Support Grows Dramatically For 20-MHz Nationwide Interoperable Public Safety Broadband Network

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Administration Identifies Funding and Ten More National Organizations Join D-Block Quest

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Political competition between large multi-national corporations should never take a front seat to the needs of our officers’ and citizens’ safety. Public safety needs the foundational infrastructure provided by this particular 20-MHz swath of spectrum, including the D Block, within the 700 MHz band in order to not optimally, but adequately build out sufficient broadband capability.

The Public Safety Alliance (PSA) today applauded the Administration for identifying alternative spectrum that could be auctioned to commercial carriers to provide sufficient federal funding to quickly construct, maintain, and operate a 20 MHz nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network, eliminating the need to auction the D Block.

“We applaud the administration for identifying this alternative spectrum instead of the D Block to support public safety,” APCO International President and PSA spokesperson Richard Mirgon said. “It is another key step toward a long overdue solution to the interoperability problems, and broadband spectrum needs of our Nation’s first, second and situational preventers and responders. At this point, there is no legitimate reason for the FCC to rush to auction the D Block since alternative revenue sources from spectrum auction have been identified.”

In addition, the National Troopers Coalition (NTC), the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the National Association of Regional Councils joined with a large coalition of emergency medical services related organizations in the past week to express their strong support for a 20-MHz spectrum commitment to public safety, consistent with the minimum amount of spectrum used for all known commercial deployments of Long Term Evolution (LTE) broadband in the world to date. Specifically, these organizations have joined a growing and increasingly diverse effort to get Congress to take the D Block off the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) auction list and allocate it to public safety to join the current 10 MHz already dedicated for a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network. To do so, the 111th Congress must pass legislation, such as H.R. 5081: The Broadband for First Responders Act of 2010, before it concludes its business this year. Although, if appropriations language is introduced and passed it could exclude the FCC from moving to auction the D Block in Fiscal Year 2011, which begins this October and ends in September 2011.

“Our first concern is always for the men and women who wear the uniform, to ensure that they are protected and supported to the utmost ability when they are out, often alone, in the most wirelessly remote rural and urban areas of our nation, states and roadways,” NTC Chairman Mike Edes said. “Political competition between large multi-national corporations should never take a front seat to the needs of our officers’ and citizens’ safety. Public safety needs the foundational infrastructure provided by this particular 20-MHz swath of spectrum, including the D Block, within the 700 MHz band in order to not optimally, but adequately build out sufficient broadband capability.”

For more information on the Public Safety Alliance and all the supporting organizations, visit http://www.psafirst.org.

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Courtney McCarron Hastings
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