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FCC seeks comment on emergency first responder frequency needs

The FCC initiated a proceeding March 29 to assess the communications spectrum requirements of emergency personnel and first responders.

The commission wants input on the need for a nationwide interoperable broadband mobile communications network and any other issue related to the allocation of spectrum for use by emergency first responders.

Under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the FCC is required to study the short-term and long-term spectrum needs of emergency response providers and report its findings to Congress by Dec. 17. The call for comments is intended to provide information for that report.

The commission would also like information about:

  • The operation and administration of an interoperable broadband mobile communications network;
  • The future spectrum needs of emergency responders for such a network and other use in the near and long term;
  • Whether Congress should allocate more of the 700MHz band for emergency communications use;
  • What specific frequency bands are needed for such use;
  • To what extent commercial wireless technologies can be used to meet the needs of emergency responders.

While the call for comments pertains to emergency responders, broadcasters as licensed frequency users have been and are now being impacted by past commission initiatives to provide adequate, interference-free spectrum for emergency first responders. The current 2GHz BAS re-banding process is a result of such efforts.

Comments should be filed with the commission by April 28.

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