Chicago, IL - Chicago is concerned over Congress' take-back of T-Band

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902

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"The City of Chicago, Illinois, hereby seeks an advisory opinion from the Federal Communications Commission regarding the recently passed legislation under H.R. 3630, which [FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman]among other things [/FONT][/FONT]mandated that public safety licensees relocate from the UHF-T band (470-512 MHz) within the next decade."

http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7021907805
 

radioman2001

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The FCC is in for a BIG fight over this giveback provision, all of the largest cities have extensive T-band systems (ie LA and surrounding counties NYC and surrounding counties Detroit etc) and they are not gojng to give them up, at least not without a sizable financial contribution from the Feds, like replacing 1 for 1, and everybody is pretty darn sure that's not going to happen. According to a coordinator I spoke to they may have picked the wrong fight on this one. These cities together have the monies and the political power to make sure it doesn't happen, as it should.
 

fineshot1

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I agree 100% with radioman2001, and if the give back does happen it will
surely create another over crowded condition in the vhf-hi and remaining
uhf (450-470) bands as there are so many public safety and commercial
users in the t band that will have to migrate elsewhere. Not all of public
safety is going to go to the 700mhz spectrum for a variety of reasons.
 

ViperBorg

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Agreed...

I don't see this going too far either. The money just isn't there for that kind of overhaul of equipment. What's wrong with the UHF-T band anyway?
 

fwradio

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This provision was buried as an amendment in a tax law. Give it a few weeks. An amemndment to some law naming a post office or something will repeal this provision.
 

902

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The FCC is in for a BIG fight over this giveback provision, all of the largest cities have extensive T-band systems (ie LA and surrounding counties NYC and surrounding counties Detroit etc) and they are not gojng to give them up, at least not without a sizable financial contribution from the Feds, like replacing 1 for 1, and everybody is pretty darn sure that's not going to happen. According to a coordinator I spoke to they may have picked the wrong fight on this one. These cities together have the monies and the political power to make sure it doesn't happen, as it should.
It was Congress that demanded a give-back in exchange for the D-Block, not the FCC. They're stuck trying to figure out how to carry out the law. I've heard statements (mostly from people who are not in/from the affected areas) that agencies can "move to 700 or 800" (not so easy when several dozen T-Band pairs have to be replaced by seven only 700 MHz pairs, or 800 was consumed by large systems that are now at capacity), or jump onto the Radio over IP bandwagon.

Now this paragraph is why I love Chicago - especially the second to last sentence:

Therefore, the City deems it necessary to ask the very hard question: is it the intent of the legislation and the present policies of the Commission to force public safety licensees to abandon without remedy existing and planned T-band systems, without offering any remedial assistance in the form of either spectrum or funding? If true, then the legislation exceeds the boundaries of rational legislation that is supposed to avoid the creation of unfunded mandates and even exceeds those limitations further by reducing public safety radio systems to mere salvage. The thought that the City’s vital public safety radio networks can be turned to junk without any recourse or alternative spectrum is beyond disturbing. It is moreover a waste and condemnation of public property without consideration to the affected interest of officer or citizens.

I'm hoping fwradio is right and that this gets straightened out. To top this off, T-Band licensees are still on the hook to narrowband their systems, even though currently those systems have to be deadlined in a decade.
 

radioman2001

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It's all B.S. as Congress was appealing to the phone companies crying over the loss of the D block. I doubt it will ever take place and even if they try I see numerous, large, and class action lawsuits over this if they do try. I particularly don't feel that as a taxpayer I should have to pay for relocation because a large bussiness wants to get bigger, namely the Phone companies.
 

902

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It's all B.S. as Congress was appealing to the phone companies crying over the loss of the D block. I doubt it will ever take place and even if they try I see numerous, large, and class action lawsuits over this if they do try. I particularly don't feel that as a taxpayer I should have to pay for relocation because a large bussiness wants to get bigger, namely the Phone companies.
LOL. It follows the same logic that we needed to trash a working GPS ecosystem with tons of use beyond what it was designed for just so a company could roll out another LTE network that, of course, we desperately need. I'm surprised that no other agency (that I've heard of, at least) has formally expressed what a bad idea this was. By the time this comes to fruition, there will definitely be a different President and a different Congress. Who knows what can happen in the politiscape in the meantime?!
 

radioman2001

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True, thankfully Light Squared is basically dead in the water, even their lawsuit against the FCC wont' go anywhere, and they probably will stick the bill with the lawyers after they go bankrupt. What is really needed is to get the politicians out of the radio business, let the FCC do it's job. Let true radio professionals handle the FCC as it used to be, not a former president of a cable company.
 

karldotcom

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Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Washington.

There are a total of 808 issued licenses in these cities, and 34 licenses are pending approval.
 

fwradio

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T-Band will not go for much at auction. The spectrum is not as useful to carriers because they need a lot more than just a 6 MHz chunk, and that is if the FCC cleared everybody including private carriers, businesses and industrial. The auction would be won by speculators that wont build for a while, and larger radio companies that will end up with a monopoly on system coverage.

Interestingly enough, if it were auctioned and speculators bought it, guess what they would do? How many cities and counties are leasing spectrum from Auction 40 right now, or have bought licenses outright. A lot of agencies will find the money to acquire the licenses in auction so they wouldn't have to move.

Goal accomplished = zero

Taxpayer money spent = too much
 

902

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T-Band will not go for much at auction. The spectrum is not as useful to carriers because they need a lot more than just a 6 MHz chunk, and that is if the FCC cleared everybody including private carriers, businesses and industrial. The auction would be won by speculators that wont build for a while, and larger radio companies that will end up with a monopoly on system coverage.

Interestingly enough, if it were auctioned and speculators bought it, guess what they would do? How many cities and counties are leasing spectrum from Auction 40 right now, or have bought licenses outright. A lot of agencies will find the money to acquire the licenses in auction so they wouldn't have to move.

Goal accomplished = zero

Taxpayer money spent = too much
They're about 30 years too late to capitalize on the assets Auction 40 brought to the table. Anyway, the 929 MHz frequencies were much more valuable to the public as "Private Carrier Paging" for Part 90 eligibles, the way it was intended in the mid 80s. Much of the former IMTS Part 22 frequencies are lying fallow, too, to the point where some auction winners are rebroadcasting radio stations to keep their systems performing and avoid usurping. About the only thing Part 22 frequencies have been good for is setting up trunked systems within their market area. Much of these former services have transitioned to cellular services. 10 years ago I was having problems finding one-way paging.

Another disturbing thing is that the business scene doesn't seem to be as heavy users as they once were. Some of the traffic has transitioned to cellular, but more than not, a lot of these businesses that used to use two-way just aren't anymore.
 

902

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Arent there new 700 Mhz pairs in 2016? I thought the funding would come from the auction proceeds.
Where'd you hear that - and is that for Part 90? What I am aware of is that 700 MHz systems have a 6.25 kHz equivalency requirement in 2017. Phase 1 will only be valid for the interoperability channels and everything else will have to be either two talkpaths in a 12.5 kHz channel or 4 talkpaths in a 25 kHz channel. Those are being met by some technologies today, but a few years ago, they were largely undefined. There would be no auction. The reduction would likely be compensated for by TDMA schemes or part of the 25 kHz channel would be orphaned and might be reused somewhere else in the allotted area. Maybe. Could this be what you're referring to?

On your T-Band license count, even though that's not a high number (I know some people who tried to poo-pooh the impact of T-Band loss by counting licenses), think more about the population served, or better, the population density given the areas of operation of those licenses. That's a little more eye-catching.
 

b7spectra

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Want to bet Motorola is behind it all? Think about it. Migrate off the T band to "standard UHF" band, which would require MOST agencies to purchase NEW equipment. And government agencies have a bad habit of paying FULL price AND overages.
 

902

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Want to bet Motorola is behind it all? Think about it. Migrate off the T band to "standard UHF" band, which would require MOST agencies to purchase NEW equipment. And government agencies have a bad habit of paying FULL price AND overages.
No doubt the manufacturers are spending billions of dollars on "strategic business development" (not only that one, but ALL of them), but this one was (in my view, anyway) on wireless companies lobbying Congress. So, in the places where this spectrum is needed the most - everywhere but NYC (and even there, only one agency was saying they don't need it) - what is there? There isn't enough non-T-band UHF to do a 1:1 replacement of all the systems in the NYC area, nor in the Los Angeles area (LA is also heavily dependent on T-Band).

Much of the newer stuff runs contiguous 450-512. There are usually two UHF splits - 406-470 or 450-512. I'm not up on Harris subscriber products, but Motorola radios from HT1000 and up, and Astro Spectras and up ran these bandsplits. The base station stuff was more frequency dependent. But the available spectrum isn't there.

As for paying full price, most agencies buying off a "state bid" list or some other cooperative procurement discount usually got 20-30% off. Where they got you was how things were put together and with COTS device and firmware upgrades. PC-dependent stuff was only as good as its manufacturer supported it. So, if you had something that was chugging along on a 286 computer (or a VME computer with a GPIB interface for external devices), and those aren't supported anymore, you'd have to replace it with an upgrade (ka-ching) even if it worked fine, because if any part of it broke, it couldn't be serviced anymore. The system would be dead in the water while someone cruised eBay. There are also situations where business partners back out or deadline a product your system needed - i.e., Cisco has a VoIP thing your stuff had a TAPI written for, they pull out for whatever reason, and you substitute it with Avaya - except its costs are different and it works a little differently - and the TAPI has to be recoded and tested, and if it's prematurely implemented becomes buggy and unstable (BTDT - and it's painful).

Back to competitive procurement - RR's forums are loaded with examples of how these blanket procurement agreements seem to thwart competitive bidding from local vendors. Even standards-based systems that use single-manufacturer proprietary adulterations to the standard (like $8 encryption that's only available in that one manufacturer's equipment) do that.
 

PetervonB

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Write (or email) your local Congress members (House and Senate) and tell them you think they should sponsor an amendment to undo the giveback of the T-Band. Fill your missive full of information gleaned from statements above and other stuff you may know.

Do that every year until it happens.

Tell others about it and tell them to write or email.

Keep the cards and letters coming.
 

DickH

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Want to bet Motorola is behind it all? Think about it. Migrate off the T band to "standard UHF" band, which would require MOST agencies to purchase NEW equipment. And government agencies have a bad habit of paying FULL price AND overages.
I'll bet Motorola and Harris are drooling at the thought. :)
 
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