FCC Record, Volume 1, No. 7, Pages 1267 to 1368, December 22, 1986 - January 2, 1987 Page: 1,312
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Federal Communications Commission Record
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
PR Docket No. 86-2
In the Matter of
Amendment of Part 81 of the
Rules to Permit Public Coast Stations RM-5071
to Serve Vehicles on Land.
REPORT AND ORDER
Adopted: December 9, 1986; Released: December 31, 1986
By the Commission:
1. By Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) released
January 27, 1986, FCC 86-10, 51 FR 4525, in this
proceeding, the Commission proposed to amend Part 81
of the rules to permit VHF public coast stations to serve
vehicles on land on a subsidiary basis. The Commission's
rules currently restrict the use of maritime VHF public
correspondence channels to communications between local
area (VHF) public coast stations and ships and boats.
Service to vehicles on land is prohibited.
2. In the NPRM in this proceeding we pointed out that
our preliminary analysis suggested that permitting public
coast stations to serve land mobile vehicles under certain
conditions might be in the public interest.' However.
because public coast stations utilize frequencies allocated
internationally to the Maritime Service, we expressed our
concern that these operations might diminish maritime
communications and safety services. We also noted a
serious concern about possible intervehicular abuse of the
frequencies particularly if frequency synthesized equipment
were used. Numerous comments were filed in response
to the NPRM both supporting and opposing the
proposal. The commenters are listed in Appendix A.
3. Public coast station licensees generally supported the
proposal. Waterway Communications System, Inc.
(WATERCOM) argues that the advent of cellular service,
the removal of the restriction against Domestic Public
Land Mobile Radio Service (DPLMRS) licensees serving
vessels2 and the prospect of mobile satellite service ensures
that public coast stations no longer have a captive
market for vessel traffic. Midland Enterprises, Inc.
(Midland), a barge and towing service operator, argues
that while maritime users are interested in service on a
demand basis, traditional maritime carriers are legitimately
interested in new traffic opportunities. Several
carriers, including Marine Telephone Co. and those represented
by River Communications. Inc. even suggested
that the scope of services authorized to public coast
stations be expanded to include paging and service to
handheld portable units on land. It is suggested that these
services be permitted on a co-equal basis and that state
regulation be federally preempted to facilitate their implementation.
4. Various television licensees and interests represented
by Maximum Service Telecasters, Inc., K-Six Television,
Inc., and Gateway Communications, Inc. oppose service
to land vehicles in the 216-220 MHz band out of concern
for possible interference to TV reception. WATERCOM,
a licensee for automated maritime telecommunications
service (AMTS) replied that existing rules adequately address
this concern. For the reasons set forth below, we are
not permitting AMTS service to vehicles at this time.
Consequently, we need not further address this issue.
5. A wide range of parties with interests in maritime
communications vigorously opposed the proposal. These
commenters included the U.S. Coast Guard, numerous
barge and tow operators, vessel operators, the National
Marine Electronics Association (NMEA), and the American
Institute of Merchant Shipping. The Coast Guard and
many other commenters argued that "significant and intolerable
harmful interference to the VHF-FM maritime
radio safety service could occur if land mobile users were
permitted to install maritime VHF-FM radio equipment
on land vehicles . . "3 These commenters also argue that
there is no practical and enforceable method of ensuring
that land mobile vehicles will restrict themselves to public
correspondence frequencies, or AXat direct intervehicular
communications will be avoided. Further, they
point out that there would be no practical means to
interrupt the transmission of land mobile messages in
order to ensure maritime priority.4
6. Many maritime users point out that existing VHFFM
public correspondence stations are extremely congested,
particularly in major port areas, and that whatever
relief may eventually be provided by AMTS or cellular
services has yet to be demonstrated. Furthermore, AMTS
service has yet to become operational and the degree to
which it can or should be permitted to accommodate land
mobile service has not been demonstrated.
7. After careful consideration of all the comments we
have concluded that rules permitting all VHF public coast
stations to serve land mobile vehicles should not be
adopted at this time. The conditions we had proposed
were intended to ensure that the expansion of service
would utilize public coast stations' excess capacity and not
impact the stations' normal maritime communications.
While we agree with WATERCOM and Midland in principle
that public coast stations should be permitted to
maximize capacity usage and revenue opportunities, we
conclude that this field is not sufficiently homogenous to
permit such services nationwide. For example, the comments
point out that maritime frequencies in many areas
of the country are already extremely congested. In other
areas of the country however, lakes and rivers freeze over
and other seasonal factors greatly affect capacity. We must
also heed the comments of the Coast Guard and others
about our ability to ensure that land mobile communications
will not derogate maritime communications.5 In
safety services like the Maritime Service this consideration
carries decisional weight.
8. Therefore, because public coast stations utilize frequencies
allocated internationally to the Maritime Service
and this safety service could suffer from harmful interference,
we are not amending our rules as proposed. In light
of our decision not to adopt rules which permit public
coast stations to provide service to land mobile vehicles,
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United States. Federal Communications Commission. FCC Record, Volume 1, No. 7, Pages 1267 to 1368, December 22, 1986 - January 2, 1987, book, January 1987; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1579/m1/51/?rotate=270: accessed June 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.