FCC meeting tomorrow to focus on public safety broadband

The FCC will host an open meeting tomorrow to discuss rules to implement a nationwide, broadband, interoperable public-safety network in the 700 MHz band.

One of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's primarily goals has been to come up with a way for emergency responders to communicate with each other during a crisis. The National Broadband Plan, which was released last year, found that nearly a decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many public-safety radio systems lack basic interoperability.

Jamie Barnett, chief of the FCC's public-safety and homeland security bureau, last year indicated the FCC is considering a D Block auction and is lobbying Congress to fund the rollout of the public-safety network. The issue is key for T-Mobile USA, which has been petitioning the FCC to auction the D Block spectrum, and then require licensees to share services with first responders. T-Mobile has acknowledged it needs additional spectrum to offer LTE network technology.

In May the FCC granted 21 conditional waivers to regional and local entities to begin building wireless broadband networks for first responders in the 700 MHz band. But the FCC placed several conditions on the networks, including that the networks be deployed in a common interoperability framework in coordination with the FCC's Emergency Response Interoperability Center.

For more:
- see this FCC release
- see this Tech Daily Dose article

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