NIST Seeks Comment on New Public Safety Broadband Network

The U.S. Department of Commerce's (DoC) National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking input on various possible features of a new nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network. This input will be used by NIST to help determine research and development priorities in anticipation of the President's Wireless Innovation (WIN) Fund to help drive innovation of next-generation network technologies.

DATES: Comments are requested by 5 p.m. EDT on October 12, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be sent to Dereck Orr, dereck.orr@nist.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dereck Orr, Office of Law Enforcement Standards, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 325 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado 80305, telephone number (303) 497-5400. Mr. Orr's e-mail address is dereck.orr@nist.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The public safety community (law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical service) is experiencing a generational shift in technology that will revolutionize the way it communicates. Traditionally, emergency responders have used land mobile radio technology. This technology has limited data capabilities and suffers from a large installed base of thousands of stand-alone proprietary systems with non-contiguous spectrum assignments. As a result, public safety has long struggled with effective cross-agency/jurisdiction communications and lags far behind the commercial sector in data capability. Congressional legislation has made broadband spectrum that was cleared by the transition from analog to digital broadcast television (referred to as the Digital Television (DTV) Transition) available to public safety for broadband communications. The newly available spectrum will allow for a unified system operating on common spectrum bands, fostering nationwide roaming, interoperability, and access to broadband data. However, public safety has several unique requirements that are not currently reflected in broadband technology.

For a list of features that NIST is seeking comment on and more information, visit http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-09-12/html/2011-23180.htm.

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