A group of industry leaders last week announced the formation of the Government Wireless Technology & Communications Association (GWTCA), a trade association that officials say is being established to represent the communications needs of government public-service entities.

Multiple trade associations and advocacy organizations represent the communications interests of government public-safety and business-industrial entities, but the positions of those groups do not always align with the interests of the non-public-safety government users that GWTCA hopes to represent, according to GWTCA President Chris Lougee.

“I’m getting so many good comments back, from other trade associations and from people in the industry who say, ‘This is an open niche. It’s a constituency that hasn’t really had strong representation,’” Lougee said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.

“There have been trade associations in the past that have tried to meet the needs of parts of this community. But, if you’re not carrying guns and hoses or are not in business and industry, you really have not had a focused champion.”

Alan Tilles, who is serving as GWTCA’s corporate counsel, echoed this sentiment.

“We have created a nonprofit trade association designed to represent the interests of the public-service community—i.e., folks that are government or semi-government workers but are not public safety—because we feel like this has been a non-neglected segment of the wireless industry,” Tilles said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.

“We’re talking about folks like transportation and utilities that are governmental entities, but we’re also talking about the dog catcher. For a long time, there have been arguments with the public-safety community over, ‘Gee, are these folks eligible for our spectrum?’ and there has been a dearth of representation before the FCC on their issues.”

Lougee and Tilles both emphasized that GWTCA does not plan to compete with existing trade associations but to address the needs of a segment of communications users that has not been met directly before. Lougee said that he believes it is important that GWTCA collaborate with other communications-focused organizations “to see where the interests overlap and where we can work together to come up with positions that serve everybody.

“I really don’t think what we want to do is have an adversarial relationship with other users of the spectrum. We need to balance the needs of the spectrum, so that all of these different institutions and agencies can do the things that they want to do—the smart programs, the emerging technologies and a lot of applications that are developing really quickly for the use of wireless technology.”