Reallocation of D-block, NG911 funding, and a national interoperable public safety network

Deltek Analyst Evan Halperin reports.

House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) sponsored the Jumpstarting Opportunity with Broadband Spectrum (JOBS) Act of 2011. On December 1, the communications subcommittee majority voted to move the bill forward. The important aspects of the bill are the reallocation of the D-Block to public safety agencies from commercial use, next generation 911 (NG911) grant funding, and the establishment of a national interoperable public safety network as recommended by the 9/11 Commission.

For the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I published a blog on 9/11 and interoperable communications that discussed the progress made since the tragic terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, there has not been enough done by Congress in terms of funding, or by agencies in the way of implementing the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations. The JOBS Act of 2011 seeks to pave the way for developing a nationwide interoperable public safety network. The act would provide the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with a $100 million grant program for state broadband initiatives in the hopes of developing a nationwide interoperable broadband network. As with many previous mandates, including the narrowbanding mandate (Insert link to Kristin’s blog when done), the funding available did not appear to be sufficient to meet the deadline. In order for a nationwide interoperable broadband network to succeed, the funding allocation must be done with a sufficient amount of thought and research to ensure it does not fall short. Including a provision for additional funding would be useful to ensure this does not happen.

One of the other main provisions of the JOBS Act of 2011 is the reallocation of the D-block spectrum to public safety. Over the years, there have been many disputes over the use of the D-block spectrum. Deltek has reported on this topic repeatedly, and a resolution has still yet to be reached. In August 2010, Jeff Webster discussed what to consider if the D-block is approved for public safety use, and this past June, he again reported on the D-block and how it could lead to a nationwide public safety broadband network.

For the complete blog, go here.

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply