& cplSiteName &

Spectrum for Safety: Is There Enough?

Carmen Nobel
News Analysis
Carmen Nobel
5/1/2006
50%
50%

A band of valuable broadcast spectrum is creating controversy again, with telecom industry veteran Morgan O'Brien pushing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to set aside more of the airwaves for a public safety trust, rather than auction it off as planned.

O'Brien, a founder of Nextel Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NXTL) who resigned as an employee in 2003 and left the company board in 2005, now heads a new company called Cyren Call. The company publicly debuted on Thursday with a 45-page filing to the FCC, asking that the commission set aside 30 MHz of spectrum in the upper range of the 700MHz band, in addition to the 24 MHz the FCC already has delegated for public safety.

The FCC has been planning to auction off the bulk of those 30 MHz to wireless service providers sometime in 2008 -- the auction likely would garner tens of billions for the U.S. government. (Much of the band is occupied by cable TV operators, but they are required to relocate to another band by February 2009.)

O'Brien has other ideas. In its filings, Cyren recommends that the FCC create a single, nationwide public safety network, issuing the spectrum to a public trust. The trust would then be required to lease capacity on the spectrum to commercial operators, which would pay for the network infrastructure in exchange for the right to launch commercial services on the network -- with the understanding that the services mustn't interfere with public safety.

To make its point, Cyren lists several examples of public safety emergencies in which insufficient communications systems made bad situations worse: the January 1982 crash of a commercial jetliner into the Potomac River, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.

"We see this as a critical opportunity, and we believe policy members should act on this proposal before the spectrum is auctioned off to the private sector," says Adam Kovacevich, a spokesman for Cyren. (Kovacevich explains that the company is called Cyren Call instead of Siren Call "to convey a futuristic look and feel.")

What's in it for Cyren?

"If the FCC adopts the proposal, Cyren hopes to be in a position to serve as a network operator, to help foster rules for, and the development of, a national public safety broadband network," Kovacevich says.

The CTIA , the largest lobbyist organization for wireless carriers, naturally is opposed to Cyren's proposal. CTIA argues that the 24 MHz already allotted to public safety will be enough.

"A new debate would arrest the progress Congress has made in providing both the spectrum and funding that it has pledged to public safety," said Steve Largent, president and CEO of the CTIA (and former NFL wide receiver) in a prepared statement. "Additionally, this new proposal would deny American consumers the benefits of the spectrum allocation and assignment, both in terms of the billions of dollars in revenue that will flow into the U.S. Treasury, as well as the delivery of new services to more than 200 million U.S. wireless consumers, many of whom rely on their wireless devices for enhanced productivity, safety, and security.”

While at Nextel, O'Brien made waves in the spectrum world. In the early 2000s, public safety organizations began complaining that Nextel's signals were interfering with public safety signals in the 800MHz band. But what began as a PR nightmare for Nextel turned into a coup: To deal with the problem, the FCC approved a deal in which Nextel would move into the 1.9GHz band -- considered by many to be more valuable spectrum than the 800MHz band anyway.

"He has a lot of experience and influence in D.C.," says Phil Redman, a research vice president at Gartner Inc. , speaking of O'Brien. "Public safety and private radio is his forte."

Sprint Corp. inherited the spectrum swap when it acquired Nextel in August 2005. Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is now in charge of that spectrum swap, which is due to be completed in June 2008. The company responded to Cyren's proposal carefully.

Cyren doesn't expect to change any industry minds overnight. "We see the filing as the beginning of the debate," Kovacevich says.

— Carmen Nobel, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mavenir on RCS Cloud Platform & Multi-ID

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guillaume Le Mener, head of marketing and corporate development at Mavenir, discussed RCS and the recent launch of Multi-ID, which supports T-Mobile's DIGITS, the revolutionary new technology that breaks down the limitation of one number per phone and one phone per number.
LRTV Custom TV
ADTRAN Executive Outlines Trends in Next-Generation 10-Gigabit Cable Networks

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Hossam Salib, VP of Cable and Wireless Strategy at ADTRAN, outlines key trends as MSOs begin to deploy next-generation Gigabit and 10-Gigabit cable networks. In the interview, Hossam outlines the advantages of a Fiber Deep architecture, FTTH options including EPON and RFoG, and the importance of SDN and NFV in building next-generation high-bandwidth cable networks.
LRTV Interviews
Global Capacity: Bandwidth Demand Driving Ethernet Growth

7|6|17   |   6:37   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, Global Capacity's VP of Marketing Mary Stanhope talks about how the demand for bandwidth is changing the way service providers deliver broadband services.
LRTV Interviews
Colt's Services Chief on Digital Delivery

7|5|17   |   16:12   |   (0) comments


Rogier Bronsgeest, the chief customer experience officer (chief CEO!) at Colt, discusses the way in which the service provider interacts with its customers these days and his aggressive net promoter score (NPS) targets.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
BT VP: Women Should Fill Security Talent Gap

7|5|17   |   6:00   |   (2) comments


By 2020 there will be six security jobs for every qualified worker, and Kate Kuehn, vice president of Security for BT in the Americas, says BT wants to encourage women to fill the shortage in jobs.
LRTV Interviews
Colt Sales Exec on Services Trends

7|4|17   |   12:59   |   (0) comments


Colt's sales director for enterprise, James Kershaw, sheds some light on the services currently in demand and how network upgrades are influencing customer demand.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Mobile to Power Online Video Consumption – Zenith
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 7/19/2017
Can Mushroom Sprout in Crowded SD-WAN Field?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/18/2017
AI Will Be Ubiquitous in 2020 but Overhyped in 2017 – Gartner
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 7/18/2017
Facing the Facebook Video Threat
Gary Miles, Chief Marketing Officer, Amdocs, 7/17/2017
Comcast Accelerates Into 15 IoT Markets
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 7/18/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Fuzzy Quick Fix Click Here
If you can't access it, is it really broken?
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.