Resolution on Public Safety Communications

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WHEREAS,  The Council of State Governments supports the build out of a nationwide public safety broadband network to provide public safety officials with the most modern and reliable communications available;  

WHEREAS,  As the public’s use of text messaging and picture/video sharing via commercial wireless devices continues to grow, there is an expectation that first responders will be capable of using this information in real-time through emergency dispatch systems, such as 911; 

WHEREAS,   Without the reallocation of the 10 MHz of spectrum known as the “D block” to state and local public safety officials, first responders must continue to rely on commercial networks, which cannot guarantee first responders will have priority access to the network over other users;

WHEREAS, By allocating to public safety a single section of contiguous spectrum, public safety could not only use the most modern and reliable technologies for video and data communications, but also help to ensure public safety’s ability to control access to the network during times of emergency;

WHEREAS, Reallocating the D block to state and local public safety officials would improve interoperable communications across the various first responder agencies, jurisdictions and geographic regions, while also reducing the cost burden to public safety agencies by reducing need to utilize multiple communications systems to ensure officers are able to talk with one another;

WHEREAS, A united public safety community is deeply concerned that an auction of the spectrum would limit their future access to the most modern and reliable communications technologies and would remove their ability to ensure the network will meet the mission critical needs of first responders; and

WHEREAS,  While reallocating the D block would double the amount of spectrum available to public safety, removing it from auction would represent less than a two percent reduction in the amount of spectrum requested for commercial purposes.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments urges Congress to enact legislation directing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to remove the requirement to auction the D block of the radio spectrum in the 700 MHz range, and rather allocate the D block to state and local public safety officials; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments supports the development of national standards for a public safety broadband network to ensure that technical requirements for access to, reliability of and performance of the network are consistent across the country.

Adopted this 22nd Day of May 2010 at the CSG Economic Summit of the States in New York, New York.