Federal Communications Commission

Support for the Public Safety and Homeland Security National Broadband Plan recommendations

March 3rd, 2010 by Jennifer Manner - Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

Last week, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Jamie Barnett, Bureau Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, held a press conference announcing several working recommendations in the National Broadband Plan that aim to improve public safety and homeland security communications. The process in developing these proposals has been unprecedented in its transparency, openness, and its data-driven and fact-based emphasis. And, the hard work has not gone unnoticed. The plan has been well received.  This means a lot to the Commission, particularly from first responders and emergency managers who have dedicated their life’s work to helping keep our neighborhoods across America safe.  It is critical that we continue to work together to make meaningful progress toward the creation of a nationwide interoperable wireless broadband network for America’s first responders.

Here are just a few examples of the positive feedback we've received thus far:

Craig Whittington, President of the National Emergency Numbering Association: The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) applauds the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal to create the Emergency Response Interoperability Center (ERIC). “The establishment of the ERIC further demonstrates the Commission’s strong commitment to enabling a critically needed nationwide public safety wireless broadband network,” said NENA President, Craig Whittington, ENP. “ERIC would provide essential oversight and technical assistance to make the deployment of a nationwide wireless public safety broadband network a reality and ensure that the needs of public safety are met,” added Whittington.

Fraternal Order of Police: "In order for our nation's public safety officers to have a robust national broadband network, both the existing spectrum held by the Public Safety Broadband Licensee and the D Block are needed," Canterbury said. "Chairman Genachowski’s and Admiral Barnett presented the FCC's plan for achieving this critically important goal. The FOP believes that public-private partnerships will help law enforcement and other public safety officers develop the advanced broadband network we need to protect our communities and our nation, Canterbury said. "We look forward to working with the Chairman and the Commission as they move forward with this important initiative."

Clearwire issued the following statement: We applaud the FCC’s decision to hold an auction of the 700 MHz D block spectrum.  This Commission clearly understands the benefits competition can bring to consumers and to public safety.  By holding an open auction, the agency will ensure that our nation’s first responders have an interoperable broadband network, as well as access to the best equipment and newest innovations at the best possible prices.

Sprint Nextel: "Chairman Genachowski's plan for nationwide public safety broadband communications promises to break the deadlock over establishing interoperable public safety communications.  The Chairman's statement today rightly emphasizes the need for public safety to have consistent and prompt access to robust, secure interoperable networks of the highest quality.  Public safety users must also have state-of-the-art devices and applications. Sprint Nextel shares the Chairman's goal of ensuring that our nation's first-responders have access to the best wireless broadband services at competitive prices.  For this reason, Sprint Nextel strongly supports the Chairman's approach of relying on competitive forces to ensure the deployment of public safety broadband communications.  By permitting public safety to partner with commercial operators, the Chairman's competition-minded plan not only promises to tackle the national priority of ensuring broadband communications for public safety, but also to create well-paying, high-tech jobs."

4G Coalition, which includes Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, Clearwire, MetroPCS, the Rural Telecommunications Group and Access Spectrum: "The competitive mobile broadband providers of the Coalition for 4G in America applaud Chairman Genachowski for his creative solution to foster a robust public safety broadband network as part of the FCC's National Broadband Plan. The Coalition welcomes the Chairman's proposal to balance the realistic funding and spectrum needs of the public safety community with the imperative of meaningful competition and choice in 4G mobile broadband services. The Coalition looks forward to working with the public safety community, the FCC, and Congress to correctly implement the proposal, have a successful commercial D Block auction and ensure the availability of public safety broadband communications services."

Tom Sugrue, VP Government Affairs at T-Mobile had this to say: "T-Mobile applauds Chairman Genachowski's announcement today that his broadband team will recommend auctioning D Block for commercial mobile broadband use.  The plan announced today provides a framework for a win-win solution that addresses the needs of both public safety and consumers."

And another from WCAI President and CEO Fred Campbell: "On behalf of the Wireless Broadband industry, I applaud Chairman Genachowski for recognizing the importance of wireless broadband for today's global economy and for his commitment to place mobile broadband at the core of the National Broadband Plan. WCAI supports the Chairman's initiatives to unleash more spectrum for mobile broadband, resolve longstanding debates in the WCS band, and develop a comprehensive public safety strategy to improve mobile communications for first respondents. We thank the Chairman, Blair Levin and the rest of the agency's Broadband team for their hard work and look forward to working with the FCC as it finalizes the National Broadband Plan and moves toward its implementation."

Conclusion: Making Technology work for Public Safety

We Want to Hear from the Public

The opportunity we have to leverage 21st century technology to meet 21st century demands has never been greater. With just over two weeks before the National Broadband Plan is due to Congress, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on the framework of the innovative working recommendations that will better help the public safety community protect our communities.


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