N.C. public-safety LTE rollout looks unlikely

FCC commissioners are circulating a proposed order that could allow Charlotte, N.C., to finally deploy its planned public-safety LTE network on 700 MHz spectrum, but a city official contends the project is still too risky to pursue.

The FCC informed officials in Charlotte and Harris County, Texas, about the proposed order, which would approve interoperability showings from the two entities, enabling them to deploy public-safety LTE networks under their existing spectrum leases with the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST), according to an Urgent Communications article.

Yet Chuck Robinson, Charlotte's director of shared services, indicated to the publication that the city would be unlikely to proceed with a deployment, given all of the risks involved.

One major issue is the fact that the board of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), which will oversee the buildout of the nationwide public-safety LTE network, has until Aug. 20 to be appointed. Complicating matters further, there is as of yet no process for transferring the 700 MHz public-safety spectrum to FirstNet from PSST. PSST has already leased some of the spectrum to about 20 jurisdictions, including Charlotte and Harris County, Texas, for LTE network buildouts, which would be made under government waivers.

According to Urgent Communications, the proposed FCC order being circulated would terminate all existing 700 MHz broadband waivers on Sept. 2. While entities such as Charlotte and Harris County could apply for special temporary authority (STA) to operate LTE systems after that date, the temporary scenario is not attractive to Charlotte, Robinson said.

The FCC order being circulated would also reportedly deny all pending 700 MHz broadband waivers for public safety.

For more:
- see this Urgent Communications article

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