Public safety agencies to receive 24 MHz of spectrum

Public safety agencies to receive 24 MHz of spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will set aside 24 MHz of spectrum for use by public safety agencies. Under the plan, the Commission will issue digital licenses to broadcasters and require broadcasters to return their exiting analog licenses to the FCC. The returned analog spectrum channels will be set aside; 24 MHz in the 60-90 channel range will be immediately allocated to public safety agencies. The FCC will auction the remaining spectrum in this range. Part of the revenue from the sale may be appropriated for public safety telecommunication purposes.

The Congressional Fire Services Caucus leadership played a pivotal role in this decision, according to Bill Webb, executive director of the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI). “The strength of the Fire Caucus evinced itself on this issue. Public safety agencies, not just fire departments, owe a huge debt of gratitude to these distinguished congressional leaders for putting FCC on notice of public safety agencies` needs for spectrum.”

Sen. John McCain (AZ) introduced the Law Enforcement and Public Safety Telecommunications Empowerment Act that would call for the immediate reallocation of 24 MHz of spectrum for public safety agencies. In addition, the legislation would set aside funds generated from the auctioning of spectrum for public safety agencies` use to enhance their communication systems. The legislation had been referred to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, where it was awaiting action at press time.

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