Part of the national broadband plan includes the construction of a nationwide 700MHz broadband network specifically for emergency first responders. Until now, there are no broadband connection services specifically for public safety, and they have been limited to commercial services.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted conditional approval of 21 petitions filed by cities, counties and states looking for waivers to move forward with the construction of regional interoperable wireless broadband networks. The Commission requires these broadband networks to be deployed under a common interoperability framework in coordination with the FCC’s Emergency Response Interoperability Center (ERIC). Under this framework, all networks will be technologically compatible and interoperable.
They require use of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard, they must support certain applications, including access to the Internet, to an incident command system, and to field-based server applications; and include a certain level of security.
The petitions approved today included entire states, some single cities, and some regional areas.
States: Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Hawaii, Oregon, and the District of Columbia
Counties: Adams County, CO; Los Angeles County, CA
Cities: Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Chesapeake, VA; New York, NY; Pembroke Pines, FL; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA; Mesa, AZ
Regions: Northern California Consortium (Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose,) Wisconsin Consortium (Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago Counties,) and TOPAZ Regional Wireless Cooperative (Arizona.)
“Today’s action brings America significantly closer to creating a nationwide public safety broadband network that will enable first responders to quickly communicate and share critical, time-sensitive information with each other during emergencies,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said. “We stand ready to assist public safety in their efforts to maximize the federal resources available to them to deploy these mobile broadband networks across the nation.”