Avista, Puget Sound Energy Granted Narrowband Waivers (6/20/12)
The FCC granted two narrowbanding waivers, one to Avista until Sept. 30, 2014, and one to Puget Sound Energy (PSE) until Oct. 31, 2013. Both utilities met the standards identified in the FCC’s Narrowband Waiver Guidance Notice.
Avista sought extensions for private land mobile radio (PLMR) stations KA3396, KFM796, KGO651, KNIC261, KOA401, KOA544, KOB227, KOB519, KOE262, KOE290, KOE390, KOE464, KOF407, KOG402, KOG592, KOH901, KOI282, KOK432, KOK940, WNFU403, WNSU658, WPAZ378, WPEQ287, WPMJ881, WQF840, and WQFT245.
PSE sought a 10-month extension for 32 PLMR stations and a concurrent extension of the construction deadline for 12 narrowband PLMR stations for which it is licensed.
Both utilities operate in the Pacific Northwest and began planning their system updates several years ago; however, due to the climate and geography of the region base station equipment can only be safely deployed from late spring to early fall, increasing the time needed for deployment.
In June 2009, Avista acquired four Automated Maritime Telecommunications System (AMTS) geographic licenses, which it intended to use to replace its wideband PLMR system in advance of the narrowbanding deadline. While geographic licensees generally are authorized to place stations anywhere within their licensed service areas, the FCC requires individual licensing of AMTS station in proximity to certain television stations.
In December 2009, Avista filed modification applications seeking separate authorization for particular locations. Petitions to deny the applications were filed. In December 2011, Avista requested an extension of the narrowbanding deadline on the grounds that the continued pendency of its modification applications prevented it from initiating construction of its AMTS system. It requested a 24-month extension, until December 31, 2014, to ensure that the company would either have time to construct its AMTS network or comply with the commission’s narrowbanding requirement on a deferred basis. After the modification applications were granted in January 2012, Avista reduced its requested extension to 21 months, until September 30, 2014. Upon construction and implementation of its AMTS network, Avista will relinquish the above-listed PLMR licenses.
In conjunction with modifying PSE’s facilities to meet the narrowbanding standard, PSE is completely rebuilding its PLMR facilities as a consolidated interoperable system. PSE states that the new system will improve the safety and reliability of its utility operations but the new system cannot be operated until all stations are completed, so it must use its current facilities until it migrates users to the new system. The new system will consist of more than 60 radio sites, with 75 console positions and approximately 2,000 subscriber units. PSE has already allotted the necessary funding and acquired the equipment for the new system.
PSE anticipates completing the major portion of the network in 2012, but doesn’t expect to complete construction and testing until the 2013 deployment season. The consolidated system will use some Part 90 spectrum but will operate largely on Part 80 VHF spectrum, and PSE anticipates being able to relinquish a substantial number of its current Part 90 frequencies once the migration is complete.
The FCC concluded that Avista and PSE had presented sufficient facts to meet the high standard to grant the requested waiver. The record shows that Avista has been planning since 2009 to migrate its VHF communications operations to the AMTS band, and that PSE began planning its consolidated system in 2008, began construction in 2011. The FCC concluded, under the circumstances presented, that strict enforcement of the narrowbanding deadline with respect to the remaining systems would be inequitable, unduly burdensome and contrary to the public interest.
Your comments are welcome, click here.
Copyright © 2000 - 2013, Pandata Corp., All Rights Reserved.