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FCC Revises 700 MHz Band Plan and Service Rules

The FCC has adopted a Second Report & Order dealing with the 698-806 MHz portion of the spectrum that is being vacated by television broadcasters as part of the DTV transition.

In issuing the Order, the FCC noted that it had established a "framework for a 700 MHz Public Safety/Private Partnership between the licensee for one of the commercial spectrum blocks and the licensee of the public safety broadband spectrum."

The Order noted that the commercial licensee would be creating a "nationwide, interoperable broadband network for the use of public safety." Such an infrastructure would facilitate communications across jurisdictions for emergency works and first responders of different disciplines.

What is envisioned in the Order is the implementation of a shared framework for both commercial broadband applications and emergency service communications.

According to the Order, "under the partnership, the Public Safety Broadband Licensee will have priority access to the commercial spectrum in times of emergency, and the commercial licensee will have preemptible, secondary access to the public safety broadband spectrum."

The July 31 Order also described several changes to rules governing the commercial services portion of the 700 MHz band. These include the establishment of a "platform that is more open to devices and applications" within a 22-MHz block of spectrum that is yet to be auctioned. Also changing are build-out requirements for licensees within the band, as well as procedural changes in the auction process for 700 MHz band spectrum.