Cyren Call spectrum plan could undo DTV transition, says group

The High Tech DTV Coalition, an amalgamation of computer and telecommunication companies and trade organizations, has urged Congress not to consider a plan from Cyren Call Communications regarding how frequency is allocated to meet the needs of first responders for emergency communications.

Cyren Call chairman Morgan O'Brien told the Senate Commerce Committee last week that the nation "must identify an approach that at last will permit public safety users to be at the forefront" of the ongoing revolution in telecommunications. To do so, he recommended a "public sector-private sector partnership" using 30MHz of the 700MHz band made available by the DTV transition as opposed to the 24MHz already set aside by law. O'Brien's proposal called for the Public Safety Broadband Trust (PSBT) to hold the license for this proposed government/commercial shared spectrum.

The proposal envisions leasing excess capacity in the 30MHz shared spectrum to commercial carriers for commercial use in exchange for their operating, maintaining and updating the network to PSBT spec. The plan calls for bandwidth from the shared public/private 30MHz spectrum to be scaled up automatically for use by emergency responders in the event of an emergency.

In response, the High Tech DTV Coalition called on Congress to stick to the established plan that allocated 24MHz of bandwidth for use by interoperable emergency response communications systems.

"This proposal should alarm lawmakers as it is in conflict with the DTV Act and other statutes enacted by Congress," the High Tech DTV Coalition said in a letter to the committee. "By not auctioning the commercial spectrum that will generate the monies used to fund the DTV transition, Cyren Call would derail the entire transition process. In so doing, it would place at risk public safety's ability to obtain access to the 24 MHz that it so desperately needs for interoperability."

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