KANSAS CITY— The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council, or NPSTC, yesterday provided an update on public-safety communications issues the organization currently is tackling, which include giving unused two-way paging channels to public-safety organizations, safeguarding current Part 90 rules and protecting VHF paging.

Many channels auctioned in the 900 MHz band for two-way paging in 1994 are no longer used because of a tremendous amount of industry consolidation resulting in very few paging companies still operating, said Ralph Haller, who works on regulatory issues for the council. As a result, NPSTC recommended that the commission survey all users in the band to determine whether they are using the channels. After the survey is complete, NPSTC wants the FCC to make unused channels available to public safety for short messaging, on a nationwide, regional or local basis. It wants the FCC to do this by rule rather than by auction, Haller said.

Haller also addressed the FCC’s proposed changes to the Part 90 rules that govern land mobile radio operations. Currently, Part 90 covers business, industrial, land transportation and public-safety licensees. The FCC has proposed Part 90 should be divided into two parts, because the wireless telecommunications bureau and public-safety and homeland security bureau are two separate departments under the commission.

“We oppose that, saying we do share common spectrum and they should continue under Part 90 but be administered under both bureaus,” Haller said.

The FCC also has proposed eliminating VHF paging, Haller said. Those in the fire service use VHF paging, but the commission argues it has received interference complaints.

“We think [eliminating VHF paging] would be a bad idea,” Haller said. “Leave paging in place and if there are occasional interference problems we as an industry will take care of it. … The frequency coordinators have the ability to do that—APCO in particular. … To wholesale take away paging in VHF we thought was simply wrong.”