Although it has taken almost a year to get the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) back up to full strength, the leadership of the public safety community has not stopped working to promote a new nationwide 700-MHz public safety broadband wireless network. Now, with all five commissioners in...
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NENA sent a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Aug. 12, 2009, about the proposed nationwide public safety network. One proposal suggested in the letter is opposed by others in the public safety community. The NENA proposal to sell the 700-MHz broadband spectrum, currently allocated for public safety and licensed as the PSBL, has brought strong objection from most, if not all, of the other national public safety organizations. Many in the public safety community are outraged that NENA, which has rarely been active in public safety spectrum matters, would promote an idea so contrary to our best interests. Organizations like the IAFC, APCO, IACP and NSA, which worked long and hard in the mid-1990s to get Congress to allocate this spectrum for public safety, have strongly objected to this proposal.
Despite the NENA proposal, it appears that all of the other national public safety organizations are working harmoniously to promote a nationwide public safety broadband network and they should be commended for these efforts. This opportunity for public safety will never come around again and we must all work together to make it happen.
CHARLES WERNER, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a 32-year veteran of the fire service and is fire chief of the Charlottesville, VA, Fire Department. Chief Werner serves on the Virginia Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee, the SAFECOM Executive Committee and the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council Governing Board.