The 4.9 GHz Opportunity

The 4.9 GHz band is a critical resource for the public safety community, and it should be as well for others who contribute significantly to the public welfare. Under what historic eligibility designations entities may or may not be provided access to the band are necessary discussions but are best left for another day. It’s like arguing that the meeting table should be square, or it should be circular. What’s more important at the moment is to have a voice in the proceedings. Believing that everything is acceptable the way the band is managed now or throwing up your hands acquiescing to the notion that FirstNet should be given this spectrum to manage on behalf of public safety do not seem to me to be optimum strategic spectrum management solutions. It is highly unlikely that the FCC will accept the status quo in any event, and assigning the spectrum to FirstNet, while supported by a few public safety trade associations, is opposed by many organizations whose views should not be discounted. Those that support the “just give the spectrum to FirstNet to manage and be done with it” approach significantly distance themselves from 4.9 GHz users and the important relationships they foster and are provided little or no opportunity to influence spectrum management processes. API, EWA, FCCA, IMSA, NSA, and UTC offered a national spectrum management approach that would be governed by known public safety organizations, plus the involvement of Business/Industrial associations, while granting public safety spectrum priority and pre-emption rights, with assignments handled by certified frequency advisory committees. This proposal meets many FCC objectives and provides a more unified path forward. It’s an option that deserves attention.