FCC sets timeline for 4.9 GHz comments, will initiate 911 dispatchable-location proceeding
Public safety and other interested parties can submit comments to the FCC about proposed rules for the 4.9 GHz band by July 6, and the agency plans to begin a proceeding to examine rules mandating that dispatchable-location information be transmitted with all 911 calls, an FCC official said this week.
In March, FCC commissioners adopted a further notice of proposed rulemaking that examines use of the 4.9 GHz band—a 50 MHz swath currently dedicated to public-safety use. The item floats a wide range of proposals and technical rules, as well as the possibility of changing eligibility requirements to include usage by critical-infrastructure and/or commercial entities.
David Furth, deputy bureau chief for the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB), told the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) that the rules for the 4.9 GHz band will be different when the proceeding is complete.
“The reason that all of these options are on the table is that the one option that the commission is not willing to consider is allowing underutilization of the band to continue,” Furth said during the NPSTC meeting.
Comments in the 4.9 GHz proceeding are due on July 6, and reply comments are due on Aug. 6, Furth said.
Furth also noted that the FCC plans to initiate a proceeding “in the next few months” that will examine whether dispatchable-location information should accompany all 911 calls, regardless of the technology used to make the call. Congress has ordered the FCC to consider adopting such rules and complete a rulemaking by September 2019, he said.
In addition, Furth said that 800 MHz rebanding has been completed in Arizona, making it the first state along the U.S.-Mexico border to finish its spectrum reconfiguration work.
The FCC ordered 800 MHz rebanding in 2004, and work on the massive project began in 2005 as an effort that was scheduled to be completed in three years. But rebanding of public-safety systems has taken much longer than expected, and it took years for a U.S.-Mexico agreement to be reached, resulting in significant delays in rebanding work being started along the southern U.S. border.