May 23, 2006
800 MHz Transition Administrator, Public Safety Leadership and Sprint Nextel Announce Fast Track Option for Planning Funding
800 MHz Transition Administrator, L.L.C.
Nikki Diamantes (703) 747-4386
Sprint Nextel Contact: Tim O'Regan (703) 433-4816
APCO Contact: Robert Gurss (202) 833-3800
IAFC Contact: Alan Caldwell (703) 273-0911
IACP, MCC, NSA, MCSA Contact: Harlin McEwen
Washington, D.C. — 05/23/2006
The 800 MHz Transition Administrator, LLC ("TA"), jointly with Public Safety leadership and Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S), announced today a new option for licensees to obtain planning funding, where necessary, for 800 MHz Reconfiguration – the Planning Funding Agreement (PFA) Fast Track Option.
Under certain circumstances, public safety licensees affected by 800 MHz reconfiguration may obtain planning funding without the need to negotiate planning costs with Sprint Nextel. To speed up the planning process and enable licensees to more quickly conclude a reconfiguration agreement, Sprint Nextel has agreed to fast track any planning funding request that equates to no more than $55 per subscriber unit operated by the licensee. Once the TA has reviewed the request for conformance to program guidelines, Sprint Nextel will, without undertaking a detailed review and negotiation of each cost element, enter into a contract for any approved request that is at or below the $55 threshold. If, for any reason, a licensee requires planning funding that exceeds the $55 threshold, it may still pursue the current process that provides for up to 60 days of negotiations, followed by mediation, if required.
Details on the PFA Fast Track Option will be available by June 5, 2006 when the TA will publish detailed guidance on its website, www.800TA.org.
Wanda McCarley, President of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO), praised the new Fast Track Option, noting that “APCO, working with our public safety partners, has been working hard to address the concerns of public safety licensees regarding the planning funding process, and we believe that this new approach will help public safety agencies obtain necessary planning funds faster, in most cases without having to negotiate a funding agreement. I am pleased with the extraordinary level of cooperation between public safety, Sprint Nextel, and the 800 MHz Transition Administrator to identify and resolve this critical element in the reconfiguration process. Without question, this highly dynamic reconfiguration process will face future challenges. These revisions in the planning funding process are indicative of the progress that can be achieved when all parties in the process are willing and able to address these challenges in a cooperative spirit."
“The TA is pleased to have facilitated this agreement between Sprint Nextel and Public Safety leadership,” said Brett Haan of the Transition Administrator. “We knew from speaking with hundreds of licensees and from monitoring the pace of negotiations that something significant needed to be done. When we approached Sprint Nextel and Public Safety with our analysis, they were very receptive. We commend both parties for thinking outside the box and coming together to make this happen. We expect this will significantly benefit licensees and the overall reconfiguration program.”
The TA estimates that more than half of the licensee population requiring planning funding will be able to use the Fast Track Option. By eliminating weeks or even months of negotiations, licensees will be able to complete their planning more quickly, so that they will have more time to enter into Frequency Reconfiguration Agreements and prepare for the actual retuning process. Licensees with more complex needs will also benefit, as the Fast Track Option will free up Sprint Nextel and TA resources to focus on unique licensee situations and requirements. Licensees' rights and obligations, including the requirement to conduct activities at the “least cost”, remain the same under the Fast Track Option and are subject to the TA's true-up process at the end of reconfiguration.
“The TA will continue to look for improvements to the process while balancing the rights of stakeholders,” Haan said. “For example, smaller licensees with 500 or fewer radios may need only minimal planning funding, and there ought to be a way for these licensees to quickly get to a reconfiguration cost estimate and agreement.”
Commenting on the new Fast Track agreement, Sandy Edwards, vice president, spectrum resources for Sprint Nextel, said, “We believe that this new process for planning funding will ease the process for first responders around the country to apply for planning funding. I encourage all incumbent licensees that desire planning funding to get their requests in as quickly as possible so that we can work together to expeditiously complete 800 MHz reconfiguration and eliminate interference to public safety communications at 800 MHz.” All planning funding requests should be submitted to the TA in accordance with the following published deadlines:
Wave 4, Stage 1 July 1, 2006
Wave 2, Stage 2 August 1, 2006
Wave 3, Stage 2 November 1, 2006
Wave 4, Stage 2 February 1, 2007
To learn more about the RFPF process and to obtain copies of required forms, please visit the TA website at www.800TA.org.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of communications services bringing mobility to consumer, business and government customers. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks offering industry leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and an award-winning and global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.