The plan would enable the FCC to simultaneously advance public safety goals and speed broadband wireless access for all Americans — especially those living in rural areas — all goals to which the FCC has demonstrated a steadfast commitment.The idea is to license some 700Mhz commercial spectrum for a commercial wireless network, provided that the licensee simultaneously support public safety communications.
Given that 9/11 demonstrated that public safety providers (police, fire, sheriff, EMS, etc.) don’t have networks that coordinate well across different departments (such as police and fire) or across geographical or political boundaries, and that Katrina indicated that the problem had not improved in the intervening years, it doesn’t seem that we can depend on previously existing market forces to solve that problem. So maybe this new proposal will solve the problem.
This proposal is related to a request by the FCC in December for comments on reallocating 700Mhz spectrum.