Leader in Public Safety Communications™

FCC Amendment of Part 90 of the Commission’s Rules to Improve Access to Private Land Mobile Radio Spectrum

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of

Amendment of Part 90 of the Commission’s Rules

to Improve Access to Private Land Mobile Radio

Spectrum

Land Mobile Communications Council

Petition for Rulemaking Regarding Interim

Eligibility for 800 MHz Expansion Band and

Guard Band Frequencies

Petition for Rulemaking Regarding Conditional

Licensing Authority Above 470 MHz

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WP Docket No. 16-261

RM-11719

RM-11722

NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING

Adopted:  August 17, 2016                                                               Released: August 18, 2016

Comment Date:  [60 days after date of Publication in the Federal Register]
Reply Comment Date: [90 days after date of Publication in the Federal Register]

By the Commission:
I.          INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
1. In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (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;1  and to amend Section 90.159 of our Rules2 to extend
conditional licensing authority to applicants for site-based licenses in the 800 MHz and
896-901/935-940 MHz (900 MHz) bands.3   In addition, on our own motion but suggested by recent
waiver requests,4 we propose to amend Section 90.35 of our Rules5 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

1 Petition for Rulemaking of the Land Mobile Communications Council, RM-11719 (filed Mar. 27, 2014)
(LMCC EB/GB Petition).
2 47 C.F.R. § 90.159.
3 Petition for Rulemaking of the Land Mobile Communications Council, RM-11722 (filed May 15, 2014)
(LMCC Conditional Authority Petition).
4  See notes 13, 15, 36, and 63, infra.
5                           § 90.35.

Federal Communications Commission                                FCC 16-110

make certain updates and corrections; and to amend Sections 90.219(d)(3) and 90.261(f) of our
Rules6 to accommodate certain railroad operations.
2.  Traditionally, the PLMR services have provided for the private, internal communications needs
of public safety entities, state and local government entities, large and small businesses,
transportation providers, the medical community, and other diverse users of two-way radio systems.7
PLMR licensees generally do not provide for-profit communications services.8 The Commission is
committed to bringing about more efficient use of PLMR frequencies in order to alleviate congestion
in this crowded spectrum,9  the demand for which continues to grow.10
II.        DISCUSSION
A.         Section 90.35 – Industrial/Business Pool
3.     Section 90.35 lists the frequencies that are available for assignment to I/B Pool stations,
and sets forth eligibility requirements and frequency-specific use limitations.
1.          Section 90.35(b)(3)
4.        Background.  Spectrum in the 450-470 MHz band is designated for use by various services,
including Part 74 BAS, Part 90 PLMR, and Part 95 GMRS.11 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.
5.       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.12    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

6 47 C.F.R. §§ 90.219(d)(3), 90.261(f).
7 1998 Biennial Regulatory Review – 47 C.F.R. Part 90 – Private Land Mobile Radio Services, Report
and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, WT Docket No. 98-182, 15 FCC Rcd 16673, 16674
¶ 3 (2000).
8 Amendment of Part 90 of the Commission’s Rules, Fifth Report and Order, WT Docket No. 07-100, 28
FCC Rcd 5924, 5924 n.4 (2013).
9 See Implementation of Sections 309(j) and 337 of the Communications Act of 1934 as Amended,
Order, WT Docket No. 99-87, 25 FCC Rcd 8861, 8863 ¶ 7 (2010).
10 Implementation of Sections 309(j) and 337 of the Communications Act of 1934 as Amended, Fourth
Memorandum Opinion and Order, WT Docket No. 99-87, 23 FCC Rcd 8042, 8044 ¶ 8 (2008).
11 See 47 C.F.R. § 2.106.
12 See Implementation of Sections 309(j) and 337 of the Communications Act of 1934 as Amended,
Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, WT Docket No. 99-87, 18
FCC Rcd 3034 (2003); Implementation of Sections 309(j) and 337 of the Communications Act of 1934 as
Amended, Third
Memorandum Opinion and Order, Third Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order, WT Docket No.
99- 87, 19 FCC Rcd 25045 (2004) (Narrowbanding Third MO&O); see also 47 C.F.R. §§ 90.203(j),
90.209(b).

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Federal Communications Commission                                FCC 16-110

451/456.0125 MHz,13 which are between BAS spectrum and PLMR spectrum but not designated for use on
a primary basis by any service;14 and on frequency pairs 462/467.5375 MHz and 462/467.7375 MHz,15
which are between PLMR spectrum and GMRS spectrum but not designated for use by any service.16
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.17
6.    Discussion.  Frequencies between BAS spectrum and PLMR spectrum.  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.18 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.
7.   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.19  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.

13 See Mobile Relay Associates, Order, WT Docket No. 14-34, 29 FCC Rcd 7292 (WTB MD 2014) (BAS
Waiver).
14 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 74.802(a) (designating 450.000-451.000 MHz and 455.000-456.000 MHz for BAS),
90.35(b)(3)
(designating assignable 451/456 MHz I/B Pool frequencies beginning with 451/456.01875 MHz). Medical
Micropower Networks operate on a secondary basis in the 451-457 MHz band. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 2.106
note US64, 95.628(b).
15 See Mobile Relay Associates, Order, WT Docket No. 13-212, 29 FCC Rcd 660 (WTB MD 2014) (GMRS
Waiver).
16 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 90.35(b)(3) (designating assignable 462/467 MHz frequencies from 462/467.000
MHz to 462/467.53125 MHz and from 462/467.750 MHz to 462/467.94375 MHz), 95.621(a) (designating
frequencies 462/467.5500 MHz and 462/467.7250 MHz for GMRS).
17 See BAS Waiver, 29 FCC Rcd at 7294 ¶ 7; GMRS Waiver, 29 FCC Rcd at 661 ¶ 6.
18 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.35(b)(2).
19 See BAS Waiver, 29 FCC Rcd at 7294 ¶ 7. Operation on frequency pair 451/456.009375 MHz with an
8-kilohertz emission designator does not overlap any currently assignable frequencies on either
side.

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8. In the same Order, the Division denied requests for waivers to operate on frequency pair
451/456.0000 with a 4-kilohertz emission designator.20 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.21 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.
9. 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.
10.      Frequencies between PLMR spectrum and GMRS spectrum.  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 exceed 4 kilohertz (the widest bandwidth that will
avoid overlapping GMRS frequencies22). 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.23 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.24 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

20  See id. at 7294 ¶ 6.
21 See 47 C.F.R. § 74.802(a). They are authorized to use the entire bands, so long as the emission
bandwidth falls entirely within the bands. See 47 C.F.R. § 74.861(c). Devices authorized as low
power auxiliary stations are intended to transmit over distances of approximately one hundred
meters for uses such as wireless microphones, cue and control communications, and synchronization
of TV camera signals. 47 C.F.R. § 74.801. The maximum transmitter power in the 450-451 MHz and
455-456 MHz bands is one watt. 47 C.F.R. § 74.861(d)(1). In  addition to the low power auxiliary
station licensees reflected in our licensing database, low power auxiliary stations may be operated
on a short-term basis under the authority conveyed by a Part 73 or BAS license without prior
authorization, subject to certain conditions.  See 47 C.F.R. § 74.24.

22 GMRS frequencies 462.5500 MHz, 462.7250 MHz, 467.5500 MHz, and 467.7250 MHz have an authorized
bandwidth of twenty kilohertz. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 95.631(a), 95.633(a). The Commission has proposed
to migrate GMRS to narrowband technology. See Review of the Commission’s Part 95 Personal Radio
Service Rules, Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Memorandum Opinion and Order on Reconsideration,
WT Docket No. 10-119, 25 FCC Rcd 7651, 7665 ¶ 37 (2010). 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.
23 See GMRS Waiver, 29 FCC Rcd at 661 ¶ 7 (citing 47 C.F.R. § 90.35(c)(29)).  The Commission
exempted frequency pair 462/467.750 MHz and other paging-only frequencies from narrowbanding
because paging frequencies are not congested and the Commission was concerned that requiring a
systemic overhaul of paging transmitters would  harm  the  paging  industry’s ability to  provide
service.  See  Narrowbanding  Third  MO&O,  19   FCC               Rcd at 25059-60 ¶ 33.
24 See GMRS Waiver, 29 FCC Rcd at 661-62 ¶ 7.

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Federal Communications Commission                                FCC 16-110
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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.

2.          Section 90.35(c)(63)
11. Background.  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.25
Certain frequencies are designated for the use of persons rendering a central station commercial
protection service.26 Specifically, four 12.5-kilohertz frequency pairs27 and the upper- adjacent
6.25-kilohertz interstitial frequency pairs28 are designated for central station protection service
use nationwide (nationwide frequencies),29 and six 12.5-kilohertz frequency pairs30 and the upper-
adjacent 6.25-kilohertz interstitial frequency pairs31 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).32
12. 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,33  and no more than half of the frequencies are assigned in any of the other 49
areas.34   The need

25 See Sunset of the Cellular Radiotelephone Service Analog Service Requirement and Related
Matters,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, RM No. 11355, 22 FCC Rcd 11243, 11247 ¶ 7 (2007).
26 A 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 the
Factory Mutual System.” See 47 C.F.R. § 90.35(c)(63).
27 460/465.975 MHz, 460/465.9875 MHz, 461/466.000 MHz, and 461/466.0125 MHz.
28 460/465.98125 MHz, 460/465.99375 MHz, 461/466.00625 MHz, and 461/466.01875 MHz.
29 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.35(c)(66).
30 460/465.900 MHz, 460/465.9125 MHz, 460/465.925 MHz, 460/465.9375 MHz, 460/465.950 MHz, and
460/465.9625 MHz.
31 460/465.90625 MHz, 460/465.91875 MHz, 460/465.93125 MHz, 460/465.94375 MHz, 460/465.95625 MHz,
and
460/465.96875 MHz.
32 See 47 C.F.R. § 90.35(c)(63). Away from the urbanized areas, most of these frequencies are
available for low- power use.  See 47 C.F.R. § 90.267(f).
33 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.
34 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;
Continued….)

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