& 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
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
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.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Innovations in Cable

5|26|16   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Marc Aldrich from Cisco discusses the latest in security, the evolution and momentum for CCAP and what the industry will be seeing next from Cisco.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2016 Highlights

5|25|16   |   02:26   |   (1) comment


Some of the high points from this year's Leading Lights awards dinner at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
December 6-8, 2016,
June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
DT: Telcos Must Escape Vendor Prison
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/24/2016
AT&T to Start 5G 'Friendly' Trial by 2016 End
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/24/2016
Cisco's Patel Hails 'Microculture' Successes
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/26/2016
Cable Is Eyeing Its Retail Options
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/25/2016
AT&T's Margaret Chiosi Retires
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 5/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.