Public-safety group reinforces D Block positions
Representatives of nine public-safety organizations met last week to address matters related to the development of a nationwide interoperable broadband network, but attempts to forge unanimous agreement regarding the best use of the 700 MHz D Block were unsuccessful.
Conducted at the city of New York’s police headquarters, the meeting marked the third time that the group — with representatives from the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCC), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Major County Sheriffs’ Association (MCS), Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association (MFCA), National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) — has met after two meetings in the spring.
Chris Moore, MCC’s chairman of the spectrum working group, said representatives were able to see NYPD’s Real Time Crime Center, which utilizes bandwidth-intensive applications that leverages the city’s 2.5 GHz wireless broadband network to address criminal matters with real-time data.
“I think it demonstrated the need for all 20 MHz [to be allocated to public safety,” Moore said, referring to the commercial D Block and the 10 MHz of public-safety broadband spectrum in the 700 MHz band that currently is licensed to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust.
Indeed, eight of the public-safety organizations reiterated their position that Congress should reallocate the D Block — currently slated for a commercial auction by the FCC—to public safety. NENA has been opposed to this position, offering three other options that its officials believe better address the funding problems associated with the buildout of a proposed nationwide broadband network. NENA representatives did not alter their stance on the matter during the meeting, according to sources attending the meeting.
“There was a lot of good discussion about where everybody was on the issue,” APCO President Richard Mirgon said. “Even though we are pretty much where we were when we went in, I think everybody has a little more respect for each other’s position. The other value was that NENA had a chance to be heard.”
In other matters, the group called for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to “more clearly specify and delineate, and accept applications from, public safety as an entity to receive funding through the next round of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP),” according to a press release from the group.