Without a proper suitor and with a new FCC chair, Julius Genachowski, confirmed only in late June, McEwen says the FCC has delayed bidding for the D block indefinitely. He plans to meet with Genachowski to discuss the agency officials’ options for the D block. “They can schedule another D block auction with the rule that the winner has to work with the PSST,” McEwen says. “Or they can auction the block without restriction, which they are unlikely to do.”
Although broadband data access is important during emergencies, some experts do not think that the delays in its implementation will seriously undermine public safety. Voice communication will continue to be the most important lifeline among responders, Boyd states, which is why the Homeland Security’s upcoming multiband pilot program is so important. “Data are not going to replace voice as the fundamental emergency communication, because voice is interactive in a way that text will never be,” he notes as an example. “In environments where you have to use your eyes and hands for other things, you have to be able to talk.”
Note: This article was originally printed with the title, "Radio for Responders."
This article was originally published with the title Radio for Responders.