PS Docket No. 13-209
REPORT AND ORDER
Adopted: April 21, 2016 Released: April 25, 2016
By the Commission: Commissioner O’Rielly approving in part, concurring in part and issuing a statement.
1. In this Report and Order, we adopt rules that guard against interference to critical public safety communications in the 800 MHz National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) band1 (806-809/851-854 MHz) by confirming the emission mask applicable to digital transmissions in the NPSPAC band. We also take steps to enhance public safety system interoperability in the VHF, UHF and 800 MHz bands by specifying analog FM as the standard emission for use on all interoperability channels in these bands. In so doing we lessen the possibility that first responders will encounter harmful interference in the NPSPAC band and provide certainty to manufacturers concerning the capabilities required of radios used for interoperable communications.
2. In response to a Petition for Rule Making filed by the Harris Corporation (Harris), the Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)2 that sought comment on proposed rules requiring digital technologies to comply with Emission Mask H (H-Mask)3 when operating in the 800 MHz NPSPAC band.4 An emission mask is an important technical parameter that affects the efficient use of a frequency band by limiting emissions from one channel into adjacent channels.5 The mask provides technical specifications which limit the distribution of power of a radio transmitter as a function of frequency.6
3. The NPRM also proposed requiring mobile and portable public safety radio equipment “to have analog FM capability when operating on 800 MHz, VHF, and UHF public safety mutual aid and interoperability channels.”7 To maintain the status quo pending the outcome of the rulemaking, the Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) and Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) issued a joint public notice imposing a freeze on license applications and equipment certifications for digital equipment that did not comply with Emission Mask H in the NPSPAC band and public safety radio equipment that lacked analog FM capability on the VHF, UHF or 800 MHz interoperability and mutual aid channels.8
4. We conclude that the public interest will best be served by adopting the rules proposed in the NPRM, with certain changes that will reduce regulatory burdens on public safety entities and manufacturers. The rule changes adopted in this Report and Order provide certainty to public safety entities, Regional Planning Committees (RPCs),9 equipment manufacturers and equipment testing laboratories and will ensure that licensed facilities operate under uniform technical parameters to maintain the existing interference environment in the NPSPAC band and promote interoperability.