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Eight Hundred MHz Rebanding: Guidance to Help Resolve Reconfiguration Challenges

NCJ Number
THE POLICE CHIEF Volume: 74 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2007 Pages: 88,90,92,94
Bret Haan
Date Published
October 2007
5 pages
This article discusses issues that may help public-safety agencies better prepare for their reconfiguring of the 800-megahertz (MHz) radio band, which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted as the means of eliminating the communication interference experienced by public-safety agencies due to the intensive use of 800-MHz frequencies by commercial users.
Several major factors are involved in this reconfiguration process: numerous affected parties, a vast surface area to cover, and a timeline. The transition will face logistical, operational, and organizational challenges. The FCC has designated a 800-MHz Transition Administrator (TA) to provide leadership in working with stakeholders in addressing these challenges. Reconfiguration is occurring across the Nation in 4 waves based on groupings of the 55 National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee regions. Much of Wave 1 is occurring in heavily populated urban areas where many agencies with well-established interoperability communicate daily across jurisdictional lines. Licensees must take these interdependencies into account and plan for the continuity of mutual-aid operations and interoperability during the reconfiguration of these systems. The TA's Mutual Aid and Interoperability fact sheet outlines the steps that licensees should take as part of the planning process. Taking these steps will ensure that no organizations or groups of users are missed during reconfiguration and will generate specific interoperability requirements while coordinating interoperability solutions that preserve public-safety communications during reconfiguration. In another effort, the TA launched the Subscriber Equipment Deployment initiative in March 2007, which enables licensees to obtain replacement equipment, software upgrade kits, and associated services in advance of negotiating the costs involved in reconfiguring system infrastructure. The TA is also currently reviewing the progress of licensees in the implementation process, so as to determine which agencies can begin replacing, retuning, or reprogramming their infrastructure in 2007.