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Resources by Wave Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
This section contains reconfiguration guidance and information for licensees in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands


In This Section

News and Highlights
Overview
Puerto Rico Reconfiguration
TA's Implementation Timetable
TA's Request for Waiver
U.S. Virgin Islands
Preparing for Reconfiguration
Frequency Proposal Report Information
Guard Band Election
Cost Estimate
Frequency Reconfiguration Agreement
Reconfiguration Implementation
Waiver Requests


News & Highlights

Updated Waiver Request Guidance for Puerto Rico Licensees - In a January 16, 2015 Order (DA 15-62), the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) addressed Puerto Rico licensees’ requests for waiver of the March 19, 2012 rebanding completion deadline. Additional information is available in the Waiver Requests section below.

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Overview

800 MHz radio systems - including those used by police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and other systems operating on the 800 MHz Band - have been experiencing increasing levels of interference and "dead zones" as a result of commercial wireless carriers operating in the same or adjacent spectrum bands. Reconfiguration is designed to alleviate this interference by spectrally separating the two types of systems.

The 800 MHz reconfiguration program is part of the FCC's plan to promote safety and protect the lives of first responders and other emergency personnel by addressing the harmful interference to public safety communication systems operating in the 800 MHz Band.

The 800 MHz Transition Administrator, LLC (TA) serves as the Transition Administrator for the reconfiguration of the 800 MHz Band mandated by the FCC.


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Puerto Rico Reconfiguration

In its May 2007 Second Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 07-102), the FCC determined that an 800 MHz band plan was needed for Puerto Rico that was distinct from that used in the Continental United States. The FCC directed the TA to propose an alternative band plan and negotiation timetable for Puerto Rico. On October 19, 2007, the TA proposed an alternative band plan and negotiation timetable for Puerto Rico in a filing with the FCC.

On June 30, 2008, the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) issued a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (DA 08-1530) seeking comment on the TA's band plan proposal and on potential alternatives.

On April 26, 2010, the PSHSB released a
Third Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (DA 10-695) adopting a final 800 MHz band plan for Puerto Rico. The band plan is shown in the following graphic:

Puerto Rico Band Plan > Enlarge


The Third Report and Order provides for an 18-month transition period for completion of reconfiguration in Puerto Rico, which began on September 20, 2010 and ends on March 19, 2012. The PSHSB stated that planning and negotiations must be completed within 90 days, leaving 15 months for the implementation phase. A 90-day mandatory negotiation period began on September 20, 2010 for the remaining incumbent licensees that must be retuned from the 816.5-821/861.5-866 MHz portion of the band in Puerto Rico

The Third Report and Order established three stages for reconfiguration in Puerto Rico. Stage 1 involves the relocation of non-public safety licensees in Channels 1-120. Stage 2 involves the relocation of NPSPAC licensees 15 MHz lower to the new NPSPAC Band; the relocation of high-site incumbent licensees from the ESMR Band to the Interleaved Band; and the relocation of Economic Area (EA) and site-based ESMR licensees that are part of an EA Election from the Interleaved, Expansion, and Guard Bands into the ESMR Band. Stage 3 includes the relocation of the licenses of Preferred Communication Systems, Inc. and Preferred Acquisitions, Inc. and, if necessary, pro rata apportionment of ESMR spectrum in accordance with the Third Report and Order.


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TA's Implementation Timetable

The PSHSB directed the TA to develop a detailed Puerto Rico band reconfiguration timetable with milestones for completion of each stage of the process. The TA filed its Implementation Timetable for the Reconfiguration of the 800 MHz Band in Puerto Rico (Implementation Timetable) with the PSHSB on August 20, 2010. The PSHSB approved the Implementation Timetable in a September 15, 2010 Public Notice.

The Implementation Timetable sets out the timeframe and sequence for the reconfiguration of Puerto Rico licensees and it incorporates the guidance, band plan, and reconfiguration sequencing that the PSHSB set forth in the Third Report and Order. The Implementation Timetable also takes into account variations in licensee characteristics and the specific steps required for the implementation of Stages 1, 2, and 3 relocations.

The following timetable has been set for reconfiguration in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Reconfiguration Key Dates
EVENT DATE
Start of filing freeze for new applications in Puerto Rico

August 23, 2010

Commencement of 18-month transition period for reconfiguration in Puerto Rico

September 20, 2010

Start of 90-day mandatory negotiation period

September 20, 2010

Guard Band Elections due

September 20, 2010

Cost Estimates due

October 19, 2010

End of 90-day negotiation period

December 20, 2010

Commencement of mediation period

December 21, 2010

End of mediation period

February 3, 2011

End of filing freeze for new applications in Puerto Rico

February 3, 2011

Completion of implementation by high-site licensees clearing the ESMR Band

September 20, 2011

Completion of implementation for all other licensees

March 19, 2012

End of 18-month transition period

March 19, 2012




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TA's Request for Waiver

On August 20, 2010, the TA filed a Request for Waiver of Section 90.621(b) of the FCC’s rules relating to short-spacing separation requirements for public safety licensees. The TA sought a waiver of that rule to allow public safety licensees in Puerto Rico to reconfigure their radio systems and relocate to their replacement frequencies in the new NPSPAC Band without waiting for the one incumbent EA licensee to clear its licensed frequencies. The PSHSB granted the waiver in an Order (DA 10-2167) released on November 9, 2010, enabling NPSPAC licensees in Puerto Rico to proceed with their implementation activities and relocate to the new NPSPAC band.


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U.S. Virgin Islands

On February 18, 2011, the PSHSB released the Fourth Report and Order (DA 11-315) adopting a final 800 MHz band plan for the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). The band plan is identical to the band plan for Puerto Rico. The USVI band plan is shown in the following graphic

U.S. Virgin Islands Band Plan > Enlarge


The
Fourth Report and Order provides for a 12-month transition period for completion of reconfiguration in the USVI, which begins on March 21, 2011 and ends on March 20, 2012. A 90-day period to complete planning and FRA negotiations begins on March 21, 2011 for the incumbent licensees that must be retuned from the 816.5-821/861.5-866 MHz portion of the band in the USVI. The following timetable applies to reconfiguration in the USVI.

U.S. Virgin Islands Reconfiguration Key Dates
EVENT DATE
Start of filing freeze for new applications in the USVI

February 18, 2011

Commencement of 12-month transition period for reconfiguration in the USVI

March 21, 2011

Start of 90-day mandatory negotiation period

March 21, 2011

Guard Band Elections due

March 21, 2011

Cost Estimates due

June 20, 2011

End of 90-day negotiation period

June 20, 2011

Commencement of mediation period

June 21, 2011

End of mediation period

July 19, 2011

End of filing freeze for new applications in the USVI

August 2, 2011

Completion of implementation by high-site licensees clearing the ESMR Band

September 20, 2011

Completion of implementation for all other licensees

March 20, 2012

End of 12-month transition period

March 20, 2012




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Preparing for Reconfiguration

Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands licensees are encouraged to perform the following activities to facilitate the reconfiguration process:
  • Ensure that the TA has your most current Point of Contact (POC) information by filling out and submitting to the TA a Point of Contact (POC) Form (PDF or Word version)
  • Review and update your license information, particularly contact information, in the FCC's Universal Licensing System (ULS) database to ensure that it is correct and up-to-date.
  • Plan for the reconfiguration of your radio system and prepare and submit a cost estimate. Additional information is available in the "Cost Estimate" section below.


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Frequency Proposal Report Information

A Frequency Proposal Report (FPR) is a report provided by the TA that identifies a licensee's current base station transmit frequencies designated for reconfiguration and provides the proposed replacement frequencies and other information to assist licensees in the 800 MHz band reconfiguration process. The FPR does not constitute authorization to operate on the proposed frequencies. An application must be filed with and granted by the FCC prior to commencing operations on the new frequencies.

Puerto Rico: In July 2010, the TA mailed FPRs to Puerto Rico licensees for each site-specific license with frequencies in the 816.5-821/861.5-866 MHz portion of the band that are subject to reconfiguration. If you have questions about your FPRs or if you did not receive FPRs for all of your 800 MHz call signs that you believe are subject to reconfiguration, please contact the TA via email at comments@800TA.org. You will not receive FPRs for 800 MHz licenses that do not require reconfiguration.

An FPR Fact Sheet that provides assistance with understanding FPRs for Puerto Rico licensees is available here.

USVI: In August 2010, the TA mailed FPRs to USVI licensees for site-specific licenses with frequencies in the 816.5-821/861.5-866 MHz portion of the band that were subject to reconfiguration pursuant to the proposed band plan. The FPRs were contingent upon the FCC’s adoption of a final band plan for the USVI and were subject to change. With the release of the Fourth Report and Order and the adoption of a final band plan for the USVI, the proposed replacement frequencies in the FPRs remain the same as they are consistent with the final band plan.

An FPR Fact Sheet that provides assistance with understanding FPRs for USVI licensees is available here.


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Guard Band Election

Puerto Rico: If you are licensed for frequencies in the modified Guard Band (816.5-817/861.5-862 MHz) in Puerto Rico, you may elect to relocate to the Interleaved Band or Expansion Band. To elect to relocate from the Guard Band, you must complete and submit a Puerto Rico Guard Band Election Form to the TA as soon as possible but no later than September 20, 2010. The TA’s July 2010 FPR mailing included proposed replacement frequencies for Guard Band frequencies in case licensees want to elect to relocate. Licensees that do not return a Puerto Rico Guard Band Election Form to the TA will remain in the Guard Band.

USVI:

If you are licensed for frequencies in the modified Guard Band (816.5-817/861.5-862 MHz) in the U.S. Virgin Islands, you may elect to relocate to the Interleaved Band or Expansion Band. To elect to relocate out of the Guard Band, you must complete and submit a U.S. Virgin Islands Guard Band Election Form to the TA by March 21, 2011. The TA’s August 2010 FPR mailing included proposed replacement frequencies for Guard Band frequencies in case licensees want to elect to relocate. Licensees that do not return a U.S. Virgin Islands Guard Band Election Form to the TA will remain in the Guard Band.

USVI licensees that want to relocate to the Guard Band should complete and return a U.S. Virgin Islands Election Form for Relocation to the Guard Band to the TA as soon as possible. Relocation to the Guard Band may be conditioned on available spectrum and sound spectrum policy. Licensees requesting relocation to the Guard Band are not necessarily guaranteed that they will be relocated because licensee requests for Guard Band spectrum may exceed the available capacity.


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Cost Estimate

Licensees subject to reconfiguration must prepare a cost estimate – an estimate of the costs associated with the reconfiguration of your radio system. Information about preparing a cost estimate is available in the following documents:

Licensees may submit their cost estimates for reconfiguration to Sprint Nextel via email to 800MHz@Sprint.com.

Puerto Rico licensees should submit a cost estimate to Sprint Nextel as soon as possible. In the Implementation Timetable, the TA established October 19, 2010 as the due date for Puerto Rico licensees to submit a cost estimate to Sprint Nextel. After submitting the cost estimate, you will negotiate a Frequency Reconfiguration Agreement with Sprint Nextel.

USVI licensees should submit a complete cost estimate to Sprint Nextel as soon as possible in the 90-day mandatory negotiation period, but no later than June 20, 2011.


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Frequency Reconfiguration Agreement

After completing planning activities and submitting a complete cost estimate to Sprint Nextel, licensees will negotiate a Frequency Reconfiguration Agreement (FRA) with Sprint Nextel.

Puerto Rico: If a Puerto Rico licensee and Sprint Nextel did not negotiate and submit to the TA an FRA by the end of the 90-day mandatory negotiation period on December 20, 2010, the TA commenced mediation of the FRA negotiations. During the mediation process, you and Sprint Nextel must identify specific issues in dispute, state your positions with respect to those issues, and work towards reaching an agreement with the assistance of a TA Mediator. The mediation period lasted 30 working days, until February 3, 2011. If you do not reach agreement during the mediation period, the TA will refer any remaining disputed issues to the PSHSB. The mediation process for Puerto Rico licensees is described in the TA’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Plan.

USVI: For USVI licensees that have not completed FRA negotiations, the PSHSB established a 90-day mandatory negotiation period to complete planning and negotiations, which begins on March 21, 2011. If a licensee and Sprint Nextel did not negotiate and submit to the TA an FRA by the end of the mandatory negotiation period on June 20, 2011, they entered mediation on June 21, 2011. During the mediation process, the parties must identify specific issues in dispute, state their positions with respect to those issues, and work towards reaching an agreement with the assistance of a TA Mediator. The mediation period lasted 30 days, until July 19, 2011. If agreement is not reached during the mediation period, the TA will refer any remaining disputed issues to the PSHSB.


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Reconfiguration Implementation

Puerto Rico NPSPAC Licensees: On November 9, 2010, the FCC granted the TA’s Request for Waiver of Section 90.621(b) of the FCC’s rules relating to short-spacing separation requirements, which allows NPSPAC licensees in Puerto Rico to reconfigure their radio systems and relocate to their replacement frequencies in the new NPSPAC Band without waiting for the one incumbent EA licensee to clear its licensed frequencies. NPSPAC licensees may proceed with their implementation activities. NPSPAC licensees are required to complete reconfiguration by March 19, 2012

Puerto Rico Licensees in the 816.5-821/861.5-866 MHz band: After negotiating an FRA, Puerto Rico licensees in the 816.5-821/861.5-866 MHz band may proceed with their implementation activities. High-site licensees clearing the ESMR Band were supposed to complete implementation by September 20, 2011.

USVI Licensees: After negotiating an FRA, USVI licensees may proceed with their implementation activities. High-site licensees clearing the ESMR Band in the USVI were supposed to complete reconfiguration by September 20, 2011. All licensees in the USVI must complete reconfiguration by March 20, 2012.

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Waiver Requests

In This Section
Latest News
Request for Waiver Guidance for Puerto Rico Licensees
Request for Waiver Guidance for USVI Licensees
Notice of Completion
Recommended Content and Templates for Requests for Waiver
Filing Procedures
Confidentiality


Latest News
On January 16, 2015, the PSHSB released an Order (DA 15-62) addressing the requests for waiver of the rebanding completion deadline that were filed by Puerto Rico licensees since August 9, 2012.

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Request for Waiver Guidance for Puerto Rico Licensees
Pursuant to the PSHSB’s Third Report and Order (DA 10-695), the rebanding completion deadline for Puerto Rico licensees was March 19, 2012. Puerto Rico licensees that did not complete the physical reconfiguration of their system by March 19, 2012 were required to request a waiver of the deadline from the PSHSB. Licensees were required to file a request for waiver by March 19, 2012.

In an August 9, 2012 Order (DA 12-1303), the PSHSB addressed Puerto Rico licensees’ requests for waiver. The PSHSB granted waivers to licensees with executed FRAs until the specific waiver date the licensee requested. The latest waiver date granted to a Puerto Rico licensee was December 31, 2012. A list of licensees and the disposition of their waiver requests is available in the appendices to the Order.

In a January 16, 2015 Order (DA 15-62), the PSHSB addressed the supplemental waiver requests that were filed by Puerto Rico licensees since August 9, 2012. The PSHSB granted waivers to licensees, granting a specific waiver date to each licensee, with February 28, 2015 as the latest waiver date granted to a Puerto Rico licensee. A list of licensees and the disposition of their supplemental waiver requests is available in the appendix to the Order.
Puerto Rico licensees should review the relevant guidance below for their reconfiguration status and take appropriate action.
  • Licensees that were granted a waiver and will not complete the physical reconfiguration of their system by the waiver date granted in the Order must file a supplemental request for waiver with the PSHSB.
  • Licensees that did not file a request for waiver, or filed a request for waiver in which the requested extension date has passed, were required to provide the TA with documentation showing they have completed reconfiguration or file a supplemental request for waiver with the PSHSB by February 18, 2015.

Guidance about the content of supplemental requests for waiver and the TA’s Request for Waiver template is available here.

For licensees that have completed physical reconfiguration, information about the notice of completion that licensees should submit to the TA to provide documentation showing they completed reconfiguration is available here.

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Request for Waiver Guidance for USVI Licensees
USVI licensees were required to complete the physical reconfiguration of their system by March 20, 2012. Licensees that did not meet this deadline were required to file a request for waiver of the deadline with the PSHSB by March 20, 2012. Guidance about the content of requests for waiver and the TA’s Request for Waiver template is available here.

For licensees that have completed physical reconfiguration, information about the notice of completion that licensees should submit to the TA is available here.

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Notice of Completion
Licensees that have completed the reconfiguration of their system should send a letter or email to the TA indicating they have completed reconfiguration and noting the completion date. The notice of completion may be emailed to Comments@800TA.org or faxed to 1-888-701-4380.

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Recommended Content and Templates for Requests for Waiver
In their supplemental requests for waiver, licensees should detail their reconfiguration progress to date and provide milestone dates for each major reconfiguration step that has not yet been completed. Licensees should provide the following information in their supplemental requests for waiver: system size and complexity; interoperability and its effect on their schedule; and steps already taken to complete reconfiguration, including participation in the Subscriber Equipment Deployment (SED) program and participation in an Implementation Planning Session (IPS).
Licensees must provide an implementation timetable, including the anticipated dates of commencement and completion of the following implementation activities:

  1. retuning, reflashing, and/or replacement of subscriber equipment (subscriber unit deployment);
  2. retuning of base stations to the licensee’s new channel assignments and commencement of system operations on the new channels (system cut-over); and
  3. additional post-cutover system modifications (e.g., disposal or return of temporary or legacy equipment, removal of pre-rebanding channels from subscriber units).
Licensees with timetables that are dependent on rebanding by adjacent or overlapping systems should identify such interdependencies.

To expedite licensee preparation of supplemental requests for waiver and PSHSB review, licensees are strongly encouraged to use the TA’s Request for Waiver templates in preparing and filing their supplemental requests for waiver. Providing the information requested in the TA’s Request for Waiver template is sufficient to provide the information and implementation milestones that licensees are recommended to address in their supplemental requests for waiver.

Request for Waiver of the March 19, 2012 Deadline for Completion of 800 MHz Rebanding in Puerto Rico (PDF or Word version).

Request for Waiver of the March 20, 2012 Deadline for Completion of 800 MHz Rebanding in the U.S. Virgin Islands (PDF or Word version).

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Filing Procedures
Licensees should file supplemental requests for waiver with the PSHSB via email to PSHSB800@fcc.gov. Licensees must send copies of the requests to the TA at Waivers@800TA.org and to Sprint at 800MHZ@sprint.com. Licensees with multiple call signs should designate a lead call sign in the request. If a licensee designated a lead call sign in a previously filed waiver request, the same call sign should be used for this filing. In addition, if a licensee previously filed a waiver request, its supplemental request for waiver should reference the previous TA Waiver Reference Number, which can be found in the appendix of the PSHSB’s January 16, 2015 Order (DA 15-62) or by searching the TA’s Waiver Request Lookup.

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Confidentiality
Requests for waiver will be posted on the PSHSB’s website and in the licensee’s ULS file, but that information for which confidentiality is sought under Section 0.459 of the FCC’s Rules will not be posted. The Request for Waiver template includes a provision for the licensee to seek confidential treatment of the Waiver Request Information Form. Licensees who elect to submit requests for waiver not conforming to the TA’s template should carefully consider the nature of the information they are providing and consult Section 0.459 of the FCC’s Rules (47 C.F.R. § 0.459) regarding requests for confidential treatment. A licensee’s request for waiver that includes a request for confidential treatment will be given confidential treatment.

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