A “Successful” Policy for Public Safety Communications
journal contributionposted on 01.05.2008, 00:00 by Jon Peha
No commercial company stepped forward in the recent auction to deploy a nationwide communications system that would serve public safety agencies in the 700 MHz band. Many have mistakenly referred to this outcome as a “failure.” Such statements demonstrate an important misconception about what must be accomplished. The lack of a winning bidder should not be seen as failure, and more importantly, the existence of a winning bidder should not be seen as success. “Success” means providing American emergency responders with a communications system that truly meets their needs in a post-9/11 world. “Failure” means allocating this valuable spectrum in any manner that fails to meet public safety and homeland security needs. The lack of a bidder in the last auction or even the next auction is only a delay. Although no delay is welcome, this delay is small compared to the period that has already elapsed since September 11, 2001. No one should use a small delay as the principal excuse to compromise on the final objective.