The Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST)—an organization most industry observers consider the favorite to serve as the national public-safety licensee for 700 MHz broadband services—today announced Cyren Call Communications as its agent/advisor.

"The PSST spent the last several weeks reviewing responses, interviewing prospective candidates and further defining the role of our advisor,” PSST President Harlin McEwen said in a prepared statement. “The Cyren Call team contains the right mix of skill and experience and we are confident their contributions will make the public safety network a success."

In the spring of 2006, Cyren Call Chairman Morgan O’Brien—co-founder of Nextel Communications—unveiled a proposal to establish a public-private partnership in the 700 MHz band to build and maintain a nationwide broadband wireless network developed to meet public-safety standards. Although the original Cyren Call proposal was nixed, the concept is at the heart of the FCC’s 700 MHz order approved on July 31, calling for the public-safety licensee to reach a network-sharing agreement with the winner of the D Block auction.

At the moment, the PSST is not the national public-safety licensee, but it is the only organization to date that has expressed interest publicly in the position. Applications to fill the national licensee role are due to the FCC on Wednesday.

In July, the PSST received 10 applications from organizations to serve as the PSST’s agent/advisor, and three finalists were interviewed for the post in August with the idea of making a selection soon after. However, the process was halted until the PSST was able to align its board with the FCC’s new requirements announced last week. Today’s conference call represented the first meeting of the newly constituted PSST board.

In an interview with MRT, McEwen said all three of the finalists were “excellent” and each exhibited valuable expertise—so much so that the PSST could hire the two unnamed finalists to do work in the future.

“There’s lots of work to be done in a quick order, so it’s very likely that we may reach out to them to help us with some of the tasks, and both of them indicated that they were interested in working with us,” McEwen said.

If the PSST is named as the national public-safety licensee, Cyren Call will be play a pivotal role in establishing and publicizing public-safety requirements that the D Block auction winner would have to meet in order to forge a network-sharing agreement with public safety. These requirements will be a critical component to commercial entities interested in bidding for the D Block spectrum in the auction, which is scheduled to begin on Jan. 16.

While D Block auction participants technically will be bidding on 10 MHz of spectrum, they are expected to negotiate a deal with the public-safety licensee to also let the network use 10 MHz of public-safety spectrum. Public-safety traffic would be given priority on the network at all times, and public safety would be allowed to use the commercial spectrum in times of emergency. Conversely, the commercial operator could use public-safety spectrum for commercial purposes when first responders are not using those airwaves.