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Texas Granted STA to Continue to Operate Harris County Broadband Network (3/4/13)
The FCC granted a request filed by the state of Texas for renewal of its grant of special temporary authority (STA), call sign WQPW682, to operate a 700 MHz public-safety broadband network in Harris County, Texas, for 180 days beginning March 2.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 tasks the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) with establishing a nationwide public-safety broadband network under a license for the 700 MHz D block and the existing public-safety broadband spectrum. On July 31, 2012, the FCC released an order that provides for limited deployment of state and local public-safety broadband networks in this spectrum under STA as FirstNet prepares to commence its nationwide deployment.

Texas received the first STA for the Harris County public-safety broadband network in September.

Texas said that it has brought the majority of its planned sites into operation and “has aggressively implemented the final deployment work items needed to initiate live public-safety operation.” Texas said that “no funding obstacles exist which would inhibit establishment of . . . public-safety operations within the coverage footprint” of its STA grant. In addition, Texas continues to assert that the network will continue to support specific public-safety needs, including “higher quality telemetry, on-site analysis and other tools to assist emergency response.”

Texas also reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining compliance with each of the “recommended minimum technical requirements” for interoperability developed for the nationwide network. “We accordingly find that Texas’s renewal request satisfies the public interest considerations set forth in the STA order,” the FCC said.

In addition, Texas provided a letter from FirstNet concurring in renewal of its STA for a period of up to 180 days. FirstNet offers its concurrence “premised on temporary operations” by Texas that conform to specified conditions and “subject to FirstNet’s ongoing ability to monitor any operations and use of FirstNet’s licensed spectrum.”

“Through this extension, the network will continue to provide first responders with increased access to data and interoperable communications that are proving to be crucial in helping them serve and protect their communities,” Motorola Solutions said in a statement. “This network is the first of its kind, and it is introducing enhanced technology that will benefit public-safety agencies.”

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