From TV to Public Safety
The New America Foundation cordially invites you to a lunch policy forum
Do We Need Incremental or Fundamental Reform in
Public Safety Spectrum and Communications Policy?
Jon M. Peha, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
Morgan Oâ€™Brien, CEO, Cyren Call, Co-founder, Nextel
Michael Gottdenker, CEO, Access Spectrum, LLC
David Aylward, Director, COMCARE Emergency Response Alliance
Robert LeGrande, Deputy Chief Technology Officer, District of Columbia Government
Vice President and Director, Wireless Future Program, New America Foundation
Thursday, October 26th, 2006
12:15 P.M. - 1:45 P.M.
Lunch will be served
New America Foundation
1630 Connecticut Ave., NW, 7th Floor
After watching first responder communications systems fail on 9/11 and after Hurricane Katrina, with tragic results, the vital importance of spectrum management for public safety communications has taken center stage in recent years. Congress recently passed legislation to reallocate 24 MHz of prime spectrum from TV to public safety in 2009, as part of Americaâ€™s transition from analog to digital television. Currently, this new spectrum is set to be managed under the same assumptions and orthodoxies as current public safety spectrum allocations â€“ in which spectrum and equipment are designated exclusively for public safety; management is highly decentralized, without national or regional coordination; and narrowband voice communication is the principal application.
Is it time to consider fundamental reform in the way new public safety spectrum is managed? In a new paper that will be released at this forum, Jon M. Peha, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, argues that fundamental reform would make it possible to achieve critical goals of interoperability, spectral efficiency, dependability, and security while lowering costs and providing access to more advanced mobile data applications. Peha argues that such reforms could include: moving toward a consistent nationwide network architecture, allowing commercial carriers to operate public safety networks, and making greater use of shared municipal and commercial broadband wireless networks for data applications.
At the forum, alternative proposals for public safety spectrum reform will be debated. Michael Gottdenker, CEO of Access Spectrum, will describe an incremental approach to reorganize newly-allocated public safety bands to promote efficient use of spectrum. Morgan Oâ€™Brien, CEO of Cyren Call and co-founder of Nextel, will outline his controversial proposal to use 30 MHz of returned TV band spectrum to build a shared commercial/public safety network. Other panelists, including David Aylward, Director of the COMCARE Alliance, and Robert LeGrande of the Spectrum Coalition for Public Safety, will comment on these proposals and describe alternative approaches to support wireless broadband data applications for first responders. All of these approaches to reform will be contrasted with current plans for the management and use of new public safety spectrum.