Security firm wants safeguards in move to reconfigure 800 MHz band
Wackenhut, a company known for providing security services including uniformed security officers, investigations, background checks, emergency protection and security audits and assessments, has told the FCC how it could be adversely affected by rebanding the 800 MHz band in the government’s effort to reduce or eliminate interference to public safety radio communications.
The problem for Wackenhut involves its 800 MHz radio system in southeast Florida that supports its “quasi-law enforcement” security operations. The company said that its 800 MHz system is a “lifeline” during emergencies, “Bolo’s” (be-on-the-lookout alerts), and special events, and for day-to-day communications with law enforcement and Miami Dade Transit personnel.
A possible future requirement for frequency changes for licensees of existing radio systems in the 800 MHz General Category band, which would include Wackenhut, worries the company because a potential disruption to its operations “could have serious or even life-threatening consequences.”
Wackenhut said that a band reconfiguration plan “must be accompanied by explicit rules to ensure that systems do not suffer any service interruptions or ‘down time’ during the retuning or relocation process. Among the necessary safeguards would be provisions that enable licensees to implement duplicate or redundant equipment where necessary to prevent such disruption and to obtain reimbursement for any reasonable costs incurred therefrom.”
Wackenhut listed among its customers for which it provides armed, former law-enforcement personnel:
Miami’s Metrorail/Metromover system —250 security officers
Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority — 40 security officers
“Wackenhut’s stand-alone 800 MHz radio system played a persuasive role in its ability to secure each of these contracts. In fact, each party’s Request for Proposal stipulated the customer’s preference that the winning contractor own and operate an 800 MHz system. Wackenhut believes that the loss of its 800 MHz stand-alone system would place these contracts in jeopardy,” the company told the FCC.
Wackenhut put the value of its radio system, including its communications center within the Miami Date Transit Central Command Center, repeaters and about 850 hand-held units, at $1.5 million. It said that retuning the system to new frequencies would cost as much as $125,000, and that the FCC should provide a mechanism for the company to recover retuning costs.
The company expressed its concern in an ex parte comment filed with the FCC in the federal agency’s WT Docket No. 02-55 proceeding.