What FCC Policy Has Had the Most Impact this Year?
September 02, 2009
Senior Vice President
Enterprise Mobility Solutions
The policy that has the most impact on the communications industry is the conclusion of the digital TV (DTV) transition on June 12. That event marked the nationwide clearing of 108 megahertz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band for a combination of public-safety and commercial deployment. Public-safety agencies throughout the country can now deploy Project 25 (P25) systems in the 700 MHz narrowband channels to improve interoperability, capacity and coverage.
Once the rules are finalized, public safety is also expected to have new spectrum for broadband. The 700 MHz auction winners can begin to deploy technologies like Long Term Evolution (LTE) to provide consumers innovative mobile broadband access. The conclusion of the DTV transition and 700 MHz spectrum clearing will benefit public safety, consumers, commercial operators, manufacturers, applications developers and radio dealers for years to come. Both the FCC and the Congress should be proud of their roles in making this happen.
Although it has been a bit more than a year, the FCC’s opening of the 3.65 GHz band has been a great step forward toward meeting the need for quality broadband spectrum. Vendors have responded rapidly with products, and lots of folks are getting licensed. Time will tell whether the universal licensing system (ULS) registration process in this band will provide an optimum balance between easy system expansion and keeping interference to a workable minimum.
In seeking out that prefect approach for safe and sane shared use of spectrum, I point to the success of the coordination process that takes place in the FCC’s Part 101 point-to-point microwave bands. You have a large and diverse number of users coexisting without interference. The only trick is to figure out how to accomplish the same thing in a point-to-multipoint environment, because many broadband applications are point to multipoint.
The lack of action on the 700 MHz public-safety broadband spectrum is a concern to many. The delay of the 700 MHz public-safety auction has caused many agencies to step back and look at when and how 700 MHz broadband wireless technology may become a viable resource as related to implementation of LMR technology upgrades. They will look closely at when, how and where skinny budgets will be directed. With the delays, more focus is returning to the development of more conventional voice systems. Several large agencies want to move forward regardless of the action — or lack of action — at the FCC.
Narrowbanding is finally getting traction at the licensee level. Rebanding is a carry-on issue, especially with its delays and border issues.
Johnston County, N.C.
Location accuracy. The FCC has made some attempts to ensure the delivery of accurate location data to the correct public-safety answering point (PSAP), which is essential to the effective deployment of wireless 9-1-1 services. But we’re still waiting for the government to provide closure with a universal standard so we can move on to next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1).
Senior Vice President and General Manager
Even though it was implemented many years ago, the redistribution of 700 MHz spectrum from TV to public safety for narrowband communications. During the past 12 months, this has created an incredibly high level of activity from state agencies planning major public-safety communications networks.
The use of regional planning committees (RPCs) to localize the spectrum for regional needs will insure fair and consistent use of the spectrum. The ability to aggregate frequencies will ensure flexibility for near future P25 Phase 2 offerings and others in the future.
Dr. John Vaughan
Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Business Development
RF Communications div.
Although it’s not a policy yet, the actions/discussion/debate/
recommendations around the 700 MHz D block will have the longest effect on the mobile communications industry, especially public safety. It is going to be a deciding factor on how much broadband technology can be used and implemented by public safety and where.
For more on the Harris acquisition of Tyco, click here.
For insights on the Project CAP program, click here.
For more on the future of LTE technology, click here.
Predictions for the coming year are made here.
The biggest communications issues facing users are discussed here.
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