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Private Radio Bureau's Attention Is on Radio Services-Energy Communications.

I see many similarities between the FCC and the industries you represent, between my work and yours. Basically, we're both mangers of resources. The FCC manages the radio spectrum; your companies manage what we might call the energy spectrum; everything from electrons to solid fuels. We both deal with particular natural resources that are used to keep our society productive and what concerns us most about those resources? I would suggest three things: supply, demand and consumption. All the questions we face as managers involve one or more of these three concerns. How large or small is our supply? What is the demand for it? How is it being used by our consumers? Those are exactly the questions the commission was faced with in trying to develop an allocation plan for the rest of the reserve spectrum about 800 MHz. We had 41 MHz of supply and over 80 MHz of demand from a wide variety of consumers. I served as a principal advisor on the various proposal and I must say it was the most difficult policy matter I have faced in my 18 years with the FCC.

My staff and I worked very hard to determine as accurately as possible how a very limited supply of spectrum should be allocated to meet the needs of private radio users. As you know, seven items were adopted last November to make up a workable allocation plan. Not everyone was pleased with the plan, but given the mismatch of supply and demand and our obligations to the public interest, relatively few parties of interest where totally displeased. In fact, the decisions were very well received, especially by the land-mobile community. Of the 41 MHz available, only 32 MHz was suitable for land-mobile use. Stll, we were able to propose a 12-MHz share for private, 12 for cellular, and 8 for land-mobile satellite.

As it is, the 12 MHz proposed for private land mobile--in the bands 896 to 902 and 935 to 941 Mhz--isn't nearly enough to meet long-term demand in the major cities. It will provide only limited relief, and users and manufacturers have to be willing to adapt to newer, more-efficient technologies. The proposal calls for significantly narrower bandwidths, for example, and for reduced separation between duplex channel pairs.

As I said before, we are managers of resources, but we can't completely manage the whole supply of radio frequencies without help. In a sense, our proposed rule changes would make frequency coordinators "assistant managers" of the spectrum. Just as energy producers must rely on their distributors and suppliers to make their products available, the FCC, with its shrinking in-house staff, must increase its reliance on private sector specialists. The coordinators are our distributors--our pipeline, if your will--to the land-mobile consumers. We literally couldn't handle the flow of the 25 to 30,000 land-mobile applications per month without their expertise.

Nevertheless, we have some responsibilities to oversee the frequency coordination process. We owe it to our license applicants to give them a reasonable picture of what a coordinator ought to be. That is why we are asking coordinators to beef up their data bases, help solve interference problems, and share in the task of accomodating new technologies.

Making a Profit in Private Radio

Making a profit in private radio is still somewhat new, and not completely without controversy, but it's working very well. The commission gave the idea another endorsement on January 31 of this year when it adopted new rules in Part 94 to allow "private carriers" in the operational-fixed microwave service. Not only will we authorize entrepreneurs to set up microwave systems for hire, but we will also permit existing OFS licensees to sell their excess capacities. In both cases, end users must be eligible under Part 94. We're not trying to create any competition for common carriers, but we are trying to give private microwave users more flexibility in choosing and using what systems they need.

I believe that deregulations has, and will continue to benefit industry by allowing you, the person closest to your communications needs, to make decisions about day-to-day operations. In its first meeting this year, the commission took action in Docket 84-109 that relaxed restrictions on the types of communications permitted on private radio systems. The proceeding was commonly referred as Perm Comm, short for Permissible Communications. We had originally proposed to relax these rules for all private land mobile licensees. The decision affects only those assigned frequencies on an exclusive basis. This should assure you that the FCC does listen to you!
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Author:Foosaner, R.
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:transcript
Date:May 1, 1985
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