Improving Public Safety Communications: An Analysis of Alternative Approaches
43 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2011
Date Written: February 6, 2007
There is a broad consensus that the communication capabilities of America’s public safety agencies need to be improved. Public safety communications systems are not interoperable, making it difficult for agencies to communicate with one another. Moreover, these systems generally do not provide the broadband capabilities that are increasingly commonplace in commercial cell phones.
In December 2006, the FCC proposed a “national, centralized approach to maximize public safety access to interoperable, broadband spectrum.” The FCC plan aimed to ensure efficient and effective use of the spectrum provided to public safety, while promoting “the deployment of advanced broadband applications, related radio technologies, and modern, IP-based architectures.” In 2007, a company called Cyren Call proposed allocating of an additional 30 MHz of spectrum to construct a nationwide broadband network which would be used for both commercial and public safety purposes.
This paper presents our analysis of the Cyren Call proposal. We find that the plan suffers from serious flaws, and that its adoption would not result in more effective communications solutions for public safety. In addition, we find that sufficient spectrum has already been allocated for public safety use, and that more efficient spectrum management and the adoption of modern wireless technology can provide the interoperability and advanced capabilities public safety agencies need.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation