Well Mike, perhaps I can help to enlighten you from the public safety stand point. I'm a volunteer fire chief in a small rural community situated in North Central PA near the NY state line. My county's fire service radios are in the 154MHz band. I derive some of my mutual aid from the neighboring NY state county which operates in the 46MHz band. And my Hazardous Materials Response Team comes from a neighboring PA county that operates in the 450MHz band. Now, add to that the fact that the area police agencies are in another band hopefully you can begin to see the basis of some of the issues at hand. Now duplicate this throughout the country and you get the communications mess that was had during Katrina relief efforts. While everything may be hunky dorie while I'm playing in my own back yard things go to hell in a hurry when things hit the fan someplace else and they want help (you do still remember 9/11 don't you?).

Now move into the (hopefully not too distant) future....... I currently have a laptop computer in my truck that I use for emergency response. While I have various pieces of software on it for Haz-Mat response, GPS and pre-fire planning I am limited on what I can do because I have no way to connect to anyone else with this laptop when I am on the scene of an emergency. I'm not able to use it to get up to date weather information, or to connect to the county's GIS system for up to date facility information, or to email information to a state or national resource for in depth information. And it certainly limits my ability to locate someone to help get your butt off that 900 ft tower when you decide to have a heart attack at about 500 ft and someone calls 9-1-1 and expects us public safety folks to come to your rescue.

It sure would be nice to have a wireless broadband network available to me to connect to that is dedicated for emergency services use to allow me use today (and tomorrow's) technology to my (and ultimately your) benefit. I'd really rather not wake you and make you leave your house at 3am when someone wrecks a truck filled with methyl ethyl bad stuff down the road from you if I can help it. But if I can't look at up to date weather info and see which way the wind is blowing and if there is rain headed that way or not....... guess what...... you're getting out of bed and leaving your happy home until my job is done.

Now, add to this picture the fact that mobile phone service (aka cell phones) is practically non-existent in the vast majority of this area. Are you beginning to get the idea? If you would like to get a little more information on the public safety point of view on this subject visit this web site: http://www.cyrencall.com/ I think you'll find it informative.

I hope that I've been able to illustrate for you just why us public safety folks need our little chunk of that 700 MHz spectrum.

Have a great day and stay safe!

Mike Healy
1st Asst Chief
Tri-Town Fire and Ambulance
Ulysses, PA


Mike Hammett wrote:
What all bands does the public safety "industry" use?

150 MHz
450 MHz
800 MHz
4.9 GHz

4.9 is exclusively public safety.
Nextel was granted some 1.9 GHz so that they would vacate 800 MHz, leaving it 
to public safety.
The others are general commercial bands.

Now the FCC wants to give them 700 MHz.  I'm all about giving them what they 
need, but how much do they need?  This would be the third band they could do 
their nationwide inter-operable network in.


-----
Mike Hammett
Intelligent Computing Solutions
http://www.ics-il.com

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