LMCC Asks FCC to Crack Down on Licensees that Failed to Narrowband or Forgot to Modify Their License

Reported by CSAA Counsel John Prendergast of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast.

On October 30, the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) circulated a letter to be filed with the FCC concerning the continuing failure of some licensees to modify their licenses in accordance with the narrowbanding requirements. The letter states in part:

During the FCC panel at the 2015 annual LMCC meeting, the FCC specifically clarified that, pursuant to that rule, FACs [frequency coordinators] could ignore systems still licensed exclusively for non-compliant wideband channels when processing applications seeking FB8 frequencies, provided the incumbent did not meet the efficiency equivalency standard or have a waiver extended its time to narrowband . . . It is our understanding that such a wideband-only license is not an affected licensee under § 90.187(d)(1)(ii)(D), has no spectrum rights, and would be obligated to vacate the channel in order to address the interference it might receive and/or cause. The LMCC hereby requests FCC confirmation of this interpretation of that rule.

The above request does not seem unreasonable, and reflects growing frustration among coordinators that must try to coordinate new stations in the face of non-compliant licensees still showing up in the ULS database.  The next ask, however, may create problems for otherwise compliant licensees, who installed narrowband equipment and added the narrowband emission designator to their license, but left the wideband designator on as well (perhaps because they were not sure of the date on which the narrowband equipment would be in place).  LMCC also asks the Commission to eliminate the ULS tool developed by the FCC to facilitate the removal of non-compliant emission designators from licenses that also reflect compliant narrowband emissions prior to license renewal.  LMCC argues that if a licensee has both the wide band and narrowband designator on the license, it cannot remove the wideband designator, and renew the license, without prior frequency coordination.  While there may be some justification for this demand, it means that any straggler licensees that have narrowbanded but not removed the old wideband designator from their license should do so right away, before the FCC forces them to go through full blown frequency coordination to do so.

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