Plan will eliminate public safety radio interference in the 800 MHz band
IAFC-Fairfax, Va., July 8, 2004…Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a plan to resolve the ongoing and growing problem of interference to public safety radio systems operating in the 800 MHz band. The new band plan for the 800 MHz band will address the root cause of the interference problem by separating generally incompatible technologies. The costs of relocating 800 MHz incumbents are to be paid by Nextel Communications, Inc.
To accomplish the reconfiguration, the Commission will require Nextel to give up rights to certain of its licenses in the 800 MHz band and all of its licenses in the 700 MHz band. In exchange, the Commission will modify Nextel’s licenses to provide the right to operate on two five-MHz blocks in a different part of the spectrum – specifically 1910-1915 MHz and 1990-1995 MHz – conditioned on Nextel fulfilling certain obligations specified in the Commission’s decision.
The Commission determined that the overall value of the 1.9 GHz spectrum rights is $4.8 billion, less the cost of relocating incumbent users. In addition, the Commission concluded that it would credit to Nextel the value of the spectrum rights that Nextel will relinquish and the actual costs Nextel incurs to relocate all incumbents in the 800 MHz band. To the extent that these combined credits total less than the determined value of the 1.9 GHz spectrum rights, Nextel will make an anti-windfall payment to the U.S. Dept. of Treasury at the conclusion of the relocation process equal to the difference.
“For more than five years, public safety professionals have been struggling with unreliable and unclear communications, which has jeopardized lives and the citizens they protect. We applaud the FCC for its leadership and decision in support of the public safety community. We are grateful to FCC Chairman Powell and the Commissioners for their careful consideration in this important proceeding,” said Chief Ernest Mitchell, president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
“The IAFC looks forward to working with the FCC and the wireless industry to implement this critical plan immediately. We understand the FCC has asked Nextel to go beyond their original pledge of spectrum exchange and supplemental financial compensation,” Mitchell said, “We don’t know what Nextel is planning to do, it’s up to them to accept the plan.”
The Consensus Plan was the solution recommended by public safety organizations like the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA) and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO).