FirstNet 101

On November 26, 2012, in General, by with SRA International

This is the first in an occasional series of updates on the National Public Safety Broadband Network. 

Broadband is a big issue for our readers–especially where it  intersects with alerts and warnings. You have probably read one of the more popular examples of how first responders will be able to use broadband, by allowing them to send and receive video and data. However, it is also being recommended that the FCC begin exploring next generation alerting systems, where alerts are delivered via broadband. These alerts could include video and the capability to reach those communities now underserved, such as persons with disabilities and non-English speakers. We at AWARE thought it was time to take a closer look at the National Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), beginning with some background information. Continue reading »

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The independent board set up to lead the build-out of a nationwide public safety broadband network has begun the challenging work of designing a blueprint for this endeavor. As reported by Homeland Security Today, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is already encountering the multitude of coordination challenges facing this project, coming off its inaugural board meeting on September 25. Continue reading »

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As AWARE previously reported, the Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Julius Genachowski, appointed David Turetsky as the Commission’s new Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau in May 2012. Given this recent transition, we thought it would be a good opportunity to explore what priorities Chief Turetsky has for public safety communications.

To AWARE’s knowledge, Chief Turetsky has not issued a formal public statement regarding his priorities as Bureau Chief, but Turetsky’s recent speeches and statements to the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), and the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications Committee highlight several probable areas of priority for Turetsky. Continue reading »

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The Quest for Spectrum Continues…

On March 1, 2011, in General, by with SRA International

As the FCC continues to pursue President Obama’s call in June, 2010 to identify an additional 500 MHz of spectrum to “unleash the wireless broadband revolution,” a new approach has cropped up in the latest budget document.  In addition to the “carrot” proposed to broadcasters holding valuable spectrum with Voluntary Incentive Auctions, the new budget document released 1 February contains a “stick,” a new spectrum license fee.  From the budget:

 “To promote efficient use of the electromagnetic spectrum, the Administration proposes to provide the FCC with new authority to use other economic mechanisms, such as fees, as a spectrum management tool. The FCC would be authorized to set user fees on unauctioned spectrum licenses based on spectrum-management principles. Fees would be phased in over time as part of an ongoing rulemaking process to determine the appropriate application and level for fees. Fee collections are estimated to begin in 2011, and total $4.8 billion through 2021.”  (2012 President’s Budget, “Other Independent Agencies” Appendix, “Federal Communications Commission” section, “Spectrum License User Fee” subsection)

By aiming these fees at “unauctioned spectrum licenses,” the government seems to be targeting the very broadcasters who are nervous about how voluntary those Voluntary Incentive Auctions will really be…

 Some articles on the topic:

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