Security and Safety

Calif. High-Speed Rail Authority acquires radio spectrum for train communications

Posted on April 28, 2016

California High-Speed Rail Authority
California High-Speed Rail Authority

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) received final approval to acquire exclusive rights to the radio spectrum needed to operate future communications systems for its trains.

The agreement with Access 700 LLC, a subsidiary of Access Spectrum LLC, for 44 frequencies covering the lower section of the state, is critical for the development of secure and reliable train communication systems. These systems include features like Positive Train Control (PTC) and the ability to monitor train conditions and diagnostics, as well as operate security systems along the high-speed rail system.

Radio spectrum is divided into bands of frequencies that have different properties and characteristics. The Authority purchased Access Spectrum’s Upper 700 MHz A Block spectrum because the signal is clear, not susceptible to interference and not shared with other users. As only authorized parties will have access to these frequencies, they are ideal for secure communication between trains, Authority facilities and public safety agencies.

“By obtaining exclusive rights to this spectrum, we will be able to ensure a secure communications network for future high-speed rail operations across California,” said Authority Chief Program Manager Frank Vacca.

The Authority’s board of directors in February approved the agreement to purchase the 44 frequencies at $0.70/MHz-pop (2015). The agreement received final approval from the Federal Communications Commission this month. The Authority has also entered into an agreement to purchase radio spectrum rights (43 frequencies) in the upper geographic area of the state from BPC Spectrum LLC.


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