Public safety groups seek expanded broadband spectrum

January 14, 2010

A group of public safety organizations is pushing (.pdf file) the federal government to dedicate a section of the broadband spectrum to public safety.

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International called the existing public safety allocation on the 700-megahertz band "inadequate" and requested the addition of the 10-MHz "D block" spectrum.

The Federal Communications Commission two years ago attempted to auction off D block to create a public/private partnership for an interoperable network that would provide public safety communications. That auction failed to meet its $1.3 billion minimum bid. Daytona Beach, FL-based APCO criticized such a partnership, stating that a public safety-controlled network is the only way to guarantee the spectrum is available during an emergency.

Along with other public safety organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, APCO on Jan. 12 called on Congress to pass legislation directing FCC to remove auction requirements for D block and allocate it as part of the Public Safety Broadband License.