[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 185 (Friday, September 23, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 65597-65606]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-21638]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Parts 1 and 90

[WP Docket No. 16-261; RM-11719; RM-11722; FCC 16-110]


Amendment To Improve Access to Private Land Mobile Radio Spectrum

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission 
(Commission or FCC) proposes and seeks comment on proposals to revise 
the Commission's rules governing private land mobile radio (PLMR) 
services, such as allowing 806-824/851-869 MHz (800 MHz) band incumbent 
licensees in a market a window in which to apply for Expansion Band and 
Guard Band frequencies before the frequencies are made available to 
applicants for new systems, extending conditional licensing authority 
to applicants for site-based licenses in the 800 MHz and 896-901/935-
940 MHz (900 MHz) bands, making available for PLMR use frequencies that 
are on the band edge between the Industrial/Business (I/B) Pool and 
either General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) or Broadcast Auxiliary 
Service (BAS) spectrum, making certain frequencies that are designated 
for central station alarm operations available for other PLMR uses, and 
accommodating certain railroad operations.

DATES: Submit comments on or before November 22, 2016 and reply 
comments on or before December 22, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by WP Docket No. 16-261, 
by any of the following methods:

     Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th 
Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.
     People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request 
reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign 
language interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: [email protected] or 
phone: 202-418-0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melvin Spann, [email protected], 
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, (202) 418-1333, or TTY (202) 418-
7233.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), adopted August 17, 2016, and released 
August 18, 2016. The full text of this document

[[Page 65598]]

is available for public inspection and copying during regular business 
hours in the FCC Reference Center, Federal Communications Commission, 
445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The full text 
may also be downloaded at: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2016/db0728/FCC-16-95A1.pdf. Alternative formats are 
available to persons with disabilities by sending an email to 
[email protected] or by calling the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau 
at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

I. Introduction

A. Proposal To Revise Part 90 and Make Related Changes

    1. In this NPRM, we propose to amend part 90 of the Commission's 
rules to expand access to private land mobile radio (PLMR) spectrum. 
Specifically, we grant in part petitions for rulemaking filed by the 
Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) proposing to amend our Rules 
to allow 806-824/851-869 MHz (800 MHz) band incumbent licensees in a 
market a six-month period in which to apply for Expansion Band and 
Guard Band frequencies before the frequencies are made available to 
applicants for new systems; and to amend section 90.159 of our rules to 
extend conditional licensing authority to applicants for site-based 
licenses in the 800 MHz and 896-901/935-940 MHz (900 MHz) bands. In 
addition, on our own motion but suggested by recent waiver requests, we 
propose to amend section 90.35 of our rules to make available for PLMR 
use frequencies that are on the band edge between the Industrial/
Business (I/B) Pool and either General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) or 
Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) spectrum, to make certain frequencies 
that are designated for central station alarm operations available for 
other PLMR uses, and to make certain updates and corrections; and to 
amend sections 90.219(d)(3) and 90.261(f) of our rules to accommodate 
certain railroad operations.
    2. Spectrum in the 450-470 MHz band is designated for use by 
various services, including tart 74 BAS, part 90 PLMR, and part 95 
GMRS. The I/B Pool frequency table in section 90.35(b)(3) of the 
Commission's rules sets forth the assignable frequencies in those 
segments of the band that are available to I/B eligibles. Frequencies 
at or near the band edges between part 90 spectrum and part 74 or 95 
spectrum were not designated for use by any of these services because 
they could not be utilized without overlapping spectrum designated for 
the other service.
    3. When these frequency designations were adopted, PLMR stations 
operated in wideband (25 kilohertz) mode. Since the beginning of 2013, 
however, the Commission has required narrowbanding (maximum 12.5 
kilohertz bandwidth or equivalent efficiency) by PLMR licensees in the 
150-174 MHz and 421-470 MHz bands. With the implementation of 
narrowbanding and the availability of very-narrowband 4-kilohertz 
equipment, some frequencies near the band edges now can be used without 
overlapping spectrum designated for other services. In 2014, the 
Mobility Division (Division) of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau 
(WTB) granted waivers to permit PLMR licensees to operate with a 4-
kilohertz emission designator on frequency pairs 451/456.00625 MHz and 
451/456.0125 MHz, which are between BAS spectrum and PLMR spectrum but 
not designated for use on a primary basis by any service; and on 
frequency pairs 462/467.5375 MHz and 462/467.7375 MHz, which are 
between PLMR spectrum and GMRS spectrum but not designated for use by 
any service. The Division concluded that waivers were appropriate 
because very-narrowband PLMR stations can operate on these frequencies 
without overlapping BAS or GMRS channels, so the public interest would 
be served by facilitating access to spectrum in congested areas.
    4. We propose to amend the I/B Pool frequency table to add 
frequency pairs 451/456.00625 MHz and 451/456.0125 MHz, with the 
limitation that the authorized bandwidth not exceed 6 kilohertz (the 
widest bandwidth that will avoid overlap between the frequency pairs). 
We tentatively conclude that it would be in the public interest to make 
additional frequencies available to PLMR applicants that can be 
utilized without overlapping the occupied bandwidth of currently 
assignable frequencies and without causing harmful interference. We 
seek comment on this proposal. We note that frequency pairs 451/
456.00625 MHz and 451/456.0125 MHz are lower-adjacent to a set of 
frequency pairs for which the concurrence of the Power Coordinator is 
required if the proposed interference contour overlaps an existing 
service contour. We therefore also seek comment on whether to require 
such concurrence for either of these frequency pairs. We ask commenters 
to address whether any operational restrictions should be imposed to 
preclude interference to other users, such as limits on antenna height 
or power. We also seek comment from operators that have received 
waivers and any operators with adjacent frequency assignments in the 
same geographic area about whether they have experienced any 
interference issues, and if so, how and if they have been resolved.
    5. The Division also granted waivers to permit operation on 
frequency pair 451/456.009375 MHz with an 8-kilohertz emission 
designator in locations where no applicant had requested frequency 
pairs 451/456.00625 MHz and 451/456.0125 MHz. The purpose of our 
proposed rule change is to permit the most efficient use of scarce 
spectrum. We therefore believe that this purpose is better served by 
adding two 6-kilohertz channels in an area than one 8-kilohertz 
channel, in order to accommodate more users and encourage the 
deployment of more efficient equipment. Therefore, we tentatively 
conclude that we should not add frequency pair 451/456.009375 MHz to 
the I/B Pool frequency table, though stations authorized on the channel 
pursuant to waiver would be grandfathered. We seek comment on this 
tentative conclusion, and on whether any other interstitial frequencies 
should be added to the table.
    6. In the same Order, the Division denied requests for waivers to 
operate on frequency pair 451/456.0000 with a 4-kilohertz emission 
designator. It noted that the proposed operations would overlap the 
450-451 MHz and 455-456 MHz bands, in which BAS low power auxiliary 
stations are authorized to operate. The Division concluded that 
assigning channels for PLMR operations that overlap designated BAS 
spectrum would not serve the public interest. We seek comment on 
whether I/B use of frequency pair 451/456.0000 would in fact cause 
harmful interference to BAS operations. In particular, commenters 
should address whether BAS low power auxiliary stations operate over 
the entire 450-451 MHz and 455-456 MHz bands, and whether PLMR 
operations that overlap two kilohertz of these one megahertz bands 
would cause harmful interference to BAS operations.
    7. We seek comment on the costs and benefits of each of the above-
described proposals or possible rule changes regarding the expansion of 
PLMR spectrum use to frequencies located between BAS spectrum and PLMR 
spectrum.
    8. Finally, we propose to amend the I/B Pool frequency table to add 
frequency pairs 462/467.5375 MHz and 462/467.7375 MHz, with the 
limitation that the authorized bandwidth not

[[Page 65599]]

exceed 4 kilohertz (the widest bandwidth that will avoid overlapping 
GMRS frequencies).\1\ When the Division granted a waiver to permit 
operation on frequency pair 462/467.7375 MHz, it noted that adjacent 
frequency pair 462/467.750 MHz is exempt from narrowbanding and still 
may be assigned with a channel bandwidth of 25 kilohertz, which would 
be overlapped by 4-kilohertz operation on frequency pair 462/467.7375 
MHz. The Division nevertheless granted the waiver because there was no 
incumbent licensee on frequency pair 462/467.750 MHz in any of the 
particular areas where a waiver was requested that had an occupied 
bandwidth greater than 20 kilohertz, so there was no overlap of 
occupied bandwidth with the proposed 4-kilohertz emission. We seek 
comment on our proposal--including its costs and benefits--and on 
whether we should instead refrain from adding frequency pair 462/
467.7375 MHz in order to preserve the availability of adjacent 
frequency pair 462/467.750 MHz for wideband operations, but grandfather 
stations authorized on the channel pursuant to waiver. Commenters are 
asked to discuss whether wideband use of frequency pair 462/467.750 MHz 
is common, and whether we should expect any growth of wideband 
operations on the channel.
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    \1\ GMRS frequencies 462.5500 MHz, 462.7250 MHz, 467.5500 MHz, 
and 467.7250 MHz have an authorized bandwidth of twenty kilohertz. 
The Commission has proposed to migrate GMRS to narrowband 
technology. We nonetheless conclude that it would be premature to 
permit PLMR operation on frequency pairs 462/467.5375 MHz and 462/
467.7375 MHz with an authorized bandwidth exceeding four kilohertz 
prior to a determination of what the GMRS narrowbanding timetable 
would be.
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    9. The alarm industry uses a number of methods to maintain 
communications paths used to monitor alarm systems at customer premises 
from central station alarm monitoring centers. Certain frequencies are 
designated for the use of persons rendering a central station 
commercial protection service. Specifically, four 12.5-kilohertz 
frequency pairs and the upper-adjacent 6.25-kilohertz interstitial 
frequency pairs are designated for central station protection service 
use nationwide (nationwide frequencies), and six 12.5-kilohertz 
frequency pairs and the upper-adjacent 6.25-kilohertz interstitial 
frequency pairs are set aside for central station protection service in 
the 88 urbanized areas with a population over 200,000 in the 1960 
Census (urban frequencies).
    10. A recent review of the Commission's Universal Licensing System 
suggests that these frequencies are currently underutilized. In 
particular, 39 of the urbanized areas where the additional frequencies 
are set aside for central station protection service have no central 
station protection service licensees,\2\ and no more than half of the 
frequencies are assigned in any of the other 49 areas.\3\ The need of 
central stations for these frequencies appears to have diminished since 
this spectrum was set aside for their use over 40 years ago, which may 
be attributable to advancements in services and technologies that can 
be used to complete the communications path between the location of the 
alarm and the alarm services' central office, such as cellular 
telephone, satellite communication services, and the Internet. In 
recent years, entities that do not provide central station commercial 
protection service have expressed interest in utilizing these 
frequencies for other purposes.
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    \2\ Akron, OH; Albuquerque, NM; Baltimore, MD; Canton, OH; 
Chicago, IL/IN; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Des Moines, 
IA; El Paso, TX; Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, FL; Ft. Worth, TX; 
Harrisburg, PA; Honolulu, HI; Houston, TX; Indianapolis, IN; 
Jacksonville, FL; Memphis, TN; Miami, FL; Oklahoma City, OK; Omaha, 
NE; Orlando, FL; Pittsburgh, PA; Salt Lake City, UT; San Antonio, 
TX; Scranton, PA; Seattle, WA; Spokane, WA; Springfield, MA; St. 
Louis, MO/IL; St. Petersburg, FL; Syracuse, NY; Tacoma, WA; Tampa, 
FL; Tulsa, OK; Washington, DC; Wichita, KS; Wilkes-Barre, PA; and 
Youngstown-Warren, OH/PA.
    \3\ Albany-Troy-Schenectady, NY; Allentown-Bethlehem, PA; 
Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; Boston, MA; Bridgeport, CT; Buffalo, 
NY; Charlotte, NC; Chattanooga, TN; Cincinnati, OH/KY; Davenport-
Rock Island-Moline, IA/IL; Dayton, OH; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; 
Flint, MI; Fresno, CA; Grand Rapids, MI; Hartford, CT; Kansas City 
MO/KS; Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis-
St. Paul, MN; Mobile, AL; Nashville, TN; New Haven, CT; New Orleans, 
LA; New York, NY/NJ; Newport News-Hampton, VA; Norfolk-Portsmouth, 
VA; Oakland, CA; Philadelphia, PA/NJ; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; 
Providence-Pawtucket, RI/MA; Richmond, VA; Rochester, NY; 
Sacramento, CA; San Bernardino, CA; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; 
Shreveport, LA; South Bend, IN; Springfield, MA; Toledo, OH; 
Trenton, NJ/PA; Tucson, AZ; Wilmington, DE; and Worcester, MA.
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    11. As an initial matter, we propose to modify section 95.35(c)(63) 
to remove the use limitation in the urbanized areas where the urban 
frequencies are not in use. We tentatively conclude that it would be in 
the public interest to make these frequencies available for other PLMR 
operations in those areas. We seek comment on this proposal, including 
its costs and benefits.
    12. In addition, we seek comment on other ways to expand PLMR 
users' access to frequencies that are designated, but no longer needed, 
for central station commercial protection services, including by making 
available channels in urbanized areas where some of the urban 
frequencies are in use. Commenters should address related costs and 
benefits associated with such proposals. Commenters also should address 
the current and expected future need for central station commercial 
protection service channels in the 460-470 MHz band. For example, in 
the areas where some frequencies are in use, how many urban frequencies 
should continue to be set aside? Are the nationwide frequencies 
sufficient to meet demand, without any urban frequencies? Can central 
station commercial protection service and other PLMR operations 
coexist? Commenters advocating eliminating the use restriction on any 
frequency in any area where it currently is in use should discuss how 
to protect incumbent central station commercial protection service 
operations from harmful interference.
    13. We also take this opportunity to propose to correct certain 
errors in section 90.35. Specifically, we propose to restore to the 
list of airports at or near which certain frequencies are reserved for 
commercial air transportation services two airports (Kahului and Ke-
Ahole) that inadvertently were deleted, and correct the coordinates for 
one airport that were listed incorrectly (Boeing/King County 
International), the last time the list was updated. We also seek 
comment on whether any airports should be added to or removed from the 
list, which has not been updated since 2002. In addition, we propose to 
correct the entries in the I/B Pool table for frequencies from 153.0425 
MHz to 153.4025 MHz for which the notation indicating that the 
concurrence of the Petroleum Coordinator is required was inadvertently 
deleted when certain narrowbanding rules were adopted. We seek comment 
on these proposals.
    14. Pursuant to section 90.159(b), most applicants proposing to 
operate a new PLMR station, or to modify an existing PLMR station, on 
frequencies below 470 MHz that require frequency coordination are 
permitted to operate the proposed station during the pendency of the 
application for a period of up to 180 days, beginning 10 days after the 
application is submitted to the Commission. This conditional authority 
is not available for applicants in the PLMR frequency bands above 470 
MHz, where spectrum is available on an exclusive basis. When the 
Commission enacted the rule granting conditional authority below 470 
MHz, it stated that it was being conservative by implementing 
conditional authority only in shared bands, and could consider 
expanding the concept in the

[[Page 65600]]

future if experience demonstrated that such action is appropriate.
    15. LMCC argues in its Conditional Authority Petition that 
expansion of conditional authority to 470-512 MHz (T-Band), 800 MHz, 
and 900 MHz PLMR frequencies is now appropriate. It asserts that, over 
time, frequency assignments below 470 MHz have become more technically 
complex, whereas the rules governing the 800 and 900 MHz bands have 
become less technically complex. Thus, ``in the opinion of LMCC, the 
rules governing frequency assignments in the bands below 470 MHz no 
longer provide a justification for distinguishing between below- and 
above-470 MHz for purposes of authorizing conditional licensing.'' It 
also states that recent experience with conditional licensing authority 
in the PLMR bands above 470 MHz pursuant to a temporary waiver supports 
the proposed rule change.
    16. Commenters support extending the conditional licensing rules to 
applications filed with WTB and the Public Safety and Homeland Security 
Bureau (the Bureaus) for facilities above 470 MHz. We tentatively 
conclude that LMCC and the commenters are correct in asserting that 
expanding conditional authority will enable more applicants to meet 
pressing communications requirements without needing to seek special 
temporary authority, and will provide greater flexibility and earlier 
deployment of spectrum without compromising quality of service. 
Accordingly, we propose to amend section 90.159 to expand conditional 
authority to 800 MHz and 900 MHz I/B and Public Safety Pool 
frequencies, as well as section 1.931 of our rules to provide an 
appropriate cross-reference to such a rule amendment. We request 
comment on this tentative conclusion and our proposal, including its 
costs and benefits. In light of the Spectrum Act and the current T-Band 
freeze, we do not at this time propose to extend conditional licensing 
to T-Band frequencies.
    17. While LMCC proposes to extend conditional authority to T-Band, 
800 MHz, and 900 MHz I/B Pool and Public Safety Pool frequencies, 
neither it nor any commenter discusses whether conditional authority 
should apply to applicants for 769-775/799-805 MHz (700 MHz) Public 
Safety narrowband frequencies. We therefore seek comment on whether 
conditional authority should be expanded to the 700 MHz Public Safety 
narrowband spectrum, and what the associated costs and benefits of such 
an approach would be.
    18. We also seek comment on how conditional licensing could affect 
public safety licensees operating in these bands and ask commenters to 
address, without limitation, the specific issues identified below, as 
well as information on related costs and benefits. Should applicants be 
required to obtain Regional Planning Committee concurrence for proposed 
facilities in the 800 MHz National Public Safety Planning Advisory 
Committee (NPSPAC) band and in the 700 MHz band prior to conditional 
licensing? Does the mission-critical nature of public safety 
communications argue against allowing conditional licensing of public 
safety facilities that potentially would interfere with existing public 
safety communications systems?
    19. Although Mobile Relay Associates (MRA) does not oppose 
extending conditional licensing to applications filed with the Bureaus 
for facilities above 470 MHz, MRA asserts that all Part 90 conditional 
licensing (both below and above 470 MHz) should be limited to unopposed 
applications and should be permitted only on a secondary, non-
interfering basis. It states that it has encountered interference from 
stations operating pursuant to conditional authorization, which it 
argues reveals a flaw in the conditional licensing system. MRA, 
however, acknowledges that conditional authority functions properly 
``[i]n the vast majority of cases.'' While MRA observes that part 22 
conditional authority has similar limitations to those it proposes, we 
note that part 22 applications, unlike part 90 applications eligible 
for conditional authority, do not require frequency coordination prior 
to being filed with the Commission. To the extent that part 90 
conditional authority functions properly without the limitations 
suggested by MRA, we do not believe that the possibility of discrete 
incidents of interference warrants imposing those limitations upon all 
applicants.
    20. MRA also argues that a conditionally authorized applicant 
should be required to discontinue operation upon the filing of a 
petition to deny or informal objection supported by a declaration under 
penalty of perjury. We note that section 90.159(d) provides that 
conditional authorization does not prejudice any action the Commission 
may take on the subject application. Thus, the Commission has 
discretion to modify or cancel such conditional authority at any time 
without a right to a hearing; and the applicant assumes all risks 
associated with operation under conditional authority, the termination 
or modification of conditional authority, or the subsequent dismissal 
or denial of its application.
    21. Nonetheless, we seek comment on MRA's proposal that all part 90 
conditional licensing be granted on a secondary basis and limited to 
applications that are unopposed, and that a conditionally authorized 
applicant must discontinue operation upon the filing of a petition to 
deny or informal objection supported by a declaration under penalty of 
perjury. Commenters should discuss whether, regardless of whether any 
new limitations on conditional authority are imposed, section 90.159(d) 
should be amended to better address MRA's concerns, and the costs and 
benefits of such action. For example, we seek comment on MRA's request 
that the Commission amend the rule to reiterate that conditional 
licensing is only for six months and that if the application remains 
pending at the end of six months, the pending applicant must then 
discontinue operation and await the processing of its application.
    22. Fixed use of frequencies in the 450-470 MHz band generally is 
permitted on a secondary basis to land mobile operations, but section 
90.261(f) excludes certain frequencies in order to reserve them for 
other specialized uses. Among the excluded frequencies are railroad 
frequencies at 452/457.925 MHz to 452/457.96875 MHz.
    23. A signal booster is a device at a fixed location that 
automatically receives, amplifies, and retransmits on a one-way or two-
way basis the signals received from base, fixed, mobile, and portable 
stations, with no change in frequency or authorized bandwidth. In order 
to reduce the potential for interference to other users, section 
90.219(f)(3) limits the radiated power of each retransmitted channel to 
five watts effective radiated power (ERP).
    24. In 2014, the Division granted in part a request of the 
Association of American Railroads (AAR) for waiver of sections 
90.219(d)(3) and 90.261(f) concerning use of signal boosters to 
maintain communications between the front and rear of trains. 
Specifically, the Division permitted use of fixed location trackside 
signal boosters with up to 30 watts ERP on frequencies 452/457.90625 to 
452/457.9625 MHz in areas where coverage is unsatisfactory due to 
distance or intervening terrain barriers. The Division concluded that 
the purpose of the fixed use restriction in the subject rules would not 
be served by applying them strictly to trackside signal boosters, 
because the rules operate to protect railroad operations, and grant of 
the waiver would further support railroad operations. In order to 
address concerns about interference to non-railroad frequencies, the 
Division

[[Page 65601]]

excluded the channel pairs at the edge of frequencies coordinated by 
AAR (452/457.9000 MHz and 452/457.96875 MHz), and required the use of 
single-channel Class A signal boosters.
    25. We propose to amend sections 90.219(d)(3) and 90.261(f) to 
codify the terms of the waiver. We propose to authorize railroad 
licensees to use single-channel Class A signal boosters with up to 30 
watts ERP on frequencies 452/457.90625 to 452/457.9625 MHz in areas 
where communications between the front and rear of trains is 
unsatisfactory due to distance or intervening terrain barriers. We seek 
comment on this proposal. We also ask commenters to address whether we 
should permit such operations on the outermost railroad channels (452/
457.9000 MHz and 452/457.96875 MHz) and whether it is necessary to 
require the use of single-channel Class A signal boosters. We also seek 
comment on the costs and benefits of these proposals.
    26. As part of the rebanding of the 800 MHz band to resolve 
interference between commercial and public safety systems, the 
Commission created the Expansion (815-816/860-861 MHz) and Guard (816-
817/861-862 MHz) Bands in order to provide spectral separation between 
commercial licensees operating Enhanced Specialized Mobile Radio 
systems above 817/862 MHz and public safety licensees operating below 
815/860 MHz. Expansion Band (EB) spectrum is designated mostly for 
Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) stations, with the remainder for 
Business/Industrial/Land Transportation (B/ILT) Pool eligible. EB users 
also include Public Safety licensees that chose not to relocate out of 
the band. Guard Band (GB) spectrum is in the General Pool, and thus is 
available for Public Safety, B/ILT, and SMR operations. EB/GB channels 
become available for licensing when the Bureaus announce that the 
required level of clearing has been achieved in that NPSPAC region.
    27. The LMCC EB/GB Petition proposes that the Commission modify its 
rules to provide a 6-month window for incumbent 800 MHz licensees in a 
market to acquire EB/GB channels to expand existing systems before 
accepting applications from new entrants. LMCC states that expansion 
spectrum for incumbent 800 MHz systems in urban areas is urgently 
needed but sparsely available. It argues that a limited opportunity for 
expansion of incumbent systems would serve the public interest because 
those licensees had to undergo the disruptive rebanding process without 
deriving any economic benefit, and use of the EB/GB frequencies to 
expand the capacity of existing systems would promote spectral 
efficiency.
    28. Commenters are split regarding this LMCC proposal. PLMR 
frequency coordinators support it. They argue that affording incumbents 
temporary exclusivity will allow them to address existing needs that 
have been growing during the rebanding process. They also argue that 
such priority will encourage existing licensees to upgrade to more 
efficient systems because the cost will be spread over a larger number 
of channels. Most commenters--generally prospective applicants for SMR 
channels in regions where EB/GB spectrum has not yet been made 
available--oppose the proposal. They argue that giving priority to 
incumbent operators would effectively bar new entrants, and 
particularly small businesses, in areas of high spectrum demand. They 
also dispute LMCC's assumption that new entrants are less likely than 
incumbents to place spectrum into operation efficiently and 
expeditiously.
    29. We propose to adopt the LMCC proposal in part. Specifically, we 
propose to provide a window for incumbent 800 MHz licensees in the 
market to acquire or expand coverage and improve their quality of 
service on EB B/ILT Pool channels before accepting applications from 
new entrants. We also propose to provide this window to Public Safety 
licensees that elected to remain in the Expansion Band so that they may 
expand coverage on their existing EB channels. Incumbent 800 MHz 
licensees already have deployed facilities and demonstrated a 
commitment to utilizing the band in a given market and are unlikely to 
acquire spectrum for other than operational purposes and can be 
expected to put additional channels into service promptly to meet 
existing operational needs. Moreover, although some commenters point 
out that a filing window for incumbent 800 MHz licensees might lessen 
the spectrum available to new entrants in spectrum-constrained markets, 
a new entrant's ability to establish a new system in a constrained 
market could be limited. We also note that the membership of LMCC, the 
proponent of this rule change, includes all of the part 90 frequency 
coordinators. We tentatively agree with them that an incumbent 
preference would be the most effective way to distribute these EB 
channels among present and future B/ILT users.
    30. LMCC suggests 6 months as a reasonable window. We seek comment 
on whether, given the pressing need and likely prompt deployment, we 
should provide a shorter window, such as 3 months. We also ask 
commenters to address whether any limits on this priority should be 
imposed in order to preserve the availability of channels for new 
licensees. In addition, we ask commenters to address the costs and 
benefits of the above-described approach for facilitating 800 MHz B/ILT 
and Public Safety licensees' opportunities to acquire channels or 
expand coverage.
    31. Although we have tentatively concluded that a window is 
appropriate for EB B/ILT Pool channels, we tentatively conclude that 
the LMCC proposal for incumbent priority is not appropriate with 
respect to EB SMR channels. Unlike B/ILT licensees, SMR licensees 
compete for customers in the commercial wireless marketplace. 
Therefore, both incumbents and new licensees have similar economic 
motives to utilize the spectrum in a timely manner, and new entrants 
may have an even greater interest in deploying new or innovative 
services. On this basis, we do not believe that incumbents should be 
given priority over new entrants for these channels. We seek comment on 
this tentative conclusion. Commenters should explain whether incumbent 
priority is appropriate under these circumstances, and the related 
costs and benefits.
    32. We also seek comment on whether we should provide a window for 
800 MHz licensees in a market to acquire, or expand coverage on, GB 
channels, as well as the related costs and benefits. As noted above, GB 
spectrum is in the General Pool, in which eligible users include non-
cellular SMR and Public Safety entities as well as B/ILT eligibles. As 
noted above, it is not at all clear that preferring incumbent 800 MHz 
SMR licensees over potential competitors would further the public 
interest. Commenters should address whether these concerns outweigh the 
benefits noted above of affording priority to incumbent B/ILT 
licensees, and whether those benefits apply equally to incumbent Public 
Safety licensees.
    33. Finally, we seek comment on how we should implement a decision 
to provide a period of incumbent exclusivity for any EB/GB channels. 
The Commission established the procedure for making EB/GB channels 
available for licensing in the 800 MHz rebanding proceeding, but never 
codified it. We seek comment on whether the procedure should be 
codified (as revised in this proceeding to provide priority for 
incumbents), or whether we should, without any rule change, simply 
announce a modification to the procedure that the Commission set forth

[[Page 65602]]

in the 800 MHz proceeding. Commenters may also suggest other means of 
implementing a period of incumbent exclusivity. Those supporting 
codification should provide suggested rule language.
    34. The proposed rule changes discussed in this Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking are intended to expand access to PLMR spectrum. We welcome 
the industry's assistance in eliminating unnecessary impediments to the 
most efficient use of this scarce resource.

II. Procedural Matters

A. Ex Parte Presentations

    35. The proceeding this NPRM initiates shall be treated as a 
``permit-but-disclose'' proceeding in accordance with the Commission's 
ex parte rules. Persons making 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 rule section 1.1206(b). In proceedings 
governed by rule section 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 (``ECFS'') 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.

B. Filing Requirements

    36. This document contains proposed new and 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.
    37. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 
the Commission has prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 
(IRFA) for this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, of the possible 
significant economic impact on small entities of the policies and rules 
addressed in this document.
    38. Interested parties may find authority for the actions proposed 
in this NPRM in sections 4(i), 4(j), and 303(r) of the Communications 
Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j), 303(r), as well as 
section 1.407 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.407.

III. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Certification

    39. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and, 
where feasible, an estimate of, the number of small entities that may 
be affected by the rules adopted herein. Below, we further describe and 
estimate the number of small entity licensees and regulatees that may 
be affected by the rules changes we propose in this FNPRM.
    40. Private land mobile radio (PLMR) systems serve an essential 
role in a vast range of industrial, business, land transportation, and 
public safety activities. Because of the vast array of PLMR users, the 
Commission has not developed a small business size standard 
specifically applicable to PLMR users. The SBA rules, however, contain 
a definition for Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except 
Satellite) which encompasses business entities engaged in 
radiotelephone communications employing no more than 1,500 persons. 
According to the Commission's records, there are a total of 3,374 
licenses in the frequencies range 173.225 MHz to 173.375 MHz, which is 
the range affected by this NPRM. Despite the lack of specific 
information, however, the Commission believes that a substantial number 
of PLMR licensees may be small entities.
    41. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small 
business size standard specifically applicable to spectrum frequency 
coordinators. There are nine frequency coordinators certified by the 
Commission to coordinate frequencies allocated for public safety use. 
The Commission has not developed a small business size standard 
specifically applicable to frequency coordinators. The SBA rules, 
however, contain a definition for Wireless Telecommunications Carriers 
(except Satellite) which encompasses business entities engaged in 
radiotelephone communications employing no more than 1,500 persons. 
Under this category and size standard, we estimate that a majority of 
frequency coordinators can be considered small.
    42. The Census Bureau defines the category of Radio and Television 
Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing as 
follows: ``This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in 
manufacturing radio and television broadcast and wireless 
communications equipment. Examples of products made by these 
establishments are: Transmitting and receiving antennas, cable 
television equipment, GPS equipment, pagers, cellular phones, mobile 
communications equipment, and radio and television studio and 
broadcasting equipment.'' The SBA has developed a small business size 
standard for Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless 
Communications Equipment Manufacturing, which is: All such firms having 
750 or fewer employees. According to Census Bureau data for 2011, there 
were a total of 809 establishments in this category that operated for 
part or all of the entire year. According to Census bureau data for 
2011, there were a total of 939 firms in this category that operated 
for the entire year. Of this total, 784 had less than 500 employees and 
12 had 1000 or more employees. Thus, under that size standard, the 
majority of firms can be considered small.
    43. The proposed rule changes discussed in this Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking are intended to expand access to PLMR spectrum, using 
existing licensing mechanisms. Because this simply gives licensees new 
options for spectrum to use, but does not impose a new burden, 
licensees, frequency coordinators, and manufacturers should not incur 
new costs.
    44. We believe that the rule changes discussed in this Notice of 
Proposed

[[Page 65603]]

Rulemaking will promote flexibility and more efficient use of the 
spectrum, reduce administrative burdens on both the Commission and 
licensees, and allow licensees to better meet their communications 
needs.

List of Subjects

47 CFR Part 1

    Administrative practice and procedure.

47 CFR Part 90

    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 parts 1 and 90 as 
follows:

PART 1--PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE

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

    Authority:  47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 155, 157, 225, 303(r), 309, 
1403, 1404, 1451, and 1452.

0
2. Section 1.931 is amended by revising paragraph (b)(11) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  1.931  Application for special temporary authority.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (11) An applicant for an itinerant station license, an applicant 
for a new private land mobile radio station license in the frequency 
bands below 470 MHz or in the 806-824/851-866 MHz band, the 896-901/
935-940 MHz band, or the one-way paging 929-930 MHz band (other than a 
commercial radio service applicant or licensee on these bands) or an 
applicant seeking to modify or acquire through assignment or transfer 
an existing station below 470 MHz or in the 806-824/851-866 MHz band, 
the 896-901/935-940 MHz band, or the one-way paging 929-930 MHz band 
may operate the proposed station during the pendency of its application 
for a period of up to 180 days under a conditional permit. Conditional 
operations may commence upon the filing of a properly completed 
application that complies with Sec.  90.127 if the application, when 
frequency coordination is required, is accompanied by evidence of 
frequency coordination in accordance with Sec.  90.175 of this chapter. 
Operation under such a permit is evidenced by the properly executed 
Form 601 with certifications that satisfy the requirements of Sec.  
90.159(b).
* * * * *

PART 90--PRIVATE LAND MOBILE RADIO SERVICES

0
3. 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
4. Section 90.35 is amended by:
0
a. Amending paragraph (b)(3) by revising entries for 153.0425, 
153.0575, 153.0725, 153.0875, 153.1025, 153.1175, 153.1325, 153.1475, 
153.1625, 153.1775, 153.1925, 153.2075, 153.2225, 153.2375, 153.2525, 
153.2675, 153.2825, 153.2975, 153.3125, 153.3275, 153.3425, 153.3575, 
153.3725, 153.3875, and 153.4025, and adding entries for 451.00625, 
451.0125, 456.00625, 456.0125, 462.5375, 462.7375, 467.5375, and 
467.7375,
0
b. Revising paragraph (c)(2),
0
c. Amending paragraph (c)(61)(iv) by adding entries for Kahului, HI, 
and Kailula-Kona, HI, and revising the entry for Boeing/King County 
Int'l (BFI), and
0
d. Revising paragraph (c)(63).
    The revisions and additions read as follows:


Sec.  90.35  Industrial/Business Pool.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (3) Frequencies.

                                    Industrial/Business Pool Frequency Table
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         Frequency or band               Class of  station(s)        Limitations             Coordinator
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.0425...........................  ......do...................                 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.0575...........................  ......do...................           4, 7, 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.0725...........................  ......do...................                 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.0875...........................  ......do...................           4, 7, 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.1025...........................  ......do...................             30, 80  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.1175...........................  ......do...................           4, 7, 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.1325...........................  ......do...................                 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.1475...........................  ......do...................           4, 7, 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.1625...........................  ......do...................                 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.1775...........................  ......do...................           4, 7, 30  IP

[[Page 65604]]

 
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.1925...........................  ......do...................                 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.2075...........................  ......do...................           4, 7, 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.2225...........................  ......do...................                 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.2375...........................  ......do...................           4, 7, 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.2525...........................  ......do...................                 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.2675...........................  ......do...................           4, 7, 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.2825...........................  ......do...................                 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.2975...........................  ......do...................           4, 7, 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.3125...........................  ......do...................                 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.3275...........................  ......do...................           4, 7, 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.3425...........................  ......do...................                 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.3575...........................  ......do...................           4, 7, 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.3725...........................  ......do...................                 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.3875...........................  ......do...................                 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
153.4025...........................  ......do...................                 30  IP
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
451.00625..........................  Base or mobile.............                 33  ...........................
451.0125...........................  ......do...................                 33  ...........................
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
456.00625..........................  ......do...................                 33  ...........................
456.0125...........................  ......do...................                 33  ...........................
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
462.5375...........................  ......do...................                  2  ...........................
462.7375...........................  ......do...................                  2  ...........................
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
467.5375...........................  ......do...................                  2  ...........................
467.7375...........................  ......do...................                  2  ...........................
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (c) * * *
    (2) This frequency will be assigned with an authorized bandwidth 
not to exceed 4 kHz.
* * * * *
    (61) * * *
    (iv) * * *

[[Page 65605]]



------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Reference coordinates
         City and airport          -------------------------------------
                                       N. Latitude        W. Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                              * * * * * * *
Kahului, HI: Kahului (OGG)........   20[deg]53'55.4''  156[deg]25'48.9''
Kailula-Kona, HI: Ke-Ahole (KOA)..   19[deg]43'57.3''  156[deg]24'56.0''
 
                              * * * * * * *
Seattle, WA: Boeing/King County      47[deg]31'48.4''  122[deg]18'07.4''
 Int'l (BFI)......................
 
                              * * * * * * *
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
    (63) Within the boundaries of the urbanized areas listed below, 
this frequency may be used only by persons rendering a central station 
commercial protection service within the service area of the radio 
station utilizing the frequency and may be used only for communications 
pertaining to safety of life and property, and for maintenance or 
testing of the protection facilities. Central station commercial 
protection service is defined as an electrical protection and 
supervisory service rendered to the public from and by a central 
station accepted and certified by one or more of the recognized rating 
agencies, or the Underwriters Laboratories' (UL), or Factory Mutual 
System. Other stations in the Industrial/Business Pool may be licensed 
on this frequency only when all base, mobile relay and control stations 
are located at least 120 km (75 miles) from the city center or centers 
of the specified urban areas. With respect to combination urbanized 
areas containing more than one city, 120 km (75 mile) separation shall 
be maintained from each city center which is included in the urbanized 
area. The locations of centers of cities are determined from appendix, 
page 226, of the U.S. Commerce publication ``Air Line Distance Between 
Cities in the United States.'' This limitation applies to the following 
urbanized areas: Albany-Troy-Schenectady, NY; Allentown-Bethlehem, PA; 
Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; Boston, MA; Bridgeport, CT; Buffalo, NY; 
Charlotte, NC; Chattanooga, TN; Cincinnati, OH/KY; Davenport-Rock 
Island-Moline, IA/IL; Dayton, OH; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Flint, MI; 
Fresno, CA; Grand Rapids, MI; Hartford, CT; Kansas City MO/KS; Los 
Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN; 
Mobile, AL; Nashville, TN; New Haven, CT; New Orleans, LA; New York, 
NY/NJ; Newport News-Hampton, VA; Norfolk-Portsmouth, VA; Oakland, CA; 
Philadelphia, PA/NJ; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; Providence-Pawtucket, 
RI/MA; Richmond, VA; Rochester, NY; Sacramento, CA; San Bernardino, CA; 
San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Shreveport, LA; South Bend, IN; 
Springfield, MA; Toledo, OH; Trenton, NJ/PA; Tucson, AZ; Wilmington, 
DE; and Worcester, MA.
* * * * *
0
5. Section 90.159 is amended by revising paragraphs (b), (b)(1), and 
(c) to read as follows:


Sec.  90.159  Temporary and conditional permits.

* * * * *
    (b) An applicant proposing to operate a new land mobile radio 
station or modify an existing station below 470 MHz or in the 806-824/
851-866 MHz band, the 896-901/935-940 MHz band, or the one-way paging 
929-930 MHz band (other than a commercial radio service applicant or 
licensee on these bands) that is required to submit a frequency 
coordination recommendation pursuant to paragraphs (b) through (h) of 
Sec.  90.175 of this part may operate the proposed station during the 
pendency of its application for a period of up to one hundred eighty 
(180) days upon the filing of a properly completed formal Form 601 
application that complies with Sec.  90.127 of this part if the 
application is accompanied by evidence of frequency coordination in 
accordance with Sec.  90.175 of this part and provided that the 
following conditions are satisfied:
    (1) The proposed station location is west of Line C as defined in 
Sec.  90.7, and (for applicants proposing to operate below 470 MHz or 
in the 806-824/851-866 MHz band or the 896-901/935-940 MHz band) south 
of Line A as defined in Sec.  90.7.
* * * * *
    (c) An applicant proposing to operate an itinerant station or an 
applicant seeking the assignment of authorization or transfer of 
control for an existing station below 470 MHz or in the 806-824/851-866 
MHz band, the 896-901/935-940 MHz band, or the one-way paging 929-930 
MHz band (other than a commercial radio service applicant or licensee 
on these bands) may operate the proposed station during the pendency of 
its application for a period of up to one hundred eighty (180) days 
upon the filing of a properly completed formal Form 601 application 
that complies with Sec.  90.127 of this part. Conditional authority 
ceases immediately if the application is dismissed by the Commission. 
All other categories of applications listed in Sec.  90.175 of this 
part that do not require evidence of frequency coordination are 
excluded from the provisions of this section.
* * * * *
0
6. Section 90.219 is amended by revising paragraph (d)(3) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  90.219   Use of signal boosters.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (3)(i) Except as set forth in paragraph (d)(3)(ii) of this section, 
signal boosters must be deployed such that the radiated power of each 
retransmitted channel, on the forward link and on the reverse link, 
does not exceed 5 Watts effective radiated power (ERP).
    (ii) Railroad licensees may operate Class A signal boosters 
transmitting on a single channel with up to 30 Watts ERP on frequencies 
452/457.90625 to 452/457.9625 MHz in areas where communications between 
the front and rear of trains is unsatisfactory due to distance or 
intervening terrain barriers.
* * * * *
0
7. Section 90.261 is amended by revising paragraph (f) introductory 
text to read as follows:


Sec.  90.261   Assignment and use of the frequencies in the band 450-
470 MHz for fixed operations.

* * * * *
    (f) Secondary fixed operations pursuant to paragraph (a) of this 
section will not be authorized on the following frequencies or on 
frequencies subject to

[[Page 65606]]

Sec.  90.267, except as provided in Sec.  90.219(d)(3)(ii):
* * * * *

[FR Doc. 2016-21638 Filed 9-22-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6712-01-P