FCC Reschedules Emergency Response Forum

 Public meeting slated for March 2
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WASHINGTON: The FCC’s public forum to discuss the creation of an emergency response interoperability center is reschedule for Tuesday, March 2, 2010, from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern. It was originally schedule for Feb. 10 but postponed due to the blizzards that have inundated Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area.

The FCC provided the following details about the gathering:

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 at Susan.McLean@fcc.gov no later than noon on Friday, Feb. 26. Due to the limited meeting time, speakers will be given time to speak on a first-come, first-servee 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, Docket No. 09-51.

All who registered to attend on Feb. 10 and may have asked to provide public comment must re-register for the March 2nd event and again request to speak.

The forum will highlight the creation of an emergency response interoperability center to develop common standards, interoperability and operating procedures for public safety licensees authorized to construct, operate and use the nationwide wireless broadband network in the works. How the center could help in resolving interoperability-related disputes will also be discussed.

Pre-registration is available at www.fcc.gov/pshs/event-registration.html. Individuals may also contact Deandrea Wilson at Deandrea.Wilson@fcc.gov or by phone at 202-418-0703 for pre-registration.

The FCC provided the following “concept paper” in advance of the forum:

Proposed Primary Mission:
To establish a technical and operational framework that will ensure nationwide operability and interoperability from the outset in deployment and operation of the 700 MHz public safety broadband wireless network.

Proposed Responsibilities:

- Adopt technical and operational requirements and procedures for ensuring a nationwide level of interoperability, to be implemented and enforced through FCC rules, license and lease conditions, and grant conditions.
- Adopt and implement other enforceable technical and operational requirements and procedures to address, at a minimum, operability, roaming, priority access, gateway functions and interfaces, interconnectivity of public safety broadband wireless networks.
- Adopt authentication and encryption requirements for common public safety broadband applications and network usage.
- Coordinate the interoperability framework of regulations, license requirements, grant conditions, and technical standards with other entities such as the Public Safety Spectrum Trust, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Telecommunications and Information Agency, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology).

Proposed Structure:

- Location: Housed at FCC in the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.
- Public Safety Advisory Board: A board that is broadly representative of the public safety community will serve a central advisory role to ERIC. We anticipate that the board will primarily include representatives of all major national public safety organizations and regional, state, tribal, and local public safety entities. Participating Federal first responder agencies, vendors, and service providers may have secondary or ex officio status on the board.
- Participating Federal Agencies: We recommend that DHS and NIST contribute to ERIC’s functions in their traditional areas of expertise via Memo of Agreement with PSHSB and potential staff detail assignments to ERIC:
DHS would participate in the areas of grant administration, public safety outreach and technical assistance, and best practices development.
NIST would participate in the areas of standards development, verification, testing, and validation.
- Federal Partners Coordinating Committee: Federal agencies that regularly coordinate on state and local public safety communications matters. e.g., DHS, NTIA, DOJ, will have the opportunity to provide input into ERIC specific to 700 MHz broadband deployments.