Nelson Says He’s Working to Pass NG-911 Bill

Sen. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.), ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, hopes to convince his fellow lawmakers to pass legislation to spur the deployment of next-generation 911 (NG-911) services.

“With your support, we can get this done,” Mr. Nelson said in videotaped remarks last night at a dinner organized by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International.

Mr. Nelson and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) last year introduced legislation (S 2061) to accelerate the deployment of NG-911 services (TR Daily, Nov. 2, 2017).

A companion bill (HR 4672) was introduced in the House the following month by Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (D., Calif.), Frank Pallone Jr. (D., N.J.), ranking member of the full House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Norma Torres (D., Calif.) (TR Daily, Dec. 18, 2017).

During APCO’s Public Safety Broadband Summit today, Jeff Cohen, chief counsel and director-government relations for APCO, discussed the need to get NG-911 legislation through Congress.  He also talked about the FCC’s 4.9 gigahertz band proceeding.

In March, the FCC unanimously adopted a sixth further notice of proposed rulemaking in WP docket 07-100 seeking views on ways to promote more intensive use of the 4940-4990 megahertz band (TR Daily, March 22).

In adopting the item, Republican FCC Commissioners emphasized the potential benefit of repurposing the spectrum for commercial purposes, or at least opening it up to additional usage, citing the fact that the spectrum had not been heavily used since the Commission made it available for public safety agencies in 2002.

But Mr. Cohen said today that the spectrum was uniquely suited for broadband applications such as mobile hot spots for incident coverage or offloading, Wi-Fi on dedicated spectrum, and bandwidth-intensive applications. Use and investment of the band can be increased through frequency coordination, an expanded marketplace, and spectrum-sharing, as long as public safety entities had priority to frequencies and were protected from interference, he suggested. —Paul Kirby,