NPSTC Reps Stress Need for Retaining Public Safety Spectrum

LAS VEGAS — Representatives of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council yesterday stressed the importance of the public safety community retaining access to the T-band, 4.9 gigahertz band, and 6 GHz band in the face of attempts to take the frequencies away from first responders.

During a session here yesterday at the APCO 2018 show, Don Root, chair of NPSTC’s Spectrum Management Committee, noted that public safety groups and agencies are concerned that Congress mandated in 2012 that the T-band, which is used heavily by public safety in 11 major markets, be reallocated and auctioned by 2021 and incumbents be relocated by 2023. The T-band encompasses TV channels 14-20 (470-512 megahertz).

Legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to repeal the T-band reallocation mandate (TR Daily, Feb. 27 and Aug. 2).

Mr. Root also noted that public safety is already fighting to convince the FCC not to reallocate the 4.9 GHz band for commercial use and to protect public safety operations in the 6 GHz band from interference.

“The fear is that the FCC has already made up its mind in taking the 4.9 [GHz band] away from public safety, but I think we’ve done a really good job” in explaining why that would be harmful to public safety, said NPSTC board Chair Ralph Haller.

Mr. Haller also cited what he said would be the “devastating impact” of public safety losing access to both the T-band and 4.9 GHz band

In initial comments filed last month (TR Daily, July 9) in response to a sixth further notice of proposed rulemaking seeking views on ways to promote more intensive use of the 4.9 GHz band (TR Daily, March 22), NPSTC said it “supports managed sharing of the band with Critical Industries Infrastructure (CII) entities and opposes reallocation and auction of the band for commercial use. Reallocation of the band would be very detrimental to public safety and likely would not be very productive for commercial carriers. The Commission’s calculation that no more than 3.5% of the potential licensees use the band apparently has created the misimpression that very little of the band’s capacity is in use, an inaccurate picture of the current public safety reliance on the band.”

During yesterday’s session, NPSTC representatives updated the audience on other work of the federation’s committees and working groups.

For example, an LMR-LTE integration working group is finalizing a report with policy recommendations to manage mission critical push-to-talk user IDs. The report is a follow-on to a report released earlier this year (TR Daily, Jan. 10).

Also, the public safety Internet of things working group is “[f]inalizing review of use cases which illustrate public safety use of IoT systems by law enforcement, fire, EMS and secondary responders[,] including interaction and data sharing with Smart Buildings,” according to a presentation at yesterday’s meeting. The working group is “[h]ighlighting common themes among the use cases[,] including the need for data validity, data standardization, cyber security, management and consolidation of data streams,” it added. This fall, the working group “will start work on an education and outreach document that will raise awareness of critical issues for public safety agencies as they consider adoption of IoT solutions.”

Meanwhile, the EMS working group is “[f]inalizing [a] report recommending that EMS agencies evaluate their procedures regarding notification to hospitals during transport of patients with time sensitive medical emergencies (e.g. heart attack, trauma, stroke, sepsis).”

The cross border working group plans to submit a final draft report to the NPSTC board next month that will provide “guidance to PSAPs along the U.S. Canadian border on how to access customer account and location data that resides with a commercial carrier in the other country.”

For its part, the channel naming working group is working to complete “a report examining public safety interoperability issues with LTE Mission Critical Push to Talk[.] An initial conclusion is that interoperability will be managed at the state, regional, and local levels rather than the national level. The report is expected to be presented to the NPSTC board later this year and it will then go to the First Responder Network Authority’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily