WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 13, 2020) — The Federal Communications Commission today took action to make six megahertz of low-band spectrum available for the development of critical wireless broadband technologies and services. The 900 MHz band is currently designated for narrowband land mobile radio communications and primarily used by land transportation, utility, manufacturing, and petrochemical companies.
The item approved today makes six megahertz available for broadband licenses on a county-by-county basis while reserving the remaining four megahertz of spectrum for continued narrowband operations. This transition will enable next generation, mission-critical applications not available via current narrowband systems and help meet the evolving technological needs of industries that provide crucial services to the American public.
Specifically, the Commission approved a Report and Order, an Order of Proposed Modification, and two Orders that realign the band and establish a transition mechanism based primarily on negotiations between prospective broadband licensees and existing narrowband incumbent licensees. The item also establishes rules to prevent broadband applicants from receiving windfalls and includes application requirements and operating and technical rules applicable to the new 900 MHz broadband licenses.
In addition, the item would modify the Association of American Railroads’ existing nationwide ribbon license in the 900 MHz band to facilitate the transition of the band without disruptions to railroads’ operations, and to enable significant railroad safety upgrades.
As part of today’s action, the Commission also announces a partial lifting of the 900 MHz application freeze to permit existing licensees to file applications to relocate their narrowband operations as part of a transition plan.