Ex-Nextel exec aims to fix public-safety crisis

Cyren Call Communications, a new company led by former Nextel executive Morgan O'Brien, will today ask the FCC to initiate a rule to reserve a large piece of 700 MHz spectrum that will be given up by TV broadcasters to create a nationwide broadband public-safety network. The proposal aims to enable interoperability for public-safety communications. Lack of interoperability has seriously impaired public safety's ability to adequately respond to major emergencies such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Cyren Call wants a public-private partnership with commercial operators that would fund network infrastructure deployment in exchange for leveraging the 700 MHz band for wireless business opportunities. First responders and others would have first access to the 30-megahertz block during emergencies, but would otherwise use a small part of network capacity to satisfy daily public-safety requirements. Specifically, the FCC would oversee a single licensee-known as the Public Safety Broadband Trust with the authority to lease capacity in the 700 MHz block to companies that are helping to construct the national broadband public-safety system.

Lack of funds have hampered public safety's ability to interoperate, and public-private partnerships have been talked about but have never moved beyond the mere discussion stage since operators haven't had an economic incentive to partner with first responders. State and local public-safety agencies will already receive 24 megahertz in the 700 MHz band, separate from the 30 megahertz in the band sought by Cyren. But since the frequencies were allocated nearly a decade ago, the FCC already has configured half of the spectrum for voice and the other half for broadband data services, and it's not clear how much public safety can utilize the 24 megahertz for broadband services.

To read more about Cyren's public-safety plan:
- check out this article from RCR Wireless News