Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Private User Update, a newsletter from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP are reproduced in this section with the firm's permission.
NTIA Seeks Comment Regarding How Best To Implement Nationwide Public Safety Network
On May 11, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a Request for Information, seeking public input on the best way to implement the nationwide public safety broadband network authorized and funded as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. In particular, NTIA seeks input from public safety agencies, state and local government, telecom carriers and other telecom infrastructure owners about the best way develop “programmatic requirements” to govern state and local planning grants.
The Act establishes the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent authority within NTIA and authorizes it to take all actions necessary to ensure the design, construction, and operation of a nationwide public safety broadband network (PSBN), based on a single, national network architecture. Additionally, the Act charges NTIA with establishing a grant program to assist State, regional, tribal, and local jurisdictions with identifying, planning, and implementing the most efficient and effective means to use and integrate the infrastructure, equipment, and other architecture associated with the nationwide PSBN to satisfy the wireless and data services needs of their jurisdiction. Up to $135 million will be available to NTIA for the State and Local Implementation grant program. NTIA must establish requirements for this program not later than August 22, 2012. Therefore, the RFI asks for input on a wide range of questions, such as:
- The Act directs FirstNet to consult with regional, State, tribal, and local jurisdictions about the distribution and expenditure of any amounts required to carry out the network policies that it is charged with establishing. What steps should States take to prepare to consult with FirstNet regarding these issues?
- How should the States plan to involve local entities (and tribal entities) in the State and Local Implementation grant program?
- How should the State and Local Implementation grant program ensure that all public safety disciplines ( e.g., police, sheriffs, fire, and EMS) have input into the State consultation process?
- How should States plan to involve the Federal users and entities located within their States in the grant program?
- The Act contemplates that FirstNet will consult with States regarding existing infrastructure within their boundaries, tower placements, and network coverage, which FirstNet can use to develop the requests for proposals called for by the Act. How can this best be done?
- Can existing governance structures (including the Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (SWIC) and Statewide Interoperability Governing Bodies (SIGB), often called Statewide Interoperability Executive Committees (SIEC)) be used for the PSBN, and if so, how might they need to change or evolve to handle issues associated with broadband access through the Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology platform?
- How should States and local jurisdictions best leverage their existing infrastructure assets and resources for use and integration with the nationwide public safety broadband network?
- How will States include utilities or other interested third parties in their planning activities?
- Should NTIA encourage planning for the formation and use of public/private partnerships in the deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network? If so, how?
- Should States serve as clearinghouses or one-stop shops where entities bidding to build and operate portions of the FirstNet network can obtain access to resources such as towers and backhaul networks?
- What role, if any, should the States’ Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Technology Officer (CTO) play in the State and Local Implementation grant program and the required consultations with FirstNet?
- Should NTIA consider allocating the grant funds based on population?
- What other targeted allocation methods might be appropriate to use?
- What types of costs should be eligible for funding under the State and Local Implementation grant program ( e.g., personnel, planning meetings, development/upgrades of plans, or assessments)?
Comments are due 30 days after publication of the RFI in the Federal Register, and may be submitted by email to SLIGP@ntia.doc.gov. Written comments also may be submitted by mail to: National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, HCHB Room 4812, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230.
FCC Suspends Acceptance Of Certain Part 22, Part 90 Applications to Preserve T-Band for Auction
The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau have announced a limited suspension of the acceptance and processing of certain applications for Part 22 and 90 services operating in the 470-512 MHz spectrum band (T-Band) in order to maintain a stable spectral landscape while the Commission determines how to implement the mandate to auction the T-Band spectrum contained in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act (or “Spectrum Act”).
Until further notice, the FCC is suspending the acceptance and processing of T-Band licensing applications that could alter the spectrum landscape and thereby make implementing the Act more difficult or costly.
In a separate Order, the FCC waived, on its own motion, the January 1, 2013, deadline for private land mobile radio (PLMR) licensees in the T-Band band to migrate to narrowband (12.5 kHz or narrower) technology. The filing and processing suspension of applications imposed by the FCC applies to applications for the following radio services in the 470-512 MHz band:
- Part 22 Public Mobile Services : Paging and Radiotelephone (radio service code CD), Off-shore Radiotelephone (radio service code CO)
- Part 90 Industrial/Business Pool : Industrial/Business Pool - Conventional (radio service code IG), Industrial/Business Pool - Commercial, Conventional (radio service code IK), Industrial/Business Pool - Trunked (radio service code YG), Industrial/Business Pool - Commercial, Trunked (radio service code YK)
- Part 90 Public Safety Pool : Public Safety Pool - Conventional (radio service code PW), Public Safety Pool - Trunked (radio service code YW).
This action does not apply to applications for radio services listed above that pertain only to operations on spectrum other than the 470-512 MHz band.
Effective immediately and until further notice, the FCC will not accept or process (1) applications for new licenses; (2) applications that seek to modify existing licenses by adding or changing frequencies or locations; (3) applications that seek to modify existing licenses by changing technical parameters in a manner that expands the station’s spectral or geographic footprint, such as, but not limited to, increases in bandwidth, power level, antenna height, or area of operation; and (4) any other application that could increase the degree to which the 470-512 MHz band currently is licensed. Affected applications that are now pending will not be further processed until the Commission decides how to implement the Act, except that defective applications and applications in return status that are not timely resubmitted will be dismissed.
This action does not apply to applications that would not destabilize the licensing landscape, including (1) applications to renew existing licenses without modification; (2) applications that seek to modify existing licenses by deleting frequencies or locations; (3) applications that seek to modify existing licenses by changing technical parameters in a manner that does not expand the station’s spectral or geographic coverage, such as decreases in bandwidth, power level, or antenna height; (4) applications that seek to modify existing licenses by changing the number of associated mobile units or temporary fixed stations; (5) applications that seek to modify existing licenses by adding or moving control points; (6) applications to assign, transfer, or lease existing licenses; (7) notices of construction or consummation; (8) requests for extensions of time to construct or consummate previously granted applications; (9) applications to cancel licenses; and (10) applications for special temporary authority for short-term operations. The FCC may in the future begin placing a special condition on new, renewed, and modified licenses for stations in radio services and frequencies subject to this action to remind licensees that the stations may be subject to future relocation or other Commission action taken pursuant to or in connection with the Act.