Questions and Answers about the FCC's 800 MHz Decision
The following questions and answers are based on the Webinar presentation of December 14 "800 MHz Rebanding for Non-Technical Administrators", the 3rd in a series of APCO 800 ALERT Webinars.
Q: If agencies in the General Pool (806 - 809) can start the process now, how do they start? Contact Nextel, TA, FCC, any of the above?
A: If you want to start early, you will need to initiate talks with Nextel.
Q: Do you have a time frame for border agencies?
A: Unfortunately, we do not at this time.
Q: Are only 821 MHz agencies effected/impacted by this move?
A: No. Licenses in the 806-809/851-854 band (aka "General Category" or "1-120") will also need to move. However, licensees in the 809-816/854-861 Public Safety channels do not need to change frequencies.
Q: After an agency calculates its cost and signs a contract with Nextel, what process will need to occur should either party need to alter any portion of the contract, particularly the bottom line dollar value?
A: That contingency should be addressed in the contract.
Q: Will Nextel pay for infrastructure changes i.e. programming, Crystals, antennas required to move to new channels?
A: Yes, so long as changes are necessary.
Q: Will each public safety agency get a one-for-one frequency exchange if they must move?
Q: What about the 811 -856 band for Public Safety?
A: Those do not need to change.
Q: Will APCO as frequency coordinator and the FCC put these frequency changes on the fast track?
Q: How is someone who has both 821 and 806 frequencies affected?
A: Both will need to be changed, possibly at different times. However, in some cases licensees may be able to work out a schedule that minimizes impact.
Q: When will other channels open up for agencies that need more channels?
A: After the rebanding is completed within each region (probably 2-4 years from now)
Q: Did you say earlier that this plan will not be free of interference?
A: The plan will dramatically reduce and in most cases eliminate the potential for interference. However, some potential still exists, which is why the FCC adopted new stringent interference rules.
Q: Will the agency handle the licensing/coordination fees or will Nextel?
A: Nextel is ultimately responsible. Whether the fees will be paid directly has not been determined, and could vary case to case.
Q: Will Nextel cover diminished coverage problems if they occur on any of the transition sites?
A: The rules require that the new channels provide the same coverage.
Q: What will happen to the current NEXTEL customers, will they need to get new equipment and who will pay?
A: There should not be an impact on Nextel customers, as far as we know.
Q: Is the TA to contact the chair of the regional group, or individual licensee?
A: Probably both.
Q: Is there an assurance that my current coverage areas will remain the same or better?
Q: Will there be an active list posted of who is set to have this transition take place?
A: The TA is expected to do so. Q: Will the Nextel merger change the timeline that Nextel will implement? It should not.
Q: When will current system licensing be stopped as each region is being rebanded?
A: There will be a temporary freeze on licenses in each region for an 8 month window during which the rebanding for that region is negotiated.
Q: How will equipment replacement requirements be determined i.e. who decides what needs to be replaced and what will be "rebandable?" Have Nextel and the manufacturers agreed on this?
A: There is likely to be a settled list fairly early in the process.
Q: Can you reiterate the approach to addressing "regions"
A: The rebanding will be done on a regional basis, conforming to the 55 NPSPAC Regions.
Q: Is there any responsibility on Nextel's part to fund consulting services if an agency desires to utilize these services in order to look out for their best interest?
A: Yes, that is expected to be included in the costs paid for by Nextel, though they may challenge fees perceived to be "unreasonable."
Q: Is selection of contract resources entirely up to the agency involved, or will we get "help" from Nextel, TA, etc.?
A: Agencies should be able to work with contractors of their choice, though it is subject to negotiation with Nextel.
Q: Do you have any idea of how many channels will open up for others to apply for after the rebanding?
A: That will vary market-to-market. Q: Are you aware of any agency or state that is ready and waiting to get started? A: Yes, there are some.
Q: I've heard that other carriers are frustrated at this plan and plan on fighting in court. Can you elaborate on that? Will it hold up the process?
A: Verizon, which had been the strongest opponent, has said that it will not challenge the order. Cingular has reportedly made as similar decision. While some smaller players may challenge certain aspects of the order, those challenges are not expected to delay the process.
Q: Will Public Safety agencies that are today licensed to operate 25 kHz channels (data systems, i.e., RD-LAP 19.2 KB) in the lower 150 channels be forced to go to 12.5 kHz channel?