FCC: FirstNet just needs to ask for 700 MHz public-safety spectrum

The FCC said it is ready to transfer the license for 700 MHz broadband public-safety spectrum to the First Responder Network Authority, as soon as the commission receives a formal request for it.

In a largely administrative order, the FCC noted that FirstNet's Board has now been appointed and is in a position to request the license. "Accordingly, we are prepared to take the ministerial step of granting a new license to FirstNet under a new call sign as soon as possible after FirstNet informs the Bureau that it has been established in accordance with the terms of the Public Safety Spectrum Act and submits a request for the license specified by Section 6201 of the Public Safety Spectrum Act," said the commission.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, passed in February, established FirstNet to oversee the construction and operation of the nationwide public-safety LTE network as licensee of both the existing public safety broadband spectrum--763-769/793-799 MHz--and the spectrally adjacent 700 MHz D Block spectrum--758-763/788-793 MHz.

The existing public-safety broadband spectrum is currently held by the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST), which had been leasing it out for use by various jurisdictions. Under a July FCC order, only jurisdictions complying with the commission's Special Temporary Authority (STA) rules were allowed to use this spectrum for early LTE network deployments. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which oversees FirstNet, subsequently convinced the FCC to allow STA recipients to use both 700 MHz blocks for 10x10 MHz deployments.

Harris County, Texas, is currently deploying a public-safety network under an STA.

The newly appointed board of FirstNet will hold its first open public meeting on Sept. 25. The agenda will include the adoption of bylaws and initial organizational decisions, said NTIA.

For more:
- see this MissionCritical Communications article
- see Urgent Communications article
- see this FCC order
- see this NTIA notice

Related articles:
Utilities angling to use public safety's 700 MHz broadband spectrum
Seybold's Take: FirstNet board appointees ready for public safety broadband network challenge
FirstNet must act quickly to make the public-safety LTE network a reality
NTIA: Give early public-safety deployments the full 700 MHz allocation
Texas county will operate and expand public-safety LTE network