The 2110-2130 and 2160-2180 MHz microwave channels formerly listed in § 22.591 have been re-allocated for use by emerging technologies (ET) services. No new systems will be authorized under this part. The rules in this section provide for a transition period during which existing Paging and Radiotelephone Service (PARS) licensees using these channels may relocate operations to other media or to other fixed channels, including those in other microwave bands. For PARS licensees relocating operations to other microwave bands, authorization must be obtained under part 101 of this chapter.
(a) Licensees proposing to implement ET services may negotiate with PARS licensees authorized to use these channels, for the purpose of agreeing to terms under which the PARS licensees would -
(1) Relocate their operations to other fixed microwave bands or other media, or alternatively,
(2) Accept a sharing arrangement with the ET licensee that may result in an otherwise impermissible level of interference to the PARS operations.
(c) Relocation of fixed microwave licensees in the 2110-2130 MHz and 2160-2180 MHz bands will be subject to mandatory negotiations only. A separate mandatory negotiation period will commence for each fixed microwave licensee when an ET licensee informs that fixed microwave licensee in writing of its desire to negotiate. Mandatory negotiation periods are defined as follows:
(1) Non-public safety incumbents will have a two-year mandatory negotiation period; and
(2) Public safety incumbents will have a three-year mandatory negotiation period.
(d) The mandatory negotiation period is triggered at the option of the ET licensee. Once mandatory negotiations have begun, a PARS licensee may not refuse to negotiate and all parties are required to negotiate in good faith. Good faith requires each party to provide information to the other that is reasonably necessary to facilitate the relocation process. In evaluating claims that a party has not negotiated in good faith, the FCC will consider, inter alia, the following factors:
(1) Whether the ET licensee has made a bona fide offer to relocate the PARS licensee to comparable facilities in accordance with Section 101.75(b) of this chapter;
(2) If the PARS licensee has demanded a premium, the type of premium requested (e.g., whether the premium is directly related to relocation, such as system-wide relocations and analog-to-digital conversions, versus other types of premiums), and whether the value of the premium as compared to the cost of providing comparable facilities is disproportionate (i.e., whether there is a lack of proportion or relation between the two);
(3) What steps the parties have taken to determine the actual cost of relocation to comparable facilities;
(4) Whether either party has withheld information requested by the other party that is necessary to estimate relocation costs or to facilitate the relocation process. Any party alleging a violation of our good faith requirement must attach an independent estimate of the relocation costs in question to any documentation filed with the Commission in support of its claim. An independent cost estimate must include a specification for the comparable facility and a statement of the costs associated with providing that facility to the incumbent licensee.
(e) Involuntary period. After the end of the mandatory negotiation period, ET licensees may initiate involuntary relocation procedures under the Commission's rules. ET licensees are obligated to pay to relocate only the specific microwave links to which their systems pose an interference problem. Under involuntary relocation, a PARS licensee is required to relocate, provided that:
(1) The ET applicant, provider, licensee or representative guarantees payment of relocation costs, including all engineering, equipment, site and FCC fees, as well as any legitimate and prudent transaction expenses incurred by the PARS licensee that are directly attributable to an involuntary relocation, subject to a cap of two percent of the hard costs involved. Hard costs are defined as the actual costs associated with providing a replacement system, such as equipment and engineering expenses. ET licensees are not required to pay PARS licensees for internal resources devoted to the relocation process. ET licensees are not required to pay for transaction costs incurred by PARS licensees during the voluntary or mandatory periods once the involuntary period is initiated or for fees that cannot be legitimately tied to the provision of comparable facilities;
(2) The ET applicant, provider, licensee or representative completes all activities necessary for implementing the replacement facilities, including engineering and cost analysis of the relocation procedure and, if radio facilities are involved, identifying and obtaining, on the incumbents behalf, new channels and frequency coordination; and,
(3) The ET applicant, provider, licensee or representative builds the replacement system and tests it for comparability with the existing 2 GHz system.
(f) Comparable Facilities. The replacement system provided to an incumbent during an involuntary relocation must be at least equivalent to the existing PARS system with respect to the following three factors:
(1) Throughput. Communications throughput is the amount of information transferred within a system in a given amount of time. If analog facilities are being replaced with analog, the ET licensee is required to provide the PARS licensee with an equivalent number of 4 kHz voice channels. If digital facilities are being replaced with digital, the ET licensee must provide the PARS licensee with equivalent data loading bits per second (bps). ET licensees must provide PARS licensees with enough throughput to satisfy the PARS licensee's system use at the time of relocation, not match the total capacity of the PARS system.
(2) Reliability. System reliability is the degree to which information is transferred accurately within a system. ET licensees must provide PARS licensees with reliability equal to the overall reliability of their system. For digital data systems, reliability is measured by the percent of time the bit error rate (BER) exceeds a desired value, and for analog or digital voice transmissions, it is measured by the percent of time that audio signal quality meets an established threshold. If an analog voice system is replaced with a digital voice system, only the resulting frequency response, harmonic distortion, signal-to-noise ratio and its reliability will be considered in determining comparable reliability.
(3) Operating Costs. Operating costs are the cost to operate and maintain the PARS system. ET licensees must compensate PARS licensees for any increased recurring costs associated with the replacement facilities (e.g. additional rental payments, increased utility fees) for five years after relocation. ET licensees may satisfy this obligation by making a lump-sum payment based on present value using current interest rates. Additionally, the maintenance costs to the PARS licensee must be equivalent to the 2 GHz system in order for the replacement system to be considered comparable.
(g) The PARS licensee is not required to relocate until the alternative facilities are available to it for a reasonable time to make adjustments, determine comparability, and ensure a seamless handoff.
(i) After April 25, 1996, all major modifications and extensions to existing PARS systems operating on channels in the 2110-2130 and 2160-2180 MHz bands will be authorized on a secondary basis to future ET operations. All other modifications will render the modified PARS license secondary to future ET operations unless the incumbent affirmatively justifies primary status and the incumbent PARS licensee establishes that the modification would not add to the relocation costs of ET licensees. Incumbent PARS licensees will maintain primary status for the following technical changes:
(1) Decreases in power;
(2) Minor changes (increases or decreases) in antenna height;
(3) Minor location changes (up to two seconds);
(4) Any data correction which does not involve a change in the location of an existing facility;
(5) Reductions in authorized bandwidth;
(6) Minor changes (increases or decreases) in structure height;
(7) Changes (increases or decreases) in ground elevation that do not affect centerline height;
(8) Minor equipment changes.
(j) Sunset. PARS licensees will maintain primary status in the 2110-2130 MHz and 2160-2180 MHz bands unless and until an ET licensee requires use of the spectrum. ET licensees are not required to pay relocation costs after the relocation rules sunset (i.e., for the 2110-2130 MHz and 2160-2180 MHz bands, ten years after the first ET license is issued in the respective band). Once the relocation rules sunset, an ET licensee may require the incumbent to cease operations, provided that the ET licensee intends to turn on a system within interference range of the incumbent, as determined by TIA TSB 10-F or any standard successor. ET licensee notification to the affected PARS licensee must be in writing and must provide the incumbent with no less than six months to vacate the spectrum. After the six-month notice period has expired, the PARS licensee must turn its license back into the Commission, unless the parties have entered into an agreement which allows the PARS licensee to continue to operate on a mutually agreed upon basis. If the parties cannot agree on a schedule or an alternative arrangement, requests for extension will be accepted and reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The Commission will grant such extensions only if the incumbent can demonstrate that:
(1) It cannot relocate within the six-month period (e.g., because no alternative spectrum or other reasonable option is available), and;
(2) The public interest would be harmed if the incumbent is forced to terminate operations (e.g., if public safety communications services would be disrupted).
(k) Reimbursement and relocation expenses in the 2110-2130 MHz and 2160-2180 MHz bands. Whenever an ET licensee in the 2110-2130 MHz and 2160-2180 MHz band relocates a paired PARS link with one path in the 2110-2130 MHz band and the paired path in the 2160-2180 MHz band, the ET license will be entitled to reimbursement pursuant to the procedures described in §§ 27.1160 through 27.1174 of this chapter.