Experts Present Update on Broadband for Public Safety

A panel at Fire-Rescue International this week discussed the history of public safety’s fight for broadband.


FirstNet is due to report to Congress for the first time in Feb. 2013.

Early deployment update

Twenty jurisdictions had been approved and 28 were pending approval for early broadband deployment, but just on July 31 the FCC cancelled these authorizations. However, there is a mechanism for those that already meet certain criteria to request new authorization. The panel did not have additional details about why and how since this was a new announcement.

T-Band

The T-Band used by public safety today in the top 11 U.S. metro areas is to be reallocated and auctioned off in Feb 2021, and complete relocation of public safety off of it is due within two years after that. The auction proceeds will go toward relocation costs. The officials advise that if you use T-Band, you should join the NPSTC T-Band Working Group by contacting Barry Luke at bluke@highlands-group.com.

The panel agreed that while all of the next steps are speculative, the timeframe does appear reasonable at this point, and agencies should be ready to work with their state officials and prepare for change.