When President Barack Obama signed into law the payroll-tax-cut extension last month, which reallocates the 700 MHz D Block spectrum to public safety, it also gave up some UHF public safety spectrum — located between 470 MHz and 512 MHz – in 13 of the largest markets. Congress decided that public safety should return that spectrum to the FCC for auctioning within 10 years.
“We fought hard to not give that [700 MHz narrowband] spectrum back in exchange for the D Block,” said Harlin McEwen, chairman of the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) — the current licensee of the 10 MHz of public safety’s 700 MHz broadband spectrum.
“But Congress is not kind to people who want things — they always want to get something in return. At the very last minute, they insisted that the T-band be scheduled for reallocation in 9 or 10 years from now.”
According to Urgent.com, the consensus thinking among public safety’s leaders is that giving up the T-Band in order to get the D Block was a very small price to pay, especially when considering that some members of Congress wanted public safety to give up its narrowband spectrum in the 700 MHz band.
“None of this should diminish the monumental achievement that gaining the D Block and $7 billion in federal funding represents. A great many people — including numerous members of the fire service, notably past IAFC President Jeff Johnson — put their heart and soul into this effort, said Al Gillespi, president and chairman of the board of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
Johnson said the proposed 20 MHz LTE network would have the capacity necessary to transmit mission-critical, high-resolution data and later voice communications. Among other applications, it will support future fire service–based data applications, such as accessing traffic camera videos at the dispatch center in order to better prepare for incident response.
Related stories on DailyWireless include; FCC Gets White Space Autonomy, D-Block Gets a Hearing, National Wireless Initiative, White House: D-Block to Police/Fire, State of the Spectrum, FCC Green Lights Lightsquared, Charlie’s Big Play, Phoney Spectrum Crisis?, Oregon’s $600M Public Safety Network Likely Killed