FCC Seeks Public Input on Public Safety Spectrum


 
 

Chloe Albanesius | | Thursday, May 15, 2008


The fate of a public safety network for emergency responder is in your hands.

Well, sort of. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday opened a 30-day public comment period on spectrum that is supposed to be set aside for public safety use.

The highly valuable 700-MHz spectrum, which will allow for wireless broadband capabilities, will become available after the digital TV transition in February 2009. Though the auction attracted more than $19 billion in bids on four of the five available blocks of spectrum, the d-block failed to meet its $1.3 billion reserve price.

A winning d-block bid entitles that company to 10 MHz of spectrum, which they can use in conjunction with 10 MHz of spectrum that Congress awarded to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST). The FCC had the option of stripping the d-block of public safety requirements and re-auctioning it without any conditions, but will instead solicit comment from stakeholders on how best to proceed.

How should the d-block rules be revised? Is it in the public interest to retain a public-private partnership between the d-block winner and public safety license holders? Should entities that provide public safety services be the only people who can use the public safety spectrum portion of the shared network?

These are just some of the questions the FCC is looking to have answered. The commission also wants input on license requirements, potential fees, and whether the FCC should ban certain companies from bidding.

"I am pleased that this further notice turns a critical eye on the specific parameters of the partnership, and ways to ensure the commercial viability of this endeavor by providing greater certainty to all parties involved," FCC chairman Kevin Martin said in a statement.

Martin promised to hold a hearing on the d-block in the near future, and to act "with deliberate speed to address these issues both thoughtfully and quickly."

"Now that we are not facing a hard-and-fast auction deadline, the right course is to work out the difficult questions in advance--thus providing much needed certainty and predictability to public safety, potential bidders, their investors, the public, the FCC and Congress," said Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps. "In particular, I hope that parties will be extremely specific in discussing what functions they believe this public safety network needs to fulfill and what network specifications are necessary to meet these needs."

Harlin McEwen, chairman of the PSST, said in a statement that he hopes the comment period "will result in rules bringing about the right partner to build a shared public safety/commercial network."




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Communications and Dispatch, Operations and Protcols

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Mechanical CPR is Producing Resuscitation Results Beyond Expectations

Discover why clinical studies are finding mechanical CPR just as effective as optimally-performed CPR.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New Technology Helps Missouri Ambulances

Strategic GPS tracking helps in Springfield.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Profile: Hospital Wing Air Ambulance

Take a look inside this Memphis service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Monitors for Wyoming EMS

Grant helps Torrington EMS get new equipment.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

London Medics Increasingly Attacked

One medic describes her violent confrontation.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Violence, Arson in Ferguson

Crowds in Ferguson and elsewhere react to decision.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

California Bus Rollover

One killed and dozens injured.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Buffalo Residents Dig Out and Prepare for Flooding

Flooding expected as heavy snow melts.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >