Wednesday, November 21, 2007

FCC Awards First Piece of 700 MHz Spectrum

On November 19, theFederal Communications Commission awarded a 10 MHz piece of the 700 MHz spectrum to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST). PSST is a non-profit that was setup, according to PRNewswire, by the "national public safety leadership to oversee the creation of a nationwide wireless broadband network for public safety."

More 700 MHz spectrum will go up for auction starting on January 28th next year. Here's more from PRNewswire:

According to the FCC's Second Report & Order on the 700 MHz band, 10 MHz of the spectrum now held by the PSST will be combined with an adjacent 10 MHz of spectrum to be licensed to the commercial winner of the upper 700 MHz D Block auction. The 700 MHz auction is set to begin on January 24, 2008. Together, these spectrum assets will be used to create one shared nationwide wireless broadband network, which will provide commercial service for consumers, while maintaining a nationwide network for public safety, including priority access during emergencies. also had some good information on how this public safety piece of the spectrum will be used:

The new broadband network will herald a new era for public safety communications, supporting applications not readily available to first responders today, such as live, streaming video from the scene of a fire, said Alan Caldwell, senior adviser for government relations for the International Association of Fire Chiefs. He added that the broadband network also will allow first responders in a remote command post to access building drawings and diagrams and augment radio channels with VoIP phone calls over the network.

The network also could support telemetry channels, which monitor firefighters' vital signs and allow ambulance crews to transmit ultrasound images to clinicians at a remote hospital, where doctors can use the technology to determine whether a patient should be taken to a trauma center. "This could make mobile tele-medicine a reality," said Kevin McGinnis, PSST vice chairman and a program adviser to the National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials, which is part of the consortium of public safety organizations that make up the PSST.

It will be interesting to see who wins auctioned spectrum next year. We'll know more about who will be bidding in a couple of weeks - the FCC has set an application filing deadline of 6 PM on December 3, 2007.

You can download the
PSST License (FCC-07-199) pdf here and watch FCC auction news here.

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