On March 17, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sent their National Broadband Plan (Plan) to Congress, and as a result we face a difficult challenge.
The FCC Plan has many good aspects and does support the overall goal of implementing a nationwide public safety broadband network. However, it also supports the auctioning of the 700 MHz D Block spectrum solely for commercial purposes.
For those that have followed this more closely, you know that for the past year the IACP has been supporting action by Congress to pass legislation to remove the auction requirements for the D Block and allocate that spectrum to public safety.
The IACP has joined with the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), Major Cities Police Chiefs Association (MCC), Major County Sheriffs Association (MCSA), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), Association of Public-Safety Communications, Officials-International (APCO), and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) in this effort.
The current challenge is that the FCC is actively promoting support for the D Block to be auctioned for commercial purposes and is reaching out to Governors, Mayors, and County officials to reject our efforts to have the D Block allocated for public safety.
The FCC is promising that billions of dollars will be forthcoming to build out the nationwide network if public safety gives up its push to have the D Block allocated for public safety. In these tough economic times, any promise of money to state and local leaders usually gets their attention and support. Our state and local government leaders must be informed that this promise of funds by the FCC has not resulted in any support from Congress. Although we do need funding, we have seen no
Congressional leaders expressing their support for this funding. We have to make sure our state and local elected officials understand that we need the D Block spectrum for the nationwide network so we will have sufficient bandwidth to serve our needs. A promise of money in exchange for the spectrum is a bad idea. Once the D Block spectrum has been auctioned for commercial purposes it is gone forever.
Many of the national organizations who represent our state and local officials like the National Governors Association (NGA), National Association of Counties (NACo), National Council of State Legislators (NCSL), U.S. Conference of Mayors (US Mayors), and National League of Cities (NLC) recently issued position statements in support of the reallocation of the D Block to public safety. Others organizations like the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) also have issued supporting statements. Major companies and carriers like Motorola, Harris, Alcatel-Lucent, Northrop Grumman, Verizon Wireless and AT&T also have issued statements in support of our efforts.
The IACP is convinced that law enforcement and public safety needs a minimum of 20 MHz of broadband spectrum to meet our current and future needs. This includes the D Block spectrum (10 MHz) in addition to the already allocated public safety spectrum (10 MHz) that is licensed nationwide to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST). The IACP position is based on the advice of trusted engineers that 4th Generation (4G) broadband technologies will not give us the needed robust broadband network on less than 20 MHz of spectrum and on our observations of the rapid expansion and use of broadband applications by the public using commercial networks. Law enforcement and public safety must have access to these new technologies to perform our increasingly complex duties. These technologies must have adequate and dedicated spectrum that is managed and controlled by public safety so they will be more secure and reliable than commercial systems.
For more information on why the D Block spectrum is so critical, please visit The IACP website.
IACP leadership will continue to work with the Administration, Congress and the FCC to gain common ground on a successful conclusion to this conflict and we urge your continuing support in our efforts.
IACP President Chief Michael J. Carroll is chief of police of the West Goshen Township Police Department in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He has served in various law enforcement positions in Chester County for forty-one years, nineteen as Chief of West Goshen Township. He is a Past President of the Chester County Chiefs of Police Association, Southeastern Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, Past President of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association. In 2002, Chief Carroll and his wife, Detective Donna J. Carroll of the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, were inducted into the IPA Regional 13 (Pennsylvania) police Hall of Fame. The Chief has served on the Victims Services Committee, the Civil Rights Committee, Constitution and Rules Committee, and the Executive Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Chief Carroll also served as the North Atlantic Region Coordinator of the State Association of Chiefs of Police (SACOP).