The FCC designated 10 megahertz of spectrum in the 470 – 512 MHz band, which contains LMR systems, as a spectrum-sharing innovation test bed and identified procedures for interested parties to conduct technology tests in that band. Under a similar action, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) designated the 410 – 420 MHz band for the test bed.
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The action is part of the President’s Spectrum Policy Initiative released in 2003. In June 2006, the FCC released a public notice discussing the goals, implementation and evaluation of the test bed and seeking public comment. The FCC said most comments supported the effort.
Based on its analysis, NTIA concluded that dynamic spectrum access (DSA) technologies satisfied all of the selection criteria and will be implemented in the initiative. NTIA further specified that the program employing adaptive radio will be performed in three phases. In the first phase, the adaptive radio equipment will be sent to the NTIA Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) laboratory in Boulder, Colo., for characterization measurements. In the second phase, the DSA capability of the adaptive radio will be evaluated. Only after successful completion of the first and second phases will the adaptive radio equipment be permitted to be operated in a field test on a controlled basis in the third phase.
The FCC said the 470 – 512 MHz band provides a reasonable separation from the 410 – 420 MHz federal band to allow tests that pair the federal and nonfederal frequency bands. Entities interested in conducting tests using this spectrum will be required to obtain an experimental license under Part 5 of the commission’s rules and to abide by the NTIA requirements.
“It is now abundantly clear that we will not achieve the June 2008 target for completing this project,” said FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. “I hope that, despite the late start, we are able to accelerate the pace of this proceeding so that American citizens will be able to benefit from this basic research as quickly as possible.”