Sprint Nextel granted extension in rebanding

Sprint Nextel announced that its vie for an extension to the mandatory relinquishment of portions of the 800 MHz spectrum was a success. The FCC has now moved the deadline to July 1, 2009.

On Tuesday of last week, Sprint Nextel filed for more time with the FCC to move some of its services out of their current frequency range and into an area less likely to cause interference with the public safety agencies in the spectral vicinity. The relocation is part of a project designed to improve the quality and reliability of emergency and public safety communications in the 800 MHz band.

The transition's previous deadline was next Thursday, but after the FCC granted the public safety agencies more time in their move, the mobile carrier requested the same. Since the process requires a large degree of cooperation between parties, notably to negotiate Frequency Reconfiguration Agreements (FRAs), one party's delay can slow down the entire process.

As the project has the built-in ability to file for deadline waivers, even the July 2009 date is mutable.

Which public services will ultimately use the frequency depends upon the area in which the shift is taking place. In Illinois, for example, the 700 and 800 MHz bands are for providing public safety communications to the Illinois State Police and other federal, state, county, and local agencies. In Minnesota, the 800 MHz band is used for the police's mobile data system. Dash-mounted police patrol car computers use that spectrum to communicate with over 90 base stations throughout the state.

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