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Frontline Wireless pushes hybrid public safety/commercial model for some of 700 MHz: The group, headed by former NTIA and FCC figures, would like to impose a public-safety override requirement on one of the licenses in 700 MHz without devoting the license to public safety. It’s a little tricky to navigate, but there’s 12 MHz already allocated for narrowband voice in 700 MHz to public safety. Frontline wants 10 MHz adjacent to that (the E Block in the auction’s definitions) to be required to have a combined purpose. A bidder who wins the E Block license would have certain access to another 12 MHz that’s currently planned to be allotted to public safety for broadband purposes.
Frontline’s two twists are that the existing auctions could be carried out with this provision overlaid on a license, and that they propose an open access model in which there would be no restriction on the types of devices that would be allowed to be used in that frequency range. The licensee would have to resell access on a wholesale basis, too, making it of greater utility to allow the greatest number of different devices.
Competing plans want half of the 60 MHz scheduled for auction to be set aside for a national public safety network that would be operated by a single private operator, such as Verizon. All the proposals are predicated on the infrastructure cost being borne by private parties, obviating public dollars being spent on the buildout, but forgoing federal receipt of perhaps billions of dollars of spectrum bids.
The leading metro-scale equipment vendor Tropos moves into public safety: The firm’s wireless nodes are currently used more than any others by an order of magnitude in the US due to EarthLink’s adoption of Tropos as their standard for mesh/end-user deployment. Adding 4.9 GHz public-safety gear is a critical move as cities and public safety officials continue a broad trend of moving beyond simple municipal employee access and residential/visitor service with wireless networks.
Tropos released a series of 4.9 GHz routers, the Tropos 9000 family, which tie into their MetroMesh architecture for simulation, reporting, and management. The 9532 is dual-band (2.4/4.9 GHz) for fixed outdoor use; the 9432 is a mobile dual-band router; and the 9431 is a single-band 4.9 GHz node. The 9432 is designed to create a hotspot around a mobile vehicle in both 2.4 and 4.9 GHz, while also connecting to the mesh network in either band, with fallover from 4.9 GHz to 2.4 GHz.
The routers will ship in third quarter 2007.
Toledo, Ohio, looks more to police, emergency purposes than public access: The system that the city is building will offer both, but the municipality appears more interested in how they can streamline emergency response, especially medical, and reduce police paperwork and overhead. They’re looking to Corpus Christi as an example of what can be done.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wants 30 MHz more in the upper 700 MHz band reserved for public safety communications: The senator, often involved in net and spectrum issues, said this is the last opportunity to preserve this spectrum for additional public safety purposes. The Public Safety Broadband Trust would reallocate 30 MHz for a national, interoperable public safety network that would be built by the private sector. Verizon and others stand to benefit from the single-operator, private-network provision. Only 24 MHz is currently allocated for public safety in 700 MHz. Additional allocation is in the 4.9 GHz band.
The TIA believes existing allocations are sufficient.