T-Mobile and Verizon have backed a 4.9 GHz public safety coalition while opposing PSSA’s proposal.
Here are the details of the news.
T-Mobile, Verizon back new 4.9 GHz public safety coalition
The United States‘ leading mobile network operators, T-Mobile and Verizon, have supported the new 4.9 GHz public safety coalition.
The Coalition for Emergency Response and Critical Infrastructure (CERCI) came after the Public Safety Spectrum Alliance (PSSA) suggested that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should award a nationwide license for the 4.9 GHz band to the FirstNet Authority, a broadband network for public safety currently operated by AT&T.
The coalition opposes the PSSA’s proposal to award a nationwide license to First Net and instead wants to keep the 4.9 GHz band under the public safety and other infrastructure industry.
CERCI was founded by T-Mobile, Verizon, US Cellular, the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), the National Sheriffs Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and Edison Electric Institute.
In a letter this week, the group urged the FCC that the 4.9 GHz band should be considered as a locally controlled public safety communications resource serving the public.
In its filing with the FCC, Verizon said, “The commission should reject calls for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to gain nationwide access to the 4.9 GHz band. A FirstNet role in the 4.9 GHz band, moreover, will undermine local control and competition that is serving the interests of public safety.”
T-Mobile issued a similar statement, “The commission should not allow a single entity that represents only one contemplated use of the band, such as FirstNet, to become the band manager. That is especially true when an entity like FirstNet would potentially take a national approach to managing the band, frustrating the needs of the broader community of public safety users, which remain local.”
According to the CERCI coalition, the PSSA proposal would affect local public safety choice and control, end current uses of the 4.9 GHz band, and ” suffocate ongoing user-led development of innovative public safety and critical infrastructure applications.”
The coalition argues that a regional approach would be more efficient in managing the 4.9 GHz band. It said, “Above all, coordination and leasing rules for public safety broadband should align with the FCC’s broader goal of preserving and protecting local control of public safety operations in the band.”
Kenneth Corey, retired chief of the New York Police Department (NYPD), has been appointed as the chairman of CERCI.
Roger Sherman, former chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau at the FCC and Democratic chief counsel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is the coalition’s policy advisor.
Many departments use the 4.9 GHz band. For example, bomb squad robots use it to save people, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) uses it to backhaul traffic from video cameras, and New York City Transit (NYCT) uses it for the subway system’s call box system and on buses.
In California, it is used to control traffic and incidents on highways.
Corey said, “This is not an anti-FirstNet coalition by any means. There are a lot of agencies that use FirstNet, including the NYPD, and they’re very happy with the service they receive. It is also not an ‘anti-AT&T’ coalition.”
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