The FCC, by a 3-1 vote, last week granted a request to stay a rule that would allow a single statewide licensee in each state (“State Lessor”) to lease some or all of its 4.9 GHz spectrum rights to third parties, regardless of whether or not they are engaged in public safety operations, as the rules previously required.
The Public Safety Spectrum Alliance (PSSA) had filed a Petition for Stay of the FCC's September 2020 Sixth Report and Order (SIxth R&O) arguing that leasing of the shared 4.9 GHz band pursuant to the new State Lessor framework would cause irreparable harm to the public safety community, citing patchwork regulation among states and an increased risk of interference to public safety licensees resulting from leased spectrum use by non-public safety entities.
The FCC granted the stay pending resolution of petitions for reconsideration of the Sixth R&O filed by PSSA and by APCO International and the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council. The FCC agreed there is a possibility of irreparable harm to current and future 4.9 GHz public safety users if the State Lessor rule is allowed to take effect. The FCC found that no parties will be injured by the stay of the State Lessor rule; that rule has not yet become effective, and no non-public safety entities have entered into a lease with a State Lessor. Other rules adopted in the Sixth R&O already have become effective and are not subject to the stay.
Commissioner Simington, a Republican, voted with the two Democratic Commissioners (both of whom dissented last year from the Sixth R&O) to grant the stay. Commissioner Carr, also a Republican, dissented.