When I was a small child, I was tormented by an imaginary monster that caused a lot of sleepless nights for me and my parents. There’s nothing quite like being roused from a sound sleep by nightmares about a child-eating monster — or by a hysterical child who has flung himself into your bed.

Eventually, I outgrew that phase, but my imaginary monster was replaced by other insomnia-inducing fears. When I became a father, I worried about my ability to provide for my children. When they became teenagers, I worried about whether they would fall in with the wrong crowd or make poor decisions that would have dire consequences for their well-being and futures. When I learned a few years ago that I had prostate cancer, I tossed and turned for a while. That was OK, though — it gave me the time in the wee hours to do extensive research that enabled me to make a sound decision about what to do.

Today, I’m worried about the giant rocket that NASA wants to build. It’s a behemoth that will be powerful enough to send astronauts to Mars. It also will take roughly a decade to develop and an estimated 65 billion in hard-earned, taxpayer-generated dollars to build. Now, I’m all for scientific exploration. But $65 billion to send someone to Mars to confirm what the robotic rovers already have told us?

That seems like crazy talk to me, especially when one considers that Congress is wringing its hands over whether to reallocate the 700 MHz D Block to public safety and finance the buildout of the nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders that would ride on these airwaves. Keep in mind that this network is expected to cost roughly one-third of what it will take to develop and build this rocket. Perhaps I’m the crazy one, but I believe we taxpayers will get far greater bang for the buck from an investment that will improve dramatically the communications capabilities of first responders.

So, what keeps you up at night? We really want to know and are presenting a webinar next week (on Wednesday, Sept. 21) to find out. Each person who registers for this event — which is sponsored by Cassidian Communications — will be asked to provide a question that is of vital importance to him or her. Perhaps you want to know how to improve network performance. Perhaps you want to know whether — and how — to migrate your network to next-generation technology. Perhaps you want to know whether you should transition from analog to digital. Perhaps you want to know how you’re going to find the money to keep your network operating.

This is your chance to get your questions answered by leading experts. We’ve assembled a powerful panel for this event including:

  • David Furth, deputy chief, FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau;
  • Thomas Chirhart, program manager, DHS Office for Interoperability and Compatibility;
  • Andrew Thiessen, requirements and standards lead, NTIA/NIST Public Safety Communications Research Program;
  • Ralph Haller, chairman, National Public Safety Telecommunications Council;
  • John Powell, chairman, NPSTC Interoperability Committee;
  • Andrew Seybold, CEO and principal analyst, Andrew Seybold Inc.; and
  • Jay Jacobsmeyer, P.E., president, Pericle Communications (and author of most Urgent Communications engineering articles)

I really hope you will take advantage of this unique opportunity — not only to get your questions answered but also to be heard.

What do you think? Tell us in the comment box below.