NPSTC opposes NENA 700 MHz reallocation proposal
Twelve of 13 public-safety associations opposed reallocating the current public-safety 700 MHz broadband spectrum during a National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) Governing Board meeting yesterday, said Doug Aiken, the council’s vice chair.
The board debated a proposal from the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) to auction the 700 MHz broadband spectrum currently licensed to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) and the adjacent 700 MHz D Block spectrum. In August, NENA submitted a letter to the FCC proposing the reallocation of PSST block to create one large D bock and again auction it to commercial services, Aiken said.
NPSTC publicly stated that it does not support the proposal to reallocate the 10 MHz of public-safety 700 MHz broadband block to commercial use, as it would give back scarce public-safety spectrum. Aiken said that the NPSTC has encouraged NENA to abandon its proposal.
“We were surprised [by the proposal] and as far as I know there is no support for NENA in that area,” Aiken said. “I can’t speak for all of the associations, but I do think they were confused about why NENA — after all of this time — came forth with such a proposal after all of the associations worked so hard for years to move the broadband network forward and fought for the spectrum that we already have.”
In other news, Aiken said the NPSTC broadband network task force completed its work, which was accepted at the meeting and is being forwarded to the PSST. The 700 MHz Broadband Network Requirement Task Force (BBTF) Report sets minimum requirements for regional 700 MHz broadband networks that would ensure future interoperability and compatibility with the proposed national public-safety broadband network. He said the need for such minimum requirements developed as a number of major cities in the United States began to file waivers to build regional networks, following the auction that produced no winning bidder of the D Block license in early 2008.
“I think that action and further action now by the PSST will move us closer to doing something about the D block and the construction of the network,” Aiken said. “That’s a positive step.”