FCC Plans to Launch Public Safety Center Soon

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau plans to launch soon a beta version of a Public Safety Support Center, which will allow public safety answering points (PSAPs) and other public safety entities to request support or information from the bureau and notify it of problems in the delivery of emergency services, officials said this afternoon at a session at the APCO 2015 show.

Timothy May, NG-911 projects manager in the bureau, said public safety entities will be able to register interference complaints via the online system. He said the bureau is “close to putting the finishing touches” on the center.

Bureau Chief David Simpson said the new center will use the same architecture as the FCC’s consumer complaint system but permit more direct interaction on public safety concerns. He added that “a beta version” of the initiative “will be ready in a couple of weeks.”

During today’s session, Mr. May also said that the FCC’s Task Force on Optimal PSAP Architecture (TFOPA) doesn’t plan to vote on a unified report until early December.

Officials also said that work in the 4.9 gigahertz band proceeding is a priority. Public safety officials have said that the Commission has told them to expect a further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) in the docket. “We are working in that item to bring some more discrete options to bear,” Mr. Simpson said.

Meanwhile, officials noted that seven industry and public safety entities recently proposed principles to help address governance and accountability issues related to the deployment of next-generation 911 (NG-911) systems (TRDaily, Aug. 12).

The entities said that they are continuing to work on “a more specific statement of needs and objectives, considerations, and proposed actions, including timeframes related to those proposals” and expect to have it ready in September.

“We want to hear a diversity of opinion on this,” Mr. Simpson said.

Also during today’s session, it was announced that Commissioners have adopted an NPRM that proposes to amend the FCC’s part 90 rules to enable railroad police officers to access public safety interoperability and mutual aid channels.

In 2014, the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council filed a petition for rulemaking asking the FCC to address the fact that those officers can’t access interoperability channels (TRDaily, May 19, 2014). —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com