July 11, 2008 – The IAFF has filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) questioning their plan to build a nationwide public safety communications network. The comments cast doubt on the ability of such a network to address the current shortcomings in emergency communications and question whether the network envisioned by the FCC will benefit commercial entities at the expense of public safety.
“The failure of the D Block to attract a commercial bidder at the reserve price, the numerous questions swirling about public safety’s requirements for the network, and the uncertainty of whether or not such a network will actually meet public safety’s needs has given us serious pause,” the IAFF wrote. “Is a nationwide public safety broadband network necessary to achieve nationwide interoperability? We are not convinced that it is.”
The IAFF’s comments come on the heels of this year’s 700 MHz auction, which failed to attract any commercial entities to build such a network. Potential bidders cited numerous public safety requirements and doubts about the network’s profitability as reasons for their lack of interest.
Since the public safety community was first awarded the new spectrum, the IAFF has been intimately involved in the discussion with members of the public safety community, telecommunications industry and elected officials about how to best use such spectrum to improve communications among and between emergency responders.
Click here to view a copy of the IAFF’s comments: FCC Comments