On July 18, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a long-awaited joint public notice outlining coordination procedures for the soon to be auctioned 1695–1710 and 1755–1780 MHz bands in the United States.
As outlined in the 43-page document, commercial deployment in the AWS-3 bands is not going to be a simple or straightforward process.
Newly minted licensees will be facing a minefield of delays, coordination, negotiation, relocation and sharing issues involving federal government systems.
To start with, the FCC and NTIA have placed a nine-month moratoriumon any formal coordination to allow for the auction monies to flow to the agencies and for the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a coordination portal.
After that, commercial licensees will have to negotiate coordination agreements with 17 different agencies using almost a dozen different types of systems comprising more than 2,500 frequency assignments. These federal systems have myriad uses from nationwide covert video operations to control of precision guided munitions.
The relocation time frames for these systems vary from never (i.e., some will remain in the band indefinitely) to a few months. Some systems will operate within protection zones and others will cover major metropolitan areas. Some of these will operate nationwide, but commercial licensees may never know where they are.
Finally, there will be at least two coordination portals – one for coordination with DoD systems in the 1755–1780 MHz band and another for coordination with meteorological earth stations systems used by several agencies.
Navigating this coordination minefield will require an intimate knowledge of the coordination and relocation process, familiarity with both commercial and government systems, understanding of the various interference mechanisms involved and the ability to effectively negotiate interference rights.
Are you ready ? If not, visit the Comsearch website to review some of the services we offer to help with frequency coordination. And leave me a comment if you think of other challenges likely to come from the coordination procedures.
About the Author
Chris Hardy is general manager of Comsearch and president of Comsearch Government Solutions LLC. Chris has been involved in many aspects of the commercial and federal government spectrum management arena since 1981 when he first joined the company. He is a past president of the National Spectrum Managers Association (NSMA) and currently holds the honorary title of fellow. Chris was also vice president and served on the board of directors of Shenandoah Transvideo and Shenandoah County Broadcasting Corporation, a cable TV and a broadcast radio station. Chris holds a bachelor of science degree from Old Dominion University.