Safety First: Reinvesting the Digital Dividend in Safeguarding Citizens

96 Pages Posted: 6 May 2008

See all articles by Kenneth R. Carter

Kenneth R. Carter

Columbia Institute for Tele-Information; CloudFlare; Google, Inc.; WIK - Consult GMBH; Federal Communications Commissio

Valerie Jervis

Aegis Systems

Date Written: May 5, 2008


Public Safety and Security (PSS) service responders provide us with indispensable police, fire and other emergency services. Each individual in our society has the growing expectation of, if not the right to, emergency services. In turn, society expects that its government will expend the necessary resources to aid those in emergency need. The provision of emergency services extends beyond the social contract and invokes a moral obligation to protect life, welfare, and property.

In order to fulfil this obligation to save lives and property, PSS organisations and their personnel require wireless access not only to voice and simple data services (narrowband) but also increasingly to broadband data services. The ability to utilise broadband services requires more spectrum than the two 5 MHz-wide blocks currently harmonised across Europe. Already some countries have had to provide access to further spectrum to support voice services. Calculations show that approximately two additional 15 MHz-wide blocks are required but the question is where this spectrum can be found that can economically support the longer ranges needed to provide geographic coverage in rural areas. One possible solution is to allocate spectrum from the transition to digital terrestrial television, the so called Digital Dividend. In this White Paper, we examine the social welfare gained through the reallocation of Digital Dividend spectrum to PSS mission critical networks. We marshal the arguments for further dedicated spectrum for mission critical PSS communications, as well as provide a detailed view of the technical and operational characteristics of next generation PSS radio systems. The Digital Dividend can fulfil this necessary communications role, within the timescales needed by PSS users and provide a clear evolution path for essential day to day wireless mission critical communications.

Keywords: Digital Dividend, Public Safety and Security, PSS, Spectrum , Emergency Communications

Suggested Citation

Carter, Kenneth R. and Jervis, Valerie, Safety First: Reinvesting the Digital Dividend in Safeguarding Citizens (May 5, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Kenneth R. Carter (Contact Author)

Columbia Institute for Tele-Information

Suite 1A
NEW YORK, NY 10027
United States
2128544222 (Phone)
2128541471 (Fax)


CloudFlare ( email )

665 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
United States

Google, Inc. ( email )

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
United States


WIK - Consult GMBH ( email )

Rhoendorfer Str. 68
Bad Honnef, D53604
49222492250 (Phone)
49222492252224 (Fax)


Federal Communications Commissio

445 12th St. S.W.
Wahsington, DC 20554
United States
202418-2030 (Phone)
2024182807 (Fax)


Valerie Jervis

Aegis Systems ( email )

30 Anyards Road
Surrey, Surrey KT1
United Kingdom


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