February 3, 1995

Separate Statement
Commissioner Susan Ness

Re: Automatic Vehicle Monitoring (AVM) Systems (Docket No. 93-61)

In this Report and Order we balance the competing spectrum needs of the authorized users of the 902-928 MHz band. This is a difficult task because of the wide range of services and equipment that share this band. The rules we adopt today do not fully satisfy all requests; however, I believe they represent a reasonable compromise. Moreover, they further the public interest by facilitating the growth of new and innovative services.

Entrepreneurial companies have made substantial investments to develop and market services and products that use this band. These companies understandably have been reluctant to make additional investments to upgrade or expand their service or products until we adopt final rules. Adoption of these rules promotes the public interest by removing this cloud of regulatory uncertainty and allowing these service providers to move ahead.

For example, these rules make permanent spectrum available for electronic tag readers, which are devices that can eliminate the need to stop for toll collection on highways and bridges, and thereby measurably facilitate the flow of traffic. These rules also accord new protections to many types of innovative unlicensed devices, such as wireless local area networks, cordless telephones and PBXs, remote utility meter reading devices, and wireless security alarm systems. Finally, these rules permit different types of radio location services to track and locate vehicles, an important asset to fleet managers and of potential use to locate emergency 9-1-1 callers using cellular or PCS telephones.

Over a period of years different services were authorized to operate in this band because it was underutilized and could support multiple applications without causing interference. That now is changing, with several million unlicensed devices already operating in this band and automatic vehicle monitoring (AVM) systems poised for substantial growth.

It is my expectation and hope that our adoption of these rules will spur providers to work together to engineer innovative solutions for spectrum sharing in areas where congestion occurs. Multilateration AVM licensees are required to locate and build their systems to avoid interference, and will receive only conditional licenses until they have tested and demonstrated that each system can co-exist with other users in their specific locality. These provisions are intended to ensure efficient use of the spectrum under real-world conditions, and users are expected to cooperate with each other to achieve the maximum use from this scarce resource.

I strongly support the continued availability of spectrum bands where new and innovative services can be implemented by sharing spectrum. But I also appreciate that sharing spectrum has practical limits. If demand for multiple services within the same band substantially increases and effective operation no longer is possible, new spectrum may be sought for the successful service. With this in mind, I will carefully consider requests for different spectrum from parties that now use the 902-928 MHz band but at some point no longer are able to operate efficiently in that band due to congestion.

In the meantime, the rules we adopt today ensure mutual coexistence by requiring new multilateration AVM systems to be tested in their actual locations and interference problems resolved before a final license will be granted. Our new rules also protect the continued operation of many unlicensed devices. The rules we adopt will, I believe, foster new technological growth in this band and result in new services being made available to the American public.