A public forum to discuss the proposed creation of an emergency response interoperability center (ERIC) for public-safety communications has been rescheduled for March 2, the FCC’s public safety and homeland security bureau announced late last week.

ERIC would provide “a technical and operational framework that will ensure nationwide operability and interoperability from the outset in deployment and operation of the 700 MHz public safety broadband wireless network,” according to a concept paper released by the FCC. The March 2 forum — to be conducted from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST — is the second time the agency has tried to conduct this event; severe winter weather forced the postponement of the original forum, which had been scheduled for Feb. 10.

“ERIC would be a federal group with a strong public-safety flavor — we would like it to have a strong public-safety advisory committee,” PSHSB Chief Jamie Barnett said during the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Winter Summit several weeks ago. “It would look at things like, ‘How are we going to roam between jurisdictions? What are the authentication factors and encryption?’ And, if there are disputes or problems, we would be able to work those out from a technical standpoint.”

A product of responses the FCC received as part of the national broadband plan proceedings, the forum will focus on the structure and roles for ERIC in establishing public-safety interoperability and establishing standards for commercial providers to expand first responder’s access to broadband services nationwide.

Audio/video coverage of the meeting will be broadcast live with captioning over the Internet from the FCC's Web page.