FCC’s Copps: Cyren Call proposal worth a look
FCC Commissioner Michael Copps yesterday said the two recently unveiled spectrum proposals, including the Cyren Call Communications plan for a nationwide 700 MHz network for public safety, are worthy of public comment but stopped short of asking for a notice of inquiry on Cyren Call’s public-private partnership proposal.
Copps made the comments regarding the Cyren Call proposal and one from M2Z Networks, a new company headed by @Home founder Milo Medin and former FCC Wireless Bureau chief John Muleta, an official in Copp’s office said.
Cyren Call, a venture headed by Nextel Communications co-founder Morgan O’Brien, last month proposed that the FCC grant a public-safety broadband trust half of the 60 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band that is scheduled to be auctioned in 2008. Under the plan, the trust would lease the spectrum to commercial operators on the condition that they build the network to public-safety standards and ensure public safety priority access to the network during emergencies. The operators also could offer commercial services on the network.
Like the Cyren Call proposal, M2Z Network’s recommendation calls for the FCC to grant it spectrum—from 2155 to 2175 MHz—that the company would use to support a network enabling free broadband wireless access nationwide.
Not auctioning spectrum would represent a stark policy change for the FCC, which has generated billions of dollars for the U.S. Treasury by soliciting bids for radio airwaves. The situation is even more difficult in the case of the Cyren Call proposal, because Congress already has included anticipated revenues from the 700 MHz auction in its budget projections.
O’Brien made his first public presentation of the Cyren Call proposal during his opening keynote last week at IWCE in Las Vegas. Public-safety officials, who have sent a letter to key members of Congress asking that the proposal be considered, said they probably would not give up their private LMR voice networks but would be interested in the possibility of a public-safety-grade broadband wireless network.
“Cyren is very pleased Commissioner Copps is advancing the discourse on our proposal, understanding that this is too important to ignore,” O’Brien said today in a statement. “We are encouraged by the calls to action from the public-safety community and look forward to continuing the dialog with Chairman Martin, Commissioner Copps and all of the FCC commissioners.”
Cyren Call has asked that the FCC open a notice of inquiry on its proposal, so a formal comment process can be conducted. While Copps expressed an interest in discussing the proposals from Cyren Call and M2Z Networks, his comments should not be interpreted as a request to open an inquiry on the matters, the official from his office said.