As part of the National Broadband Plan, the FCC wants to make a portion of the 700-mhz spectrum available for a nationwide wireless public safety network.
The Federal Communication Commission's National Broadband Plan will contain proposals for the creation of a nationwide interoperable wireless broadband network for public safety, according to a briefing Thursday by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.
Efforts to fix the country's patchwork public safety networks have been advocated since problems in the networks surfaced in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and in Hurricane Katrina.
Genachowski said the broadband plan, being prepared for presentation to Congress next month, will recommend an auction of the D-Block band in the 700-MHz spectrum. The D-Block failed to attract any qualifying bids of $1.3 billion or more in an FCC auction held two years ago.
The FCC chairman said the plan will ask Congress to set aside $16-$18 billion over a 10-year period to help build and operate the nationwide public safety network. "The private sector simply is not going to build a nationwide, state-of-the-art, interoperable broadband network for public safety on its own dime," Genachowski said.
Genachowski, who has been previewing sections of the plan on a piecemeal basis, also said the plan calls for the creation of an Emergency Response Interoperability Center at the FCC. The operation would establish a technical framework for nationwide interoperability.
While recommending that the nationwide public safety network access the entire 700-MHz band, Genachowski said as much as 80 megahertz should be set aside for public safety use. But even that's not enough spectrum, he indicated, adding that the plan will propose "a medium and long-term strategy to obtain additional spectrum resources for broadband use," he said. "I am committed to identifying additional spectrum resources for public safety broadband as the need for broadband grows over time."
Genachowski said the plan will also recommend measures to advance next-generation 911 emergency services. He noted that public safety measures in the plan were developed by Admiral Jamie Barnett, chief of the FCC's public safety and homeland security bureau.
Genachowski also revealed a personal aspect to the FCC's public safety deliberations. He recalled that during his college years, he served on ambulances as a certified emergency medical technician. "One of the main reasons I have enormous respect for the vital work that first responders perform in protecting us and in saving lives is that I saw it first hand," he said.
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security EnterpriseTo learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
2017 State of IT ReportIn today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.