700 MHz guard-band licensees push for public-safety network
By Heather Forsgren Weaver
Oct 2, 2006

WASHINGTON—Guard-band licensees in the 700 MHz band late Friday asked
the Federal Communications Commission to scrap the current band plan and
to instead offer bidding credits for entities that wish to establish
partnerships with public safety.

“This plan will facilitate the creation of a nationwide interoperable
broadband network for public safety by addressing the cost, which is the
most formidable obstacle preventing the deployment of such a network.
The beauty of this approach is that it has the potential to provide
considerable benefits for our nation’s first responders without
upsetting the delicate balance Congress created when it instructed the
FCC to auction the spectrum for commercial use,” said Michael
Gottdenker, chairman and chief executive officer of Access Spectrum L.L.C.
continued below
Click Here!

Access Spectrum was joined by Pegasus Communications Corp. in pushing
for the plan. The companies previously asked the FCC to scrap the
band-manager concept and to allow cellular operations in the guard bands.

This new proposal by Access Spectrum and Pegasus, filed in the FCC’s
proceeding to re-examine the 700 MHz commercial band, seems to take
Cyren Call Communications Inc. up on its challenge to develop a
nationwide interoperable broadband network for priority use by public
safety, but shared by commercial entities in non-crisis times.

“Unlike the plan suggested by Cyren Call, this approach does not require
legislation to prevent the congressionally-mandated auction and allows
multiple service providers the opportunity to bid for the privilege of
providing service to the public-safety community,” said Gottdenker.

The FCC created two guard bands for spectrum in the 700 MHz band,
separating commercial and public-safety uses. One guard band includes a
pair of 2-megahertz blocks located at 746-747/776-777 MHz and the other
is a pair of 1-megahertz blocks at 762-764/792-794 MHz.

The commission decided it didn't want the guard bands to be operated
like other commercial spectrum so it created the band-manager concept.
The guard-band managers bid for the 52 major economic area licenses in
two auctions earlier this decade and were supposed to lease that
spectrum to other users. To make sure licensees did not use the
spectrum, but rather managed the spectrum by leasing it to others, the
FCC allowed band managers to use less than half of the spectrum for
internal operations. This prohibition has become cumbersome for the
licensees in the band, so early this year the commission asked whether
it should be removed.

The lack of use in the guard bands also is being revisited because
Congress has finally set a date for when TV broadcasters must vacate the
spectrum in question.

Many believe the uncertainty as to when all of the spectrum could be
used has been a disincentive to successful guard-band operations.

Cyren Call has asked Congress and the FCC to set aside 30 megahertz of
spectrum in the upper 700 MHz band for a public-safety network that the
wireless industry would build and share with first responders. Cyren
Call envisions a public-private partnership with commercial operators
that would underwrite network-infrastructure deployments in the 700 MHz
band. First responders and others would have preferential access to the
30 megahertz during emergencies, but would otherwise occupy a very small
portion of the network capacity to satisfy day-to-day public-safety

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin told the Democratic members of the Senate
Commerce Committee last month that the FCC plans to put the Cyren Call
petition out for public comment shortly, but it has yet to happen.

In addition to the Cyren Call plan and the Access Spectrum/Pegasus plan,
Verizon Wireless has been floating a plan to build a public-safety
network, using 12 of the 24 megahertz set aside at 700 MHz for public
safety as part of the transition to digital TV. Also, wireless trade
association CTIA is examining whether it can develop a plan for
commercial/public-safety sharing.

Congress has already designated 24 megahertz of the 700 MHz band for
public safety; the rest is to be auctioned. The Cyren Call plan would
allocate two 15-megahertz chunks-spectrum currently scheduled to be
auctioned—on either side of this 24-megahertz public-safety allocation
for its public-private partnership.

Rather than use the 30 megahertz of spectrum Congress wants auctioned,
the alternate plan by Verizon Wireless would focus on the 24 megahertz
already allocated to public safety.


WISPA Wireless List: wireless@wispa.org


Archives: http://lists.wispa.org/pipermail/wireless/

Reply via email to