The Public Safety Spectrum Trust, which holds the 10 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band that would be used for a nationwide broadband network for first responders, last month endorsed Long-Term Evolution as the technology platform for this network. This was no big surprise, as the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, the National Emergency Number Association and the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council all previously expressed their support for LTE. In this issue, Jay Jacobsmeyer provides insight as to why they all have jumped on the LTE bandwagon.

What is surprising is that some people still question whether this network is needed. I think this is because they generally are content with their current data capabilities and have yet to grasp broadband's potential.

Believe me, I understand the thinking. I watch a lot of television when I am home. That's because, as an editor, I spend the rest of my day reading. On my two-hour ride into the city each day, I read the newspaper and do crossword puzzles to keep my vocabulary sharp. Coming home, I read a book. In between, I read the missives of the talented writers who fill these pages each month.

Once I arrive home, I only want to sit in front of the magic box. It is not a high-definition TV, but I am quite pleased with it. Why fork out all that money when I already have a television that gets the job done?

At least that was my attitude before I saw one of these marvels of modern technology. I now want one. More accurately, I covet one. Once I saw what baseball looks like in high-definition, I was sold. I have seen the light.

I believe this analogy holds true regarding the proposed public-safety broadband network. Not long ago, I spoke with PSST Chairman Harlin McEwen about this. He told me that he recently spoke with a group of fire chiefs about the network. They were aware but didn't fully grasp the depth of the initiative or, more importantly, its potential for spectacular new capabilities. After he walked them through it, the chiefs' attitudes changed. “Once they understood how it will benefit them, they were very supportive,” McEwen said. “I found that encouraging.”

Unfortunately, there are many, many chiefs and only so many hours in a day, something that frustrates McEwen. “Unfortunately, we don't have enough evangelical speakers out there,” he said.

Count me among the evangelists. I have learned not to underestimate the power of technology. The proposed 700 MHz broadband network will bring wondrous data capabilities that literally are going to have to be seen to be believed. Come into the light.

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

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