 
frequency coordinators UTC and the American Petroleum Institute (API) 
express concerns that VRS could interfere with incumbent telemetry 
operations in the 173 MHz band. UTC states that allowing voice 
operations on these frequencies ``would threaten interference to 
[telemetry] operations, thereby jeopardizing the underlying services 
that they support and the general public that relies on those 
services.'' UTC also contends that existing frequency coordination 
procedures will not mitigate the risk of interference because they are 
designed

[[Page 65597]]

to address interference between adjacent voice systems rather than 
interference between voice-based VRS and data-based telemetry/remote 
control operations. Yuba contends that ``[t]here is a high likelihood 
that police and fire use of [VRS] would interfere with the Agency 
telemetry system.'' API argues that ``Pyramid does not describe how its 
proposal will not result in the very interference to others that it 
seeks to avoid (both from and to Public Safety VRS operations) for 
itself.''
    UTC and API also argue that Pyramid has failed to document the need 
for additional spectrum to support VRS. UTC asserts that there is 
``very little if any technical justification in the petition for the 
relief that Pyramid seeks, and there is almost no discussion of 
possible alternatives and/or interference mitigation strategies.'' API 
argues that Pyramid has not demonstrated why VRS could not be 
accommodated on existing frequencies through improved filter technology 
or regional, state and local planning. API suggests that it is 
premature to conclude that the VHF band is saturated with existing 
base/mobile operations because narrowbanding could make additional VHF 
spectrum available after the January 1, 2013 deadline. API also 
contends that critical infrastructure industry entities have greater 
need than VRS for additional spectrum.
    In reply, the Commonwealth argues that VRS use of telemetry 
frequencies ``to help fill a critical gap in public safety coverage for 
first responders'' should take priority over ``the risk of minor delays 
in utility monitoring.'' The Commonwealth also contends that the risk 
of VRS causing interference to utility telemetry is low because VRS use 
will be highly sporadic. Indeed, given that VRS units are intended for 
temporary use at indeterminate locations, the Commonwealth argues that 
VRS use should not be subject to frequency coordination.

Order

    As evidenced by Sec.  90.247 of the rules, the Commission has long 
recognized the public interest benefit of vehicular repeaters (mobile 
repeater stations), which provide in-building coverage and extended 
communications range for hand-held units used by police, fire, and 
rescue personnel in the field. As we noted above, mobile repeaters can 
improve the safety of first responders by enabling them to stay in 
radio contact with their command centers in difficult coverage 
environments where they might otherwise be cut off from communicating. 
We point out that licensees may operate mobile repeater stations on 
most frequencies in the VHF band without any rule change under Sec.  
90.247. The predominant use of mobile repeater stations is for land 
mobile voice operation, which is allowed on most VHF frequencies.
    However, a rulemaking is necessary to consider allowing mobile 
repeater stations on the particular VHF frequencies that Pyramid 
identified because these frequencies have specific rules and 
limitations that render the frequencies incompatible with mobile 
repeater stations absent a rule change. For example, the six telemetry 
and remote control channels are non-voice by definition, and thus, our 
rules do not allow voice operation and therefore do not allow mobile 
repeater station operations on telemetry and remote control channels. 
Hence, Pyramid urges the Commission to ``remov[e] the thirty year old 
restriction on voice operation.'' The Federal forest firefighting 
channels have limitations on allocation and how the channels are used 
that are also incompatible with Pyramid's proposed mobile repeater 
stations use, absent rule changes.
    In its Amended Petition, Pyramid states that public safety users in 
the VHF band have a particular need for an in-band VRS solution because 
there is virtually no allocation of public safety spectrum that can be 
used for VRS that provides the required spectral separation from the 
150-159 MHz operating frequencies and that is not already saturated 
with existing base/mobile operations. The record persuades us that we 
should initiate a rulemaking proceeding to determine whether additional 
spectrum is needed to support VHF in-band mobile repeater stations. 
Accordingly, by adopting the accompanying Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
we grant the portion of Pyramid's Amended Petition that seeks to 
initiate such a proceeding.
    However, we deny the portion of Pyramid's Amended Petition that 
seeks to initiate a proceeding regarding the nine Federal and forest 
firefighting channels at 170-172 MHz. On April 3, 2013, NTIA filed a 
letter recommending that the Commission deny the Pyramid Petition in 
part with respect to these channels. NTIA noted that the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service make extensive 
use of these channels. NTIA states that because the Forest Service 
supports critical public safety operations, NTIA needs to ensure an 
interference-free environment. NTIA opposes even secondary status for 
VRS users because VRS public safety services should not be placed at 
risk by creating conflicts with primary Federal safety operations, and 
neither group will want to face interference or other coordination 
conflicts during an operation. Based on NTIA's recommendation, we 
decline to include the nine Federal channels in our rulemaking 
proceeding.
    We also decline to include in our rulemaking proceeding the four 
additional 173 MHz frequencies identified by Pyramid in the Initial 
Petition. Because Pyramid did not list these frequencies in the Amended 
Petition, it is not clear whether Pyramid intended to propose their 
inclusion, but even if it did so intend, we believe they are not 
suitable for VRS use. Two of the four frequencies (173.210 and 173.390 
MHz) have a bandwidth limit of only 3 kilohertz, which is insufficient 
bandwidth for satisfactory voice operation based on today's available 
technology. We also agree with APCO that the four frequencies should 
not be considered for VRS use because the 6.25 kilohertz separation 
between the lower two and upper two frequencies ``results in 
insufficient separation between the two frequencies for voice use, and 
makes coordination difficult.''

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we seek comment on rule 
amendments to provide for the expanded use of mobile repeaters for 
public safety. Although we do not seek to expand the authority for 
mobile repeaters under Sec.  90.247, we propose to amend Sec. Sec.  
90.20 (limitations 32, 33, and 34) and 90.175 of our rules to enable 
mobile repeaters to operate on the telemetry channels discussed above. 
We also seek comment on whether frequency coordination methods could 
protect telemetry users from interference. Next, we seek comment on 
issues raised in the comments to the public notice, including wide area 
mobile repeater operations, bandwidth, and power. We also seek comment 
on the costs and burdens of rule changes, and on whether current mobile 
repeater filter technologies can support reduced frequency separation 
requirements. Finally, we explore the mobile repeater environment in 
other public safety bands besides VHF, and seek comment on Industrial/
Business licensees' usage of mobile repeaters.

Telemetry Channels

    We seek comment on whether to permit public safety mobile repeater 
station operations on the six remote control and telemetry channels at 
173 MHz subject to coordination. The record suggests that there may be 
a need to make additional VHF channels available for VRS use beyond 
those that are

[[Page 65598]]

already available. We seek comment on whether this is the case. Are 
frequencies in the 150-159 MHz band not suitable for VRS use, as 
Pyramid contends, because of limited spectral separation and heavy use 
by existing base mobile operations? Are there are other alternatives 
that should be considered, as API and UTC suggest? For example, has 
implementation of the Commission's narrowbanding mandate freed up VHF 
spectrum that could be used for VRS? Should VRS spectral needs be given 
priority over other potential uses, such as critical infrastructure 
use?
    To the extent that additional VHF spectrum may be needed for VRS 
use, we seek comment on the appropriateness of making the six 173 MHz 
remote control and telemetry channels available for this purpose. Do 
commenters agree with EWA that neighboring VRS users should be able to 
share use of the same frequency given the localized and limited time 
nature of such operations, and that such sharing should minimize the 
potential for harmful interference to incumbent telemetry users? We 
note that some telemetry data operations are used for safety-related 
purposes, such as monitoring and controlling water quality and volume 
for public health and flood control. Would frequency coordination be 
sufficient to mitigate the risk of interference between VRS and 
telemetry uses? Should we consider modifying the current VHF band 
coordination methodology, including the use of exclusion zones, to 
reduce instances of interference? Since mobile repeater stations are 
not fixed operations, we seek comment on whether a modified VHF 
coordination practice could accommodate mobile repeater stations. We 
also seek comment on alternative frequency coordination procedures that 
could accommodate such usage.

Protection of Telemetry Users

    We seek comment about the typical configuration and usage of 
telemetry stations. Are telemetry systems generally point-to-point, 
point-to-multipoint, or a mix? What are typical duty cycles and data 
rates? What types of error correction and retransmit protocols do 
telemetry operators use? In the context of telemetry station 
configuration and usage, what is the best way to protect them from 
mobile repeater stations through coordination? For example, is it 
feasible to prohibit mobile repeater use inside the service area of a 
co-channel incumbent station (i.e., an exclusion zone)? We invite 
suggestions for other coordination procedures, depending on the 
characteristics of the incumbent telemetry station. Would an exclusion 
zone coordination methodology address UTC's concern about the lack of a 
frequency coordination standard for voice and data operations? Would a 
typical public safety mobile repeater station licensee be able to 
instruct its first responders to avoid using a co-channel frequency for 
mobile repeater stations in these exclusion zones with reasonable 
accuracy?
    We seek comment on whether frequency coordinators could add special 
conditions to the mobile repeater applications, e.g., by listing 
active, co-channel incumbent call signs and associated exclusion zones 
that demarcate where mobile repeater operations would be specifically 
prohibited from the authorization requested by the application. We seek 
comment on possible exceptions to such an approach, such as when the 
mobile repeater station user has obtained written concurrence from the 
incumbent licensee, or the VRS user and incumbent user are the same 
licensee. What should be the protocol if a mobile repeater station user 
becomes licensed on a vacant frequency, but a telemetry user is later 
licensed on that frequency in the mobile repeater station user's 
operating area? Should a mobile repeater be allowed to cease protecting 
the exclusion zone if the incumbent telemetry license were to expire, 
cancel, or terminate and absent the filing of a petition for 
reconsideration of the change in license status?

Wide Area Mobile Repeater Operations

    If a wide area or statewide applicant cannot achieve complete 
mobile repeater coverage on one telemetry frequency due to a conflict 
with exclusion zones, could the applicant achieve greater coverage by 
applying for multiple telemetry frequencies, thereby avoiding 
interference in the prohibited exclusion zones? Would these measures 
address the Commonwealth's argument that frequency coordination is 
unnecessary in general and unworkable for statewide VRS use?

Frequency Bandwidth

    Wisconsin supports the use of VRS on telemetry channels, stating 
that ``[a]djacent channel interference issues will be diminished with 
the imminent conversion of all operations to 11K or less operation.'' 
The six telemetry channels are interleaved with seven channels in the 
I/B Pool. The spacing between channels is 12.5 kilohertz. Prior to the 
narrowbanding deadline of January 1, 2013, the interstitial I/B 
channels had a 20 kilohertz bandwidth limit, while the six telemetry 
channels have a 6 kilohertz bandwidth limit to minimize mutual 
bandwidth overlap. However, now that the narrowbanding deadline has 
passed, the interstitial I/B channels have a bandwidth limit of 11.25 
kilohertz, which would allow mobile repeater stations on the telemetry 
channels to use greater than 6 kilohertz bandwidth and up to 11.25 
kilohertz bandwidth without mutual bandwidth overlap. Consequently, we 
propose to allow mobile repeater operations to use up to 11.25 
kilohertz bandwidth on the six telemetry channels. We acknowledge that 
PLMR stations that meet the efficiency standard of one voice channel 
per 12.5 kilohertz bandwidth may still use up to 20 kilohertz 
authorized bandwidth, but that most radios operate at 11.25 kilohertz 
bandwidth or less.
    We seek comment on what proportion of I/B users of the interstitial 
channels could be affected by bandwidth overlap because they operate at 
greater than 11.25 kilohertz bandwidth and choose to satisfy the 
narrowbanding requirement by meeting the efficiency standard. Can 
mobile repeater stations operate within the other technical limits of 
Sec.  90.20(d)(33) of the Commission's rules, or should the Commission 
not apply these limits to mobile repeater stations on the six telemetry 
channels? We clarify that the provisions of Sec.  90.247 would apply to 
VRS or mobile repeater operations on these telemetry channels or any 
other spectrum that supports such use. We do not perceive a conflict 
between the rules proposed herein and Sec.  90.247 of the Commission's 
rules. We also seek comment on whether all operations on the six 
telemetry channels should remain secondary to adjacent channel land 
mobile operations now that the narrowband deadline has passed.

Power

    The Commonwealth seeks a power limit increase on the telemetry 
channels for VRS if the channels are made available for VRS use. The 
current ERP limit for mobile stations is 2 watts; the Commonwealth 
seeks 5 watts for both VRS and portable radios. The Commonwealth 
contends public safety ``needs dedicated frequencies of equal 
transmitter power to that of a VHF portable, to create a balanced 
network.'' We seek comment on the Commonwealth's proposal, but only for 
mobile repeater operation on the six telemetry channels. We do not 
propose to increase the 2-watt power limit for the existing telemetry 
and remote control use.

[[Page 65599]]

Costs and Burdens

    We also seek comment on the costs and burdens associated with 
allowing mobile repeater stations on the six telemetry channels. Would 
incumbent licensees experience any increased costs if we allow mobile 
repeater stations on the six telemetry channels? Approximately how many 
more staff-hours would frequency coordinators spend on a mobile 
repeater station coordination, relative to a non-mobile repeater 
station coordination in the VHF band, if we impose the coordination 
requirement that we discussed above? If there is a significant 
difference, can frequency coordinators estimate the effect on 
coordination fees? Does the supposed benefit that mobile repeater 
stations provide justify an increased coordination cost? We seek 
comment on any other costs that we have not considered.

Filters and Other Technical Solutions

    We seek comment generally on whether improvements to mobile 
repeater equipment and filter design could reduce the frequency 
separation requirements for mobile repeaters. FCCA, UTC, and API argue 
that Pyramid's frequency spread argument does not establish that the 
frequencies proposed by Pyramid for VRS use are the only frequencies it 
could use, or that filter improvements could not reduce the separation 
requirement. UTC argues that ``[t]here is very little if any technical 
justification in the petition for the relief that Pyramid seeks, and 
there is almost no discussion of possible alternatives and/or 
interference mitigation strategies.'' FCCA states, ``perhaps other 
filter technologies, such as very small surface acoustic wave (`SAW') 
filters, could be adapted for vehicular repeater use.'' EWA ``urges the 
VRS vendor community to investigate technological advances that might 
expand spectrum options in the future.'' Accordingly, we seek comment 
on filter design in general to allow for smaller frequency separation. 
We also seek comment on the feasibility of adapting SAW filters, or 
other filter technology, for mobile repeater use. We particularly 
invite other manufacturers of vehicular and mobile repeaters to comment 
and provide information on frequency separation requirements for in-
band repeaters and filters that can minimize the frequency separation. 
We also ask commenting parties to discuss the advantages and 
disadvantages of cross-band repeaters as an alternative to in-band 
repeaters.

Other Public Safety Bands

    Next, we seek comment on whether there are other spectrum bands or 
frequencies that could be used for public safety mobile repeater 
operations. Are there other alternatives in the VHF band? What is the 
status of mobile repeaters in the 450-470 MHz, 700 MHz, and 800 MHz 
public safety bands? To what extent do public safety licensees in these 
bands experience challenges in locating suitable and available 
frequencies that can be used for mobile repeater stations? Bearing in 
mind that mobile repeater stations generally are allowed on any private 
land mobile radio service frequency that the Commission's rules do not 
designate for an incompatible purpose, what steps could the Commission 
take to facilitate mobile repeater use in 450-470 MHz, 700 MHz, and 800 
MHz bands? Are there adequate frequencies in these bands where land 
mobile voice operations, and by extension mobile repeater stations, are 
already permitted, or should the Commission consider changing rules to 
allow land mobile voice operations and mobile repeater stations on 
certain frequencies that the rules currently render incompatible with 
such use? If so, which frequencies should the Commission consider?

Industrial/Business Licensees

    While much of the discussion herein is focused on public safety 
users, we also seek comment on the I/B community's interest in using 
mobile repeater stations in the VHF band. What is the current state of 
I/B mobile repeater usage? Do I/B licensees need more VHF spectrum for 
mobile repeater stations that can be shared with existing applications, 
such as telemetry? Should the Commission include I/B eligibles in this 
rulemaking and consider amendments to Sec.  90.35 that are analogous to 
the rule changes we propose supra to Sec.  90.20, so that I/B users in 
addition to public safety users would be allowed to use the six 
telemetry channels for VRS?

Procedural Matters

Ex Parte Presentations

    This matter shall be treated as a ``permit-but-disclose'' 
proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules. 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 Sec.  1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by 
Sec.  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.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, see 5 U.S.C. 
603, the Commission has prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on small 
entities of the policies and rules addressed in this document. The IRFA 
is set forth in Appendix B of the Order and Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking. Written public comments are requested on the IRFA. These 
comments must be filed in accordance with the same filing deadlines as 
comments filed in response to this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as set 
forth herein, and they should have a separate and distinct heading 
designating them as responses to the IRFA. The Commission's Consumer 
and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, will 
send a copy of the Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, including 
this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration (SBA). See 5 U.S.C. 603(a).

[[Page 65600]]

Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

    This document contains proposed modified information collection 
requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to 
reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) to comment on the information collection 
requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995, Public. Law. 104-13. In addition, pursuant to 
the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law. 107-198, 
see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we seek specific comment on how we might 
further reduce the information collection burden for small business 
concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

Congressional Review Act

    The Commission will send a copy of this Order and Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking in a report to be sent to Congress and the 
Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review 
Act (CRA), see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

Ordering Clauses

    Accordingly, it is ordered that pursuant to sections 4(i) and 303 
of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i) and 
303, and Sec.  1.407 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.407, this 
Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is adopted.
    It is further ordered that pursuant to sections 4(i) and 303 of the 
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i) and 303, and 
Sec. Sec.  1. 401(e) and 1.407 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 
1.401(e) and 1.407, the petition for rulemaking filed by Pyramid 
Communications, Inc., on June 27, 2011, as amended on August 16, 2011, 
is granted to the extent described herein and is otherwise denied.
    It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a 
copy of this Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, including the 
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for 
Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.
    It is further ordered that pursuant to applicable procedures set 
forth in Sec. Sec.  1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 
1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments on this Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking on or before December 31, 2013, and interested 
parties may file reply comments on or before January 30, 2014.

List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 90

    Communications equipment, Radio.

Federal Communications Commission.
Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary.

Proposed Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal 
Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 90 as follows:

PART 90--PRIVATE LAND MOBILE RADIO SERVICES

0
1. The authority citation for part 90 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: Sections 4(i), 11, 303(g), 303(r) and 332(c)(7) of 
the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 161, 
303(g), 303(r) and 332(c)(7), and Title VI of the Middle Class Tax 
Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. 112-96, 126 Stat. 156.

0
2. Section 90.20 is amended by revising paragraphs (d)(32), (33), and 
(34) to read as follows:


Sec.  90.20  Public Safety Pool.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (32) The maximum effective radiated power (ERP) may not exceed 20 
watts for fixed stations, 2 watts for mobile stations, and 5 watts for 
mobile repeater stations and hand-carried transmitters that communicate 
directly with mobile repeater stations in the Public Safety Pool. The 
height of the antenna system may not exceed 15.24 meters (50 ft.) above 
ground. All such operation is on a secondary basis to adjacent channel 
land mobile operations.
    (33) For FM transmitters, the sum of the highest modulating 
frequency in Hertz and the amount of the frequency deviation or swing 
in Hertz may not exceed 2800 Hz and the maximum deviation may not 
exceed 2.5 kHz. For AM transmitters, the highest modulation frequency 
may not exceed 2000 Hz. The carrier frequency must be maintained within 
.0005 percent of the center of the frequency band, and the authorized 
bandwidth may not exceed 6 kHz, except for mobile repeater stations and 
hand-carried transmitters that communicate directly with mobile 
repeater stations in the Public Safety Pool, in which case the 
authorized bandwidth may not exceed 11.25 kHz.
    (34) This frequency is available on a shared basis with the 
Industrial/Business Pool for remote control and telemetry operations. 
In cases where Sec.  90.20(d)(32) applies to this frequency, licensees 
who are eligible in the Public Safety Pool may also use this frequency 
for mobile repeater stations and hand-carried transmitters that 
communicate directly with mobile repeater stations subject to the 
frequency coordination requirements of Sec.  90.175(b)(4). Mobile 
repeater stations shall not operate within the service areas of active 
co-channel incumbent remote control and telemetry stations as 
determined by the applicable frequency coordinator and listed in a 
special condition on the mobile repeater station operator's license. If 
any listed incumbent license on the special condition becomes expired, 
canceled, or terminated, then this requirement shall not apply to the 
associated service area beginning 30 days after the change in license 
status in the Commission's Universal Licensing System, absent the 
filing of a petition for reconsideration of the change in license 
status.
* * * * *
0
3. Section 90.175 is amended by adding paragraph (b)(4) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  90.175  Frequency coordinator requirements.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (4) For any application for public safety mobile repeater station 
operations on frequencies denoted by both Sec. Sec.  90.20(d)(32) and 
90.20(d)(34), the frequency coordinator responsible for the application 
must determine and disclose to the applicant the call signs and the 
service areas of all active co-channel incumbent remote control and 
telemetry stations inside the applicant's proposed area of operation by 
adding a special condition to the application, except when the 
applicant has obtained written concurrence from an affected incumbent 
licensee, or when the applicant and the incumbent licensee are the same 
entity.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2013-25587 Filed 10-31-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P