Homeland Security and Emergency Services


Regional Planning Committees (RPCs) have been formed to plan, coordinate, and administer public-safety radio frequencies. RPCs consist of representatives of public-safety agencies and those interested in furthering the goals of public-safety communications at the state and local levels within each region.

These committees are allowed flexibility to meet state and local needs, encourage innovative use of the spectrum, and accommodate new developments in technology equipment. They are responsible for creating and managing regional plans pertaining to public-safety radio communications.

The following public-safety radio frequencies are governed by the RPC process:

  • 769-775/799-805 MHz General Use Channels, and
  • 806-809/851-854 MHz National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) Channels.

800-MHz History

In 1979 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commenced a series of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proceedings to allocate 800 MHz spectrum for Land Mobile Radio (LMR) use (806-821/851-866 MHz), a portion of which was allocated for public-safety use, while 6 MHz was held in reserve. This total block of 800-MHz spectrum, including cellular telephone was previously allocated to analog television broadcast channels 70 - 82.

Later, in its Report and Order (R&O) in General Docket No. 84-1233, the FCC allocated 6 MHz for public-safety use from the previously reserved spectrum at 800 MHz. In order to develop rules for its use, the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) jointly established a federal advisory committee known as the National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC), which set the precedent for establishing FCC rules and regulations for additional public-safety spectrum allocations.

Further, 55 RPCs were formed to plan, coordinate, and administer the public-safety radio frequencies. In 1987, the NPSPAC channels, as they came to be known, (821-824/866-869 MHz) were released for licensing as each of the 55 regional plans was completed and approved by the FCC. New York State is covered by 3 Regional Planning Committees; Region 8, 30, and 55.

700-MHz History

On August 6, 1998, in the First Report and Order (R&O) and Third Notice of Proposed Rule Making in WT Docket No. 96-86, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted service rules for the 24 MHz of spectrum in the 764-776/794-806 MHz frequency bands (collectively, the 700-MHz band). The FCC reallocated this spectrum from analog television broadcast services to public safety services. Please refer to Figure 1. The National Coordinating Committee (NCC), now decommissioned, recommended the Regional Planning Committee (RPC) process to administer the designated spectrum. The FCC adopted the NCC's recommendation and established the RPC process in the R&O. RPCs consist of representatives of public safety agencies at the State and local levels within each region.

700-MHz Public Safety Band PRIOR to Reconfiguration

Figure 1. 700-MHz Public Safety Band PRIOR to Reconfiguration

On July 31, 2007, the FCC adopted the Second R & O, reallocating the 700-MHz public safety spectrum to the 763- to 775-MHz band and the 793- to 805-MHz band. From this allocation, the bottom portion of the Band (763-768/793-798 MHz) has been designated as broadband spectrum licensed under the Public Safety Broadband Licensee (PSBL). Therefore, the principal 700-MHz spectrum resources under the jurisdiction of the  RPC's are the 769- to 775-MHz and 799- to 805-MHz narrowband channels, which are further divided into General Use, Interoperability (voice, low-speed data, and national call), Secondary Trunking, State License, Low Power, and Reserve spectrum allotments. Please refer to Figure 2, which follows.

Reconfigured 700-MHz Public Safety Band

Figure 2. Reconfigured 700-MHz Public Safety Band

No allotments will be made in the General-Use category for the 769- to 775-MHz and 799- to 805-MHz bands until a regional plan for the area has been accepted by the FCC. The 700-MHz public safety spectrum will be made available for use after February 17, 20091 in accordance with the FCC's digital television transition schedule.

Similarly to the 800-MHz NPSPAC channels, the 700-MHz General Use channels are governed by the RPCs.

1 Date for television broadcasters to vacate the 700-MHz public-safety spectrum is February 17, 2009. Public safety entities may operate in the 700-MHz band prior to the transition date if they secure an FCC waiver.

How to Apply for 800-MHz NPSPAC and 700-MHz General Use Channels

State, county, and local public-safety entities that are eligible to apply for and license 800-MHz NPSPAC and 700-MHz General Use channels are defined by the FCC in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 47, Telecommunication, Chapter 1, Part 90, Private Land Mobile Radio Services.

Please refer to the Application Processing Flowchart for a detailed depiction of the application filing and evaluation process undertaken by the RPCs.