Sprint Gets OK for 800 MHz LTE Service Near L.A. Before Rebanding is Final
The FCC granted a waiver request by Sprint to allow the carrier to deploy its 800 MHz wideband operations in certain portions of the Southern California National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) Region 5 before 800 MHz band reconfiguration is completed in that region. Granting the waiver request will permit Long Term Evolution (LTE) deployment in portions of three counties — San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Kern — north of Los Angeles, while protecting the remaining public-safety entities from harmful interference, the FCC said.
The commission said that granting the waiver request is in the public interest. Sprint said that certain Southern California NPSPAC Region public-safety licensees have not completed their retunes. Sprint said that these remaining retunes are predominantly delayed by the need for Mexican-side 800 MHz incumbents to start and complete their retunes so that the former Mexican channels can be made available for U.S. public-safety licensees. The carrier said that with careful engineering and planning, it can deploy 800 MHz LTE at about 100 sites north of Los Angeles while rebanding continues in Los Angeles without increasing the risk of interference to the remaining Southern California NPSPAC licensees.
However, Sprint said it cannot deploy broadband LTE in the old NPSPAC band in the areas of the Southern California NPSPAC region that are or will be fully cleared of public-safety operations, including the portions of three counties located north of Los Angeles, in light of Section 90.209(b)(7). Therefore, it requested the waiver.
Sprint said that its planned sites in each of these counties are located more than 70 miles away from the Southern California public-safety sites still operating in the old NPSPAC band, and none of these sites would be located within 105 miles of certain “high sites” as listed in Section 90.621(b)(4). Sprint proposed maintaining these separation distances between co-channel operations to provide an additional buffer of protection to the remaining public-safety operations, which, Sprint argues, exceeds the co-channel separation requirements in the FCC’s rules.
Sprint also agreed to provide Orange County with technical information to enable Orange County to review and clear in advance of Sprint’s deployment of any base stations where Sprint must comply with the separation distance. In addition, Sprint agreed to correct any interference caused by its LTE deployment to public-safety operations.
Last year, the FCC released new rules for 800 MHz cellular services, adopting new power limits, and held a workshop to address how the rules will likely affect public-safety networks. Information on mitigating interference is here.
The FCC’s letter to Sprint approving the waiver request is here.
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