APCO Applauds Congress on a Bipartisan Compromise to Provide Public Safety with the Spectrum, Funding and Authority to Launch a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of a major legislative package for the extension of payroll tax relief and unemployment benefits, House and Senate conferees have come to an agreement that will provide public safety with the spectrum, funding and authority necessary to launch a long overdue nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.  While other legislative details of the larger package remain to be worked out, negotiators have signaled agreement on the allocation of D Block to public safety and related funding and governance provisions.

“APCO International thanks our congressional supporters on both sides of the aisle in both chambers of Congress for their dedication to responsibly achieving the build out of a Public Safety Broadband Network and in supporting Next Generation 9-1-1 technologies,” said Gregg Riddle, APCO International President.  “We pledge our full cooperation in the implementation of this legislation for the betterment of our nation’s security and look forward to working with these dedicated congressional leaders in the future on important legislation to public safety and the citizens we serve.”

APCO specifically applauds the tireless dedication on this issue of Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller, IV (D-WV) and Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI6), Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR2) and Ranking Members Henry Waxman (D-CA30) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA14).

“This is a momentous legislative achievement for our first responders and the citizens they serve with credit going to the Commerce Committee leadership in both the House and Senate and extending as well to the unwavering support of the Homeland Security Committee leadership in both chambers, the Obama Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the nation’s governors, state legislators, state chief information officers, county executives, mayors and the police, sheriff, fire, emergency medical service and 9-1-1 communications professionals throughout the country,” said Richard Mirgon, APCO International Past President and liaison to the Public Safety Alliance.  “This compromise is a victory for the citizens of the United States that will enhance mission-critical communications in a flexible and responsible way that supports nationwide interoperability and efficient use of available spectrum.”

Based on the details available at press time, the bipartisan compromise provides for the allocation of D Block to public safety to be governed through an independent board under the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), funding of $7 billion for the build out of the network to come from proceeds of incentive auctions of spectrum, and the eventual give-back of spectrum in the 470-512 MHz or T-Band on a projected 11-year timetable for clearance of the channels with the costs supported for the relocation of these licensees.  The legislation also includes funding for Next Generation 9-1-1 technologies.

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About APCO International
APCO International (www.apcointl.org) is the world’s largest organization of public safety communications professionals. It serves the needs of public safety communications practitioners worldwide—and the welfare of the general public as a whole—by providing complete expertise, professional development, technical assistance, advocacy and outreach.

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4 Responses to “APCO Applauds Congress on a Bipartisan Compromise to Provide Public Safety with the Spectrum, Funding and Authority to Launch a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network”

  1. Anonymous February 16, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    With the way our government leaders and Congress have been acting over the recent past, my bet is we haven’t heard the end of this story.  It is good news to hear that public safety communications upgrades might just be able to creep along again.  However, with the comment about loosing the 470 to 512 MHz segment over the next 11 years might not set well with a number of agencies.  One that comes to mind is Washington County, MD.  Yup, they just built out a brand new trunking system in this segment.  I am sure there are other agencies that will cry foul.

    Maybe time has come for our country leaders and Congress to come to the table and try to understand just what they are doing.  Stop being wined and dined by the radio companies.  They are the only real winners here.  Just think of all the new radio equipment these companies will get to sell. 

    The simple task of narrow banding the VHF and UHF bands have been turned into a gold mine of income by these same companies.  The sales forces have been twisting the arms of every radio customer they can find.  The truth bent a bunch into making the end customer thinking he has to replace radios they just bought maybe a few years back.  These sales people are not telling these customers that it would only take some simple reprogramming of their newer radios to meet the requirement to go narrow banded.

    It looks like Congress is being led around like they have a ring in their noses like farmers put on their cattle by these same radio companies.  Maybe it’s time the Washington cronies club be replaced by people that have some common sense and a smaller stomach.  With what they have done up there on the hill over the last few years is worst than the foreclosure mess the country is in.  We need people in Congress that care about the common person and not their retirement being paid by us commoners after only one term.  My vote is going to just about any new comer rather than supporting the old boys club any more.

  2. Kevink1955 February 23, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    The give back of the 470-512 band is short sighted and unacceptable, most if not all licenses in the band have just spent untold amounts of money to narrow band and a large LI Police Dept has just rolled out a trunked system in T band. Around here most local FD use T band for operations and fireground as well as voice paging members to respond.

    The local Cell providers have been proven unable to manage their systems during major emergencys such as the VA earthquake and recent northeasters and the long term power failures that followed. Just how well will they manage a PS system.

    What about the NFPA requirement for simplex on fireground operations, I can see us all having Nextel like devices and hearing nothing but channel denied bonks during an emergency.

    While the new 700 mhz alocations will have many applicatons we cannot give back the T Band, I hope APCO sees the problems this will create and goes to bat for us.

  3. Keri Losavio February 27, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    APCO International Past President Richard Mirgon responds: “I appreciate your comments and concerns and everyone is public safety is very concerned with the T Band issue. First I would like to comment on your cell provider comments. We agree with your position and that has been one of the key issues of this effort. Cellular companies cannot provide the level of service we require and they agree with that which is why most carriers supported our efforts to acquire the D Block.

    “Our objective is to build a public safety grade, mission critical data network that someday will support voice to include talk around. However those advanced features are a few years out.

    “As to your concern over the D Block. A lot of moving parts must fall into place before that spectrum must be vacated. One of those key parts is that the federal government must pay for the new equipment to relocate T Band users to another band or part of the UHF band that meets our needs. I am confident that when the time comes the funding and spectrum and technology will be there to support your needs. We should remember that this is not the first time public safety has had to vacate spectrum. I am confident we will find the right solution for all those impacted.”

  4. Kevink1955 February 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Thank you for responding.

    As APCO is well aware there is no UHF spectrum avaiable in the NY area avaiable to relocate us to so what happens to us next is anyones guess.

    As to the Cell companys operating a network for us the problems we have had with them during major events has not been overloading the existing frequencys it’s been their inability to keep their sites operating due to power problems and intersite communication problems.

    Also to saddle the public safety sector with monthly access fees to operate a radio system that was previously free in todays belt tightning economy will hurt us badly.

    The broadband aspect of 700 mhz will be usefull but for voice traffic there is nothing like having your entire system under your own control. In todays system if our main and backup radios go down we can always page and operate from the command post.

    Glad to see APCO has an understanding of our problem, we just feel badly that frequency allocation as far as the government is concerned has come down to who is willing to pay the most money.

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