Invoking disturbing images of the Air Florida plane crash in Washington, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina and the emergency communications problems associated with each, a communications company called Cyren Call is asking the FCC to switch gears on plans for UHF spectrum reclaimed from broadcasters and allocate addition spectrum to public safety.
Congressman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who chairs the House Telecommunications Subcommittee that oversees the FCC and has already designated the 700 Mhz band for public safety and commercial use per the FCC's original plan, doesn't like the change.
The FCC was already planning to reclaim 24 Mhz of spectrum for public safety communications from the the 700 Mhz band--channels 52-plus--that is being returned in the digital transition (broadcasters are being relocated below 52). It will auction the rest.
Cyren's plan would be to have that public safety communications reservation (actually it suggests carving out 30 Mhz) be assigned to a single, nationwide, interoperable broadband network funded by private industry, which would lease back some of that spectrum for commercial use. Cyren is volunteering to be the manager of that emergency communications network.
"The DTV bill which Congress recently passed will clear 24 MHz of spectrum for critically important public safety interoperable communications, provide $1 billion for new public safety radios, enable the auctioning of valuable spectrum for new wireless services for consumers all across America, and bring in billions of dollars to the federal treasury from those auctions," said Upton."The Cyren Call proposal threatens to undermine that equation, and for this reason I oppose it."