FCC Lays Out Agenda for Feb. 10 EAS Forum

WASHINGTON: The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau announced details of its upcoming forum on the creation of an EAS interoperability center. The event is scheduled for next Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010, from 2 to 4 p.m. at FCC headquarters in Washington.

The FCC’s agenda notification reads as follows: “Representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Public Safety Communications Research Program, and the Bureau will make brief opening remarks. The floor will then be open to the audience for questions and comments. Attendees who would like to speak will be given no more than three minutes to ask questions and/or make comments. Those who are interested in speaking at the forum must notify Susan McLean, PSHSB Outreach Coordinator, at Susan.McLean@fcc.gov no later than noon on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Due to the limited meeting time, speakers will be given time to speak on a first-come, first-serve basis. All information gathered in connection with this forum, whether submitted in person or over the Internet, will be made part of the record in the National Broadband Plan proceeding, GN Docket No. 09-51.

“The bureau is holding this public forum in response to public comments the commission received as part of the National Broadband Plan proceedings which identified the need for enhanced coordination and cooperation among public safety entities to achieve broadband interoperability and operability. The forum will examine ways in which this could be achieved, including the creation of an emergency response interoperability center to develop common standards and to provide interoperability and operating procedures for the public safety licensee authorized to construct, operate and use the nationwide wireless broadband network.

“The forum will solicit ideas and comments from interested parties on these topics. Discussions will focus on how the interoperability center should be structured, what its role should be and how it can accomplish critical tasks such as establishing a public safety interoperability profile, interoperability standards, authentication, encryption, roaming, priority access, application uses and interconnectivity. The forum will also focus on the role an emergency response interoperability center would play in establishing a national framework for gateway functionality and interface capabilities, as well as a national framework for interconnectivity and compatibility of user networks.

“The forum will also address how an interoperability center could help in resolving interoperability-related disputes between public safety entities, establishing standards for commercial providers to expand public safety’s access to broadband services across the nation, and ensuring that grant funds are utilized efficiently.

“The forum will be open to the public; admittance however will be limited to the seating available. Those individuals who are interested in attending the forum may pre-register on-line at http://www.fcc.gov/pshs/event-registration.html. Those who pre-register will be asked to provide their name, title, organization affiliation, and contact information. Individuals may also contact Deandrea Wilson at 202-418-0703 regarding pre-registration. The deadline for pre-registration is Monday, Feb. 8, 2010.”

Audiovisual coverage will be streamed live with open captioning at www.fcc.gov/realaudio. No pre-registration is necessary.