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FCC takes first step toward spectrum re-auction

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gmclam

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The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has taken a first step toward re-auctioning a band of spectrum that failed to sell in the 700MHz auctions that ended in March.

The FCC on Wednesday voted to ask for public comments on how to re-auction the D block, a 10MHz piece of spectrum that commissioners had wanted to pair with another 10MHz controlled by public-safety agencies. The FCC would have required the winner of the D block to build a nationwide wireless voice and data network to be shared by public-safety agencies and commercial users, but the agency failed to receive the minimum $1.3 billion bid it wanted.

The agency raised several questions about the D block in the notice of proposed rulemaking approved Wednesday. Commissioners asked whether it was still appropriate to keep the public/private partnership, in which the spectrum winner would have worked with the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST), a coalition of 15 public-safety groups that controls the second 10MHz block that would have been paired with the D block.

The FCC's notice also asks for ideas on how to auction the D block if it's not paired with the public-safety spectrum.

The FCC also asked the public what fees are appropriate for a combined network. Some advocacy groups criticized the PSST and advisor Cyren Call for suggesting they want an annual $50 million lease payment from the D block's winner in exchange for use of their 10MHz. The FCC also asked whether for-profit organizations should be involved with the PSST.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin said he still supports the concept of a public/private partnerships, but he was pleased that the notice "turns a critical eye on the specific parameters of the partnership, and ways to ensure the commercial viability of this endeavor by providing greater certainty to all parties involved."

The FCC needs to deal with the public-safety spectrum issue "thoughtfully and quickly," Martin added.

The D-block auction was watched closely because many U.S. lawmakers and public-safety officials pushed for a nationwide network to be created after many emergency responders couldn't communicate with each other during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Police and fire departments in neighboring cities often use different communication devices on different blocks of spectrum and a nationwide network for them has been a top priority of the FCC and several lawmakers.

Commissioner Michael Copps raised concerns there are "daunting technical issues" that need to be addressed with the public-safety network, but the FCC hasn't appointed a technical advisory council to help with that task.

The best solution for public safety agencies would be a network funded by the U.S. Congress, but the cost takes that option off the table, added Copps, a Democrat.

"In the seven years since 9/11, three years since Hurricane Katrina, and one year since we began the most recent auction of the 700MHz spectrum band, we have learned two hard and disappointing lessons," Copps said. "First, that America desperately needs to improve the communications tools available to its heroic first responders. And, second, that achieving this task is not going to be easy."

Bids for the 700MHz spectrum totaled $19.6 billion. The D block received one bid for $472 million.

Many telecom experts see the 700MHz spectrum, which U.S. television stations are required to abandon by February 2009, as optimal for long-range wireless broadband services. Wireless signals in the 700MHz band travel three to four times farther and penetrate obstacles such as buildings more easily than wireless signals in higher-spectrum bands.
 
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letarotor

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Duuuhhhhh!

"In the seven years since 9/11, three years since Hurricane Katrina, and one year since we began the most recent auction of the 700MHz spectrum band, we have learned two hard and disappointing lessons," Copps said. "First, that America desperately needs to improve the communications tools available to its heroic first responders. And, second, that achieving this task is not going to be easy."

Duuuuhhh, they are just now figuring this out! Why not give this 10MHz extra spectrum to public safety also and mandate that all new radio systems (funded by federal grants) have to be in this spectrum using a specific protocol, getting everybody on the same sheet of music and not spread out on five different radio bands using multiple uncompliant protocols. Then dole out the grants to make it happen. Oh, I'm sorry, that would require them to use some common sense.........
 

gmclam

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You know why

letarotor said:
Duuuuhhh, they are just now figuring this out! Why not give this 10MHz extra spectrum to public safety also and mandate that all new radio systems (funded by federal grants) have to be in this spectrum using a specific protocol, getting everybody on the same sheet of music and not spread out on five different radio bands using multiple uncompliant protocols.
Because that would make sense. You forgot who is orchestrating this, it is the GOVERNMENT! Also you have to realize that the whole issue of forcing TV broadcasters to switch to digital and creation of the 700 MHz band has NOTHING to do with "public safety". It has to do with generating more money for the government to spend. I mean if you look at this issue real closely, you must realize that essentially the government is trying to get someone to pay for this spectrum so that the government can use it. As you said, it should just be set up as some plain old conventional frequencies that everyone is required to have in their radios. But then they would be losing all that money.
 
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The interesting thing is that anyone who has even a small amout of radio experience could have come to the same conclusions only weeks after 9/11 and/or Katrina.
Of course its not going to be easy.....

But the opportunity that is in front of us right now is tremendous.
They have a clear chunk of spectrum available. Roll up your sleaves and get cracking.
If Verizon and AT&T can cover 80% of the country, then why can't someone grab a hold of this and create it for the public service sector.

Seems to me if the government really cared about public saftety, they wouldn't be auctioning off this spectrum. It should be put aside for the Homeland Security system.
Then get some radio vendors cracking on how to get this working.

With all of the technology available today, this is VERY doable.......
 

letarotor

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I agree GMCLAN, its all about making money. The FEDs know there is no way they can get everyone on the same sheet of music because there are too many different radio manufacturers out there stuffing the pockets of our corrupt politicians in Washington. They will keep throwing miniscule grant amounts at public safety to give the illusion that they are really concerned about "interoperability". But the fact is most politicians and their 20-something staffers and advisors have no idea what that word really means in the context of public safety communications. Luckily, our country hasn't been attacked since 911. I'm not sure if its purely accidental, or as a result of the massive reorganization of our government, i.e.: Homeland Security. When Barrack "the voice of change" gets elected, that will be the test. Surely the first thing he will do is repeal the Patriot Act, free all those misunderstood folks at Gitmo, embrace the leaders of the freedom fighting Hamas, then get us out of Iraq and thus free up those billions "call me Dick" Cheney is funneling to Haliburton every month and immediately spend them on domestic problems here at home; like solving the interoperability issue!
 

DaveNF2G

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letarotor said:
Luckily, our country hasn't been attacked since 911. I'm not sure if its purely accidental, or as a result of the massive reorganization of our government, i.e.: Homeland Security. When Barrack "the voice of change" gets elected, that will be the test. Surely the first thing he will do is repeal the Patriot Act, free all those misunderstood folks at Gitmo, embrace the leaders of the freedom fighting Hamas, then get us out of Iraq and thus free up those billions "call me Dick" Cheney is funneling to Haliburton every month and immediately spend them on domestic problems here at home; like solving the interoperability issue!
The second thing he will do is figure out how America will respond to the terrorist attacks that will surely follow his first acts.
 
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DaveNF2G said:
The second thing he will do is figure out how America will respond to the terrorist attacks that will surely follow his first acts.
Obama will be/is a puppet for the terrorist community. There will be no attacks in the 4 or 8 years he or Hillary occupy the oval office. When the American people vote in the next quasi-conservative president in 4 or 8 years down the road (as they will after the effects of liberal politics sets in) the attacks will resume. Then the terrorists will be giggling like school children that the stupid American people will put the blame on the conservative president at that time and ignore the prior years where Obama let down the countries guard. And the cycle will resume.:roll:
 
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JoeyC said:
Then the terrorists will be giggling like school children that the stupid American people will put the blame on the conservative president at that time and ignore the prior years where Obama let down the countries guard. And the cycle will resume.:roll:
This thread has gotten off topic and I think it should be put back on topic or closed. Until then remind me which terrorist (who is no doubt "giggling like school children" right now that we have not caught him) attacked us on 9/11/01, oh right, OSAMA BIN LADEN!! And yes they can "put the blame on the conservative president at that time" because he did not even try to catch him, except for that charade in Afghanistan. If 'W" was serious about catching OBL, don't tell me the most powerful military in the world could not exterminate one person. Don't say they can't, because they did. (Hint: Saddam Hussein, a dictator who DID NOT ATTACK US, and was contained to his own little area of the world). "W" is a puppet of something more sinister than terrorists, the global corporations that have taken over the world and are causing the economic problems we are experiencing today.
 

letarotor

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You'all don't seriously think OBL is still alive do you? They got him long before we went into Iraq, but to announce the fact would make the guy a martyr and thus elevate his status in the fundamentalist movements. Plus, the government has got to keep the fear factor pumped up. Americans needs a villian. OBL is the guy. Rent the movie "Arlington Road" and you'll understand what I'm saying.
 
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