More on 700 MHzSaturday, April 21, 2007
Now that I have a few entries under my belt, I am feeling better about starting a blog. I was, frankly, concerned about starting something more in the way of writing given our workload, but it has turned out to be easy. I read something, have a few thoughts and off I go.
The FCC and 700 MHz
Okay, reading the press, it looks as if Cyren Call is out and Frontline is in, at least in Washington (the FCC and congress), but, strangely, none of the first responder community has signed on. Perhaps they understand what the other folks don’t―what 10 MHz of shared spectrum on a priority basis means. It can be used for commercial services and for first responder services on a shared basis and the first responders have access to it during emergencies.
Well, demand for wireless voice and data services goes up during times of emergency, not just within the first responder community, but for those who are secondarily involved as well as for the general public. Everyone wants to call someone else and text or otherwise communicate with their loved ones to make sure they are safe. Do the folks in DC think that during the recent tragedy in Virginia the students were not using their phones to locate each other and to talk to their parents and friends? Do they think the media was silent over the wireless network airwaves and that only first responders were using wireless communications (two-way radios)?
My problem is that DC seems to be going from plan to plan, depending on who submits it, the names behind it and who supports it, and trying to do so without slowing down the 700-MHz auction process. This makes no sense. Nevertheless, this week will see the members of the FCC rushing to make up their minds so they don’t hold up bidding that could bring the U.S. treasury up to $15 billion. But what, exactly, is $15 billion to the feds? I think it is only a rounding error when it comes to the national budget.
Rushing forward is not the answer here. Yes, first responders need help and, yes, the feds want the money. But as I have said repeatedly, we only have one chance to get it right, and jumping on a different bandwagon every few months is not the right way to go about this.
What is it going to take for the DC crowd to understand that there are a lot of issues here, politics in Washington being only one of them? I hope someone stays sane enough through these next few weeks to help get it right.