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On July 31, 2007, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made a monumental decision and voted in favor of setting aside additional 700-MHz radio spectrum for a public safety broadband network.
The following is an excerpt from a press release issued by the FCC: "In a Second Report and Order adopted today, the Federal Communications Commission revised the 700-MHz band plan and service rules to promote the creation of a nationwide interoperable broadband network for public safety and to facilitate the availability of new and innovative wireless broadband services for consumers.
"Today's Order establishes a framework for a 700-MHz Public Safety/Private Partnership between the licensee for one of the commercial spectrum blocks and the licensee for the public safety broadband spectrum. As part of the partnership, the commercial licensee will build out a nationwide, interoperable broadband network for the use of public safety. This network will facilitate effective communications among first responders not just in emergencies, but as part of cooperative communications plans that will enable first responders from different disciplines, such as police and fire departments, and jurisdictions to work together in emergency preparedness and response. Under the partnership, the public safety broadband licensee will have priority access to the commercial spectrum in times of emergency, and the commercial will be preemptable, secondary access to the public safety broadband spectrum." (To access the full FCC press release, access http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-275669A1.doc.)