Broadband for Public Safety

  On March 16, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the National Broadband Plan (NBP). This launched a new chapter in the ongoing saga of the public safety community's attempt to achieve a nationwide broadband wireless...


  On March 16, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the National Broadband Plan (NBP). This launched a new chapter in the ongoing saga of the public safety community's attempt to achieve a nationwide broadband wireless network for emergency responders. Leading up...


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Also, two videos have been produced through the assistance of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (http://www.firehero.org) and Dave Statter (http://www.statter911.com). One is designed to inform members of the American fire service and the other is focused on elected officials and the media. A message to the American fire service can be viewed at http://.youtube.com/watch?v=a2qc4lT4-Zs>; a message from the American fire service to elected officials and the media is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seN5gWmBsTA.

Andrew Seybold, CEO and principal analyst of Andrew Seybold Inc., provides a public safety advocacy website and newsletter. He has stepped up throughout the process to be a true public safety advocate and has challenged the FCC by writing rebuttal letters and white papers for the record. The website and newsletter registration can be found at http://andrewseybold.com/publications/public-safety-advocate-e-newsletter.

This is a one-time opportunity to get the necessary spectrum and funding to build an interoperable nationwide broadband wireless network to benefit all of public safety. Now is the time to get fully involved and make this a reality.

CHARLES L. WERNER, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a 34-year veteran of the fire service and chief of the Charlottesville, VA, Fire Department. He serves on the Virginia Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee, Virginia Secure Commonwealth Panel, National Public Safety Telecommunications Council Governing Board and IAFC Communications Committee. Werner is chair of the IAFC Technology Council, first vice president of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association and chair of the DHS SAFECOM Executive Committee.

NTIA hosts Vendor-Carrier Meeting with Public Safety

On Sept. 1, two very encouraging meetings were held. First, a Vendor-Carrier Meeting was held at the Department of Commerce in Washington, DC. This meeting was arranged by Anna Gomez, deputy assistant secretary of Commerce for Telecommunications and Information, and facilitated by Aneesh Chopra, assistant to the President and chief technology officer. This was a collaborative meeting that included the White House, Department of Commerce/National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice.

Other key officials who participated were Gregory Schaffer, DHS assistant secretary, Cybersecurity and Communications; Phil Weiser of the National Economic Council; Chris Essid, director of the DHS Office of Emergency Communications; Marisa Chun, deputy associate attorney general; Bernard Melekian, director of the COPS Program; Dereck Orr, program manager, Public Safety Communications Standards (PSCS); and several NTIA, Homeland Security and Justice staff members.

In essence, this was a very overdue meeting with and between device vendors, wireless carriers and public safety representatives. This was the first chance for everyone to learn the perspectives of each and discuss near- and long-term opportunities for success. As facilitator, Chopra fostered a thoughtful and meaningful dialogue that encouraged an open discussion. It opened a door of understanding of the possible, to identify the challenges/gaps ahead, but more importantly, the importance of a clear vision forward in order to achieve success for public safety, device vendors and wireless carriers alike.

Doug Onhaizer, director of public safety programs at SEARCH, the National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics, presented recent results from a discussion on requirements for a public safety broadband network and devices.

Public safety has desired such a meeting for a long time and it proved to be a very positive step toward further discussions to frame what is necessary to build and maintain a nationwide public safety broadband wireless network as well as a successful plan for the design and deployment of the wireless devices for public safety. Public safety representatives for this meeting included Harlin McEwen of the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST), Chuck Dowd of the Public Safety Alliance (PSA) and Charles L. Werner of the SAFECOM Executive Committee.

The second meeting focused on public safety software and applications for the new public safety broadband network. Mc-Ewen and Chuck Dowd participated, representing public safety.

This type of collaborative spirit is absolutely a positive and necessary element for a successful public safety broadband wireless network.

—Charles L. Werner